You'll Like The 2011 Cadillac STS If...
If you like the crisp lines and modern styling of the CTS Sedan, but need just a bit more rear-seat passenger room, check out the STS.
You May Not Like The 2011 Cadillac STS If...
If you're looking for V8-inspired power or bold styling that stands out in a crowd, the STS probably won't impress you.
For 2011, the STS is no longer available with the Northstar V8 engine, leaving the 3.6-liter V6 as the sole power plant. All 2011 STS models are now covered by Cadillac's Premium Care Maintenance program.
The 2011 Cadillac STS has a pleasant interior that exhibits a high degree of fit and finish, but its overall design is a bit dated and hardly inspiring. Sparse applications of wood trim dot the STS' interior, which can be had in ebony, cashmere or light gray leather covering the seats, steering wheel and shift knob. Optional equipment, such as the four-color head-up display and Bose 5.1 Studio Surround Sound audio, help liven things up a bit. On Platinum models, suede-like Alcantara fabric replaces the standard cloth headliner, while hand-cut leather coverings adorn the door panels, dash and center console. Rear-seat legroom is better than in the CTS, but it's still not what owners of previous full-sized Cadillacs would call spacious. The large trunk, on the other hand, has ample space for luggage or golf bags.
Although from a distance it looks somewhat like a slightly larger CTS Sedan, the STS nevertheless has a character all its own. The STS is some two inches wider than the CTS, and its rear doors are longer with more glass area. The signature Cadillac fender vent and vertical rear tail lights are evident, as is the wide egg-crate grille and stacked HID headlamps. Stylish multi-spoke alloy wheels give the STS a bit of a sporting attitude, as do the trunk-mounted spoiler and shark-fin roof antenna. The STS's tail lights and rear center-mounted stop light employ LEDs, which use less energy and last longer than conventional bulbs.
With only its key fob in our pocket, the 2011 Cadillac STS sensed our presence and unlocked its doors for us. Once inside, a push of a button was all that was required to make the V6 engine roar to life. We found the STS' 3.6-liter V6 a strong yet quiet performer, free of vibration and roar even with the accelerator pushed to the floor. On the highway, we averaged close to 28 mpg, which is not bad for a 300-plus horsepower sedan. Our rear-wheel-drive STS was equipped with the performance package which includes Brembo brakes and 18-inch wheels. The standard STS suspension provided predictable handling with minimal body roll and, though the steering response was somewhat soft and slow to react, we still found it easy to maneuver the car in tight turns. Cadillac's StabiliTrak stability control proved admirable in keeping the STS from skidding off course.
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the STS with rear-wheel drive starts in the $48,000 range, while AWD adds another $2,300. You'll pay a bit more for a comparably-equipped Mercedes Benz E-Class or BMW 5 Series, but less for the Lincoln MKS, Infiniti M and Audi A6. Our Fair Purchase Price shows that consumers are currently paying around MSRP on both the V6 RWD and AWD models, but be sure to check these values before going to the dealership to see what people are currently paying for an STS in your area. As for resale, the 2011 Cadillac STS holds only average values, trailing well behind the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Lexus GS in projected residual values.
The 2011 Cadillac STS has a six-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), traction control, StabiliTrak electronic stability control, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, OnStar, keyless start, auto-dimming mirror, Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist, Bose audio, navigation, front side-impact and front and rear head-curtain airbags, leather seats, cruise control, leather-wrapped power tilt/telescoping steering wheel and 17-inch painted aluminum wheels.
Options are generally arranged by trim level and packages and include onboard navigation, Head-Up Display (HUD), garage door opener, six-disc DVD changer, Bose 5.1 Studio Surround Sound system, HID headlamps, Magnetic Ride Control suspension, limited-slip rear axle, load-leveling suspension, heated rear seats, heated and cooling front seats, 18-inch wheels and tires, Lane Departure Warning, Side Blind Zone Alert and a performance handling package. The Platinum Edition adds Alcantara headliner, unique 18-inch wheels, leather trim interior and Platinum badges. Stand-alone options include all-wheel-drive and a power moonroof.
Bose 5.1 Studio Surround Sound
The Bose 5.1 Studio Surround Sound option features 15 speakers placed strategically throughout the cabin, including on the tops of the seats and beneath the center console. It delivers great sound.
The STS seats show Cadillac has found a nice combination of comfort and support, and they do a good job of holding you in place without being too firm.
Under the Hood
The 3.6-liter V6 engine is strong enough to satisfy most owners, and its advanced electronic features, such as the variable valve timing, help maximize fuel efficiency and power.
302 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
272 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 (RWD), 18/27 (AWD)
Once hailed as the savior of the Cadillac brand, the STS luxury sedan now seems to be overshadowed by the brilliant CTS Sedan, Coupe and Wagon, not to mention the impressive V-Series cars. Still, for those looking for luxury without hair-raising performance, the STS remains a crowd pleaser. Along with its slightly larger cousin, the DTS, the STS' mission is to continue satisfying the aging Cadillac faithful while still appealing to younger, first time buyers. Although it is available with all-wheel drive and a performance package suspension upgrade, the loss of the Northstar V8 engine this year will probably also cost the STS some potential buyers.