The Cadillac CTS is back. And if you’re expecting me to tell you that this time they say it’ll all be different, and they’re going to sell Cadillacs in Europe by the bucketload, think again.
Fact is, Cadillac knows that selling 1000 cars a year across Europe, and across its range, will be a decent result. Especially given that, in the UK, this new CTS (now in its third, BMW 5 Series-rivalling generation) will be available only in left-hand-drive.
What matters to Cadillac, though, is not whether you’ll see lots of them on the M6 motorway. What matters is that it’s selling cars here at all. Partly because the income in Europe is worth having, but more valuable is “a credible presence” in Europe, which helps sales in China. If you’re in Europe competing with the big boys, it buys you prestige that counts in China. And given Cadillac registered a 66 percent increase in Chinese sales last year – to 50,000 cars a year - that’s prestige worth growing.
So here we are: the new CTS. Longer, lower and leaner than its predecessor. In the US they’re quite proud of how it competes against a 5 Series. It’s built on the newish Alpha platform (like the 3 Series sized Cadillac ATS) whose multi-metal shell allows it to be lighter than a 5 Series by as much as 200kg in some specifications (we’re not getting those), and by 120kg in the form we are taking the CTS. It’s a stiff body, there are struts at the front, multi-link at the rear, and magnetically controlled dampers all-round as standard.
There are also four engines to choose from - the entry-level four-cylinder, 2.0-litre turbocharged engine punching out 268bhp, a naturally aspirated 3.7-litre V6 producing 335bhp, and a twin-turbo version of the V6 creates 420bhp makes up the conventional CTS range. A 620bhp version of Cadillac's 6.2-litre V8 engine is the unit of choice to power the CTS-V forward.
Leather Is standard inside and the materials you think you see are what they actually are. So the leather is leather; the wood is wood, not veneer; any carbon fibre is real carbon fibre, not plastic. They’re expensive touches which mean this car starts at around $45,995 in CTS trim which adorns the car with smartphone integration, keyless entry, rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, a Bose sound system and 17in alloy wheels.
Upgrade to Luxury gets you a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, sat nav, lane departure warning and a sunroof, while Premium Luxury gets you adaptive suspension, a 360-degree camera system, 18in alloy wheels, tri-zone climate control and rear sunblinds.