Cadillac CTS

Cadillac CTSI recently watched a movie, I forget what it was called now but it starred Christian Bale and that guy from Pirates of the Carribean so it was pretty good. Anyway the film was based in America in the 20’s when bank robberies were on the up and the robbers themselves were treated like royalty.

Now any good bank robber knows that getting away from the bank quickly is as important as actually getting the money out of the safe, so a getaway car is a top priority. If I’m not mistaken Johnny Depp’s weapon of choice was a big V8 Model A Ford, with all kinds of impressive sounding modifications on the engine. See back then the engine was everything because not only did all cars look the same, they all had the same cornering capability. Namely none.

If you were lucky enough to find a suspension system attached to your chassis, it was no doubt the same set up you found on a horse drawn cart. Otherwise the wheels just bolted right on the sides. And 80 years later the Americans haven’t changed a thing. I’m not 100% sure of this but as far as I’m aware until very recently all American manufacturers still used leaf spring suspension somewhere in their line up of vehicles – and no, not on their bakkie’s, or trucks as they call them.

Due to this lack of engineering ingenuity the yanks decided that they would dodge the bullet by referring to their cars as muscle cars. Fast in a straight line (yet deadly around corners). And so the likes of the Ford Mustang and Dodge Charger claimed iconic status.

While all this was going on, across the pond in Europe the Poms, Germans and Italians were all working away at getting everything right. Lotus, Ferrari and Porsche all came into being with smaller, lighter, faster cars than their American equivalents – especially around race tracks, where there are corners.

Someone at Cadillac has recently caught wind of these things called race tracks. And there’s one in particular where everyone who is anyone take their new models for a handling test – the Nurburgring. This 21km stretch of tarmac winds its way through the Eifel forest in Nurburg, Germany and is world renowned as the home of the petrol head.

The Cadillac CTS is the first proper production saloon car the American’s have ever sent to the Nurburgring for development. And it shows. Normally this car would have wallowed about like a row boat in the Atlantic however after plenty laps around the Nordschleife it’s as accurate and precise as any of it’s European competition.

The engine isn’t too shabby either. The 3.2 litre V6 in my test model wouldn’t quite have you setting record lap times but as far as normal driving goes there’s nothing to complain about – although I would’ve liked a bit more of a roar when burying my foot in the lush carpet. Fortunately for those who like getting from A to B slightly quicker, there should be a V8 model on it’s way (which incidentally did set a lap record around the Nurburgring).

On the styling front Caddy’s have always been outrageous, you just have to look at the likes of the Eldorado with its massive rear wings and wild colour schemes to get the picture. The CTS is no different albeit slightly toned down from the 60’s madness. They’ve even attempted a throwback to the Eldorado with the CTS’s long LED tail-lights. It’s so awesome in fact that I had more than a handful of people come up and compliment the car – causing a small part of me to die each time since I didn’t own the damn thing.

Fortunately all that awesomeness carries through to the interior. If I’m not mistaken there is nothing cooler than a sat-nav-come-TV-screen that slides out of the dash (although GM hasn’t paid for the South African sat-nav maps so that doesn’t work) Whilst elegantly placed dashes of wood and aluminium break the flow of leather that engulfs the occupants. Not to mention the list of standard features, which is as long as Jackie Selebi’s Christmas wishlist.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not yet up to scratch with the German equivalents. In a couple thousand kilometres everything will inevitably fall apart as the prestik Cadillac used to hold things together looses it’s stick.

However this is but a minor fault on what is an mind bendingly cool car. All those smug looking idiots who whistle up behind you in their BMW or Mercedes will realise what complete tools they are when they find themselves taking a second look at your Cadillac, because they know no one will ever notice their generic German hardware. Better still they’ll feel like even bigger tools when they realise the CTS costs about R60,000 less than whatever it is that they’re driving.

Price: R425 000
Engine: 3564cc V6 Petrol
Power: 229 kW
Torque: 374 Nm
Acceleration: 0-100 km/h in 6.3
Top speed: 241km/h
Fuel consumption: 11.1l/100km (claimed – more like 13 in the real world)

Verdict – Ball achingly cool

Miles Downard
Photo Credit: Quickpic

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