One of the selling points of Cadillac’s superb CTS coupe and sedan was that even modestly-engined models could be ordered with a row-it-yourself gearbox. Buy a Performance or Premium package CTS with the 3.6-liter V-6 engine, and you could select either a six speed manual or a six speed automatic. Even base, 3.0-liter equipped cars could be ordered with a manual transmission, which gave Cadillac bragging rights and the ability to counter sales of European sport sedans. Competitive products from Audi and BMW gave buyers the option of a stick or a slushbox, and including a manual transmission option was key to Cadillac’s market positioning (even if most buyers opted for the automatic). That’s changed for 2012, and if you’re looking to buy a 3.0-liter or 3.6-liter Cadillac CTS with a manual transmission, you’re out of luck. Insufficient demand for the manual transmission has forced GM to cease production, since it’s simply not cost effective to build cars that customers don’t want to buy. Since there’s no significant difference in other mechanicals between the 2011 and 2012 cars, you may still have luck shopping dealer inventory for a manual-transmission-equipped 2011 CTS coupe or sedan.
The change doesn’t impact Cadillac’s CTS-V models, which continue to be available with either the six speed manual or the six speed automatic transmission. Even the CTS-V Sportwagon can be ordered with a manual transmission, making it the only 556 horsepower, row-it-yourself station wagon on the market today. Ironically, the CTS-V’s record Nürburgring lap time was set in an automatic-equipped car, with the transmission in “Sport” mode. Sure, the automatic is faster, but it’s no where near as satisfying to drive.