Once offered exclusively as a sedan, the CTS lineup has grown in the past few years to include a wagon and a coupe. All three body styles are available in V-Series performance versions, which carry the name CTS-V. Because of its size, the CTS, which seats four in coupe form and five otherwise, arguably competes both with BMW's 3 and 5 Series, Audi's A4 and A6 and Mercedes' C- and E-Classes.
New for 2013
A remote vehicle starter is now standard, and V-Series models get two-piece brake rotors that are better able to resist warping and improve heat dissipation.
With a suspension tuned on Germany's famed Nurburgring, the CTS sedan was the first American car that could compete with German luxury sport sedans. It offers a choice of base and sport suspension tuning and 17-, 18- or 19-inch wheels. The sedan has a standard 270-horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6 engine and offers an optional 318-hp, 3.6-liter V-6, both of which run on regular gas. The engines team with a six-speed automatic transmission, and rear- or all-wheel drive is available.
The five-seat interior is distinguished by a satin metallic finish and an optional glide-up navigation display that provides touch-screen controls even when retracted. Standard and optional features include active headlights, a double moonroof, heated and ventilated front seats, iPod connectivity, Bluetooth connectivity, keyless access with remote start, a premium surround-sound system and rear parking sensors.
The two-door CTS is around 3 inches shorter than the sedan from bumper to bumper, and it sits 2 inches lower. Most of the differences are behind the front fenders; it's sleeker in profile, and there are no visible door handles on the outside. The nose is subtly different, and the distinctive tail is marked by a center exhaust outlet. Mechanically, the cars are virtually identical, though the coupe is only offered with the 3.6-liter V-6. Its rear wheels are almost 1 inch farther apart. All-wheel drive is optional, and two suspension tunings are offered. The coupe seats two in front and two in back (known as 2+2 seating). Leather-trimmed seats are standard.
CTS Sport Wagon
The CTS wagon is very much a CTS sedan with a wagon rear end rather than a dramatically different car, with almost identical exterior and interior dimensions. With 25.4 cubic feet of cargo volume behind its backseat, the CTS wagon almost doubles the sedan's trunk space. European brands are slowly getting out of the wagon business, leaving the Mercedes E-Class wagon and the Audi Allroad as the main non-crossover competitors.
The CTS-V versions of all body styles include a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 that sends 556 hp and 551 pounds-feet of torque to the rear wheels through a manual or automatic transmission. Both have six speeds, and a limited-slip differential is standard. Brembo-brand performance brakes replace the standard CTS gear with six-piston front calipers and four-piston rears. An adaptive suspension is standard.
The V treatment includes more aggressive front styling with a larger, wire-mesh grille for increased cooling. The hood is domed to accommodate the supercharger. The tailpipes vary: For instance, those on the V-Series are cylindrical rather than rectangular as they are on the non-V coupe. Recaro-brand performance seats are optional. The steering wheel, center control panel and door panel are adorned with piano-black trim; genuine wood trim is optional. The steering wheel rim and shift knob can be optionally finished in Alcantara fabric.Safety
The CTS has six airbags, including a dual-depth front passenger bag. There are also front seat-mounted side-impact torso airbags and curtains that cover the side windows flanking the front and rear seats. The curtains are designed to deploy in a rollover. Additional standard safety features include four-wheel-disc antilock brakes, an electronic stability system with traction control and active head restraints for the front seats.
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