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Cadillac revives sports coupe in CTS

The demise of the Pontiac brand from General Motor’s automotive lineup reverberated throughout the culture of American performance enthusiasts. While the 1907 Pontiac Spring & Wagon Works two-cylinder, 12-horsepower high wheeler isn’t what often comes to mind when Pontiac is mentioned, most of us fondly recall the muscle-car years of the GTO, Firebird and, later, the sporty Fiero and Grand Prix.

Despite their body styles and engine variations, what the above-mentioned models all had in common was they were offered in two-door coupes. With the production cessation of the Grand Prix in 2008, so went the availability of a two-door Pontiac. Sure, GM offered the newly restyled Chevrolet Camaro or Corvette and has added the Cobalt and EV1 in two-door options. But, the Pontiac nameplate was done.

Perhaps to answer the demand for another coupe alternative, Cadillac introduced the 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe. Styling-wise, it’s a little bit sensory overload and a lot now-that’s-what-we’ve-been-talking-about. Following its new design philosophy for the 21st century called “art and science,” Cadillac certainly hit the mark with the CTS Coupe.

Cliff Smith, a three-year sales consultant with Findlay Cadillac (993 Autoshow Drive, Henderson, 558-2600, ), insists the CTS Coupe is a sporty, fun car to drive .

“People love it,” Smith says. “Most customers who are looking at the CTS Coupe know they want it already. It sells itself.”

What’s not to love? Let’s start with the 2011 options. With either an all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive configuration in the standard, performance or premium trims, the CTS Coupe is powered by Cadillac’s direct injection, 304 horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 engine. And, that’s just fine, but the car also will be available soon in the 2012 V version. This adds a supercharged, 556 horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 option with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.

With either coupe option, the CTS (starting base price of $38,165) or CTS-V (starting at $63,465), Cadillac has far exceeded its goal of precision engineering and stylish luxury finish. All this and it’s still a sports coupe.

The six-speed automatic transmission is responsive and complements the quiet rumble from the dual, chrome-tipped exhaust. Switch over to manual mode and manage the power yourself, but fair warning, the CTS Coupe’s StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control System, four-wheel ABS and traction control, make the CTS sure-footed on optional 19-inch, painted cast-aluminum wheels even in the most challenging cornering maneuvers, so don’t be shy.

Another nice surprise is the fuel mileage. All this fun and the CTS Coupe averages 17 mpg in city driving conditions and 26 mph on the highway (12/18 for the CTS-V).

As expected with a vehicle in this class, the CTS Coupe comes standard with many luxuries like a Bose sound system, power adjustable seats, ultrasonic rear parking assist, keyless access, remote start and keyless autotouch doors. As a bonus, Cadillac also added as standard its transferable Premium Care Maintenance program that covers certain required maintenance services like oil changes, tire rotation, engine air cleaner filter and passenger compartment air filter replacements and a multipoint vehicle inspection during the first four years or 50,000 miles of the vehicle’s operation. This is in addition to Cadillac’s five-year/100,000-mile transferable powertrain limited warranty.

The CTS Coupe has an overall length of 188.5 inches with a 113.4-inch wheelbase. Although it can accommodate four, the back seat could be forgivably tight for passengers. The leather seats are comfortable and form fitting with every attention to detail in place like saddle stitching and extra padding where it’s supposed to be. Perhaps because the natural rake of the car is so dramatic, front headroom is at 36.9 inches (compared to 38.7 inches in the STS sedan) .

The gauge panel is attractive, in a retro kind of way. Balancing the dash is the optional pop-up navigation screen and MP3 playback. The model I drove also featured heated and air-conditioned front seats, power tilt and sliding sunroof, adjustable steering wheel and the upgraded 19-inch wheels that are included in the Summer Tire Performance Package .

“Customers tell me they’ve seen the CTS Coupe on the street, but didn’t know what it was at the time,” Findlay’s Smith says. “If that motivates them to come in and check it out, then that’s great.”

For more information about the 2011-2012 CTS Coupes, stop by Findlay Cadillac in the Valley Automall or go to www.cadillac.com.

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