It is hard to imagine any carmaker which has transformed itself so capably and elegantly as Cadillac. Consider the journey undertaken by the company and take a good look at how enormous the differences are between Cadillac models of the last 10 years and the new world class CTS.
Cadillac went from designing and producing huge land “yachts” to building intelligently-designed, modern road cruisers. Perhaps the 2012 CTS is the result of as true an example of a complete metamorphosis as can be found in a modern car maker. The CTS was meant to be a modern interpretation of the performance-oriented, luxury coupe. It succeeds in this mission.
The Cadillac CTS appeared on the landscape much as the Stealth Fighter did. No one knew what to make of either one when they appeared. They were both angular and menacing in appearance. The purpose and intent of both were unclear at first. But what was clearly conveyed at a glance is that both meant business – they “looked’ like they could do whatever the task was. The 2012 CTS still has the same kind of presence – it simply looks like a car that you need to pay attention to when you are around it.
Enter 2012, and the angular, futuristic design by Cadillac has become a refined brute. It will stir your emotions with its combination of raw power and high-fashion, great styling. Even in its base configuration, the CTS coupe places the driver in command of a 3.6-liter V-6 which produces 318 horsepower mated to a silky smooth, six-speed automatic transmission. Add a suspension system and handling that is among the best in the world, and you have a luxury performance car that is a blast to drive.
The CTS is representative of New Age Cadillac at its best. The CTS is an evolutionary design and, as good as it is, continues to evolve with each model year. This year’s incarnation has smoother exterior lines and incorporates luxurious styling throughout. It is still a performance brute, but it wears that distinction with even more refinement and has lines that aren’t quite as sharp as the 2011 edition.
The luxurious interior compartment combines elegant wood and leather applications throughout a space age passenger area. A Bose premium surround-sound system is part of the base package. A navigation panel rises quietly and elegantly from a dash panel, and seems to want to take command of the driving when it does.
Heated and ventilated seats are standard on the 2012 CTS. As is to be expected, Cadillac spares little when creating passenger compartments. Interior surfaces and panels are well-tailored and fitted nicely. And even as well-appointed as the CTS is, there are a wide variety of options available that make this superb luxury coupe even better than it is in its base configuration.
Are there some compromises in the CTS? Sure, as much as this car is a statement about combining superb good looks with powerful engines and excellent driving characteristics, it isn’t perfect – yet. This is why the design is evolutionary. As great a performance luxury sedan as it is now, it will only get better with time.
The thick rear side pillars that are a remnant of the prior year’s angular styling pose problems with blind spots. However, a rearview camera can be obtained on models having higher trim levels. After getting used to the pillars, backing-up still poses some difficulties for a few drivers, so this option is highly advisable.
The rear seat can be punishing if you are above 5’5” in height. It may work great for drivers that have kids, but if you have to carry around 3-4 full-size teens or adults, you will find yourself apologizing for the unpleasant experience of sitting in the rear. The trunk has a small opening, so it isn’t really made for hauling cargo. It appears the designers made the assumption that owners of the CTS won’t be doing much cargo carrying. Enough comments have been made about this deficiency that it is an area that could stand improving in future CTS editions.