MADE IN AMERICA
2012 Cadillac CTS Premium Collection
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Fri, Mar 23, 2012
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By John Grafman I admit to having an addiction problem. My drug of choice is not heroin, crack, or speed (aside from the type provide via four wheels). Nope, mine comes in the form of broadcast news. I can’t get enough of it. Almost anything will help to placate my ravenous appetite for the latest information on a wide variety of subjects, from car chases to wild weather patterns. I’ll even settle for a cat stuck in a tree story when I’m desperate. However, This year dishes up an extra special plate that’s piled sky-high. I can’t help but eat up this year’s political debates like a death-row inmate getting steak and lobster for his last meal. The debates seem to be a free-for-all. Anything goes, and the cock-eyed remarks would be more memorable if there weren’t so many, day-after-day. Nevertheless, a repeated negative theme deals with America. The impression is that the incumbent can’t do anything right, from assisting the automotive companies, to the price on fuel.
I would like to offer a debate-style bet (aside from the fact my bank account can’t handle it): The majority of the naysayers haven’t tasted the fruit of the car companies, let alone have taken a drive in the Cadillac CTS. Actually, to be in full disclosure, this is the 2012 CTS Premium Collection with the 3.6-liter engine. Being able to compare a wide variety of products allows us a fair and balanced review, be it with health plans or when car shopping. Fortunately, the Cadillac CTS is up for the challenge. The model initially introduced as a 2003 model has undergone continual refinement, much like Porsche has done with the 911 series. The payoff is a wonderful sedan that is able to successfully go up against the competition. The initial impression of the CTS Premium edition is that of a substantial luxury sport sedan. The overall styling looks muscular, but not in an over the top way. This looks like an athletic car, but it left those unrequired steroids at home. Refined aspects, like the new grill and upgraded center brake light keeps this looking fresh. The optional tricoat paint does bring out the dynamic form even further (at a cost of $995).
Stepping inside does little to sway our feelings. Not only is the design handsome, but also the materials feel suited for the job. The dash, doors and seating are awash in leather. This does have the touring package that includes a suede steering wheel and shifter wrap. This is either a love it or leave it option, but in effect the suede does provide both better grip and it doesn’t get cold like a wood wheel. Other initial interior eye-catchers include LED ambient lighting, which is a nice touch, as it isn’t overdone or gaudy. Another premium feature: Metal pedals that are functional and look the part. A few stand out items found in the interior include a dash-mounted touch screen that handles all major functions, ranging from nav to audio. But, when the operations are unnecessary, the screen can smoothly retract into the dash. The superior optional suede, high-performance front seats from supplier Recaro not only has a wide range of adjustability from inflatable bolsters, these also come with heating and cooling abilities. This item alone tells me that Cadillac is on the right track. Perhaps less noticeable are the rain sensing wipers, and Bluetooth phone connectivity. The CTS doesn’t just look the part of a sport sedan, it also plays it very well. The 3.6-liter motor is a gem! On the Premium Collection, this has been uprated to a healthy 318 horses, a generous 48 horsepower step-up from the base 3.0 liter’s 270. This is smooth, and capable of running with the big dogs. This performs plenty fast, as compared with the V series, which are just crazy fast. Squeeze on the throttle pedal and this jumps to life, and doesn’t lag at any point that we found in our travels. The motor begs us to play more and more, at the risk of our driving privileges. The good news doesn’t stop there.
The CTS Premium Collection has a well-rounded drivetrain and suspension. It feels solid and handles with as much aplomb as the highly touted German sport sedans. Also, the steering and brake feel inspire confidence. The brakes, which have larger discs than the base model, are effective in bringing this down from speed in a drama-free manner. The combined results of this engineering is a car that feels aggressive, and would be just as happy pushing hard on your favorite on ramp as it is with the cruise control on during a daily commute. Even with the larger 3.6 engine and 48 more ponies, the CTS Premium Collection still delivers the same EPA fuel economy numbers as the smaller 3-liter (18/27 miles per gallon). In spite of the respectable numbers, the car does accommodate four real size people, and makes no apology for not being an economy car. There are certainly other cars that focus more on economy than performance, and this isn’t one of those! But, this is still a Cadillac. The Premium package upgrades the decent base model with such niceties as keyless access/keyless start, rearview backup camera, heated and ventilated front seats, power telescopic steering column, UltraView® power sunroof, Sapele wood trim package, ultrasonic rear park assist and more. One of the best features is the audio system with navigation and Bose® 5.1 surround sound 10-speaker system. Unlike audio systems that promise but don’t deliver, the Bose system rocks hard. It wouldn’t be right to have the performance that the CTS provides and not have an audio system that can keep up.
Further complimenting the Premium Collection are a couple of worthwhile packages. The CTS Touring Package, includes 18-inch, V-rated, all-season tires, and 18 x 8.5-inch painted pearl nickel wheels, a sport grille for a more aggressive appearance, plus dual exhaust, chrome door handles and more. Further enhancing this model is the 19-inch Summer Tire Performance Package. The goods include paddle shift controls mounted on the steering wheel, sport performance suspension, for even crisper, more responsive handling, limited slip differential, for added go-power in slippery conditions, Performance cooling system, and performance brakes with larger rotors for strong, sure stops. The Y-rated P245/45ZR19 performance summer tires1, and 19 x 8.5-inch polished wheels with seven split spokes replace the 18” on the Touring Package. This does provide some added illumination with fog lamps and even more with high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, which cast intense, whiter beams for improved down-the-road illumination and adaptive forward lighting. The light emitted bends as the steering wheel turns. It’s both helpful and funky to boot. The Touring Package is available on rear-wheel drive Performance and Premium models only, so those that order the all-wheel drive are out of luck. After many miles in this it’s easy to conclude this American car company is decidedly back in the game. Now, as far as the Presidential candidates, well that’s another story for another time. SUMMARY JUDGMENT For those that haven’t bought an American car recently that want a true competitor from these shores, now there’s no excuse. For more information about Cadillac products, go to www.cadillac.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2012 Cadillac CTS Premium Collection Price: Base $48,290, as tested $55,410 Engine type: 3.6-liter V6, direct injection, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, continuously variable valve timing, cast aluminum block/head EPA fuel economy rating (city/highway): 18/27 miles per gallon Horsepower: 318 @ 6,800 rpm Torque: 275 lb.-ft @ 4,900 rpm Transmission type: Hydra-Matic 6L50 six-speed, electronically controlled, automatic overdrive with torque converter clutch Drive configuration: Front engine / rear-wheel drive Suspension Front: Independent SLA with monotube shock absorbers; 29 mm hollow stabilizer bar (RWD), 33-mm hollow stabilizer bar (AWD) Rear: Independent multi-link with monotube shock absorbers; 19-mm hollow stabilizer bar (RWD); 18-mm hollow stabilizer bar (AWD) Wheels and tires Front: 19 x 8.5-inch polished alloy, P245/45R19 98Y Continental SportContact3 Rear: 19 x 8.5-inch polished alloy, P245/45R19 98Y Continental SportContact3 Brakes Front: Vented discs 13.6 x 1.26-inch diameter Rear: Vented discs 13.4 x 1.0-inch diameter Four-channel ABS/TCS w/ DRP Dimensions Overall length: 191.3 inches Overall width: 72.5 inches Overall height: 58 inches Curb weight: 3,920 pounds