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Cadillac CTS - New technology, design and a hand-crafted interior

6th August 2008 Print
Cadillac CTS The all-new 2009 Cadillac CTS luxury saloon arrives in UK showrooms from 1 September 2008. With a dramatic coupe-like profile, the new right-hand drive CTS has a lavish specification as standard. Prices will start at £26,995 for the 211 ps 2.8 V6 model and at £32,995 for the 311 ps 3.6 V6 model. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. An advanced 2.9 litre V6 diesel engine will join the new CTS line-up in 2009.

When it made its debut in 2002, the first CTS helped change the perception of the brand throughout Europe and the US. Now the all-new model arrives, redesigned from the ground up, with new world-class engines and transmissions and dramatic new styling inside and out. The new 2009 Cadillac CTS, manufactured at the award-winning GM Lansing Grand River Assembly Center, is destined to change the perception of the brand once again.

Both front-engine rear-wheel drive sport saloon models feature a single premium ‘Sport Luxury’ specification with a class-leading level of standard equipment, exceptional refinement, and a performance-oriented driving experience.

Standard equipment on both models is so comprehensive that the factory options list has only two items – other than choice of paint finish, which includes nine solid, metallic, Tri-coat, Tintcoat, and ChromaFlair colours. Option 1 is the power glass ‘Ultra View’ sunroof that covers more than 70% of the roof, giving both front- and rear-seat passengers a sky view, and costs £1,200. For £495 customers can specify Option 2, the ‘Sapele Pommele’ wood finish on the instrument panel, door trims and centre console.

The 3.6 model has all the features of the 2.8, but also comes with paddle shift controls for the six-speed automatic transmission, high-performance tuned self-levelling rear suspension, chrome finish for the 18-inch alloy wheels, dual chrome-tipped exhaust tail pipes, and voice activation for the infotainment system.

Extending Cadillac’s design language
The new 2009 CTS has an athletic form that reflects its combination of luxury and performance.

The evolved styling theme has produced a ‘faster’, coupe-like profile, while the more sculpted bumpers emphasise the car’s wider track and enhanced chassis dynamics. Distinguishing details include side air extractors that recall a styling element from Cadillac’s 2003 ‘Sixteen’ concept car.

The new model is longer, wider and higher than the previous CTS, giving a more planted, well-grounded appearance. The wider stance is also accentuated by increased tumblehome, with the vehicle sides sculpted inwards to give a more dynamic appearance and a sleeker roof line, without compromising headroom or the spacious interior.

The ‘tauter’ more precise styling of the 2009 CTS is complemented by the larger diameter wheels and tyres which completely fill the smoothly flared wheel arches. Shod with low profile 235/50 R18 tyres, the nine-spoke, 18-inch wheels – with premium multicoat paint on the 2.8 and a high-polish finish on the 3.6 – are in turn packed with larger, high-performance brake callipers and ventilated discs.

Advanced manufacturing techniques at the award-winning GM Lansing Grand River Assembly Center further enhance the quality of the exterior finish. For example, an innovative laser-brazing technique affixes the roof panel more crisply, and means the exterior roof surface delivers an uninterrupted, class-A surface across the top of the vehicle.

Craftsman tailored interior
The 2009 CTS cabin represents an evolution for Cadillac interiors. Advances in surface development, technology, materials and construction, all combine to highlight technical precision with elegant, hand-crafted details and precise tailoring.

The cabin features Cadillac’s new ‘cut-and-sew’ interior process that combines advanced technology with the hand-rendered precision of expert craftsmen for a superb, tailored finish to the leather trim. This exquisite detail continues on the heated leather seats, which – in the front – also feature eight-way power adjustment and two-position memory for the driver’s seat.

The centre console with a satin metallic finish sweeps smoothly into the low, laid-back integrated centre stack, providing a sporty ‘cockpit’ feel for the driver and passenger without compromising space. The tri-barrel analogue instrumentation, defined by bright chrome accents, is tightly framed with a compact cowling that adds to the car’s sporting feel.

Interior comfort is further assured with dual-zone automatic climate control and cruise control. Clean, white ambient LEDs recessed between the upper and lower instrument panel combine with subtle illumination in the door pulls and footwells to create discreet theatre-style night lighting. Each of these features are standard on the new CTS which is offered with a single premium ‘Sport Luxury’ trim level specification.

Refined, stiffer unitary bodyshell ensures solidity, quietness and crashworthiness
An exceptionally strong unitary bodyshell structure plays a key role in delivering the smooth ride, precise handling and quiet, refined driving characteristics of the 2009 Cadillac CTS. The new bodyshell is a stiff structure with strategically placed enhancements that help provide world-class crash protection, a sharper driving feel and improved suppression of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).

The all-new magnesium instrument panel bulkhead is a lightweight, single-piece, cross-car structure that bolsters both the side-impact and frontal crash performance. Its design provides exceptional stiffness that also helps reduce NVH that can be transmitted through components attached to the bulkhead.

Seven further transverse cross members made of fabricated steel are integrated into the floor pan, designed to manage crash energy and contribute to the vehicle’s overall stiffness.

Exceptionally strong Martensite steel is used on the inner and outer side sills to enhance occupant protection in a side-impact crash. High-strength steel in the B-pillars and a double application of high-strength steel in the windscreen header rail enables the CTS to meet 2010 roof crush requirements in North America.

Comprehensive analysis and engineering throughout the 2009 CTS development programme targeted interior sound levels found in elite prestige luxury saloons.

Engineers also focused on tuning the quality of the remaining sound, including – in some cases – adding to sound levels. For example, a perforated pattern has been added to the inside of the tailpipes to increase resonance, adding more pleasing, low-frequency sounds to counteract high-frequency noise. Meanwhile inside the cabin, tones were added to a few otherwise-silent switches and controls. Also, the bonnet includes sealing techniques normally used on vehicle doors to enable greater noise and vibration control.

As a result of this extensive and painstaking research, the 2009 CTS is expected to be one of the quietest, most acoustically refined saloons on the market. In fact, the CTS has an outstanding acoustic sensitivity of only 2 decibels (dB) from chassis source and an equally impressive wind noise rating of 36 dB.

Direct injection and VVT technology
The new Cadillac CTS is available in the UK with a choice of two powertrains. The standard engine is a 2.8-litre V6 petrol unit with variable valve timing (VVT), which generates 211 ps at 6,800 rpm and 246 Nm of torque at 6,300 rpm. This power unit is an all-aluminium, 60-degree V6 with a DOHC per cylinder bank and four-valves-per-cylinder.

For customers in search of more performance, the 2009 CTS can also be ordered with a new 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine that combines greater power with smoothness, efficiency and technical sophistication. Fitted with direct injection and VVT, this engine produces 311 ps at 6,400 rpm and 374 Nm of torque at 5,200 rpm.

The six-speed automatic transmission offers drivers a choice of fully-automatic operation or Driver Shift Control sequential manual gear shifting (with paddle shift on the 3.6 model).

Next year, a state-of-the-art, direct-injection turbo-diesel engine will become available. This sophisticated V6 diesel will have a displacement of 2.9 litres, an estimated output of 250 ps and will produce around 550 Nm of torque from 2000 rpm.

The VVT system in both engines employs four-cam phasing to continuously change the timing of valve operation as conditions such as rpm and engine load vary. The result is linear delivery of torque, with near-peak levels achieved over a broad rev-range. In the 3.6 this results in GM’s highest specific power output V6 (86.4 ps-per-litre), without sacrificing overall engine response and driveability.

Cam phasing pays big dividends in reducing exhaust emissions so effectively that new CTS can do without exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and air injection reaction (AIR). As well as achieving the dramatic 25% reduction in cold-start hydrocarbon emissions, the CTS engines surpass all European emissions regulations.

Extensive global test and development achieves sportscar handling
Cadillac’s development team were set goals to achieve near sportscar levels of grip and handling, while also emulating the dynamic poise and ride smoothness of prestigious luxury cars.

CTS prototypes were extensively developed and tested at Germany’s Nordschleife circuit at the Nürburgring and on city streets and country roads across Europe and China, as well as North America.

The 2.8 V6 features a firm but compliant sports suspension set-up while the 3.6 V6 is fitted with suspension tuned for higher performance, more spirited driving – each tuned for the specific ride and handling requirements and road conditions of the European market. The 2009 CTS has a weight distribution close to the optimal 50-50 front-rear, while aluminium components reduce unsprung weight and contribute to more precise dynamic wheel control.

Complementing the independent double wishbone front suspension is a tower-to-tower bracing bar that adds cross-vehicle stiffness for optimised steering feel. The front shocks are monotube dampers from Bilstein that provide highly responsive damping while new CTS also features increased roll-centre height, castor angle increased by one degree, lower-friction ball joints and revised bushing rates over its predecessor.

A fully independent multilink rear suspension with isolated, 40% stiffer subframe on four rubber mounts provides maximum tuning flexibility and enables a superior ride/handling compromise to be achieved. The 2.8 V6 models are fitted with monotube Bilstein shock absorbers, while 3.6 V6 models have Nivomat self-leveling shock absorbers, which adjust automatically to different loads and road conditions. Both models are fitted with a limited-slip rear differential.

A high performance, all-disc braking system with ABS and traction control is standard. Large diameter, ventilated discs are fitted, front and rear, with cast iron callipers and twin, 42mm pistons (front) and single 45 mm pistons (rear). New CTS employs an electric push-button parking brake.

As expected on a premium luxury sport saloon, the 2009 Cadillac CTS features numerous electronic chassis and engine control systems that are designed to help the driver maintain a safe course in all driving conditions, including StabiliTrak, GM’s electronic stability control system, dynamic rear brake proportioning to optimise stopping distances, and hydraulic brake assist to develop additional brake pressure in emergency situations.

A further key safety feature is GM’s Adaptive Forward Lighting system for the bi-xenon HID headlamps, which automatically adjusts headlamp direction for improved nighttime driving visibility. The system turns the headlamps up to five degrees inboard and up to 15 degrees outboard on each lamp. Safety is also enhanced by automatic rain-sense windscreen wipers with heated windscreen washer system and a rear park assist system.

All-new integrated digital music and navigation infotainment system
The CTS integrates the very latest technologies in in-car entertainment and navigation. Music is delivered through a 300 watt 10-speaker Bose 5.1 Cabin Surround sound system, which features Neodynium (Nd) woofer and sub-woofer assemblies. The audio system was extensively engineered for the digital music age with Bose Automotive, with whom Cadillac has worked closely for over 25 years.

Uniquely, thanks to the direct involvement of Apple engineers, full iPod integration means that playlists appear on the car’s retractable eight-inch touch-screen VGA display, steering wheel controls can be used to advance tracks, and devices can be charged in the cabin.

A 40-gigabyte hard drive stores music from digital music players and CDs, and its digital audio recording capability means listeners can pause and rewind radio broadcasts. Music recognition software is incorporated in the hard drive, enabling it to recognise track listings, song titles, genres and artist info for CDs or stored digital music.

The infotainment system also features a DVD/CD player with MP3 file compatibility, and a TV tuner provides further viewing pleasure for occupants when the vehicle is parked.

The hard disk drive (HDD) navigation system exploits the latest advances from the industry, creating a more informative package, 30% quicker route calculations and 3-D imaging of maps. It also compatible with TMC, a continuously transmitted traffic update alert system, which informs drivers of road congestion in real time.

The full infotainment package, including the navigation system, boasts an intelligent voice activation system on the 3.6 model.

Safer for occupants and pedestrians
The 2009 CTS is designed to enhance Cadillac’s reputation for providing safe occupant environments in luxury vehicles, including innovative new developments.

The new Pedestrian Protection system, for example, senses a collision with a pedestrian through front bumper sensors and activates a mechanism that lifts the bonnet to create additional clearance to hard points in the engine compartment, reducing the severity of the impact to the pedestrian's head. This vehicle system complies with all EU safety regulations and is designed to sense and discriminate collisions with a pedestrian at vehicle speeds ranging from 16 to 28 mph.

Another industry-leading safety feature is the front passenger airbag that features next generation ‘dual-depth’ airbag technology. This single airbag deploys in one of two sizes and one of two inflation pressures determined by the front passenger seat position, seat belt use and crash severity. This capability means a dual-depth airbag is deployed in a configuration more tailored to the specific emergency situation than conventional or dual-stage airbags.

GM’s Adaptive Forward Lighting system for the bi-xenon HID headlamps automatically adjusts headlamp direction for improved nighttime driving visibility. The system turns the headlamps up to five degrees inboard and up to 15 degrees outboard on each lamp.

Safety is also enhanced by automatic rain-sense windscreen wipers with heated windscreen washer system and a rear park assist system.

Further details include:

Dual-stage driver and innovative dual-depth front passenger air bag
Driver and front passenger seat-mounted pelvic/thorax side air bags
Roof-rail-mounted full length side curtain air bags
Front seat belt pretensioners
Tyre pressure monitoring system
Bodyshell structure with strategically placed high-strength steel
Early promise of success – fulfilled

When the new CTS went on sale in the USA in September 2007, it triggered strong demand from luxury consumers (sales went up 59%) and received critical acclaim across the board. Motor Trend magazine chose the new CTS as its ‘2008 Car of the Year’ award winner, Car and Driver magazine selected new CTS for its ’10 Best List’ and the new Cadillac was short-listed for the North American Car of the Year award.

The CTS has also won safety awards in the US for its crash test performance and for fitting Cadillac’s Stabilitrak electronic stability control system as standard on all models.

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