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2003-2019 Cadillac CTS
When introduced the 2003 Cadillac CTS represented what GM hoped would be a new era for Cadillac. Having lost its mojo over the years with out of touch products, the CTS was the first production car to feature Cadillac’s “Art and Science” design language based off of the Evoq concept car from 1999 designed by Kip Wasenko. It was also the first Cadillac on the new rear-wheel drive Sigma GM corporate platform featuring fully independent suspension. Since the 1980s Cadillac had shifted to front-wheel drive platforms so reverting back to rear-wheel drive as most European luxury cars were designed signaled Cadillac’s intent to go head-to-head with Mercedes, Audi and the like. Introduced in 2002 as a 2003 model, the 113.4-inch wheelbase car was available with either a five-speed automatic transmission or five-speed manual, the first Cadillac to offer a manual since the Cimarron, a car that tarnished Cadillac’s reputation back in the 1980s. This first generation CTS ran through 2007.
The performance version of the CTS called “CTS-V” came out in 2004 to compete with BMW M3s and Audi S4 models. These were equipped with 5.7-Liter LS6 V8s rated at 400hp. Other upgrades included 14-inch Brembo brakes, stiffer springs and anti-roll bars, and damper rates. 2006-2007 CTS-Vs featured the 6.0-Liter LS2 V8, rated at with the same output and torque as the LS6.
In 2008 the new CTS debuted, which was both longer and wider. Featuring a 3.6-Liter V6 with over 300hp, a new direct-injection V6 debuted in 2010, along with a 3.0-Liter V6 with 255hp. Both a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission were available. Also in 2010 the coupe along with the station wagon version became available—a first ever Cadillac station wagon and the first Cadillac coupe since the 2002 Eldorado. Both were also available as CTS-Vs. The wagon and CTS coupe were dropped after 2014 and the CTS-V coupe was produced through the 2015 model year.
The 2014 CTS was all-new, and its size increased in what seemed like an attempt to bridge the loss of the larger STS discontinued after 2013. All of Cadillac’s engines now featured aluminum blocks and heads with direct injection and variable valve timing. These included a turbocharged Ecotec 2.0-Liter four-cylinder, a 3.6 V6, with a twin-turbocharger option, and the 6.2-Liter V8.
CTS sales dropped from over 31.000 to under 20,000 for 2015. Rebates in 2014 and prices cut for 2015 were attempts at picking up sales, but demand would continually drop over the next few years. After skipping 2015 the CTS-V returned with a supercharged 640hp 6.2-Liter V8, eight-speed automatic transmission, carbon fiber hood, splitter, spoiler and rear diffuser, and upgraded CUE infotainment system.
New for 2017 were a revised grille and rear, new trim level categories, an optional “Carbon Black” package, rear camera mirror, and the addition of “Teen Driver” technology to the infotainment system. For 2018 an automatically heated steering wheel based on ambient cabin temperature was added, and the all-new CUE Version 3 infotainment system debuted.
Cadillac ramped up the performance aspect of the CTS-V in 2019 with a supercharged 6.2-Liter V8 pumping out 640hp and 630 lb-ft of torque. Advertising touted 200mph speeds were attainable. List price was almost $87,000.