First exit in the new Cadillac CTS

Lisbon. Closed your eyes, mumbled the name “Cadillac” and saw Elvis Presley in front of a pink 6.5 meter long heap of voluptuous and uninhibitedly wasted sheet metal. Under the hood, 8 pots pelted away with the power and serenity of seemingly endless reserves of displacement.  

Open my eyes and in front of me is an easily manageable limousine. Not pink. Not incredibly long. And “potted” has nothing there either. Because a four-cylinder turbo is working under the hood - and the Americans have not brought more choice with them to Germany. For now.

Ironically, a Cadillac with a four-cylinder turbo should be the challenge of the Detroit-Edelmobilschmiede to the European premium establishment? Courageous? Desperately?

First contact with the Cadillac CTS

With the withdrawal of the Chevrolet brand from the German market, General Motors changed the entire tactics for the (still important) European market. Cheap and simple no longer live here. So the good news. At GM you can do it differently, we know that. Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette are the so-called “Iconic Cars” - and with the luxury label Cadillac they want to round off the sporty, erotic sound of the two icons with a fine pinch of premium taste.

GM Europe boss Thomas Sedran has been given five years to sharpen the new image of the US boys in Europe. Premium, sportiness and service are the keywords on the agenda. They want to see themselves as a conscious alternative to BMW and Mercedes. For customers who do not feel like having the same car parked in front of the house as the neighbor. People with a strong desire for differentiation, without having to write off their desire for premium automobiles.

The Cadillac CTS competes with the established premium sedans, above all the “five” from BMW is named. And one must not forget - a 528-cylinder turbo is also working in the BMW 4i, because downsizing is also popular with the premium models from the Munich-based company and four inflated cylinders consume less than their six without turbo. So is the Cadillac just cutting edge?

Cadillac CTS attack on the premium class

First ride in the Cadillac CTS

Although the design language of modern Cadillacs has nothing in common with the feudal splendor of classic models, the CTS still makes an impression. Visually present, his body stretches to just under 5 meter length, while compared to its predecessor even once again increased by 13 centimeters. Together with the two-centimeter lower roof, this leads to a crouched body line, with strong shoulders and a steep front. The sharp lines and edges speak the modern Cadillac language. The daytime running lights were placed vertically in the front headlights and, together with the large radiator grille for an independent design. Confusion excluded. Short overhangs at the front and a large boot at the rear reveal the classic drive layout.

Cadillac CTS US sedan for Europe

Cadillac light

They are proud to be in Detroit about the successful diet of the Cadillac CTS. Almost 130 kilograms were saved compared to the predecessor. With a curb weight of 1.640 kilograms, the CTS is at least 50 kilograms lighter than the often mentioned main competitor from Munich. The advantage of the clever lightweight construction of the American I could experience on the winding country roads around the westernmost tip of Europe. Between Lisbon and Cabo da Roca, the first exit took place and the Cadillac knew to convince by agile handling and large traction reserves. As already at Cadillac ATS In the last year, with which the CTS shares the platform, agile handling was also the biggest surprise at CTS.

The four-cylinder turbo is neither particularly agile, nor does it exude the charm of a particularly good-sounding unit. The two-liter gasoline direct injection engine sounds rough and unmotivated as soon as you leave your comfort zone. Nevertheless, the 276 hp engine pushes the crankshaft with an impressive 400 Nm of force, but this does not embarrass the rear axle. The stiff body, with an elaborate chassis consisting of multi-link McPherson front axle and five-link rear axle, ensures the right mix of traction and driving pleasure. Traction problems are rather alien to the rear-wheel drive Cadillac. Nevertheless, Cadillac also offered the CTS in an all-wheel drive version from the start. You can tell from the entire chassis that the four-cylinder turbo is only the entry-level engine. In the USA, the CTS is offered with a significantly more powerful V6 bi-turbo, among other things. This engine and a new diesel engine (as well as a modern 8-speed automatic) will - that much is certain - one day also be offered in Germany. Only when, the Cadillac managers did not want to reveal at the Lisbon date.

Cadillac CTS look under the hood

Even if the chassis of the CTS is extremely well tuned, the magnetic ride dampers at speeds of 50 km / h already have to adjust the chassis every centimeter of driving distance and want to ensure perfect road holding - and even if that Pirelli P Zero sports tire Guaranteeing traction until you drop, the Cadillac CTS is more committed to “easy cruising” than trying to find the reserves of the chassis hanging on the gas. The six-speed automatic motivates him, not worth mentioning, to a sporty pace and prefers to adapt to the character of the small gasoline engine. Both want to slide there. The braking system would also be adapted for European conditions. With large Brembo stoppers on the front axle, the CTS can be compressed at any time. But the cute four-cylinder prefers to be gently stroked with the accelerator pedal. Relaxed swimming in traffic is preferred, but please do not notice the lack of an automatic start-stop system in stop & go. The Cadillac CTS does everything for that. Especially in the digital area.

Only two out of four possible layout versions.
In the picture: Only two out of four possible layout versions.

12 inch cinema

In the cockpit of the CTS plays an 12.3 inch large LCD display the main role (Only in the premium equipment!). With no less than four different layouts, the representations of the most important vehicle information can be adapted. From dynamics setup with large tachometer to a version with simple representation of the basic data. In addition to the large mouse cinema in the dashboard, there is a second, 8 inch display with touch screen function and haptic feedback in the center console. This can be used to control navigation, multimedia and the climate. The haptic feedback helps to operate, but you can feel a slight vibration if the desired selection was really chosen. Less convincing is the graphics of the navigation system alone. Here are the competitors partly around worlds hurry. The connection of mobile phone and multimedia unit via Bluetooth works fast and simple, even without a manual. If you choose the most modern cockpit version with the big 12.3 Zoll Display, you have to use the CTS in the premium version. Then there are also such fine extras as the existing 13 speaker BOSE sound system, the multicolored and configurable head-up display, a three-zone climate control and the extra large glass sunroof included.

The dozens of adjustable leather chairs provide the necessary level of lateral guidance, otherwise they are especially comfortable. There is more than enough room for the driver and front passenger and, thanks to the extra length, the passengers in the second row are well accommodated. The interior work looks atypically good for an American. You can feel the desire for the premium classification.


Theoretically, the Cadillac CTS starts at an advertising price of € 49.900. Since you do not order a Cadillac in the accountant equipment, only one of the two top equipment remains. The CTS Performance costs € 55.150 and the luxury version that is driven costs € 57.350. If you don't live in Switzerland, you can do without all-wheel drive. Especially since the CTS with all-wheel drive at top speed and acceleration (Paper values!) has lost out (230 to 240 km / h and 6.9 to 6.6 seconds for the sprint to 100 km / h).

The friendly BMW dealer calls for a similarly equipped BMW 528i way loose 12.000 € more.

Cadillac CTS test drive Portugal


A good chassis and an attractive list price are not the most important ingredients for being successful in the premium segment. The Cadillac CTS is definitely not a bad car. He even has real talent. But the self-limitation to only one engine and the combination with the less attractive six-speed automatic machine limit the current target group for the noble American to a small fringe group. This, in turn, has to find the dentists, architects and lateral thinkers who want to differentiate themselves from the rest of the elite limousines in the neighborhood by choosing their own car. The still very manageable dealer network does the rest. Last year no 200 new Cadillac were sold in Germany - even though there were three series so far.

There are 5 years left to establish the brand in Germany and Europe. If GM headquarters should change its strategy again in 5 years and end the attempt to establish Cadillac as the sixth premium brand - then it was not because of the new models ATS and CTS.

Remains to mention, Elvis Presley was of course not on site.

Facts about the Cadillac CTS

For sale: Spring 2014
Base Price: € 49.900
Engine performance: 2.0L turbo petrol engine R4, 276 PS
Drive and transmission: 6 automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive
Length, width, height, wheelbase: 4.966 1.833 x x x 1.454 2.911
Fuel consumption: 8,5 l / 100 km
maximum speed: 240 km/h
Acceleration from 0-100 km / h 6.6 seconds

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