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The Cadillac CTS is a mid-size luxury sports sedan and executive car manufactured by the Cadillac marque of General Motors. It was introduced in 2002 as the replacement for the unpopular Cadillac Catera. The release of the CTS is credited with reinvigorating the Cadillac brand. The car's exterior was designed by Wayne Cherry and Kip Wasenko, and marked the production debut of the stealth aircraft-inspired "Art and Science" design language, which was first seen on the Evoq concept car. During the 1990s, Cadillac had attempted to capture a younger demographic with cars such as the Catera and Allanté, but the company did not achieve success until the introduction of the CTS. As part of its marketing campaign, the sedan was featured prominently in an action film, and enjoyed a warm reception from the motoring press, who have granted the car numerous awards and accolades over its lifetime.

First generation (2003-2007)

Introduced in 2002 as a 2003 model, the CTS was built on GM's new rear-wheel drive Sigma platform. It marked a return to RWD cars for the brand, and was the first Cadillac to be offered with a manual transmission since the 1988 Cimarron. The CTS was designed as a replacement for the badge-engineered, Opel-based Catera. Sales were a sharp improvement from its predecessor, and the CTS promptly received the North American Car of the Year award for 2002.

Originally slated to carry the same name as its predecessor, the new car instead became known as the C-Series Touring Sedan. CTS production takes place at GM's Lansing Grand Rivermarker plant in Lansing, Michiganmarker. The CTS was also assembled in Chinamarker during 2006, but production was discontinued after sluggish sales in Asian markets.

Originally powered by a 3.2 L LA3 V6 producing , the CTS received an updated 3.6 L DOHC V6 with variable valve timing in 2004, producing and of torque. The 3.2 L engine went out of production in 2005, when a new 2.8 L version of the DOHC V6 debuted in an entry-level version of the CTS. In Europe, the 2.8 L replaces the previous entry-level 2.6 L engine.

The CTS was originally offered with either GM's in-house 5-speed 5L40-E automatic transmission or a 5-speed Getrag 260 manual transmission. For the 2005 model year, the Getrag was replaced with an Aisin AY-6 6-speed.

2006-2007 Cadillac CTS
CTS interior
European CTS

Second generation (2008-present)

On April 2, 2006, in a 60 Minutes interview with Bob Lutz, part of a prototype Cadillac was revealed to audiences. The car featured interior and exterior design influences from the 2003 Cadillac Sixteen concept car.

GM revealed the all-new 2008 CTS at the North American International Auto Show in January 2007. The base model featured a 3.6 L variable valve timing V6 with and of torque. A second engine, a new 3.6 L direct-injection V6 VVT engine with and of torque was also offered. The new car came with a six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment, with GM's six-speed Hydra-matic 6L50 automatic transmission available as an option on all variants. On-demand all-wheel drive was offered with both engines when equipped with an automatic transmission. Suspension, braking, and steering improvements from the previous generation CTS-V were designed into the new standard CTS.

The second generation was wider and longer than the original, measuring 191.6 inches (4866 mm) long, 72.5 inches (1841 mm) wide and 58 inches (1472 mm) in height. Wheelbase remained unchanged at 113.4 inches (2880 mm), but with a wider front/rear track of 61.8 / 62.0 inches (1575 / 1585 mm), donated by the larger STS. Other changes included a tweaked exterior, with a new, larger grille, slimmer headlights and taillights, side air extractor vents located forward of the front doors, and new nine-spoke 18-inch wheels, surrounding larger high-performance brake calipers and rotors. Available features on the second-gen CTS included a Bose 5.1 surround sound system, GM's Stabilitrak ESC system, a tire pressure monitoring system, a navigation system with real-time traffic and weather data, an integrated 40 GB hard drive for music storage, swiveling headlights, and remote starting.

In 2008, the CTS was selected as the car that would re-launch the Cadillac brand in Australia and New Zealand.

European-spec Cadillac CTS
CTS interior

CTS Coupe

Cadillac CTS Coupe concept
At the 2008 North American International Auto Show, General Motors unveiled a coupe concept version of the CTS, alongside the new CTS-V performance sedan. The coupe's unveiling surprised the media and general public, stealing a great deal of attention away from the CTS-V. In November 2009, the production version was unveiled in a press release. The coupe will go into production in spring 2010 as a 2011 model. The design of the production model is very similar to the concept, with the B-pillars still removed. The standard engine will be a 3.6L direct injected V6 rated at 304 hp. Like the sedan, both 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions, in either RWD or AWD configurations, will be available. A CTS-V Coupe has also been confirmed, and is expected to be shown at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit . The CTS Coupe will be Cadillac's first coupe since the Eldorado, which was discontinued in 2002.

CTS Sport Wagon

2010 Cadillac CTS wagon
At the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, Cadillac presented the 2010 CTS Sport Wagon. The wagon was originally slated to be available in spring 2009; the date has since slipped. The car is the first non-hearse Cadillac station wagon to be sold in the U.S. market.

The CTS Sport Wagon will be available in either rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive layouts, and will be powered by either a 3.0-liter DOHC V6 engine, or a 3.6-liter V6 with variable valve timing. The 3.0-liter engine produces 270 horsepower and the 3.6-liter produces 304. The wagon will be available with only a 6-speed automatic.


In its first year of production, the CTS received the 2002 North American Car of the Year award.

The 2008 CTS won the Motor Trend Car of the Year award, and was selected to Car and Driver's 10Best Cars list.

In 2009, the CTS became the first Cadillac to be named to the Car and Driver 10Best list for a second consecutive year.


Placement in The Matrix Reloaded

The success of the CTS has been attributed in part to the car's placement in the 2003 sci-fi action thriller The Matrix Reloaded. The producers of the film were seeking a car to use for a chase seen in the film, and sought a car that would complement the film's atmosphere. General Motors suggested the then-unreleased CTS to the filmmakers, who accepted; ten prototypes damaged to different extents were used to represent the film's star car, a silver CTS. The Escalade EXT was also featured prominently in the film.


The Cadillac CTS-V is a high performance version of the standard CTS. The current model features a 6.2L LSA V8 engine producing and of torque. Coinciding with the release of General Motors' Viability Plan, the automaker has disbanded its High Performance Vehicle Operations team, the crew responsible for the line V-series Cadillacs, the Chevrolet Cobalt SS, HHR SS and the V8 version of the Colorado.

Yearly American sales

Calendar Year Total U.S sales
2002 37,976
2003 49,392
2004 57,211
2005 61,512
2006 54,846
2007 57,029
2008 58,774


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