The coupe, which premiered at the Los Angeles auto show in November, rolls on the same 113.4-inch wheelbase as the CTS sedan, which saves a lot of development and tooling money, yet achieves coupelike proportions, thanks to a fast roofline and a rear overhang that's 4.6 inches shorter. It's a strategy GM's Australian designers used to create the Pontiac GTO coupe from the Holden Commodore sedan.

All the sheetmetal past the A-pillar is exclusive to the coupe. But while that fast backlight looks great, it effectively nixes the chance there will be a convertible version, because GM would have to engineer new structural metal around the rear end as well as new quarter panels and decklid.

The concept's rear bumper was redesigned for rear-offset crash standards, but the single-pipe-centered exhaust remains. The engine is the sedan's 3.6-liter V-6, including the optional 304-horsepower gas direct-injection version. The CTS-v version will follow within a year after the coupe's mid-2009 launch. As most of the engine, transmission, and suspension hardware from the sedan virtually bolts right in, this 556-horse Caddy two-door will be a relatively low-cost program.

AIMED AT: BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz CLK, Audi A5

This is very much a Eurocentric model. Cadillac initially considered the wagon a niche car for the U.S., with volume in the 3000 to 4000 range. The entire brand sold just 4508 units in Europe in 2007, so even if the Sport Wagon becomes its volume model there, total sales probably will be well below 8000 units worldwide.

As a result, Cadillac now is talking up the CTS wagon as an alternative for buyers anxious to get out of big, luxury SUVs. Given America's love affair with the SUV, it's unlikely to prove as popular as the next-generation SRX (see next page). Powertrain lineup in the U.S. will mirror the sedan's, which means the 3.6-liter V-6, with either 263 horses, or direct injection and 304 horses. All-wheel drive also will be available.

What about a CTS-v Sport Wagon? A 556-horsepower load hauler might tempt us enthusiasts, but it's off the table, for now. The wagon has a flexier body than those of the sedan and coupe and would require serious recalibration of the suspension. The potential sales volume would be too small for that sort of capital investment.

European buyers will be able to buy the CTS Sport Wagon with the 2.9-liter VM Motori turbodiesel. But don't rule out a diesel for the U.S., either: GM is considering its smooth, innovative new 4.5-liter turbodiesel V-8, originally designed for the GMT 360 midsize sport/utilities. It fits under the hood of the CTS sedan, coupe, and wagon, so long as Cadillac uses the raised CTS-v hood-the 4.5 diesel's turbocharger resides in the engine's vee.

AIMED AT: BMW 5 Series wagon, Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon, Audi A6 Avant