The new 2003 CTS - the first 100 percent application of Cadillac's "art and science" approach to passenger car design - will make its debut Aug. 18th at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in Monterey, Calif.
"In our first century of existence, many memorable designs have set Cadillac apart from the other luxury cars in the crowd," said Mark R. LaNeve, Cadillac general manager. "CTS will turn heads in a segment that typically refines, rather than defines, automotive styling. It's a modern interpretation of the strikingly beautiful cars for which Cadillac became famous. In short, it's a classic Cadillac for the 21st century."
Built on an all-new rear-drive architecture, Cadillac's new performance sedan will be available with a manual transmission mated to a 3.2-liter V6 that powers it from 0-60 mph in less than seven seconds.
CTS also represents a sea change in Cadillac nomenclature. "As part of our global initiative, this car will sell alongside other Cadillacs in showrooms in Europe and Asia," LaNeve said. "Customers in other parts of the world are accustomed to alphanumeric names for their vehicles, and, eventually, all our vehicles will have names that reflect our global nature."
Putting the 'Art' in 'Art and Science'
When GM began work on the CTS, it didn't want to do a 'me, too' design. The CTS reflects the current Cadillac design philosophy first showcased on the Evoq concept car. From computer-generated forms to high-tech, aerospace-influenced materials and textiles, these designs showcase technology and an overt expression of craftsmanship. For CTS, the result is an exterior design that features crisp intersections, a short front overhang and sharp edges.
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, designed to give the CTS a sportier appearance.
The hood kicks up into the fender line for a sweeping, dynamic look. 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 1934. The shield-shaped grille houses the new wreath and crest and has a V-shaped bottom. The rear view complements the front, with a full-color wreath and crest on the center line and a full-width V-shaped CHMSL.
New Powertrain and Nürburgring Chassis
In developing the new Cadillac CTS into a true world-class sports sedan, General Motors engineers benchmarked the competition's best, including the BMW 528i sedan and tested where they test.
Designed from the ground up with an exclusive rear-wheel-drive architecture, dubbed Sigma, the new CTS was tested extensively and refined on the most challenging race circuit in the world, Germany's famed Nürburgring.
The new 3.2-liter V6 powering CTS in North America is a completely re-engineered version of the 3.0-liter V6 in its predecessor. The engine makes 220 hp at 6000 rpm and 218 lb-ft of torque at 3400 rpm. The engine has been fully revised to improve driveability, power, torque and emissions. While most V6 engines use a 60-degree inclination, the CTS team chose a 54-degree bank angle to accommodate the packaging requirements of CTS. The 54-degree angle between the cylinder banks is unique among GM four-camshaft V6s. This compact packaging makes it appropriate for both transverse and longitudinal applications.
The engine is mated to either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. The five-speed manual from Getrag uses a rod-actuated shift linkage. Once the Getrag unit was decided upon, the CTS team began adapting it for service and to meet the quiet operation required in a Cadillac.
The five-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission, the 5L40-E Hydra-Matic, is a first for GM. The same transmission is also used in the BMW 5 Series and X5 SUV. The light and 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, shift patterns that adapt to driving conditions and driver style, traction control capability, engine torque management during shifts, and powertrain protection capabilities.
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 5L40-E also has the unique ability, in Sport mode, to identify high-performance inputs from the driver and hold a gear indefinitely through a corner after the driver's foot is lifted off the accelerator pedal.
Quality as a Selling Point
Cadillac builds CTS at its brand new, state-of-the-art $560 million assembly plant, Lansing Grand River (LGR) in Lansing, Mich.
The Sigma architecture has been especially designed for rear-wheel drive vehicles, and can accommodate all-wheel drive as well.
LGR is GM's first new assembly plant in the United States since 1986. GM says it sought input from its United Auto Workers partners in the design of tools and equipment for the plant to help enhance ergonomics and performance. The plant is projected to employ 1,500 people once it is fully operative.
"Lansing Grand River is a world-class facility, which will help us realize the vision of making CTS the world-class car it was designed to be," said LaNeve. "The CTS is very significant, but it's just the beginning. Our Centennial year is upon us, and more exciting products will follow CTS into the marketplace in the very near future."