SAN FRANCISCO — Who knows what the person was thinking that first said “seeing is believing.”

But chances are the phrase was coined by an individual who had serious doubts about something another person said they were going to do or could actually pull off. The idea’s taken on a few variations now – “show me, don’t tell me,” “I’ll believe it when I see it” and one of my personal favorites, “yeah, really?”

I’ve rambled that one off out loud a few times just to entertain myself in the midst of somebody telling me something that I’m fairly sure won’t happen.

Come on, you’ve been there. It’s the thought you get when that friend or family member comes to you again to borrow money (you know the one) with that same line − “I’m waiting for a check, I’ll get it back to you next week.” And you say to yourself, “sure,” knowing that it’s likely you’ll never see it.

For a while, I kinda had that feeling about the CTS Coupe, for a couple of reasons. One, after first unveiling the concept at the 2008 North American International Auto Show at which point I touted it as my “Best of Show,” it seemed as if Cadillac might nix the idea due to its financial issues then.

I got even more skeptical about whether the CTS Coupe would actually happen after the production model was rolled out in November 2009 at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Thought being, “There’s no way Cadillac is going to build something that looks that much like a concept.”

It’s typical of carmakers to tease us with a cool idea, then roll out a production version that looks nothing like the car that had you scrambling for your camera when you first saw it at the auto show.

Not the case with the CTS Coupe.


The average person would be hard-pressed to notice few if any differences between the concept and production model of the car. Cadillac designers said they were determined to make sure that the coupe didn’t lose any of its concept appeal and it shows.

It’s that cool to look at, which you appreciate even more on the road than on those glitzy auto show floors. So much so that when photographing the car for this review, I found myself spending more time reveling in the design than actually taking photos.

Definitely something that’d be considered a rookie move by our more seasoned automotive photographer, A.J. Mueller. But considering the look of the CTS Coupe against the backdrop of one of Nappa Valley’s hottest new resorts (The Bardessono) I’d say it was time well spent.

Although Cadillac’s new coupe shares some similarities with the CTS sedan, it features some unique design elements compared to its four-door sibling.

Key design elements include a classic hardtop styling, with no conventional B-pillar, a windshield laid at a faster angle (62.3 degrees) and a long, nearly horizontal backglass area combine to create a dramatic profile, sculpted lower front fascia with unique brake-cooling vents

Key rear styling cues include mesh lower grilles and a center-outlet exhaust with twin dihedral-shaped tips that pass through the rear fascia.

An available summer tire performance package that features 19-inch aluminum wheels gives it even more presence (18-inch-wheels are standard).


Inside, the CTS Coupe highlights Caddy’s continued push for a new definition for luxury for the carmaker. It includes features like Sapele wood, ambient LED interior lighting, heated and ventilated front seats, and power tilt and telescope steering wheels.

Caddy’s coupe also features hand-stitched accents covering the instrument panel, door trim and center console.

Technology features include Bluetooth phone connectivity, pop up infotainment system display and a Bose 5.1 surround sound audio system. It’s also equipped standard with OnStar, which now offers a speech recognition feature.

The CTS Coupe is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that pumps out 304 horsepower and 273 lb-ft. of torque. The car’s ride and handling has a sportier feel than luxury. And interesting enough, the coupe seems to feel better on the road in more challenging driving situations than casual cruising.

The two-door CTS comes standard in rear-wheel-drive but is also available in an all-wheel-drive model. Gas mileage is 18 city/27 hwy for both models.

True performance buffs will likely hold out for the 556 horsepower CTS-V Coupe. But for even modest enthusiasts the V6 packs more than enough power for those weekend breaks on the open road.


There are, however, a few areas where you kinda want a little more from the CTS coupe. Like adding line indicators to the rear assist camera (those guides are nice when backing into tight parking spots). The front passenger and driver seats could also be designed to be a little more comfortable and supportive in high-performance driving situations.

In addition, the CTS coupe features a keyless turn ignition rather than that cool push button start that we’ve come to expect now from luxury car makers. Then there’s the fact that the sunroof (available as an option) only tilts up and doesn’t fully open due to limitations with the design.

They are small details, but it the little things that distinguish one vehicle from another when it comes to luxury cars.

Still, they’re not the kind of stuff you really sweat considering the CTS Coupe’s other qualities if you’re in the market for a two-door luxury car. You’d be hard-pressed to find anything on the road more street presence than Cadillac’s new coupe, especially for under forty grand.

Marcus Amick is a national automotive analyst and consultant. He can be contacted at Marcus@WheelSide.com

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