The Cadillac CTS is a compact to mid-size luxury car manufactured by General Motors from 2003 to 2019 model years. Available in 4-door sedan, 2-door coupe, and 5-door wagon styles across three generations, the CTS was priced similar to compact luxury rivals, yet sized closer to mid-size versions.
Cadillac CTS Design and Introduction
The Cadillac CTS-V is a high performance version of the CTS with a V-8 engine and tuned suspension. It is targeted to compete against high-performance luxury sedans like the Mercedes-Benz E63 and BMW M5, yet has a significantly lower price tag.
First Generation: The Sedan Introduction
Made from 2003 to 2007 model years, the Cadillac CTS first-generation utilized the Sigma platform and was a rear-wheel drive 4-door sedan. It was designed to replace the Cadillac Catera, bringing production back to the United States. The Cadillac CTS used four different V-6 and two different V-8 engines over the 5-year span of the first generation. A 3.2L V-6 engine with 220 horsepower was the original base engine in the US, while Europe models received a 2.6L engine originally. Both were replaced with a 2.8L V-6 in 2005. An optional 3.6L V-6 with 255 horsepower became available in 2004. For the CTS-V, first introduced in 2004, a 5.7L LS6 V-8 engine producing 400 horsepower and 395 lb ft of torque was placed under the hood. It was attached to a 6-speed manual transmission, the first manual offered by Cadillac since the 1988 Cimarron.
Second Generation New Body Styles
Produced from 2008 to 2013 model years (up to 2014 for some models), the second-generation Cadillac CTS saw the introduction of a 2-door coupe and 5-door station wagon design in addition to the already existing 4-door sedan. It also featured the first all-wheel drive CTS models. The second-generation models featured a 3.6L LY7 V-6 engine with 263 horsepower and 253 lb ft of torque as the base, or a 3.6L variable-valve timing V-6 with 304 horsepower as an option. The base engine changed to a 3.0L VVT V-6 with 270 horsepower in 2010. The Cadillac CTS grew in size from first generation to second, both longer and wider than the original, with an unchanged wheelbase of 113.4 inches. Interior changes included an available Bose stereo system, Stabilitrak ESC, and a navigation system with a 40gb hard drive. Exterior upgrades had a larger grilled with thinner lights, both front and rear. In 2010, the CTS wagon was introduced, and like the sedan, was available in rear-wheel or all-wheel drive with a 3.0L or 3.6L V-6 engine. It was primarily made to compete in the European markets. In 2011, a CTS 2-door coupe was introduced with no B-pillars and featured the same 3.6L V-6 with 304 horsepower available in the sedan. The second-generation CTS-V (available from 2009 to 2014 model years, not following the sedan version years) is based on the Sigma II platform and was rear-wheel drive only. Front coil spring suspension with control arms were paired with independent coil-spring rear multi-link suspension. The CTS-V featured a supercharged 6.2L LSA V-8 producing an incredible 556 horsepower and 551 lb ft of torque. It had maximum boost of 9.0 psi.
Third Generation: Back to Sedan-Only
The third-generation Cadillac CTS was manufactured from 2014 to 2019 model years, replaced with the CT5 successor. It saw a reduction in engine size to a turbocharged 2.0L I-4 engine, but also had a twin-turbo V-6 option with 420 horsepower. The 2014 CTS was critically acclaimed, winning the Motor Trend Car of the Year award, getting on Car and Driver’s 10 Best List, and ranking number one on US News’ Upscale Midsize Cars. The popularity of the CTS, which peaked in 2005 with over 61,500 units sold, was dwindling rapidly over the next decade, eventually sitting around 10,000 units for 2017 and 2018. A time for change had come.