All three versions share a chassis that was developed on Germany's Nurburgring test track, giving it both good handing and responsiveness while remaining comfortable enough for daily road use--although a bit stiff for some tastes. GM's StabiliTrak electronic stability control is standard across the line.
All CTS models come well-equipped. The 3.0L features 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlamps, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, an 8-way power-adjustable seat, a tilt and telescopic steering column, premium vinyl seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an 8-speaker Bose sound system as standard. 3.0 Luxury trim adds a power passenger's seat, driver's memory functions, heated seats, leather upholstery, a wood and leather steering wheel and Bluetooth connectivity.
The 3.6 models feature the larger V6 engine, but also 18-inch wheels, high-performance brakes, upgraded sport-tuned suspension, a limited-slip rear differential and HID headlamps. 3.6 Premium, adds a 5.1 surround Bose 10-speaker stereo with hard-drive based music storage and USB/iPod connections. A Luxury Level Two package is also available on top of the Performance trims, adding rear parking sensors, heated and cooled front seats, folding rear seat, keyless entry and remote start.
The performance-oriented CTS-V comes with an impressive 556-horse supercharged 6.2L V8 and the choice of either a 6-speed automatic or manual transmission. For 2012, the CTS-V is available in either sedan or coupe versions. GM's Magnetic Ride Control suspension is standard, which gives the driver two separate firmness modes. In addition to that, GM's Performance Traction Management helps wrestle all the V's power to the ground without limiting spirited performance driving. Special bold exterior styling touches complete the package, as well as unique interior appointments that include optional Recaro seats with 14-way adjustments and special suede-like leather wraps on the steering wheel and shift knob. A GPS navigation system is standard.