First drive: Cadillac CTS
- We test next summer's new CTS
- Executive car to cost around £27,000
- Two petrols at launch; diesel in 2009
Elvis was a Cadillac fan - fitting, because many of its cars have been reminiscent of 'The King' in his latter career: big and brash.
Fortunately, this new CTS is more subtle. The mix of clean, angular lines - but with just enough American show - are similar to its predecessors, but it looks that bit more muscular and appealing.
In the cabin
There are improvements in the cabin, too. Quality has taken a big step forward and the design is now smart and modern.
The upper dashboard is trimmed in leather and most of the other materials look good.
Only the hard silver plastic on the centre console lets the side down a little.
The cluttered dash layout is more of a problem, because you struggle to tell the various switchgear apart at a glance.
Still, two-way steering wheel adjustment and electric seats make it easy to get comfortable.
Those upfront also have decent space, but, given that the CTS is longer than a BMW 5 Series, rear space is disappointing.
There's reasonable legroom, but headroom is tight and the door aperture is awkwardly shaped. Its 373-litre boot is only fractionally bigger than that in a Ford Focus', too.
On the road
UK buyers will be able to choose from 208bhp 2.8 and 307bhp 3.6 V6 petrol engines at launch. A diesel option won't be available until mid-2009.
We drove the 3.6, which gives strong acceleration, even if the standard auto 'box can be indecisive.
The 3.6-litre car comes on sports suspension, which controls body movement well, but transmits lumps and bumps through to those on board in gory detail.
The CTS isn't as agile as it could be, either, because the steering is slow to respond. Occupants also have to put up with a fair bit of road noise over coarse surfaces.
Buying and owning
In truth, prospective buyers probably don't expect the CTS to equal its German rivals in some areas. They will, however, expect value for money.
The good news is that the CTS will undercut much of the opposition on price - it'll come in at around £27,000.
The bad news is that unless it bucks the trend set by Cadillac's recent models, residual values will be weak - and because there's no diesel, fuel and company car tax bills will be sky-high.
At least you should get a generous specification. Equipment levels haven't been confirmed, but leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control and adaptive xenon headlights are likely to be standard.
The 2.8 model may also be available with four-wheel drive, whereas the 3.6 is rear-wheel drive only.
Whichever one you choose, you won't be able to get your hands on one until summer next year.
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