Cadillac’s periodic attempts to relaunch itself into the UK market have many similarities to the sort of multi-franchise Hollywood blockbuster where an ageing action star is called back for further chances to get blown through windows while wearing a vest.

New Image Cadillac could even pilfer a movie tagline for the third go at launching in Blighty in less than a decade: ‘this time it’s serious.’

GM is determined that picky Europeans will be made to fall for its top-drawer brand, and (ultimately) to see Caddy as a viable alternative to a premium German badge.

The General has even gone to the considerable expense of building a right-hand drive version of the new CTS, a car that will only sell a few hundred a year in the UK.

On first impressions of the CTS, Caddy still has a fair way to go before BMW or Mercedes retreat in blind panic. But there’s plenty to like about the new car (especially with the cheaper, smoother 2.8-litre engine), and when diesel and estate versions follow, it will be able to challenge across a decent chunk of the market.

And despite it’s flaws – including the sort of ignition key that would leave you feeling shortchanged if you’d rented a Chevy Malibu – the CTS isn’t without its charms.

Caddy3GM is particularly proud of the particularly intricate front wing, which the company reckons is one of the most complicated panels ever to be stamped from a single piece of steel. 

According to design boss John Manoogian, VW boss Ferdinand Piech was seen examining it closely on the show stand at the Geneva show, before turning to his entourage and announcing that it couldn’t be made from metal.

“At last, we get to be the benchmark on something,” says Manoogian.

If Cadillac can keep up its current rate of progress, it won’t be the last time it leads the way.