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When General Motors held its annual media drive regional program for new product, we thought it odd there was no mention of Cadillac, especially given the fact the luxury marque was launching two all-new vehicles this fall.
Those questions were put to rest this week during a unique event dubbed “Cadillac’s Culinary Christmas Media Tour” – a fun, food-filled afternoon of progressive dining with some of the area’s top cuisine masters and driving the latest offerings from the automaker.
Cadillac explained this was an example of marketing events they will be offering as the brand moves forward. They also announced two more new models coming to market in the next couple of years – the ATS entry luxury sedan and the DTS/STS flagship sedan replacement dubbed STX.
Our afternoon began with introductions du jour followed by a walkaround of the fastest production sedan built – the supercharged 550hp Cadillac CTS-V. Did I mention we were driving the vehicles from one venue to the next? My early arrival that afternoon was rewarded with the first turn behind the wheel of this demonic luxury sport sedan, and I was not disappointed one bit. This was not my first time behind the wheel of a V-series Caddy, but for some reason my impressions this time around stuck with me. I would even go so far as to say this CTS-V is my new favorite sedan.
The updated navigation system came in very handy as we missed our turns on the designated route while we were putting the car through its paces. I am not one for the voice recognition systems but it does work well in the Cadillac as does the adjustable sport/tour suspension, leather Recaro performance seats and, of course, the hotrod engine under the hood – a 6.2-liter V-8 with Eaton supercharger backed by choice of six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes – capable of making 0-60 runs in under 4 seconds. (And yes, it does.)
CTS sedans start at about 36 grand but expect to pay northward of 60 large for the V-series.
Next stop was the private club atop the tallest building in Las Colinas, with a gorgeous view of not only downtown Dallas and Fort Worth but also Jerry Jones’ old stadium and new one. The culinary treats here courtesy chef Mark Pappas included duck and brie taquitos as well as lobster ravioli. Yum.
The vehicle walkaround this stopover was the new SRX from Cadillac. The 2010 model replaces the wagonish SRX previously offered, with the new model on GMs great new crossover platform already utilized by the Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain. The SRX is powered by a direct-injected 3.0-liter V-6 making 265hp or, coming soon, a turbocharged 2.8-liter six cranking out more than 300 ponies in all-wheel-drive format. Either way, the new SRX is living up to its marketing hype as being “the Cadillac of crossovers.” Pricing starts at around 33-and-a-third. The vehicle is a solid performer and takes what I enjoyed about the Equinox to the next level and then some.
We next headed over to the Four Seasons for a visit with chef Christof Syre and his wonderful butternut squash soup with eggnog froth. He also served up a tasty cold-smoked salmon apertif with chipotle sauce and then topped off our palates with a chocolate and creme broulee mousse dessert.
The vehicle we enjoyed at this stopover was the new wagon from Cadillac, the CTS Sport Wagon. Wagons have not gotten much love over the past few decades and Chevy Chase did not do them any favors in his vacation movie. Make no mistake – the 2010 CTS Sport Wagon is no family truckster, I assure you.
I cannot tell you how many times I walked around this vehicle trying to find something to dislike. Didn’t happen. I am a fan. I inquired about a V-series wagon coming down the pike but it appears Cadillac folks are not ready to discuss that possiblity. But don’t get me wrong, the Sport Wagon in its present form rolls with attitude.
The vehicle is very stable on road even when tossing it through some corners and curves. And none of the usual rumble from road noise given all the rear glass. This baby is tight – rock solid. This is a CTS sedan with more cargo room and a power liftgate. It comes with identical powertrain choices as its sedan counterpart and offers roof rails, fold-flat split rear seats and a unique cargo management system for the back. Were I in the market for a CTS vehicle I would actually choose this Sport Wagon over the sedan. I would have to pay more for it though, and that would be my only criticism of the new model. Pricing begins at 40 grand and can quickly climb to the mid-50s when loaded to the gills.
Our final destination of the evening brought us back to our starting point at Via Real restaurant and chef Phillipe Gaytan. A delicious slice of scallop over a fried mash of potato began our afternoon, with my day being topped by a perfect hunk of tenderloin being served on a flaming plank of wood tableside (I almost dialed 911 when I first saw the flames coming towards the table).
The day was a success and I would say that I enjoyed the food as much as the vehicles. When anyone combines two of my favorite things in the same event you have won me over.
Cadillac is on the right track here, product- and marketing-wise. Lifestyle events such as this are the perfect pairing for their 2010 lineup and I wish them – as well as all of you – the happiest of of holidays and a prosperous new year. Salud.