First DriveIt's thirsty, expensive and a bit Wayne Rooney but despite the Cadillac's flaws, it is very hard not to like this charismatic motor
First DriveQuite fun, but limited by a lack of a diesel engine, a compact cabin and ambitious pricing
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.