2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe – The harmony of Power and Design

How do you raise the bar on one of Cadillac’s most recent success stories, the CTS? Well, according to the brass at General Motors the method is to take away two doors and make power standard equipment. The proportions may be a bit skewed, but here’s my straight take on the CTS Coupe.


The most notable aspect of this new two-door Cadillac is its distinctive styling. Our test vehicle in what Cadillac calls “Crystal Red” drew envious glances at every corner, those who knew what it was were raising eyebrows; those who didn’t were too.

The front facia of the CTS Coupe is very much in-line with Cadillac’s design direction. A large bold front grille that is broader on top and narrows as it moves down plays host to a sizeable Cadillac badge in the centre. Flanking the recognizable grille are headlamps that house swivelling HID lights – that turn as you steer the car to illuminate corners and curves as you make your turns. The headlamp housings, like the rest of the car, consist of perfectly straight lines, a precursor to the straight lines and sharp angles that make up the entirety of the exterior body work on this car. Below the headlamps sit fog lights encased in a chrome housing that is also indicative of the not-so-subtle chrome touches strewn across rest of the car.

A straight lines and sharp edges motif is very much the focus of the side profile of the CTS Coupe. Although the rear of the car looks a little ‘swollen’ compared to the sleeker front end, there is no mistaking this side profile with any other car on the road today. Look closely at the CTS Coupe from the side and one notices the lack of obvious door handles. Helping keep the overall design of the CTS Coupe very much concept car like are shaved door handles which exist only as a cut-away in to 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe Rear End

the body panel immediately following the door.

It is not often that one cares to see a car pull away from them, but in the case of the CTS Coupe I’ll make an exception. The rear end of this car is destined for eternal poster glory. Not only will you not find another car with similar rear styling, this is one of the few production cars where the rear end could be straight out of an automotive designer’s sketch book. From the angled flush mount trapezoid dual centre exhaust to the tall taillights that wrap up along the trunk line, there isn’t a single rear style element that seems to have been a design compromise.


Move in to the interior of the car, and the same concept car like feel follows. In place of traditional door handles are buttons, every storage component neatly folds close when not in use, each and every control item is just the right proportion and follows a unified theme.  The top of the centre console houses a pop up display, allowing the centre console to stay clean and uncluttered when the full screen isn’t required. The display automatically rises when in reverse showing the images from the rear view camera and descends back down when moving forward only to rise again when called upon by the occupant for navigation or entertainment.

The analog clock just below the screen is a nice touch, and adds to the classy ambiance of the CTS Coupe’s interior. But then you touch it, and realize it’s made of plastic… that seems to ruin things a little. The overall layout of the interior isn’t all that bad, but GM is capable of better, just look at the Buick Regal.

Brightening up the cabin is an oversized sunroof, both front and rear passengers will particularly love its ability to frame both day and night sky views. It is unfortunate however, that this glass roof can only tilt, never panning completely out of the way.

There is no lack of luxury touches within the cabin; heated and cooled seats, heated steering wheel, dual zone automatic climate controls, blind spot warning, and a crisp 10 speaker Bose audio system are just some of the trimmings making life within the CTS Coupe more than civilized.

2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe SidePower

The sole available powertrain on the CTS Coupe is a 3.6L direct-injected V6. Our rear wheel drive test car was more than happy to try and spin the tires – and the car on occasion – when any enthusiasm was applied to the throttle; keeping traction control on is recommended. Helping the RWD fun is 318 hp and 275 lb. ft. of torque, not too shabby, considering it claims highway fuel economy of 6.8L/100km.

The 2011 CTS Coupe sends its power down to the rear wheels through either manual or automatic 6-speed transmissions. Our automatic trans equipped tester did well and managed smooth shifts during bouts of reserved driving and was quick to shift down when the foot went down.

Driving impressions

Despite the child-like grin spinning the drive wheels and breaking the rear-end out brings, the CTS Coupe is a composed creature of the road. Suspension was firm and stable, taking on all manner of cornering with grace. The suspension on this car marks the standard for Cadillac’s of today. For a company that built barge-like cars that just floated over road imperfections as if riding on pudding and where body roll was just part of the experience, the new cars couldn’t be more different. Personally, I am partial to sitting in pudding and doing the wave when going in to corners, it seemed appropriate for big luxury – but maybe that’s just me.

The driver’s seat is a comfortable place, there’s enough technology to keep things safe and everyone entertained. When the technology gets boring, just bury your foot in the throttle and hold on as all of the CTS Coupe’s many horses hurriedly come to work.

Hinting at the Cadillac’s premium lineage, our test CTS Coupe came equipped with a self-levelling rear end. Basically, if you put a couple people in the back seat and throw some luggage in the trunk, no matter how you do it, the vehicle’s rear end levels itself out so that it always sits pretty and rides nice.

With all its creature comforts and fun to drive nature, I prefer the 2011 CTS Coupe as a touring machine; although it would still do very well as a daily driver.

There are admittedly other cars you could purchase for $54k – as was our test car in Premium RWD trim – but the exciting combination of looks and feel behind the wheel make the 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe a tough choice to say no to.

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