Germany can keep its Autobahn; one of the world’s best-performing sport sedans is built on American shores. The 2012 CTS delivers the luxury and refinement drivers demand from Cadillac, with the performance and output that commands the world stage.
American highways may have speed limits, but it doesn’t mean American engineering has to adhere to them. The 2012 CTS (starting MSRP $35,915) breaks free from limitations with world-class performance designed to satisfy any sporting enthusiast. A pair of engine, transmission and drivetrain choices have been tested and perfected on one of the finest and most prestigious racetracks in Germany, if for no other reason than to remind Cadillac competitors that the days of me-too styling and sporting are officially over.
The CTS lineup starts with a 3.0-liter V6 engine with direct injection, variable valve timing (VVT) and a standard six-speed manual transmission. Built to be a powerful, efficient and cost-effective gateway to the CTS family, the 3.0-liter brings a healthy 270 hp and 223 lb/ft of torque to the table. A six-speed automatic transmission is available and comes with a pair of steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters for race-inspired driving.
Choose the available 3.6-liter direct injection V6 VVT engine and the automatic and paddle shifters come standard, as do 318 hp and 275 lb/ft of torque. Though its performance-oriented breeding screams for the sedan’s natural rear-wheel drive setup, both engine choices can also be paired with the available All-Wheel Drive system, for added traction and confidence. A 556-hp Supercharged V8 is available on CTS-V models, which will be featured in a separate article.
The newest CTS has some impressive hardware beneath the hood, but the true beauty of this Cadillac sport sedan is its unparalleled commitment to superior driving dynamics. It wasn’t honed and tested on one of the world’s most challenging racetracks for nothing; the CTS turns handling into a veritable art form. From front to back, the platform of the vehicle is almost perfectly balanced, and the four-door’s available, fully independent sport suspension setup features a lightweight aluminum short/long arm (SLA) front suspension for superior steering control.
The available performance suspension goes a step further, integrating a load-leveling rear suspension (for greater driving evenness and consistency with rear passengers or cargo), speed-sensitive power-assisted steering that grows firmer at higher speeds, and a set of 19-inch wheels designed to enhance cornering.
The 2012 CTS also gets a host of standard performance features Cadillac drivers should expect, amenities like four-wheel antilock disc brakes, advanced traction control and the exclusive StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control System. The result is confident, computer-assisted steering backed by exceptional stopping power.
The 2012 Cadillac CTS has made an unmistakable name for itself on the racetracks of Germany, right in the back yards of some the world’s largest performance-luxury automakers. It returns home with some of the finest, most-finely-tuned performance specs of any sport sedan on the market, without the predictable styling and me-too attitude of its competitors.