Performance Luxury Package ($2,440 -- includes Sapele Wood Trim Package: genuine Sapele wood trim on instrument panel, center console, door panels, steering wheel and shift knob; Luxury Level One Package: theft-deterrent system, rearview camera with LCD display located in the rearview mirror and accent lighting with LED spotlight and lighting pipes; Luxury Level Two Package: heated/ventilated front seats, power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with memory, automatic cabin odor filtration and heated steering wheel); Audio System With Navigation ($2,145 -- includes AM/FM radio with CD/DVD player, MP3 playback, Bose 5.1 surround-sound 300-watt 10-speaker system, Radio Data System (RDS), USB and audio connectivity, 40GB hard drive device (HDD), steering wheel controls; HDD-based navigation system with 8-inch pop-up screen and XM NavTraffic/Real Time Weather); 19-Inch Summer Tire Performance Package ($2,090 -- includes steering-wheel-mounted shift-paddle controls; 19-by-8.5-inch polished wheels; P245/45ZR19 performance summer tires; performance cooling system; performance suspension with rear load leveling and power speed-sensitive variable assist steering; performance four-wheel antilock, four-wheel disc brake system); Moonroof ($700)
Cannot overcome rear tire grip for anything close to a launch with optimal tire spin. That said, the CTS's engine feels/sounds willing, shifting at redline smartly in either D or DS modes. Third gear feels exceptionally tall and is just enough for the quarter-mile. Very consistent collection of runs because there's very little I could do to affect a difference.
Medium-firm pedal, little idle stroke and very powerful brakes. Virtually no ABS flutter and excellent fade resistance. Minimal dive or suspension wind-up.
Skid pad: I expected more grip -- especially at the front -- than this. The understeer is not the tire-screeching type, but rather quiet and gradual. Nearly identical clockwise and counterclockwise results speak to its good balance. Steering loads up early and heavily -- too heavily for a modern power steering system. Slalom: Feels heavy and disinclined to change direction rapidly, despite its competitive results. Heavy steering, slow yaw response and more roll than I expected from the FE3 option. At the limit, there's not much feel for what's going on, but it's not threatening, either. Understeer eventually creeps in to make the car "late" at the next cone(s). Good, not great.