The Cadillac CTS has captured numerous awards and spearheaded a modern transformation of the iconic American luxury car maker, since its introduction in 2003.
The high-powered, high-performance “V” edition can go toe-to-toe with the best of its Euro competitors and has set production car lap records at the renowned Nurburgring, in Germany.
Even more important, for used car buyers, the CTS (2011-13) has a very good reliability record, which helped get it a “recommended buy” rating from Consumer Reports. Other pluses include surprisingly good fuel economy numbers (with either V6 engine) and attractive resale values (for buyers).
CTS was the first Cadillac to feature that distinctively sharp edge styling that’s now synonymous with the brand and this was taken to another level with the 2008, second generation, redesign. By 2011, the CTS line had grown to include Sport Wagon and Coupe editions, plus “V” editions of both. The 2011 CTS-V Coupe was voted the “Best New Sports / Performance Car over $50,000” by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).
Entry-level editions of the 2011 CTS sedan came with a 3.0-litre (255 horsepower) V6 that’s mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Fuel economy with the 3.0L/auto powertrain is a frugal 11.3/7.2 L/100 km (city/highway). The optional 3.6 litre is a 24-valve engine with direct fuel injection that can generate 304 horsepower and fuel economy is 11.4/6.9 L/100 km, which is roughly the same.
The CTS all-wheel drive system runs a 30/70 front-to-rear drive split under normal conditions, to maintain a rear-drive driving dynamic. It’s also capable of delivering up to 100 per cent of torque to either axle when needed and fuel economy-wise it adds about 0.5L/100km, which is reasonable.
Moving up to a V-edition of CTS you get a 556-horsepower supercharged V8 engine (from the Corvette) that likes premium fuel and gulps it down a rate of 17.7/10.5 L/100 km (city/highway). Aimed squarely at driving enthusiasts, the go-faster V-edition also comes with high-performance additions such as its Magnetic Ride Control system and a Brembo brake package.
The interior is decidedly driver focused, yet still luxurious. In front of the driver is a three-pod instrument cluster with a combination of analog and digital readouts. A centrally positioned chrome-ringed analog time clock adds a touch of elegance and a partially hidden pop-up multi-use monitor is a unique feature. The front bucket seats are generously sized and you sit lower (sports car like) in the Coupe than in the sedan or the wagon.
The front passenger is protected by a unique dual-depth design of air bag that is more effective at reducing injuries in a vehicle collision. The 2011 edition of CTS also got a “Top Safety” rating from the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), based on its crash testing results.
An optional safety feature worth having is an adaptive forward lighting system. It includes brighter Xenon headlights that automatically move (up to 15 degrees) in the direction of intended travel for improved visibility while cornering at night.
The steering is on the light side yet has a precise action and the CTS is agile for a vehicle its size and weight. While the V6 may seem tame at low engine speeds, the power boost above 4,000 rpm is considerable. Manual shifts are via steering wheel-mounted buttons on the back of the steering wheel.
The Cadillac CTS has head-turning style and comfort in abundance, but it can also offer a level of performance like no other Cadillac. A brand new CTS sedan costs about $45,000 to $60,000 and a V-edition is over $70,000.
Price Check: 2011 – 2013 Cadillac CTS Sedan (February 2014)
Year Edition Expect to Pay Today
2011 Luxury $24,000 to $28,000
2012 Luxury $28,000 to $33,000
2013 Luxury $32,000 to $37,000
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: 2011 to 2013 Cadillac CTS:
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.