$10,020 - $56,380

2011 Cadillac STS Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2011 Cadillac STS was new.


Performance: 9.3

The Cadillac STS is a luxury large car that reviewers like to drive. It offers nimble handling thanks to its well-tuned suspension, which holds its own in the corners and is still comfortable for daily commutes. The 3.6-liter V6 is the only available engine, but reviewers are happy with it. Base and luxury trims come with rear- or optional all-wheel drive, while Premium trims only come with rear-wheel drive.

Opting for an all-wheel drive STS will add a little less than $2,300 to the price of your STS, but luckily the extra stability won’t cost you any more money at the pump. The EPA estimates that both rear- and all-wheel drive STS models get 18 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. What’s more, the STS achieves those averages on regular fuel while most cars in its class require premium.

  • "Although it's certainly large, the 2011 Cadillac STS sedan feels three-fourths its size when driven with enthusiasm, much like the CTS from which it's derived. Turn-in is sharp and the car stays composed when pressed on a winding road." -- Edmunds
  • "The driving experience reflects Cadillacs of today: capable yet comfortable." -- Cars.com 

Acceleration and Power

For 2011, the only engine available in the STS is a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 302 horsepower. Reviewers like the engine, which uses variable valve timing to maximize power and acceleration. The lack of a V8 option isn’t such a bad thing, as test drivers generally note that the V6 is powerful enough for any driver. A six-speed automatic that can be shifted manually is the only available transmission.

  • "The V6 provides respectable power, with strong acceleration both around town and while making passes on the open highway." -- Edmunds
  • "This latest V-6 is indeed a gem." -- Car and Driver
  • "The engine remains quiet until you put your foot into it, unleashing a V-6 rumble satisfying enough to make you roll down the windows." -- Motor Trend
  • "The V-6 proves expedient enough at 60-to-70 mph passing, but the automatic can take a second or so to find the right gear when downshifting, and the engine doesn't muster enough low-end power to muscle its way through the hesitation." -- Cars.com

Handling and Braking

With a suspension system and brakes that reviewers praise, the Cadillac STS is a competent handler. However, some reviewers note that the steering feels overly light for a car with such good cornering ability.

  • "One thing that hasn't changed, however, is the STS's athletic handling, not to mention a price that typically undercuts this car's European rivals by thousands." -- Edmunds
  • "Terrific ride-and-handling balance." -- Car and Driver
  • "Any STS corners with poise and modest body lean, particularly the sharp STS-V. Compared with midsize cars from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, however, the steering on this Cadillac feels somewhat vague and overassisted. Reassuring brakes provide short, straight stops." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Body roll is impressively low, which plays right into the spot-on steering." -- Cars.com

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