Cadillac is in attack mode. Once satisfied to simply be known as a purveyor of soft parade floats for the Geritol set, the iconic brand has recently refocused and is now targeting its first generation's grandchildren—especially those who drive German cars.
The first Caddy to go after "kids" was the '09 CTS Sedan. Cadillac studied the popular German-car formula and created a rear-wheel-drive four-door that moves like a sports car. To differentiate itself from all of the Audis, BMWs, and Mercedes on the road, the CTS was also dressed to draw stares. Like any peacock on wheels—it was bigger, brasher, and more chrome covered than anything Germany offered. Think Escalade—as a sedan.
But park that CTS Sedan next to the new CTS Coupe and suddenly the four-door has zero game. From the base of the windshield to the slick, accentuated tail, the Coupe is a new original. Its body has enough acute angles, intersecting lines, triangles, trapezoids, and vertices to keep a geometry class occupied for a semester. On the road, it looks like a concept car stolen off the auto-show floor.
Providing the go for the Coupe's show is a 304-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 that can be coupled with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. A shorter rear-axle ratio makes the two-door feel more muscular under acceleration than the sedan, but with nearly 4,000 pounds of Cadillac to move, the V-6 can only muster 0-60 in the mid-six-second range with either transmission. If you want more power—a lot more power—Cadillac also sells a supercharged, 180 mph, 556-horsepower V-8 CTS-V Coupe that will lop about 2.5 seconds off the V-6 Coupe's 0-60 time.
Open the door (there's no handle, just a touch pad) and you'll see the same firm seats and vinyl-wrapped dashboard as the sedan. Although it lacks the meticulous execution on an Audi interior, the CTS is a huge step forward for a domestic car. Regardless if its size, the steering impresses with its accuracy and connected feel. The scales may read heavyweight, but the CTS Coupe's handling is entirely that of a welterweight.
Cadillac's CTS Coupe starts at $38,165 and rises to over $50,000 when fully optioned. The supercharged CTS-V Coupe starts at $63,465. Despite prices nearly identical to the two-door Audi A5 and BMW 3-series (and slightly below Mercedes-Benz's E350 Coupe), it's the car's exceptional style that's sure to get you noticed. After all, it has something the Germans can't quite seems to match: Even more swagger than an Escalade.