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Sweet Caddy CTS coupe emerges in full production trim

Wolf in Wolff's clothes: The new Cadillac CTS coupe was styled by former Holden designer, Max Wolff.

Cadillac’s stunning new CTS sports coupe has Australian prints all over it

27 Nov 2009

By TERRY MARTIN

CADILLAC has unveiled the production version of its CTS coupe ahead of its world debut at the Los Angeles motor show next week and its international showroom arrival in the first half of 2010.

Although Australia is now off the list of destinations, after GM Holden’s decision to abandon its plans to introduce the CTS sedan and derivatives through its Premium Brands division, the large and luscious American-built two-door coupe provides an important indication of the design ethos influencing Australian vehicles, such as the next Commodore.

Indeed, the CTS coupe is the work of former Holden designer Max Wolff, who is now the exterior design director for Cadillac – reporting to none other than former Holden design chief Mike Simcoe, who is GM’s executive director of North American exterior design.

Designed to become a “centrepiece” of the Cadillac brand, the 2+2 coupe remains faithful to the concept shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in 2008.

Yes, it has taken a while to reach production, but GM has been to Chapter 11 bankruptcy and back during that period, and the result looks to have been worth the wait.

163 center imageMax Wolff: “Cadillac has always been an emotional brand – it’s about delivering art regardless of body style. With the CTS coupe, it was about taking something very strong – the CTS sport sedan – and extending its potential.” Although it slots well alongside the CTS sedan, wagon and the high-performance (415kW supercharged V8) CTS-V variants, the coupe – which Cadillac has this week confirmed will also spawn a V-series version during 2010 – has all-new sheetmetal and GM claims that it has nothing in common with the sedan, on the outside at least, other than the headlights, grille and front guards.

Inside, all that the two have in common are the instrument panel and console, according to the manufacturer.

Although it rests on the same 2880mm wheelbase as the four-door, the coupe sits 51mm lower (with 1422mm in overall height) and is a further 51mm shorter at 4789mm in overall length.

Messrs Wolff and Simcoe have laid the windscreen at a faster angle – 62.3 degrees – and, in conjunction, have carved a dramatic profile with a long, almost horizontal rear glass area.

Other design highlights include touch-pads on the doors that remove the need for conventional doorhandles (creating a technical, clean profile), a sculpted lower front fascia with unique brake-cooling vents, and mesh lower grilles on the rear fascia through which twin central dihedral-shaped exhaust outlets pass.

The fat rear fenders, said to be hand-sculpted in the design studio, are an acknowledgment of the rear-wheel drive powertrain.

Using GM’s Sigma II platform common to the current CTS series, the circa-1780kg coupe has emerged in production trim with the now-familiar 3.6-litre SIDI (Spark Ignition Direct Injection) Global V6 engine available in the VE Commodore, although in the Cadillac application it is rated at 227kW of power at 6400rpm (VE: 210kW) and 370Nm of torque at 5200rpm (VE: 350Nm).

It combines with an Aisin AY6 six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed Hydra-Matic 6L50 six-speed automatic, the latter including steering wheel-mounted shift buttons.

As with the sedan, all-wheel drive will be available as an option. The front/rear weight distribution is 53/47 (RWD) and 54/46 (AWD).

The chassis includes a short/long arm (SLA) front suspension and a multi-link design at the rear, with customers able to choose between two “performance-tuned” suspension packages.

Suitable for both AWD and RWD, the standard Performance package includes 316/315mm diameter front/rear ventilated discs with twin-piston/single-piston front/rear callipers, and 18x8.5-inch wheels with ‘all-season’ 235/50-section Michelin rubber.

For a higher level of roadholding, a RWD ‘Summer Tyre’ package ups the ante with 345/339mm brake rotors with upgraded grippers, plus 19x8.5-inch wheels with 245/45 Continentals.

The steering is variable-assist rack-and-pinion with 2.81 turns lock-to-lock.

The CTS coupe’s cabin is driver-focused and imparts a luxurious, handcrafted feel with details such hand-sewn accents on the door, centre storage console and instrument panel trim.

Other highlights include optional 14-way adjustable Recaro sports seats – reserved, up until now, for the V-Series sedan – as well as a Bose 5.1 Cabin Surround stereo (with 40GB hard drive), pop-up navigation, reversing camera, and an adaptive forward lighting system.

Stabili-Trak ESC with brake assist, and a limited-slip differential, are also fitted standard.

Restricting the rear seat to two passengers should ensure comfortable confines. Rear headroom is listed at 879mm, with legroom 890mm, shoulder room 1294mm and hip room 1212mm. Boot volume is 298 litres.

“CTS coupe is the new focal point of Cadillac, expressing both our technical and design capabilities,” said Cadillac general manager Bryan Nesbitt. “It is intended to appeal to a new generation of car enthusiasts.”

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