From £26,990
The most complete Cadillac yet to reach the UK

Our Verdict

Cadillac CTS

Latest Cadillac offers a premium interior and decent driving dynamics, however for the price this four cylinder CTS can't compete with its German rivals in Europe

What is it?

Cadillac's second-generation CTS, now available in the UK in right-hand drive. Like its predecessor, it's sized approximately half way between the BMW 3-series and 5-series, with its appeal based around distinctive style, copious standard equipment and generous prices.

Behind the CTS's distinctive looks lies a thoroughly conventional mechanical package, with V6 petrol engines (a smaller capacity 2.8 is also available), a standard six-speed automatic gearbox and rear wheel drive.

The range-topping 3.6 boasts a competitive 308bhp and is claimed to be capable of turning in a 6.3sec 0-62mph time and a 150mph top speed.

What's it like?

Good in parts. In terms of its talents, this is the most complete Cadillac yet to reach these shores - although that's hardly glowing praise.

GM has decided to re-engineer the CTS for right-hand drive despite the fact that only a few hundred examples a year will be sold in the UK, believing that it will help to win hearts and minds to the brand's new, sportier direction.

Visually it looks far better than the slabby previous-generation CTS, with neat details (including a very intricate front wing stamping) and plenty of what the design team refer to as 'bling'.

The interior is very good for an American car, too, with a UK models getting a standard leather-stitched dashboard top and a well designed instrument fascia. An advanced touch-screen satnav and multimedia audio system is standard.

Yes, there are still some patches of cheap materials - the electric window switches lack the premium feel that GM has strived for - but you have to look for them. As a static proposition, it's an impressive package.

Unfortunately the range-topping CTS's driving dynamics conspire to let it down slightly. The engine has to be worked hard to deliver on its performance claims, and sounds thrashy when you do so, and the gearbox software lacks much in the way of finesse, kicking down aggressively in response to requests for overtaking urge.

The 3.6 also gets sports suspension as standard, which seems to have been set up with little regard for Britain's jagged road surfaces, over which it feels too stiff.

The good news is that the 2.8's softer springs and dampers are far better. Steering feel is good, though - and the brakes are strong and easily modulated.

A couple of other details disappoint slightly, too - the old-fashioned key looks and feels very cheap for a car trying to compete in this segment, and the speedometer (which can be switched between mph and km/h) is vastly over-calibrated when asked to read in miles - going all the way to 270mph.

So, should I buy one?

GM acknowledges that the petrol-powered CTS will be a very niche proposition when it goes on sale, with most interest reserved for the forthcoming V6 diesel powerplant.

On the plus side, it's well-engineered, comprehensively equipped and different from anything else out there - but the high running costs and dynamic flaws mean it's appeal will be limited.

Mike Duff

Join the debate

Comments
11

6 November 2007

Test drove the new CTS in the States. A very nice car! This car is much more stylish (interior and exterior) than it's competition and drives just as well. Very refined, very nice.

There always seems to be some bias against American cars that "they don't quite match the class leader". Well, they generally cost significantly less than the class leaders in any category and are terrific value for the money.

Really sets one apart from the common Merc's and BMW's. Make mine silver. I love it!

Don D

6 November 2007

9 November 2007

[quote tommy3]

[/quote]

Well said Tommy, that exactly how I feel about American cars coming over here

7 August 2008

I agree. A distinctively styled executive saloon that's rear wheel driven and great value. Not much more one could ask for.

-------- 

I'm The Ωmega Man, always talking to myself

7 August 2008

[quote Jon Hardcastle]

[quote tommy3]

[/quote]

Well said Tommy, that exactly how I feel about American cars coming over here

[/quote]

You made me spit tea out my nose!

The fact Autocar has identified it as "too stiff" makes me fear for my verterbrae. Can it really be worse than an Audi?

What would really put me off is the depreciation and (so far) complete lack of diesel engines. Again.

7 August 2008

Half way between between a 3 and 5 series?

CTS 5 Series 3 Series
Weight 3861 3660 3594
Length 191.6 191.1 178.2
Width 72.5 72.7 71.5
Height 58 57.8 55.9

7 August 2008

[quote 91fairladyz]

Half way between between a 3 and 5 series?

CTS 5 Series 3 Series
Weight 3861 3660 3594
Length 191.6 191.1 178.2
Width 72.5 72.7 71.5
Height 58 57.8 55.9

[/quote]

That's what i thought!!. We all know this car is an exec class car and rivals the 5-Series, E-Class etc.

7 August 2008

It was a tough call when I was looking for a premium vehicle. The CTS is beautiful in the flesh and the interior design (separate HVAC screens/controls on each side of the centre console), fantastic. The best bit was that even its direct injected engine could run on regular petrol over in North America, which is at least 10 cents cheaper per liter than premium fuel.

Alas, I ended up with a Lexus IS - yes, it needs premium fuel but everything else about the car is on another (higher), level.

PS the speedo is not overcalibrated - the digits are fixed so when switching from kph to mph the needle itself shifts; and in a car that will do a claimed 240kph plus I guess you need the scale to go to 270...

10 August 2008

Kudos to Cadillac for realizing there is a market for quasi-luxury cars which are not dominated by rappers and the like.

This new CTS does have a few things going for it although I doubt it will win over any Mercedes, Audi or BMW owners in Europe. In my opinion, it's a step in the right direction for Cadillac if they are ever going to establish themselves as an international brand again. The interior of this new CTS looks far more tasteful that what I have seen in other American cars to date.

Cadillac are also being realistic about the immediate sales potential for this car especially given current economic conditions. For their efforts, I do hope they are successful in selling the cars they send to Europe and the UK.

I hope they change the awful tail lights though. Given that the Cadillac's styling is 'vertically inclined' (not sure what to call it, frankly) both front and rear, having clear tail light lenses may confuse the unfamiliar whether they are looking at the face or the ass of the car.

11 August 2008

I don't know how they can justify developing a RHD model with UK sales hovering around the 500-unit-per-year number.

Maybe other markets are more tempted, or perhaps this is just another GM stab in the dark.

I sat in one at the BMS and thought it was well screwed together - without driving you can't tell much else - something GM has failed to do for decades, so if you fancy something different...

For the same money I'd go for a used 530d, but then again, I enjoy getting at least some money back for my initial cash outlay.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150
    First Drive
    20 September 2016
    The Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 makes perfect sense: it's spacious, tidy to drive for an SUV and cheap to run