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2009 Cadillac CTS


Anyone who doubts GM can build a good car should drive a Cadillac CTS. In style, performance and technology, the Cadillac CTS is an American sports sedan that can go toe-to-toe with the best the rest of the world has to offer, including the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus GS, Infiniti G35 and Audi A4. Available all-wheel drive makes the CTS a good foul weather car. The new high-performance Cadillac CTS-V can compete with the best high-performance sports sedans in the world at a much lower cost.

2009 CTS Full Review

Fresh from being completely redesigned and re-engineered for the 2008 model year, the CTS boasts responsive handling and excellent high-speed stability, yet it's smooth and quiet around town or cruising on the highway. The ride quality strikes a perfect balance between smoothness and handling. The steering is accurate, with good feel and a nice, weighty demeanor. The car feels solidly put together and quiet. Inside is an attractive cabin trimmed with nice materials with an airy, open feel. Everything is easy to operate. Simply stated, the Cadillac CTS is a very enjoyable car. The car feels solidly put together and quiet. Everything is easy to operate. Simply stated, the Cadillac CTS is a very enjoyable car.

The CTS and CTS-V feature sophisticated suspension systems developed, among other places, at the world-famous Nurburgring race track in Germany. The Cadillac CTS comes with two versions of a 3.6-liter V6 engine, one with conventional fuel injection rated at 263 horsepower, another with Direct Injection rated at 304 horsepower. The CTS is available with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.

The CTS uses rear-wheel drive, best for performance sedans, but it's also available with all-wheel drive. The CTS-V has a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that makes 556 horsepower at 6100 rpm and 551 pound-feet of torque at 3800 rpm; it is available with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, but in rear-drive form only. The CTS-V is a genuinely fast car. Cadillac says the CTS-V is capable of 191 mph and can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds. We found the CTS-V to be one fast ride at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California, nearly as fast as a Sprint Cup car. It rides on the firmer side, like a European luxury sports sedan.

Engines and Options

The 2009 Cadillac CTS comes with a 263-hp V6 engine or a 304-hp Direct Injection V6. The automatic transmission is optional, as is all-wheel drive, and the all-wheel drive is available only with the automatic.

Standard features include leather seating surfaces, dual-zone automatic climate control, OnStar with turn-by-turn navigation, a Bose eight-speaker sound system with CD, MP3 and auxiliary capability, remote keyless entry and programmable central locking, power windows with express-up-down on the front and express-down on the rear, power driver's seat and XM Satellite Radio.

Options include Premium Luxury Collection with a pop-up navigation and audio display, a 10-speaker Bose 5.1 sound system with a 40-gigabyte sound storage system, an iPod interface that will operate your iPod from the touch screen and display artist and title information, 10-way heated and cooled leather seats, split folding rear seats, Ultraview sunroof panel, sapele wood trim, 18-inch alloy wheels, power tilt/telescope steering wheel, remote starting and keyless entry. The CTS-V features a supercharged V8, a limited-slip differential, Brembo disc brakes with six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers, P255/40ZR19 tires in front and P285/35ZR19 tires in the rear, and 10-spoke alloy wheels measuring 9.0 inches wide in front and 9.5 inches wide in the rear. The CTS-V also has distinctive exterior details, including a mesh grille and appropriate badging, to make it stand apart from the normal CTS. The CTS looks clean, elegant and modern, but the CTS-V, with its few changes, takes on a more assertive appearance.

Safety features that come standard on all models include front, side and side-curtain airbags, ABS and Stabilitrak electronic stability control and traction control. Optional all-wheel drive improves safety further. The large lighting units at the front and rear make good use of light-emitting-diode, or LED, technology: lots of light and lots of style for little electrical load.

The taillights, rear quarter panels and decklid also fit the Cadillac theme, and below the rear bumper are exposed dual exhaust tips. The CTS-V is distinguished by functional features. The power dome hood, distinctive wheel and tire package, and the bold mesh grille suggest an intent for serious driving. Big brake ducts help cool the big two-piece Brembo calipers. The CHMSL center brake light reduces rear lift.

Interior Style

The theme of the CTS interior is black and brushed metal and chrome. We found the comfortable front bucket seats held us down and in place behind the wheel, including some enthusiastic driving on central California's windiest, curviest roads.

We really appreciated the range of adjustments offered by the power seats and the power steering column. The tilt-and-telescope column offers ultimate comfort and proper driving position. All-in-all, the interior of the CTS is a very nice to sit and take a drive. It's great to see Cadillac offer such a terrific interior.

The AM/FM/XM Bose 5.1 sound system with the 40-gigabyte hard-drive, iPod connector and USB port offers the ultimate in musical enjoyment. Many other luxury cars have systems that are difficult or fussy to operate.

The CTS-V has a sportier cabin with a steering wheel with a thicker rim available in suede.

2009 Conclusions

The Cadillac CTS is a responsive sports sedan with excellent handling and high-speed stability, yet it's smooth and quiet when cruising.

The CTS comes with two versions of a 3.6-liter V6 engine, one with conventional fuel injection, rated at 263 horsepower at 6400 rpm and 253 pound-feet of torque at 3100 rpm, and the second, with Direct Injection, rated at 304 horsepower at 6400 rpm and 273 pound-feet of torque at 5200 rpm. Either is available with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, and with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

We found we could drive it very hard with the confidence that we were still well within our driving abilities. The Cadillac CTS looks great and is relatively roomy inside. "Boiled down to what matters most to the basic car, the new Lansing, Michigan-built 2008 Cadillac CTS, with its excellent powertrain, great handling, substantially improved interior and dramatic new styling, succeeds on all levels." says Road and Track. It's got lots of poke for the performance enthusiast with the more powerful V6 engine and available all-wheel drive.


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