Tag Archives: CTS-V

Review – 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe: The Red Blooded Coupe

Holy crap, Cadillac has a sexy coupe for sale. I mean, who thought I would utter those words in 2011? Well there they are, in black and white type.

The reality is that any variant of the CTS-V is awe inspiring, and I’ve already attempted to find the meaning of life with the CTS-V Sport Wagon. But when the opportunity arises, who am I to turn down the opportunity to find out what is it like to live with the CTS-V Coupe? Read More…

Review – 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon: Is It Perfect? Does It Even Matter?

 

 

I’ve had quite a few press cars over the past year, but never have I gotten chills by merely backing into my garage. This was different. Here is is a car that many prayed would see production before General Motors even announced its existence.

So aside from the fact that for many auto enthusiasts, the CTS-V Wagon is nothing short of a dream, is the finished product everything we hoped it would be? Is it perfect? I spent a week with the CTS-V Wagon seeking answers to all my questions. I also tried to find the meaning of life. Lets see what I learned. Read More…

Why Yes, That’s a 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe Sitting In My Driveway

Yup, another post to announce another CTS-V variant has landed in my driveway. This time it lacks rear doors and the versatility of the wagon. But man is it sexy with those graphite wheels and yellow calipers. Oh and the Recaro seats with yellow suede aren’t bad either. I know the question is burning in your heart, the answer is yes. This CTS-V Coupe does have the six-speed manual transmission. I heard the rumble as it pulled down the street. The level of awesome is paramount. I’m looking forward to a week of punishing gas mileage and a whole lot of fun.

2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe

Why Yes, That’s A 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon Sitting In My Driveway

Yes seriously, I am posting just to say a Cadillac CTS-V Wagon with a six-speed manual is sitting in my driveway right now. The level of awesome is paramount. The classic line from Team America keeps going through my head at the moment….

AutoBird Podcast – Esp 31: “Full Spectrum”

Episode 31 starts with introducing this weeks guest Jeremy Sally from Cheers and Gears.  Moving into the garage we talk about the 2011 Lincoln MKT I was in for the 4th of July weekend, along with the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport I was in the past week. We then move along to the major news of the week segment.  This week included-

  • New 2011 Nissan Quest Minivan Images (Link)
  • Wall Street Journal believes Kia isn’t long for the U.S. (Link)
  • Mitsubishi plans on selling electric car for under $30,000 (Link)
  • California ends HOV lane access for Prius and other hybrids
  • 19 year old steals bus and crashes it (Link)
This week we continue with the new segment called car spotting.  Justin spotted a Model A Ford convertible and a Corvette ZR1 in Yosemite.  I spotted a Cadillac CTS-V sedan.
Next came our main topic which was discussing the top 20 vehicles for June 2010 (Link)
Last we plug our respective blogs, Cheers and Gears,  AutoBird Blog and Accelerate Mpls.

Download this episode (right click and save)

The First Time I Met The 2011 Fisker Karma – Thoughts And Impressions

I have read all the brochures and online materials, I have seen all the pictures – and the reality is none of that does the Fisker Karma justice.  I could sit here and list all of its specifications, but I won’t.  Mainly because that is not what this post is about.  Many of you have not had the opportunity (yet) to see the Fisker Karma in person.  When you do, you will remember it.  The lines and curves on this car are just gorgeous.

Lets back up a minute.  What the heck is a Fisker and what is the Karma?  Funny you should ask.  Fisker Automotive is a new car brand founded by Henrik Fisker, who is also the current CEO (funny how that works).  He was previously known for being the design director for Aston Martin and the president and CEO of BMW’s Designworks USA.  Maybe that does not mean much to you, but it equates to this: he is responsible for cars such as the BMW Z8 (one hot piece of metal), Aston Martin DB9 and the V8 Vantage (also both hot pieces of metal).  Needless to say, he has a sense of style when it comes to designing a car.

The Karma is the first car from Fisker Automotive.  With demo cars arriving at the end of the year, production should (if it stays on track) start in the very beginning of next year.  The car will be built overseas in Finland initially.  In fact, it will be built in the same factory as some Porsche’s and other vehicles.  In 2012 production will move to the Wilmington Assembly plant in Wilmington, Delaware.  This plant was recently purchased by Fisker from General Motors.  With the plant already up to date with tooling and a local trainable workforce, it is an ideal location.  The plant was previously producing the Saturn Sky, Pontiac Solstice and Opel GT.

One last thing before we get to the actual Karma –  If you have not seen pictures I will tell you that this the car is a saloon.  It will fit two sets of golf clubs in the trunk, but getting in and out of the rear seat isn’t exactly graceful.  Another car is coming in 2012 from Fisker, and it will be a more mainstream, higher volume vehicle.  Currently the project is code named Nina and it will be a midsize sedan.  I was informed it will be about the size of the BMW 5 Series, but with much more usable interior space (read really practical).  The Nina should come in somewhere around $45-48k.  Also coming sometime between the 2012 Nina and 2011 Karma is the Karma Sunset.  The Karma Sunset is essentially a convertible version of the Karma, featuring a retractable hard top.

Upon seeing the Karma in person, I really was stunned.  Yes, from the front it looks somewhat like the Joker from Batman.  It still looks great though.  Some of the design cues from the front translate to the rear and interior.  This gives the car an overall cohesive design.  Each rear fender has a “fuel” door.  On the passenger side is the gasoline, while on the driver side is the plug-in for the rechargeable lithium ion battery pack.  The front headlights feature LED running lights, while the rear tail lights are also LED.  The roof features a full length solar panel to help charge the car and provide cooling for the interior cabin while the car is parked.  I remember the early 2000’s Audi A8s had this as an option on their sunroof.  The wheels are 22 inches (!) and are made from a  lightweight alloy.  The brakes are the same Brembo setup used in the Cadillac CTS-V.  The door handles have a electronic push pad under each handle that you merely push and the door opens.  This is similar in concept to the Chevrolet Corvette and new Cadillac CTS Coupe.  As you can see in pictures, the exterior is just gorgeous.  Some might say breathtaking.  I do suppose some could say it is controversial but I am in the “it is definitely gorgeous camp.”

Ok, I can understand how someone might be mixed on the exterior of this car, but the interior is simply stunning.  This is a whole new take on luxury.  This interior feels so different from all the other luxury sedans out there.  When I think of high end luxury cars (we are not talking small volume cars like the Rolls Royce Phantom), I think of cars like the Audi A8, Lexus LS 460 and many others.  This car is completely different inside.  To be honest, when I got inside of the Karma I felt like I had just stepped inside one of the older Chris Craft boats.  With rich thick leather and real wood, the interior just felt so natural and polished, yet elegant.  Keep in mind this was a pre pre-production car.  The 10.2″ center touch screen, which controls most of the cars functions (A/C, Radio, etc) was stuck in a black loading screen (I’m guessing the software was not ready) and the car could not turn on, though the gauges were lit up and the windshield wipers worked (I checked).  Oh something to note, the engine in the Karma is being sourced from GM – though that is not the only thing.  I noticed both the turn signal/cruise control stalk and the windshield wiper control stalk were both parts bin GM.  In fact, I am 99% sure they are the very same stalks in the Cadillac STS.  Whether these are the exact stalks found in the production sedan is yet to be seen.  Also, the rear view mirror is GM sourced too.  The gear shift level (if you could call it that) has a button on the left that I assume starts the car due to it’s power symbol and the lack of any other power button on the console or near the steering wheel.  The right hand part of the gear shift level is actually a switch that gets flipped into different positions to select your gear (PRND).  Down the center of the interior is the battery pack, but it is packaged beautifully behind glass and leather.  The front seats are downright sporty, comfy and are terrific.  The rear is awkward to get in and out of, but once in the car, the seats are comfortable.  Leg room is acceptable but not amazing.  The roof line does cut into rear headroom.  Overall, the interior is stunning.

The power will come from a battery pack with a 50 mile range.  Beyond that 50 mile range, the 2.0 liter turbo range extender engine kicks in and produces 260 horsepower.  This motor is sourced from GM and is the same engine used in the Saturn Sky Redline and the Pontiac Solstice GXP.  The total range between the battery and the gasoline engine is 300 miles.  You can forget range anxiety –  this is a series hybrid just like the upcoming Chevrolet Volt.  That means the gas engine is in no way driving the wheels. Rather, the engine is connected to the battery which powers the two electric motors connected to the rear wheels.  We will get into all the technical stuff in another post some other time.

The cars sticker price before tax rebates is $89,000 and change.  I know there is a government tax rebate and certain states (I think Minnesota does) also has tax rebates on qualifying vehicles.  The dealership here, which is the one and only one for the state of Minnesota has pre-sold and took deposits for 3 Karmas.  I was told varying numbers for how many total cars the dealership has pre-sold, but the most common number I heard was 17.  Not bad at all.

So what are my final initial impressions?  Well, I can not wait to get my hands on a production model.  Considering I did not get to drive or start this one, and the infotainment system did not work, I cannot give a full impression post.  I can say it does not feel “kit car” in anyway.  The interior is just ridiculous (in an amazingly good way).  The exterior I love, but some will not.  This is for sure a legitimate automobile with a company that I frankly hope succeeds in many ways.  As for the Karma, I’ll see you soon!

GM Product Technology Event

As posted late last week, I was fortunate enough to be invited by GM to an exciting event. The event started with GM showing some of the products and technologies coming in the near future. Pictures were not allowed in the design center.

2010 GMC Terrain

2010 GMC Terrain

Front and center in the GMC design studio was a design concept, a Denali trim of the Acadia crossover. It had a body kit and larger chrome wheels with the mandatory chrome grill and wood inside. I can see this trim level coming soon and it was rather good looking. Next up was the 2010 Terrain the GMC version of the new 2010 Chevy Equinox. The exterior of the Terrain is better looking in person than it is in pictures. The interior had soft materials and a clean look. Equipped with the four cylinder, the Terrain will achieve 32 mpg on the highway, quite impressive. The most interesting vehicle was a clay model without a name. It looked reminicent of the Kia Soul. It was boxy and short with little to no overhangs and like no other current GMC. Even though is was not bad looking, I do not see it fitting in with the rest of GMC unless the future products are considerably different than the current lineup, which could happen.

2010 Buick Lacrosse

2010 Buick Lacrosse

The center vehicle in the Buick studio was the new 2010 Buick Lacrosse which should be hitting dealerships soon. The new Lacrosse is gorgeous with tight panel gaps and great character lines. It is a car that will be competing with the Lexus ES350, the lines on this Lacrosse are much bolder. The interior has a soft touch dash and has a quality feel. Impressive! I felt the seat tracks looked unfinished. They were completely uncovered and looked as if things could get caught in the tracks. We viewed four other vehicles, two crossovers and two sedans. One of the crossovers was basically a re-badged Saturn Vue which will be launching as a Buick next year, and it will come as the first plug-in hybrid suv in 2011. It was truly unsightly and reminds me of things (re-badging) that was wrong with the “old GM.” The other crossover will launch in 12-16 months as a baby Enclave which itself is a good looking vehicle. The other two vehicles that are coming within the next 10-24 months include a midsize sedan based on the European Opel Insignia. This midsize sedan could very well wear the Regal name. The second vehicle will launch later and will be based on the new the European Opel Astra. They had two interior styling bucks for the two sedans, both of which were as good looking as the new 2010 Lacrosse. Buick seems to have gotten their mojo back in the styling department other then the re-badged Vue.

2010 Chevy Spark

2010 Chevy Spark

The predictable future vehicles, such as the convertible Camaro coming 2nd quarter of next year and the Chevy Spark small car, was there as well. I was surprised to see a next generation Aveo, which happened to be a hatchback. The rear end was practically the same as the current generation while the front end was much more aggressive. The front end reminded me of the current generation Mitsubishi Lancer. The headlights were good looking but not very aerodynamic. The vehicle that caught me off guard was the next generation Malibu. It is drop dead gorgeous! It has a little BMW in the rear end and the front end is straight European design. The exterior was impressive and the interior had three real interior styling bucks. Had I not seen it with my own eyes, I would never believe it was a Chevy interior. Keep in mind that these were production designs, not concepts. Arriving in 2011 as a 2012, the next Malibu is going to be a winner.

2009 CTS-V

2009 CTS-V

The Cadillac CTS coupe will arrive next spring. It will be accompanied by a CTS-V coupe which, of course, is exciting for any enthusiast. Next the new 2010 SRX and CTS sportwagon, both of which should be arriving in dealerships now. I personally love wagons. After the presentation, I asked the director of Cadillac about the possibility of a CTS-V sportwagon. During our conversation, he informed me that there was a CTS-V sportwagon on campus and it is a shade of black. He also said that “if” a CTS-V sportwagon was to go into production, he would guess it would be in dealerships next summer. I would not say that is a promise but darn closer than “no we have no plans on making one and have not studied it as a business case.” Here’s hoping for a CTS-V sportwagon.

Three new Cadillacs were revealed to us. The first was the sportwagon. The next was a BMW 3 series fighter dubbed ATS, which will come in both coupe and sedan forms. The car is similar looking to a CTS with a more evolved look. I could see the ATS coming with a turbo and naturally aspirated four cylinder as well as direct injection six cylinder engines. The proper wheels (rear wheels) will be receiving the power and all wheel drive will be a option. The last was a car that will compete with the BMW 7 series, dubbed XTS. It will replace the quickly aging STS/DTS sedans. The styling of the XTS is reminiscent of the Cadillac Sixteen concept from years back but without the long hood. Both cars were good looking and have real potential.

Joel Feder & Bob Lutz

Joel Feder & Bob Lutz

I had a conversation with Bob Lutz and questioned him about the future of the now dead Pontiac G8. He informed me that the response to them killing it has been overwhelming, and they are working hard to figure out how to incorporate it in the Chevy lineup in the future. Mentioning how it will die with Pontiac but could be coming back as a Chevy. He went on to say it would have big brakes, a big V8 and quickly adding, no V6 option. This would be an aggressive sports car without a doubt, the four door of Corvettes (no it will not wear the Corvette name). Though he mentioned it would most likely be expensive and probably a niche product, making only enough for demand. My question is when and how much!? I asked about the Caprice name and styling of the Asian market Caprice and he said it was not aggressive enough and would not happen. This conversation was informal and is in no way a final green light for production.

Lastly the Millford proving grounds. I drove the Camaro SS with the 6 speed. First order of business was to turn off the traction control completely. Dropping the clutch and smokey burn outs are easy to accomplish. The car is definitely heavy but carries its weight well through the slalom. While the brakes definitely got toasty and you could smell the burn, they never gave up or made me nervous of losing effectiveness. Had I been on the track longer it could have been a different story. Next the CTS-V with a automatic. I felt this handicapped the cars potential on the track. On the other hand, the automatic shifts quickly and zips around when driving it in the city on a daily basis.

After this event it is safe to say, I can say I feel GM has a real future and great product in the pipeline. The only true questionable vehicle was the re-badged Vue. Two big take aways here are that the G8 may not be dead after all and the CTS-V sportwagon is more then a possibility! I would say Toyota should be put on notice because the next Malibu and new Equinox are truly world cars.