The Cadillac CTS Wagon That Never Was

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.

These could replace the hearse at half the cost.
Ed Anger
Looks like my SRX. I wonder if I could slip that 6,2 in it?
alan tirotta
Steven Micallef
It's weird seeing a never-produced variant of a car that was superceeded a couple years ago, and it still look new and exciting. As somebody who enjoyed the original Audi A6 Allroad and CTS, this is a car I would have dreamed about a few years ago. I was always curious why they never produced an all-wheel-drive version of the first generation CTS too. Where is the parking lot at? The only place I can think is over by the Tech Center, but the buildings in the background don't look familiar to me at all.
As you mentioned, looks like dead ringer for Audi allroad
Evan McCausland
Looks similar, but it's different. Here's the, I mean BLS wagon:
Evan McCausland
There was no engine, but that wouldn't explain the tall-ish stance out back...ride height was intentionally part of the design idea.
Evan McCausland
GM says it still has the Cheyenne concept. This -- like a few other cars in the lot -- were simply styling mockups.
Evan McCausland
It's simply a mockup for the Cheyenne concept. GM says it still has the actual concept vehicle in its possession. There were a few other design mockups in the lot, two of which were duplicates of concept cars that were publicly shown on the auto show circuit. I'll see if I can dig those out for a later blog.
Tell me about the concept pickup in the background of the second pic.
What about that concept pickup in the background of the second pic?
What else was in that lot? I see pre-prod Saturn Outlook ... surely there are some other gems?
Mike F
Interesting. But I am more interested in the truck sitting behind it in the second picture with the Z71 badge on it. What is that?!
The heck with the bad caddy wagon. Check out the Cheyenne concept in the background!!! That should be at the GM Heritage Center because it is a beast!
This seems to be a BLS with a CTS front end and raised ground clearance.
It could be sitting so high because there's no engine in it.
Evan McCausland
@GMLover: I think you stopped reading before the second-to-last graph that mentions said vehicle.
Ever heard of the Cadillac SRX? The first-gen car was basically a CTS wagon.

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