An enlarged grille and frontfender vents bolster its already macho image. Inside, it’s as upscale as anything in its class. There’s sapele (Entandrophragma cylindricum, a tree native to tropical Africa) trim, LED ambient lighting, and an infotainment system with popup navigation screen and 40-Gbyte hard drive.
The sedan’s 3.6-liter twin-cam 24-valve V6 comes in a port-injected, 263-hp version and a 304-hp direct-injection model. These mate to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic with manual override. And this is the first CTS with all wheel drive (AWD).
Port-injected engines inject fuel upstream of the intake valve into the intake port. The air/fuel mixture enters the combustion chamber when the intake valve opens. With direct injection, fuel is injected directly into the combustion chamber during the intake stroke, the air/fuel mixture now in the combustion chamber ignites conventionally by the spark plug.
Special injectors that inject fuel into the combustion chamber are beneath the intake ports, which transfer only air. Because the ports are not used to mix fuel and air, there is more efficient airflow and more accurate fuel injection. The end result is better fuel consumption at all throttle openings, better mixture control, and a higher compression ratio (11.3:1). The higher compression increases combustion efficiency compared to conventionally injected engines. The special injectors withstand the greater heat and pressure inside the combustion chamber and use several outlets for better injection control.
Despite all its accolades, I have one small complaint. First, understand I’m no fan of navigation systems. They can be distracting and downright frustrating. With Onstar, however, all you have to do is press the button, state your destination, and wait for turn-by-turn audio directions . . . what could be easier than that?
So one evening driving home from work, I called Onstar and gave my home address as my destination (No, I was not lost.). The verbal directions were accurate and clear, without being annoying, until I arrived at my exit and the bodiless voice said, “Go north on Great Northern Boulevard.” Wonderful … except I live about 2 miles in the other direction.
I could have played along to see how going the opposite direction would get me home quicker, but I know my way home and there ain’t no quicker way. Not being very adventurous and more than a little hungry, I took the old, reliable, shortestdistance- between-two-points route. The Onstar episode aside, the CTS is one heck of a car.
The base price on the V6 DI performance sedan is $34,545. But 18-in. all-season tires, aluminum wheels, sport suspension, alarm, rain-sensing wipers, CD/DVD player, AWD, Crystal Red premium paint, and a host of other options costing $11,480 inflated the price to $46,025 plus $745 (destination charge). EPA rating is 17/26 (city/highway).
So, sell your firstborn and put a CTS in your garage. But beware of Onstar — unless you want to take the long way home.