Review: 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe is ready to take on the competition

Review: 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe

Owners of the BMW 3-Series Coupe, Audi A5, Infiniti G37 Coupe, and Mercedes E-Class Coupe (including those planning on buying the new C-Class Coupe), have long been considered owners of the road when it comes to two-door mass production performance vehicles. They now have a new classmate, and she’s storming in mightily aggressive.

For 2011, GM has added a coupe to join the Cadillac CTS sedan and station wagon in the lineup. The “CTS Coupe is the new focal point of Cadillac, expressing both our design and technical capabilities,” said Don Butler, Vice President of Cadillac Marketing. “It is intended to appeal to a new generation of car enthusiasts.”

But can the Cadillac CTS Coupe steal some spotlight from its competitors? Let’s find out.

Hit the jump to read more and to view our high-res gallery (at the bottom of the article).

2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe Specifications:

  • Base Price: $38,165.
  • Price as Tested: $48,395.
  • Engine: 3.6L direct-injected V6 – 304-hp / 273 lb-ft.
  • Transmission: 6-speed manual / 6-speed automatic.
  • Curb Weight: 3,924 lbs.
  • 0 to 60 mph: 6 seconds.
  • Top Speed: 144 mph.
  • Fuel-economy (city/highway): 18/27 mpg.

All Photos Copyright © 2011 Omar Rana, Nikolina Kostrevski – egmCarTech.


When viewed head-on, the CTS Coupe shows heavy design influence from its sedan and station wagon brethren. When you pass the B-pillar however, the car takes on an identity all its own, with an amplified aggressive silhouette that features sharp details which cascade into a rear-end that stands overly broad, yet not overdone.

[quote float=”left”]One thing certain to draw design controversy is the rear-fascia, though we think it rounds out the aggressive profile[/quote] Sitting upon the same wheelbase as the sedan, the coupe comes in two inches shorter in terms of both height and length. Cadillac says that they only borrowed the instrument panel, console, headlamps front fenders, and grille from the sedan. Everything else on the car is exclusive to the coupe, particularly the sleek hardtop design, which does away with a conventional B-pillar.

Other features that enhance the car’s styling and offer a clean profile include the touch-pad operated doors and trunk that remove the need for conventional door handles, sculpted lower-front fascia with unique vents that serve to cool the brakes, center-placed rear exhaust with twin dihedral-angled tips that pass right through the rear-fascia, and rear-spoiler that flows seamlessly with the integrated, signature center-mount brake lamp.

One thing certain to draw design controversy is the rear-fascia, though we think it rounds out the aggressive profile, and does a fantastic job of distinguishing the CTS Coupe from other cars on the road.


Though upon entering the cabin one will notice that many of the components are shared with the sedan and wagon, the coupe retains a decidedly more sporty feel, welcoming to even the most discerning enthusiast. The low-mounted seats sink you a full inch lower into the dash, and provide for a cockpit feel, which empowers the driver, making him feel as though he is driving a truly purposeful car. Given the performance orientation, particularly with regard to the seating, we found the CTS Coupe to provide for an extremely comfortable driving experience.

[quote float=”right”]…the 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe is a great start in the right direction for a company that has struggled in the past with quality[/quote] The $38,165 base model comes packed with standard amenities such as; dual-zone climate control, AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system, power driver and passenger bucket seats, cruise control, anti-theft system, rear-view mirror with automatic dim feature, rear park assist, tire pressure monitoring system, remote start, and as would be expected with any high-end GM vehicle, OnStar system with complimentary one year Directions and Connections plan. There are two more trim levels available; the $42,605 3.6L Performance Collection, and the $47,010 Premium.

Our test model was trimmed at the Premium level, and came fully-loaded with features that included; integrated iPod/MP3 capability, 40-gig hard drive, which provides the ability to store music, or record and playback live radio, pop-up navigation system, adaptive forward lighting, bluetooth connectivity, rearview camera, and a badass Bose 5.1 Cabin Surround audio system.

The top doubt on the minds of fans of this segment when it comes to the interior is sure to be material and build quality, which BMW, Audi, Infiniti, and Mercedes are world-renowned for. To the doubters, we say this: There are certainly some materials that need improvement, but the 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe is a great start in the right direction for a company that has struggled in the past with quality. That being said, the cabin of the CTS Coupe is a pleasure to be inside of, and is well-equipped enough to keep the most tech-savvy person satisfied, and hardworking individual comfortable.


Given the segment in which it competes, performance is sure to be the primary concern of those awaiting this vehicle. The rear-wheel-drive CTS Coupe certainly does not fall short of expectations in this category. For the coupe, Cadillac decided to do away with the 270-hp 3.0L V6 offered as the entry-level motor on the sedan and wagon. As such, the coupe carries with it only one engine option; the 3.6L V6.

[quote float=”left”]the 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe provides for a very refined drive with solid handling and a smooth ride that can easily take on any sleek maneuvering[/quote] The 3.6L V6 with direct-injection which powers the coupe, puts out an impressive 304-hp and 273 lb-ft of torque at 6,400 rpm, and 5,200 rpm, respectively. Mated to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic with manual shifting, 60 mph comes in at a competitive 6 seconds, with a top speed of 144 mph. The final drive ratio measures to 3.73:1; compared to the 3.42:1 measured on other CTS body styles. Ultimately, this equates to more responsive acceleration from the coupe. When it comes to considering performance against dollars, all of this puts the CTS Coupe right in the pack with its competition.

Drivers who live in snow and ice-logged areas needn’t despair about the rear-wheel-drive configuration however, as an all-wheel-drive option is available for an extra $1,900.

All things considered, the 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe provides for a very refined drive with solid handling and a smooth ride that can easily take on any sleek maneuvering. The competition offers arguably better options with regard to handling and a sporty driving dynamics, but the CTS Coupe offers tremendous bang-for-the-buck in performance driving.


The 2011 CTS Coupe stands as solid competition against the comparative offerings from Audi, BMW, Infiniti, and Mercedes. The question remains however, will the consumer market see it as such? We think it will.

There’s no question that this car will help Cadillac appeal on a broader level to a younger generation of car-buyers than it has in the past, but we think that the more passionate enthusiasts will need some extra convincing from GM to acknowledge the fact that much of the German competition is offering less power, performance, and technology, for a higher price.

If you’re still not convinced that the 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe offers tremendous power and performance for its price, I encourage you to check back in a few days for our review of the 2011 CTS-V Coupe, and be reminded that the sedan remains the fastest sedan in production today, having bested the much celebrated BMW M5 around the Nurburgring.

Review: 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe:

– By: Stephen Calogera

All Photos Copyright © 2011 – Omar Rana, Nikolina Kostrevski – egmCarTech.