2011 Cadillac DTS First Look
Last of a Breed
Cadillac has done a remarkable job of reinventing itself over the past decade. It has gone from being regarded as the staple of the snowbird retiree, to making critically-acclaimed and genuinely desirable performance sedans, with the CTS line receiving the lion’s share of accolades and recognition. Yet the brand still has a few lingering reminders of its pre-adrenaline days. The 2011 Cadillac DTS sedan is in many ways an anachronistic holdover from the brand’s earlier days.
This is not to imply the Cadillac DTS is a bad car if you’re looking for a quiet, comfortable car suited for long-distance cruising. It is brilliantly suited to such a purpose. The proven Northstar 4.6 liter double-overhead cam V-8 is mated to an equally well-tested four-speed automatic transmission. In the days when many manufacturers are producing six, seven and even eight-speed transmissions, the DTS’ powertrain is a bit of a throwback, but the combination provides ample power with the expected Cadillac smoothness.
The one area where the powertrain shows its age is in fuel economy, with the DTS returning an unremarkable 15 mpg city and 23 mpg highway rating. In comparison, the Hyundai Genesis V-8 returns 17 city and 25 highway with more than 100 additional horsepower, thanks in large part to its six-speed transmission and more modern engine. The Chrysler 300 equipped with the 5.7 Hemi V-8 engine returns 16 mpg city and 25 highway, with more than 80 horsepower over the Northstar’s output. The Northstar V-8’s basic design dates back nearly 20 years to 1992.
Cadillac is well aware of the DTS’s shortcomings relative to its more modern rivals, and will introduce a replacement likely later this year. The car is expected to be based on the Cadillac XTS Platinum concept the automaker unveiled at the 2010 Detroit auto show, and is expected to be V-6 powered, with available all-wheel drive and a possible hybrid variant in the mix down the line.
But if you yearn for a day when Cadillacs were serene land yachts with pillowy seats and silent interiors, and have no interest in taking your car to a track day or aggressively carving a mountain backroad, then the DTS is the car for you. Get it while you still can.
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