Pros: Styling, handling, comfort, acceleration, manual transmission
Cons: console styling and materials, tiny glovebox
Cadillac has finally gotten serious about building an agile "European" sport sedan. And they did a terrific job.
I test drove them all - the Audi A4, BMW 325, Jaguar X-type, Volvo S60, Saab 93, VW Passat, even Lexus and Infiniti. There are lots of nice such sport sedans in the "$30K" range. But none of them offered as much bang for the buck as the CTS. The Jag, with its gorgeous interior and AWD, came close. But the Jag dealer wouldn't move on price, so the Cadillac ended up being $4,000 cheaper and I chose it.
Boy, was I glad. I've had the CTS for a few months now, and let me tell you it is the BEST car I've owned. The handling is simply superb. It really drives like a small Mercedes sedan. That's how comfortable and sure-footed it feels. I wanted a manual transmission (my biggest requirement for my new car) and the Getrag 5-speed works great. The engine is quiet and SOOO STRONG. This is one fast car. The only pity is that when the engine does make noise, it doesn't sound sporty.
I initially thought the steering wheel buttons were overkill, but now I find them extremely convenient. I bought the base car with no options and the car still feels loaded with amenities (leather, dual-zone environment controls, etc.) The only thing I have not gotten used to is the ugly dashboard shape and console styling. The dashboard has beautiful analog dials, but they're put in this ugly, boxy cowling. And the console juts out like a Dell PC was lodged into your car. At night, however, you don't notice these things.
As for exterior styling, I didn't like it when I first saw the car, and now I love it. That's the same with most people, I think. What first appears to be a boxy, ungainly shape soon begins to really please the eye. You realize it's quite muscular and sleek. It turns heads.
Overall, this Cadillac CTS is simply a terrific luxury sport sedan. My dealership has been selling them as soon as they arrive on the lot and I know why. GM finally got it right.