Review: 2006 Cadillac CTS

Above all, the CTS meets Cadillac's century-long standard as a stylish Motor City status symbol. The V-6 models are neither the fastest nor the most capable cars in their class, but they do show that America can compete in a market that has been dominated by the Germans for decades. The CTS may never reach the level of user-friendliness offered by the BMW 3 Series, but in many regards, it's just as good as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4. In its current form, the car is best suited to those who seek a premium American rear-driver. Those looking to experience a CTS that fulfills its sporting pretension should gravitate toward the new Sport Performance package, which combines more aggressive suspension tuning, 18-inch wheels, performance brakes, limited-slip differential, and Xenon headlamps.

The ride is naturally firmer with this package, but the car is more responsive and, dare we say, more European in feel. On the other side of the preference spectrum, buyers who like the CTS but need more space will want to check out the SRX crossover utility vehicle, which shares the same Sigma platform and many styling cues.

The CTS-V is the perfect reincarnation of '60s musclecars. It takes a midsize sedan and fits it with massive power. But unlike the originals, it uses modern technology to do much more than just go quickly in a straight line. This neo-muscle-car, surely to the amazement of John DeLorean's ghost, also turns and stops well.

America has entered the sporting-sedan game, and the CTS is leading the charge with more amenities and performance than ever.

What's Hot

  • Mean 400-hp CTS-V
  • New Sport packages
  • Edgy, modern exterior styling

    What's Not

  • Clunky manual shifter
  • Base suspension too soft
  • Edgy, cheap interior styling

    Several added features mark 2006, with the most notable being the addition of two Sport packages. The Sport Performance package tightens the suspension, adds nine-spoke 18-inch wheels, performance brakes, a tire-pressure monitor, Xenon headlights, and a limited-slip differential. The Sport Appearance package further adds restyled rocker panels, dual exhaust tips, a sport grille, and a rear spoiler. Interior trim is now available in Cashmere and can be accented with burled-pattern appliques. The CTS becomes the first GM vehicle to offer XM NavTraffic with real-time traffic conditions in major cities displayed on the navigation system screen. Three new exterior colors are available: Radiant Bronze, Blackberry, and Infrared.

    Enthusiast drivers will prefer the 3.6L engine and favor the Sport Performance package. Counter to conventional sports-sedan wisdom, the CT with the automatic transmission may be preferable. Key extras also include a Bose stereo and navigation system.

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