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2003 Cadillac CTS
Review

Performance Data

Michael Dye

    

Despite dreadful public perception and decades of less-than-tantalizing products, Cadillac has the utmost confidence that its all-new CTS sports sedan will completely change the way the world views the General Motors luxury division. Unfortunately, some automotive journalists are producing quite a bit of negative press regarding the CTS. In some cases those journalists are finding the car to be repulsive, due mainly to the controversial and radical appearance. Some have even likened it to the 2001 Pontiac Aztek. Indeed, this Cadillac Catera replacement can be listed under the "bold" category in the aspects of design. But perhaps my tastes are of an unconventional origin, because I admire the edgy theme. It's just one of the many virtues that I love about this car. 

  

    

    

       

My first up close and personal encounter with an actual production CTS was at the 2002 North American International Auto Show. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't striking. The CTS is an especially welcome departure from the usual bread and butter approach that GM tends to use all too often. The proportions and stance certainly give the CTS the appearance of a capable sports sedan. I have virtually no complaints with the exterior of the car. For the most part, the same goes for the roomy interior. In fact, the only major grievances I have are the huge, hoola-hoop sized steering wheel (very non-sporty) and the cheap plastic materials used for the dashboard and interior appointments. 

   

    

    

       

The most gratifying aspects of the CTS however are its suspension and powertrain. Engineers went to great lengths to insure that the CTS would not just look like a sports sedan, but perform like one as well. An enormous amount of time was spent at the famed Nürburgring in Germany to finely tune the suspension for optimum performance. Although we couldn't accumulate any road course data during a recent test drive, the CTS demonstrated suitable handling characteristics both on the track and on short, around-town stints. Acceleration is very good with the (essentially) new 220 horsepower DOHC V-6 mated to an optional 5-speed manual tranny. Check out our quarter mile results below. 

  

    

    

   

Pricing for the CTS will set you back $29,990 for the entry-level model and $40,400 for a fully loaded version. That's not bad when you consider that the main competition (BMW 3-series and Lexus IS 300) can demand similar or higher price tags. Whether you've taken a liking to the CTS or not, it's hard to deny that it is a true performance sedan with reasonable quality, refinement, and excellent ride and handling dynamics. Also, if you're somewhat tempted by the CTS, but you yearn for more power, then you may be in luck. Rumor has it that the Corvette ZO6's 405 horsepower LS6 V-8 and 6-speed manual just may find their way into the CTS engine bay in 2004. Fantasies aside, the all-new CTS represents forward progress for the Cadillac Division. Lets hope they don't stop there.

   

    

    

    

 

  

Performance Data:

Best 0-60 mph:.............................................
Best 1/4 mile: ............................................... 
Best 60-0 mph braking:................................
EPA fuel economy rating:  ..........................
Common Driver observed mpg: .................
6.92 seconds
15.21 seconds @ 91.3 mph
118 feet
18/25 mpg 
n/a 
 

Price:  

Base price new:...........................................
Price as tested new:.................................... 

$29,990
$40,400 (fully loaded)

 

Specifications:

Drivetrain Layout:........................................ Engine Type:.................................................
Displacement:
............................................... Horsepower:..................................................
Torque:..........................................................
Transmission type:........................................
Tire size:........................................................
Airbags:.........................................................
Special Features............................................
Front engine, RWD
V-6, DOHC, 24-V
194 ci, 3175 cc 
220 @ 6000 rpm 
218 @ 3400 rpm 
5-speed manual 
P225/50VR/17 
Dual front, side, front to rear curtain
Best Cadillac in a long, long time.
 

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