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Within the notch Chicago has punched in the nation's snow belt, two key factors lead to a luxury sedan's success: a prestige badge on the hood and all-wheel drive behind the wheels. A day of commuting along any of its salt-clogged arteries will show that, in the Windy City, quattro Audis and anything with an "X" in the name are as popular as Daleys and deep dish. German marques have twigged to the necessity of all-wheel drive for two decades, and Cadillac would have left untold sales on the table if it had sent the CTS out onto these roads without its own all-weather variant. Fortunately, Cadillac's decision makers have smartened up since the days of V-8 diesels and leather-lined Cavaliers, and the CTS4 is its answer to this demanding segment.

That this is the first all-wheel-drive CTS doesn't mean the mechanicals are new. The larger STS and the SRX crossover have been using the CTS4's electronically controlled system for about three years and, like those two vehicles, the CTS gets a 40/60 rear-biased torque split under normal driving conditions. The only difference here is that the CTS is the first model to get a new generation of Borg Warner's "TorqTransfer" computer algorithm. As a result, the car's rear-drive characteristics are mostly preserved — mash the throttle and a load of torque will jump on your back rather than pull you by the forearms. Under extreme slippage, the active transfer case can push a full 100 percent of the engine's output to either end. A rear limited-slip differential is available as part of an optional performance package, and stability control is standard.

Other than the little chrome "4" added on the trunk, nothing visually separates this CTS from the rest of the pack — it rides on the same wheels and tires and measures equally in width and height. But get in and drive, and it is immediately apparent that the CTS's performance edge has been dulled by 244 pounds of extended driveline. A numerically lower final drive ratio (3.23 vs. 3.42) hurts acceleration numbers and makes the CTS4 feel less than excited to pass the unrushed members of the driving community. More drivetrain components also mean more drivetrain power loss, so we suspect fewer of the direct-injection 3.6-liter's 304 horses actually make the trip down to the ground. The steering feels slower and heavier, too, and a quick look at the specs confirms suspicions: the CTS4 uses a relaxed 19.1:1 steering ratio while the two-wheel model's system is set at 16.1:1. Although none of this is good news for the enthusiast, Cadillac deserves credit for developing a cohesive group of controls — the car got heavier and slower so the steering and throttle have followed suit.

more:
http://www.motivemag.com/pub/feature/quickie/Motive_Quickie_2008_Cadillac_CTS4.shtml

 

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Its interesting that the last 535 vs CTS comparison was AWD against AWD and none of this was an issue - so I'm guessing the 535 has the same compromises.

I am a little disappointed Cadillac felt the need to soften the AWD version. One possibility is they are comparing an FE3 RWD to a FE1 AWD - or something along those lines.

Regardless, a car I would seriously buy is an AWD FE2/3 CTS with about 75 more hp and torque. May settle for the 3.6L DI - but I'd like an AWD CTS thats tuned for performance.
 

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That 250lbs on the driveline is going to kill the fun for me. I could see it if you lived in the top 1/3 of the country and this was your only car otherwise sporty cars that are big and heavy to begin with turn into lethargic tanks when even more heft is added to a crucial areas like the drivetrain.
 

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I think those buying the AWD would understand and appreciate the compromises. If I find myself back in the midwest, I need something that will get me to work even on those 2-3 days that most can afford to stay home. The Corvette in my garage isn't going to do it. Most of the time FWD will be fine, but if I want the CTS, it's probably going to have to be the 4 in the midwest. I think the gearing must allow them to maintain the mileage because both the CTS and CTS4 are rated for the same mileage on the website......a little surprising. What I'm really waiting for is the CTS4 wagon!!
 

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It will be interesting to see if sales of the 4 will lead to a V variant. I have seen a few CTS4's here in Denver. AWD or RWD that car is very very nice to look at.
 

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It makes no sense why they'd put a taller final-drive on an AWD car that's 200+ lbs. heavier. If anything, it seems like you could get away with a shorter one. For fuel economy, maybe? That's the only thing I can figure.
 

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agreed.

we just got 15 inches here in Wisconsin.. i wish i had AWD

but i saw 2 new CTS4's today i was jealous
buy a hummer go anywhere
 

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Most buyers of the 4 would never notice the extra 250 lbs. IMO it doesn't matter whether its a BMW,Merecedes,Volvo,or Infinity, adding 4WD will have its compromises. The important thing is being able to get around on any snowy road surface.
 

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...I am a little disappointed Cadillac felt the need to soften the AWD version. One possibility is they are comparing an FE3 RWD to a FE1 AWD - or something along those lines.

Regardless, a car I would seriously buy is an AWD FE2/3 CTS with about 75 more hp and torque. May settle for the 3.6L DI - but I'd like an AWD CTS thats tuned for performance.
Yes to paragraph 1, yes to paragraph 2, though I'd like my CTS to come 2-doors shy of the sedan.

I think those buying the AWD would understand and appreciate the compromises. If I find myself back in the midwest, I need something that will get me to work even on those 2-3 days that most can afford to stay home. The Corvette in my garage isn't going to do it. Most of the time FWD will be fine, but if I want the CTS, it's probably going to have to be the 4 in the midwest. I think the gearing must allow them to maintain the mileage because both the CTS and CTS4 are rated for the same mileage on the website......a little surprising. What I'm really waiting for is the CTS4 wagon!!
I share the same sentiment of your post, too, Hoosier Red, though again you may prefer 5-doors, I prefer the 2-door variant. Maybe Cadillac will seek to please all of us (you, goblue, and me)?

It will be interesting to see if sales of the 4 will lead to a V variant. I have seen a few CTS4's here in Denver. AWD or RWD that car is very very nice to look at.
I was also wondering about this, too, jbernie. Yet again, I was hoping for a two-door version.

Within the notch Chicago has punched in the nation's snow belt, two key factors lead to a luxury sedan's success: a prestige badge on the hood and all-wheel drive behind the wheels. A day of commuting along any of its salt-clogged arteries will show that, in the Windy City, quattro Audis and anything with an "X" in the name are as popular as Daleys and deep dish. German marques have twigged to the necessity of all-wheel drive for two decades...
Funny, I cannot help but remember the first snowstorm of the season, in which State government and local municipalities did a less than stellar job of addressing road maintenance. It was interesting-comical?- to see a certain type of vehicle absolutely struggling to make any forward motion: cars carrying Teuton badges. I was absolutely amazed to see the relatively large numbers of new 3-series, 5-series, C- and E-classes littering the highway. I guess they didn't get the message that Chicago drivers got about 4matic and X versions? Hmmm, interesting to note from my diminutive, unfashionable FWD GM car that rather easily got me home.
 

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Most buyers of the 4 would never notice the extra 250 lbs. IMO it doesn't matter whether its a BMW,Merecedes,Volvo,or Infinity, adding 4WD will have its compromises. The important thing is being able to get around on any snowy road surface.
All things being equal, I have trouble believing most of us here would notice 250 lbs. I know I wouldn't be able to tell the difference with a full sized passenger in my Corvette. Maybe the rest of you have more sensitive tushes than I do.
 

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Most buyers of the 4 would never notice the extra 250 lbs. IMO it doesn't matter whether its a BMW,Merecedes,Volvo,or Infinity, adding 4WD will have its compromises. The important thing is being able to get around on any snowy road surface.
All things being equal, I have trouble believing most of us here would notice 250 lbs. I know I wouldn't be able to tell the difference with a full sized passenger in my Corvette. Maybe the rest of you have more sensitive tushes than I do. If you are talking about suspension changes, gearing changes, etc. then I might be able to feel what we're talking about.
 

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Exactly right. I'm always amazed when the auto press talks about 35lbs here, 15lbs there. Do you always ride alone in your car? Just don't let that overweight person ride with you and your good! :D
There is a massive difference between 250lbs sitting in the seat next to you and being attached to the drivetrain.

I understand some people wanting AWD but I will never understand wanting AWD for the 2 days a year that it makes you feel safer as compared to the other 300+ days of enjoyment. This year in the midwest we have had the worst winter as far as snow accumulation in a long time and I would have had 1 nervous day driving a RWD car all winter. I guess I'm not old enough to let 1 or 2 days a year scare me into a platform with so many added shortcomings.

If were talking lightweight high powered cars then it's an entirely different story.
 

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There is a massive difference between 250lbs sitting in the seat next to you and being attached to the drivetrain.

I understand some people wanting AWD but I will never understand wanting AWD for the 2 days a year that it makes you feel safer as compared to the other 300+ days of enjoyment. This year in the midwest we have had the worst winter as far as snow accumulation in a long time and I would have had 1 nervous day driving a RWD car all winter. I guess I'm not old enough to let 1 or 2 days a year scare me into a platform with so many added shortcomings.

If were talking lightweight high powered cars then it's an entirely different story.
The issue is people in certain careers just have to be at work - there are no excuses, no waiting a few hours, etc. You are expected to come in sick (to a point). Weather is also not a valid excuse until the snow is measured in feet instead of inches. Many enthusiasts in this situation don't want to insure and maintain a separate car for those few days a year - and don't care for SUVs, nor have garage space.

Tgagneguam got me thinking - and what I would really like is an AWD hardtop convertible. Volvo makes one, but its not what one would call a driver's car. Then I'd have a true, year round car.
 

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i guess, i'm glad that theres a AWD CTS and at the same time completely unimpressed. AWD cars are like wearing snow boots all year round in my opinion. but hey, if it makes u more secure go for it! i've never gotten stuck in a AWD car though, but then again i've never gotton stuck in a snow tire equiped RWD car either. but ironically, i've gotten stuck and slid of the road in numerous FWD cars. i will admit though that it was probaly due more to the fact that they were running all season tires than the fact that they were front wheel drive.

wait i take part of that back, when i ran off the road, i KNOW it was because they were FWD...uncorrectable understeer is a b#tch!
 

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All things being equal, I have trouble believing most of us here would notice 250 lbs. I know I wouldn't be able to tell the difference with a full sized passenger in my Corvette. Maybe the rest of you have more sensitive tushes than I do.
We're enthusiasts on this site. If there exists a group of people who *would* notice an extra 250 pounds, it would be people on this site.

This is like having a really big friend driving shotgun. Accelleration, handling and braking will all be noticeable to us.

For those of us who race, the first thing we do is kick our 250 pound friend out of the passenger seat when we're making a serious run.

I've seen and experienced the following scenario many times. Two cars racing, one has a passenger, the other doesn't. Its a close race, with the non-passenger vehicle edging out a win every trime. Drivers agree to swap the passenger and run again. Results are different this time, with the original loser now edging out for a win.

250 pounds is equivalent to 25 horse power. Seen from this point of view, its clear how significant 250 pounds can be.
 

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...I understand some people wanting AWD but I will never understand wanting AWD for the 2 days a year that it makes you feel safer as compared to the other 300+ days of enjoyment. This year in the midwest we have had the worst winter as far as snow accumulation in a long time and I would have had 1 nervous day driving a RWD car all winter. I guess I'm not old enough to let 1 or 2 days a year scare me into a platform with so many added shortcomings...
If consumers want AWD cars, mega-horsepower cars, cars loaded with superfluous techno goodies, cars with 8-speed transmissions, and more, GM shouldn't question the wisdom, it should figure a way to build them. It doesn't matter if it makes sense, per se. Other luxury marques that figure out how to deliver them will profit from them, and GM will have lost sales and profit if it chooses to sit on the sidelines and offer only what it deems logical. GM forever tried to convince people that anything more than 4-speeds wasn't logical. That argument played out beautifully, n'est-ce pas?

GM seems to justify certain things that often don't make much sense: gigantic FS SUV's that frequently ferry only one passenger is one example that comes quickly to mind. Nonetheless, GM certainly put forth a great effort building them, and it profitted handsomely, too.

Time for AWD to be applied throughout its lineup where appropriate. And that includes in the CTS.
 
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