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The Cadillac CTS is the first product of the venerable American marque’s bid for younger customers, and if it’s any indication of things to come, the Germans had better watch out! The CTS is one of the most enjoyable cars I’ve driven in recent memory. Take it for a spin, and you just might take it home. Here’s what you get:The CTS comes with a 3.2-liter, 220-horsepower, DOHC V-6 engine with a 6,500-rpm redline that takes you from 0 to 60 in 6.9 seconds. (A new V-8 for this platform debuts next year.) A magnificent Getrag-sourced 5-speed manual transmission moderates power to the rear wheels, while Cadillac’s seamless StabiliTrak 2.0 all-speed traction control — teamed with magnificent brakes — keeps your rubber side down. Comfort and convenience features include leather-trimmed seats and steering wheel, Zebrano wood trim on the doors, and a surprisingly good sound system with an in-dash CD changer. The ample seats offer plenty of lateral support without being uncomfortable. Outward visibility is quite good, and the CTS comes with GM’s OnStar concierge and assistance service. Cadillac packs these goodies into some distinctively sexy sheet metal reminiscent of a Stealth Bomber. Trunk space is significantly larger than that of the competing Lincoln LS, and wide door openings make for effortless entry and exit. Here’s what it does:The CTS acquitted itself beautifully on a 500-mile holiday trip through rush hour traffic and a torrential downpour. The transmission was smooth and precise even in creeping interstate traffic, and StabiliTrak effectively countered the handling difficulty of hydroplane-inducing heavy rain. Handling was a blast — almost in the same class as a BMW (though more forgiving), and better than the Audi A4 and Allroad wagon. Nitpicks:The CTS seems unusually subject to crosswinds, though conditions were quite windy the entire time I had it. The center cockpit console has an unsophisticated plastic appearance, and the automatic climate control can be frustrating to set properly. Overall, however, the Cadillac CTS offers an outstanding value in a car that’s comfortable, attractive and satisfying to drive.
M.S.R.P.:$29,350. Price as tested (with Luxury Sport Package, premium sound system, sunroof, heated front seats and HID headlamps): $36,765. Mileage:19 city/26 highway. Warranty:4 years/50,000 miles, with Roadside Assistance.

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