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WWET: What Would Elvis Think?

The 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe

I can tell you one thing for sure: If the King were still alive, he’d own at least one CTS coupe. Perhaps it would be pink with some outlandish custom upholstery, but it’d be there in Graceland’s garage. Looking at some of the other stuff he owned over the years, the CTS probably wouldn’t have been his favorite, though. It’s just too unlike the cushy old Caddys which hosted his butt over the years. The CTS coupe is a driver’s car. The fun part of owning one is sitting behind the wheel and driving the thing. Thank you. Thank you vera-much.

And that’s just what I did last week (drive one, not buy one). Pulling into the lot of Keyser Cadillac in Williamsville, I spotted a few coupes right out on the front line. So hard to choose, like a kid in a candy store. When salesman John Taggart first offered me the CTS-V, I thought about it for a second, and then told him I’d rather the regular coupe, hold the “V.” Every car magazine on the planet has test-driven the CTS-V, which is the 556-horsepower supercharged V-8 model, with a top speed of “Whoa!” and an asking price of $62,165. I decided that most CTS coupe buyers will not be driving Vs, and neither would I. So I parked my seat in an all-wheel-drive Radiant Silver Metallic coupe with an ebony leather interior. Looking at the car from the outside, with its sharp-edged styling and seemingly low-slung roofline, it looked like I might have a struggle getting all six feet of me into the driver’s seat. Not the case, as the wide doors make a large enough opening for most any driver. The back seat is a bit more of a struggle, but who buys a CTS coupe for the back seat? I’m sure the kids will be fine back there. Or your five-foot-tall mother-in-law. Or the dog. I found it a bit confining, especially the head room.

But the driver’s seat is a great place to be. Turn the starter switch and the 3.6-liter, direct-inject engine roars to life. It’s really all you need. Maybe 304 horsepower doesn’t sound like much compared to 556, but really. The AWD version starts at $44,505, which makes that difference in horsepower much more palatable, doesn’t it now? (The rear-wheel-drive coupe starts at an even lower $38,165.) I certainly had no problems merging at speed onto the interstate. Nor did I notice any slow-pokeyness pulling away from a traffic light, accelerating around a curvy back road, or just generally “punching it” whenever the urge struck me. There’s a pleasant exhaust note singing out of the rear end, but I found myself too engrossed with the Margaritaville station on the XM satellite radio to pay it much attention. Can’t find a station to your liking? The audio system on the test car included a 40GB hard drive to store your own tunes. Or podcasts. Or audio books. The satnav/audio screen rises majestically from the dash as you start the car, and it’s simple enough to program if you can follow instructions. Back when I sold Cadillacs, it was a bone of contention with new owners who, up to that point, only needed to know how to set the radio preset button to the “music of your life” station in Toronto.

My test car included the optional sunroof and the “Luxury/Convenience” package which adds: leather-wrapped steering wheel, 10-way power heated front seats with leather surfaces, heated outside mirrors, Bose 10-speaker CD/DVD player, Bluetooth, memory seat adjuster, adaptive forward HID lighting, fog lamps, keyless entry, remote start, and rear park assist.

And just for the record: XM channel 18? All Elvis. All the time. But save it for your 1964 Coupe DeVille. The CTS is definitely more hip than that.

Read more of Jim Corbran's You Auto Know every other week in Artvoice, and more frequently on Artvoice Daily.

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