For 2006, CTS receives optional trim and suspension upgrades. The Sport Performance Package features 18-inch tires on polished nine-spoke wheels, beefier brakes, and a host of other niceties including Xenon headlamps and an onboard tire-pressure monitoring system. Beyond that is the Sport Appearance Package, which adds a unique new grille, rocker moldings, trunk spoiler, dual exhaust tips, and unique wheels to the Sport Performance Package. Driver Shift Control becomes standard on all automatic-equipped CTS models. A power sunroof is also now standard. Three new exterior colors are available, while inside cashmere seating and burl-pattern accents are now available. The high-performance CTS-V receives the same 6.0L V-8 engine that is found in the new Corvette; its 400-hp rating, however, remains identical to last year's figure.
The CTS is a cornerstone in the resurgence of the Cadillac brand over the past half-dozen years. The idea of a smaller, entry-level Cadillac is not new: witness the original Seville from 1977. The concept of a Cadillac that doesn't lose its composure in the corners is not totally unheard of either: recall the division's Eldorado Touring coupe back in 1982. So when the CTS appeared in 2003, replacing the Catera, no one was shocked by its existence. Upon its 2003 launch, the CTS was the first car to adopt Cadillac's Art and Science design theme, updating vintage Cadillac styling cues (such as the stacked headlamps on models from the 1960s) and putting them in a modern context. Inside is more high-tech. Love it or hate it, the styling is distinctive; you won't mistake a Cadillac for anything else on the road. Four years later, it may be a stretch to call the CTS a classic, but it doesn't appear to have aged very much either. Cadillac is also the only GM division in North America to use what's known as the Sigma platform; only the CTS and the new STS use it.
For a base price under $30,000, you get a nicely-equipped, V6-powered, 6-speed manual-transmission sedan featuring a comprehensive array of luxury and safety equipment. Six air bags, including dual-stage front air bags and head-curtain side air bags for front and outboard rear passengers, are part of the package; so is Cadillac's StabiliTrak handling assistance, which measures throttle and brake pedal positions, steering wheel angle, and a host of other factors to maintain vehicle stability. A larger, more powerful V-6, a five-speed automatic transmission, XM Satellite Radio, and the aforementioned Sport Performance and Sport Appearance packages are among the optional amenities. The CTS is the first vehicle in GM's lineup to include XM's NavTraffic as part of its satellite radio package. NavTraffic provides real-time traffic updates as part of the optional DVD navigation feature. A one-year subscription to OnStar is also included with every 2006 Cadillac.
At first, the high-performance CTS-V doesn't seem that much different than the CTS; a unique mesh grille, specific front fascia, huge brakes, and discreet badging are all that separate the V-Series visually from its lower-priced siblings. But this potent variation on the CTS makes up for its visual subtleties with a Corvette-sourced 400-hp V-8 under the hood, a mandatory 6-speed manual transmission, and a suspension tuned at the legendary Nurburgring race track in Germany. As a bonus, highway mileage is EPA-rated at 25mpg.
The CTS resides in the Compact Premium segment. In this 18-vehicle segment, cutting-edge styling and an alluring blend of luxurious and sporting tendencies reside in a single, package. Volvo has three models in the segment (S40 sedan, V50 wagon and S60 sedan), while Acura (TL and TSX) and Audi (A3 and A4) have two models each. Marques with a single entry in the crowded field include BMW (3 Series), Infiniti (G35), Jaguar (X-Type), Lexus (IS Series), Lincoln (Zephyr), Mercedes-Benz (C-Class), and Saab (9-3).
With sales of 61,512 units for calendar year 2005, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM the CTS just misses the top three in the segment. The BMW 3 Series, with sales of 106,950 in 2005, comfortably leads the pack, with the Acura TL (78,218) and Infiniti G35 (68,728) rounding out the top three. Other competitors in the segment with sales over 30,000 units include the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4, and Acura TSX.
|Base w/1SA||6 speed manual||$29,270||210-hp / 2.8L 6-cyl||17/27|
|Sport w/1SB||6 speed manual||$35,570||255-hp / 3.6L 6-cyl||17/26|