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Cadillac Ponders Coupe Version Of New-Gen CTS

Just the Facts:
  • Cadillac is hoping to lure BMW and Mercedes-Benz shoppers with the redesigned 2014 Cadillac CTS sedan — and possibly a new coupe.
  • While Cadillac will not confirm if the coupe and wagon will return to the CTS model line, Cadillac's global marketing boss says the previous coupe "was hugely successful."
  • The current-generation CTS Coupe is the best-selling luxury coupe in the industry, claims Jim Vurpillat, Cadillac's global marketing director.

NEW YORK — Cadillac is hoping to lure BMW and Mercedes-Benz shoppers with the redesigned 2014 Cadillac CTS sedan — and possibly a new coupe.

While Cadillac will not confirm if the coupe and wagon will return to the CTS model line, Cadillac's global marketing boss said the current CTS coupe "was hugely successful." It is clear that an expanded CTS lineup is under serious consideration.

"We will see where we go," said Jim Vurpillat, Cadillac global marketing director, in an interview with Edmunds at the 2013 New York Auto Show. "(the current CTS coupe) was the No. 1 selling luxury coupe in the industry. It is a good segment for us."

The 2014 CTS is Cadillac's newest sedan. The rear-drive car debuted at the 2013 New York Auto Show and will go on sale this fall.

Mercedes-Benz and BMW were the targets of the current CTS, but the Cadillac model failed to make a dent in their buyer bases. Cadillac sold about 47,000 CTS models in the 2012 calendar year, while the BMW 5 Series was just shy of 57,000. Mercedes sold just more than 66,000 E-Class models.

Cadillac executives hope those numbers will shift in its favor with the new CTS, which is larger and sized more directly against the German midsizers. Dave Leone, Cadillac's chief engineer, described the 2014 CTS as "a driver's car."

Comparing the redesigned CTS to the 2013 BMW 5 Series, Leone told Edmunds "the CTS is going to deliver the most agile driving dynamics in its segment."

"The reason is that it is significantly lighter than anybody else out there," said Leone. "The CTS in four-cylinder, turbo powertrain configuration is a 3,600-pound car. It is 200 pounds lighter than the BMW 5 Series with a 2.0 turbo. Plus it has another 32 horsepower."

The 2014 CTS' 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder produces 272 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.

Leone credits the CTS' nimbleness to the extensive use of lightweight materials, such as aluminum door structures, and a nearly 50/50 front/rear weight balance. Overall, the redesigned CTS is bigger than the 2013 model. The overall length was increased a little more than 4 inches. The wheelbase was stretched 1.2 inches. Despite the increase in size, the car is about 250 pounds lighter than the 2013 CTS, he said.

In terms of power, the CTS Vsport, a new model positioned below the V-Series, Cadillac's performance brand, is equipped with a 420-hp, twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6, producing 430 lb-ft of torque. Cadillac estimates 0-60 mph acceleration in about 4.6 seconds and claims a top speed of 170 mph. The CTS also is available with a third engine, a naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V6 rated at an estimated 321 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque.

Vurpillat said Vsport is aimed at buyers who want extra performance but do not need or want a V-Series model.

"V will always be the pinnacle of performance, high level, just dial up everything from a performance aspect, where Vsport for us is nice appearance, nice upgrade in performance, but not to the level of the V," Vurpillat said.

Besides the engine upgrade, Vsport includes upgrades to transmission, suspension, brakes and wheels and tires.

Vurpillat did not predict how successful the new CTS will be in terms of attracting the owners of German luxury brands, but he does expect the redesigned CTS to attract a slightly younger buyer. The industry's average age for a luxury car buyer is about 53, he said. The current CTS is around 61 and the Cadillac XTS is about 68.

Said Vurpillat: The average age of a 2014 CTS buyer "will probably be in the high 50s."

Cadillac is targeting two distinct buyers with the midsize CTS and the full-size XTS. The XTS is larger, about 7 inches longer overall than the 2014 CTS. The XTS' wheelbase also is seven inches longer, creating a larger rear passenger compartment. The XTS has an additional 4 cubic feet of cargo space.

"One is more biased toward performance — rear-wheel drive performance — that's the CTS. One is more biased towards luxury, and really that is where the XTS is aimed," Vurpillat said.

The 2014 CTS shares a rear-drive platform with the Cadillac ATS and the upcoming redesigned Chevrolet Camaro, which is due in about two years. By contrast, the XTS shares a front-drive platform with the Buick LaCrosse, redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Impala and several other General Motors vehicles. Sales for the full-size XTS began last fall.

As for Cadillac's sedan strategy, Leone said "the XTS is very isolated, a very quiet car. It is very comfortable and it has very good driving dynamics for a front-drive sedan, (but) it was never intended to be track capable" like the CTS. "The XTS is good, it is competent, but it is still a front-drive car."

The XTS is slated to get a detuned version of the CTS' new twin-turbocharged V6, producing 410 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque.

Said Leone: "The difference is the front-drive/transverse (powertrain) application does not have the torque capacity that the rear-drive does."

Edmunds says: A coupe version of the all-new 2014 Cadillac CTS seems like a no-brainer.

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