Prices start at $29,925 for the CTS with the 2.8L V6. This engine uses variable valve timing and a dual track intake manifold to make 210 horsepower and 194 ft-lbs of torque. The 3.6L V6 CTS starts at $32,785 and has double overhead camshafts and four-valves-per-cylinder that help it make 255 horsepower and 252 ft-lbs of torque. All CTS models are rear wheel drive, and come standard with a very nice six-speed manual transmission. A five-speed automatic is optional with both V6 engines.
Every CTS offers a pleasing package of luxury and safety items. The full leather seating and wood trim are well executed, and the dual-zone climate control and driver's information center match the competition nicely. All the regular power bells and whistles are included. Front, side and head curtain air bags come standard, as do traction control, and anti-lock brakes.
A variety of packages are available with both engines. The Luxury Package adds a host of convenience items, such as memory features, an auto-dimming mirror, and an alarm. The Sport Package tacks on xenon headlights, performance tires, a revised suspension, and a limited-slip differential.
The Performance Package is only available with the larger V6 engine. It adds larger brakes, a tire pressure monitor, and stiffer suspension to the Sport Package. Limited to the state of California is the California CTS Luxury Package, which includes all of the Luxury Package equipment, as well as a sunroof, a six-disc CD changer with Bose speakers. Most of the items included in each package are available separately.
For those seeking something flashier, there is the CTS-V, which is powered by the same 6.0L V8 that is standard in the Corvette. This two-valve-per-cylinder, single-cam-in-the-block engine is all aluminum and makes 400-horespower with 395 ft-lbs of torque. Thanks to a 2.5-inch diameter dual exhaust system, this Caddy rumbles with all the authority of a Corvette, and can sprint to 60 mph in a reported 4.6-seconds on its way up to a top speed of 163 mph.
A six-speed manual transmission is the only gearbox on offer, and standard StabiliTrak and traction control helps keep the CTS-V pointed in the right direction. Large Brembo brakes, a sunroof, xenon headlights, a tire pressure monitor, a memory package, a six-disc CD changer with Bose speakers, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror are some more of the CTS-V's standard features that are upgrades over the base CTS.
In addition to the enhanced level of interior and safety equipment, there are a number of cues that separate the CTS-V from its lower-horsepower siblings. The most noticeable is the stainless steel wire mesh grilles above and below the bumper. They add a purposeful note, especially with the ducts which cool the front brakes. "V" badges adorn the rear end and front fenders, announcing the new performance brand in the Cadillac family. There is even a bar under the hood that ties the two front suspension towers together for stiffer handling. This is certainly the firmest ride we've ever experienced in a Cadillac, but the CTS-V's tenacious grip on the road more than compensates for the decidedly non-Cadillac ride.