I just spent a night with a 2011 Cadillac CTS-V wagon, and I can’t help but feel a little grateful. Grateful that Cadillac not only saw fit to launch a five-door version of its latest CTS (along with such an awe-inspiring performance version), but also that the end product was a far cry from the company's first attempt at a CTS wagon.
About a year or so back, I was driving by a GM-owned parking lot in Metro Detroit that was filled with vehicles slated for disposal. Something caught my eye -- I thought I saw a first-generation Cadillac CTS, but I also thought I glimpsed an elongated roof and an extra set of pillars. Was I seeing things?
Not exactly. I circled back, and peered through a fence from the safe haven of a sidewalk. Sure enough, tucked alongside other engineering mules and scrapped vehicles was a design mockup for a first-gen CTS wagon.
The 00-00-00 license plate, coupled with a number of faux trim elements peeling from parts of the car, indicated this spent most of its life within GM’s design studio, and likely never moved under its own power. But the thing was still captivating -- not only was it evidence Caddy had considered a CTS wagon before, but a high-riding, butched-up wagon designed to appeal to SUV-loving buyers.
The end result looks a little like an American knock-off of Audi’s not-so-successful A6 Allroad Quattro. In addition to the tall stance and large wheels, designers were apparently also working on adding anodized front and rear skid plates, grey cladding along the rockers, and matching grey bumpers out back.
This all suggests Cadillac was considering adding all-wheel-drive to the CTS line way-back when. That was certainly plausible, considering two other variants of the Sigma platform were capable of delivering power to the front wheels, but it would have been new for the CTS itself. Although the second-generation was (and is) sold in AWD form, the initial model never was.
What I’d like to know is exactly when this idea came about. I can’t help but think this steps closely on the toes of the original SRX, which not only shared its Sigma platform with the CTS, but always felt a little more wagon-like than many of its competitors. I wouldn’t be surprised if this concept was nixed after Audi canned the Allroad in the states, opting instead for conventional SUVs and crossovers instead.
That's a mystery I may never solve. Few at GM seem to remember the project, or those who do remain silent, apparently in the hope they’ll someday forget. Regardless, the mockup itself is history (literally; it was demolished a week after I shot these photos), but thankfully the idea of a CTS wagon wasn’t so easily dismissed.