“Its high-powered V variant embarrassed Euro competitors by smashing the production car lap speed record at the revered Nurburgring, in Germany.”

The CTS Sport Wagon (2010–2013) was the first in-house full production wagon (based on a sedan) made by Cadillac.

The CTS has clean, crisp, edgy styling that is distinctively modern Cadillac. The sedan edition of the highly successful rear-drive CTS was introduced for the 2003 model year and captured numerous awards. Its high-powered V variant, which followed in 2004, embarrassed Euro competitors of the day by smashing the production car lap speed record at the revered Nurburgring, in Germany.

These days, wagons are less popular here than in Europe, so the available local used car market pool, for this edition of the CTS, is not a very deep one. North Americans tend to buy utility type vehicles instead of a wagon. A wagon is typically closer to a sedan in terms of driving dynamics, yet has more than double the cargo capability.

A CTS Sport Wagon is a little taller and heavier than the sedan, it offers 736 litres of storage space with the rear seats up, and 1,642 litres with them folded. There’s also a clever sub-floor cargo management system and the rear door is power-operated.

The base engine is a 3.0-litre (255 horsepower) V6 that’s mated to six-speed automatic transmission. The other engine is a 24-valve, 3.6 litre, direct injection (304 horsepower) V6, that provides more torque at lower engine speeds, yet fuel economy is about the same. Using the newly revised rating method, consumption should be about 12.8/8.6 L/100 km (city/highway).

The CTS can also come with an all-wheel drive system that normally splits torque 30/70 front-to-rear, to maintain its sporty (rear-drive) driving dynamic. It’s capable of delivering up to100 per cent of torque to either axle if needed, but there is a small increase fuel consumption.

An interesting adaptive forward lighting system was included in an option package that came with Xenon headlights. This system automatically adjusts headlight direction for improved visibility at night. It can also turn the headlights up to 15 degrees inboard and 5 degrees outboard, providing better vision while cornering.

The big news for 2011 model year was the addition of a, limited edition, high-performance CTS-V Sport Wagon model. Like the V sedan it’s powered by a 556-horsepower supercharged V8 engine and came with 6-speed manual transmission or optional 6-speed automatic. You’ll likely pay a $20,000 premium (maybe more) to acquire a (hard to find) used CTS-V Wagon.

The 2012 edition of the CTS Sport Wagon came with a new 3.6-litre V6 engine that is more powerful (318-horsepower) yet lighter than the 3.6-litre engine it replaced. It also came with a new grille, standard Bluetooth and a new option package that made it look like a V Wagon. No significant changes followed for 2013 and it was the last production year of this generation of the CTS.

Although it can be harder to find in the used car market, Sport Wagon adds a handy utility bonus, without destroying the scintillating driving experience that is Cadillac CTS.


Price Check: 2010 – 2013 Cadillac CTS (January 2015)

Year                             Edition                                          Expect to Pay Today

2010                         Sport Wagon                                       $17,000 to $21,000

2011                         Sport Wagon                                       $21,000 to $25,000

2012                         Sport Wagon                                       $25,000 to $29,000

2013                         Sport Wagon                                       $30,000 to $35,000

*Prices vary depending on a used vehicle’s condition, mileage, usage and history. A complete mechanical check should always be performed by a reliable auto technician prior to purchase.


Safety Recalls: 2010 to 2013 Cadillac CTS:

2003 to 2014: Some drivers may bump the ignition key with their knee and unintentionally move the key from out of the “run” position. A subsequent loss of engine power would unexpectedly increase steering and brake pedal effort, and airbags may not deploy in a collision. Dealers will remove the key blade from the original flip key/transmitter assemblies provided with the vehicle, and provide two new keys and two key rings for every original key.

2009/2010 – A wax coating applied to rear suspension toe link jam nuts may allow them to loosen. This causes a metallic clanking noise from the rear of the vehicle and the toe link could eventually separate. Dealers will clean, install two new jam nuts and, if required, the rear suspension toe link will be replaced.

2011: A loss of grease from the centre constant velocity (CV) joint, on all-wheel-drive editions, can result in vibrations of the propeller shaft. These vibrations may be transferred to a rollover sensor, located on the floor above it, and cause an unwarranted deployment of the side curtain airbags. Dealers will replace the rear propeller shaft assembly.

2012 – The brake booster pushrod retention nut may not have received adequate tightening torque during vehicle assembly and could separate from the brake pedal assembly. Dealers will inspect the pushrod retention nut and, if necessary, torque the nut to specification.

Contact: bob [dot] mchugh [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

BMWi8 Factor in Leipzig, Germany

Photo: BMW

Leipzig, Germany

BMW believes there is a big future for wind power in its cars.

No, not for the propulsion of the prestige brand’s models but the making of their sleek machines of the future.

Long before visitors arrive at the auto manufacturer’s new hi-tech factory in this economically depressed region of what was once communist East Germany, they were greeted with a wave from four giant wind turbines. Those metal giants power the production of the impressive five-seater BMW i3, test driven today – by me – for Driveway.

The i3 models now roll silently off the production line; silently, not just because it’s an all-electric vehicle but also because the entire manufacturing process rarely rises above a whisper.

The BMW i3 is the first of the manufacturer’s projects for which the environmental sustainability objectives were determinedly set at the same high standards as the economic goals applied to the manufacturing process. Next year, it will be joined by the i8, which looks every inch a super-sports car.

To achieve those lofty dual goals, the BMW Group retains close control over the complete production process from the carbon fibre production, which starts in a hydroelectric powered plant in Moses Lake, Wash.

Entire noisy and stinky processes associated with manufacturing in steel are gone. Robots screw and bond the important parts together and send the shells on their way, suspended form an overhead rail. Happy workers can actually hear each other chat down on the factory floor, bathed in sunlight and breathing freely courtesy of an efficient hi-tech ventilation system.

Amazingly, the energy used is 50 per cent of that required to turn out a conventional car and 70 per cent less water is used. My group roamed around looking for waste, which turned out to be a waste (of time) in itself. The bits and bats and ‘wasted’ trim are gathered up and recycled for use elsewhere along the production line.

BMW even boasts the lithium ion batteries that will power each car’s motor will outlive the individual car’s life. They can be used as storage batteries when the car is put out to pasture… sorry, recycled.

If one of the eight modules should fail then a replacement easily drops in rather than there be a need for an entire battery replacement. The lightweight body is also designed with a view to quick and economical repair in the event of a collision. Body parts again drop into place with the minimum of fuss and cost. They say the cost of a fix will likely mirror that of putting a BMW 1-series back on the road after a similar crash.


Email: keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

Twitter: @ChangeGears

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