Cadillac CTS

With styling beyond bold, the new 2003 CTS builds on Cadillac's 100-year tradition of engineering excellence and design innovation. The CTS is a celebration of a century of accomplishment and a harbinger of design achievements to come.

The CTS is fashioned from Cadillac's edgy, tailored new design vocabulary. Its lean, chiseled body features sheer forms, sharp edges and crisp intersecting lines that at once honor Cadillac's storied past and point toward its bright future. Built on an all-new rear-wheel-drive architecture, the CTS features a new 3.2L V6 engine and was the first North American vehicle to be rigorously tested at the famed Nürburgring track in Germany.

"The CTS is a modern interpretation of the strikingly beautiful cars for which Cadillac became famous. It is dramatic, yet also refined. It builds on our heritage in a bold, new way," said Mark R. LaNeve, Cadillac general manager. "In short, it's an original Cadillac for the 21st century."

When GM began work on the CTS, it didn't want to do a "me, too" design. The Cadillac design team gave CTS a look all its own - a look that's uniquely American. The design adopts the sharp forms, angular shapes and crisp edges of stealth aircraft technology, among other American, high-tech geometric influences. This risk-taking design is marked by a taut, lean body that's long from dash to axle, with short overhangs.

Traditional design cues, including the grille and exterior lighting, have been updated for the CTS. Cadillac's traditional vertical headlights and taillights first appeared in 1965, and CTS carries on and refines the tradition. CTS' integrated headlights convey the high-tech image of optical instruments and high-end camera lenses. Thin and tall, they create more space for the large, louvered egg-crate grille - another Cadillac staple, this one dating back to the 1930s.

The CTS design team had two objectives for the profile view: Use the feature line as the dominant theme, and accentuate the stance of the vehicle. The rear track of CTS is a fixed design point, as is the fender flare. The vehicle sides were tucked in slightly to enhance that flare for a more tailored look. The sail panel also enhances the "fast formal" look, giving CTS a sportier appearance. Simple but dramatic, the hood kicks up into the fender line for a sweeping, dynamic look.

The interior provides all the amenities that luxury customers have come to expect, with the emphasis on comfort and convenience. It makes use of warm, rich materials to contrast with the cool, computer-like, high-tech cockpit appearance, balancing the contemporary feel with touches of traditional luxury. Wood is used sparingly, only in areas with which the customer comes into contact, such as on the steering wheel, shifter knob and door pulls.

While developing the new Cadillac CTS into a true world-class sports sedan, GM engineers benchmarked the competition's best, including the BMW 528i sedan, and refined the CTS on the most challenging race circuits in the world, Germany's Nürburgring. The CTS development team gained a wealth of knowledge from the Nürburgring during three years of evaluation. Nearly every system on the car this side of the stereo was painstakingly tested, evaluated, adjusted, tweaked, retested, reevaluated, readjusted and retweaked time and again - until everything met the team's expectations.

The new 3.2L V6 powering CTS is a completely re-engineered version of the 3.0L V6 in its entry-luxury predecessor. The engine makes 220 hp at 6000 rpm and 218 lb-ft of torque at 3400 rpm. The engine has been fully revamped to improve driveability, power, torque and emissions. It's designed to take full advantage of every bit of its 220 horsepower, with the induction system allowing the engine to breathe freely and easily.

The longitudinally mounted V6 features a stiffer, stronger cylinder block, forged steel crankshaft, improved lubrication, better cooling and higher fuel pressure delivery to improve fuel injectors. Aluminum cylinder heads feature an improved combustion chamber design to reduce unburned hydrocarbons and a drive-by-wire throttle system for better emissions performance.

The engine is mated to either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. The five-speed manual from Getrag, evidence of Cadillac's commitment to making CTS a true driver's car, uses a rod-actuated shift linkage and is characterized by its durability, its smoothness and its accurate shift feel.

Equipped with the manual, the CTS can accelerate 0-60 mph in less than seven seconds and has excellent road-handling capabilities. Placement of the clutch, brake and throttle pedals was optimized for heel-and-toe operation, an important consideration for any performance vehicle. Rigorous testing at the Nürburgring allowed engineers to find just the right throttle progression and clutch engagement point.

The five-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission, the 5L40-E Hydra-Matic, is a first for GM. A state-of-the-art transmission, the light, compact 5L40-E features a full complement of advanced electronic control capabilities. These include a shift mode button that allows the driver to select between "sport," "winter" and "economy" modes. Another electronic feature is also a first for GM: engine braking in all five gears, giving the automatic the same sporty feel as a downshifting manual.

The new Sigma architecture is the first usage of ultra high-strength steel at GM, and the first time the steel has been incorporated as a welded member of the structure. In the past, usage of ultra high-strength steel was limited to applications such as bumpers, where bolts were used for attachment. Ultra high-strength steel permits the use of thinner, lighter steel, which reduces mass yet still allows proper energy absorption and reduces intrusion into the passenger compartment in an accident.

Source: Cadillac press

Gallery: Cadillac CTS