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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Hot Wheels and Matchbox 2010-2011 Cadillac CTS family

Last decade Cadillac made a revolutionary change by going for a new, edgy Art & Science theme for their vehicles by starting with the new rear-wheel drive CTS sedan in 2001 that adopted the same styling first show in the 1999 Evoq concept car (which would eventually become the XLR Roadster).  Even though there was a few rough edges to smooth out, the CTS became a popular car for Cadillac and along with the 2002 Escalade and CTS V-series sedan with a Corvette-sourced V8, helped Cadillac finally become a challenger to the German automakers so long overdue.  What else is long overdue is the new Cadillac styling in the Mattel brands Hot Wheels and Matchbox.  Well in 2010 the long wait for a CTS resulted in three different variations, so I decided to bring all three to join the resurrected CTS coupe for 2014.

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CTS, Take 2: Finally becoming a champion!

While Cadillac's new Art & Science look was revolutionary, it had some odd shapes and cheap touches inside and out that made the overall look 'choppy' on all vehicles, but that was going to change.  The evidence is the Cadillac Sixteen Concept in 2003, which Hot Wheels also released in 2004.  The Cadillac featured smoother, flowing styling with no imperfections and an interior that featured beautifully-crafted materials that are a far cry from the cheap plastics in the then current Cadillac interiors.  This was a preview of Art & Science II, and the first to get it was the second-generation CTS sedan in 2008.  The CTS now had a smoother look that had a premium touch and was easier to the eyes.  The front had a large chrome grille, the headlights featured vertical neon pipe lights on the ends (as did the rear taillights).  Out back the trunk lid is cleaner with the reverse lights now moved to the taillights and dual quad exhaust.  Inside the interior is a big improvement with soft touch materials, a center console with analog clock and a navigation screen that comes up from the dash, and supportive front seats.  Sadly from experience the interior is cramped no thanks to the rear wheel drive setup, and the new ATS is no better (the new 2014 CTS is larger so that should help).  Engine's start with a new 3.6L DOHC V6 with direct injection producing 304 hp. and 274 Ib-ft. of torque through a six-speed automatic.  The handing was sharp and flat while very comfortable on the road.  The CTS won various awards including the 2008 Motor Trend Car of the Year.

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If that's not enough, then step up to the V series sedan in 2009.  The V series started with the CTS and so far has been limited to the CTS since its first introduction in 2004.  The second generation uses a mesh grille with a larger lower intake, bulging hood dome, flared fenders, and more aggressive dual exhaust.  The interior gains Alcantra accents on the steering wheel and shifter, along with a few more special touches including Recaro front seats.  With thanks to the new Corvette ZR1, the Supercharged 6.2L V8 carries over with some modifications including a wet-sump oil pan from a dry sump and modifications to accept a six-speed automatic.  Power drops to 556 hp. and 551 Ib-ft. of torque through a 6-speed manual while 6-speed automatic versions had slightly lower output.  A tighter-tuned suspension allowed the CTS to break a Nuremburg lap record in 2009.  Sport Wagon and Coupe versions of the V series also followed.

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But Cadillac wasn't done yet!  Next was the Sport Wagon in 2010, the first Wagon for Cadillac in a long time!  From the C-pillar forward it's typical CTS Sedan, then things change with a sweeping D-pillar that ends in tall, Volvo-like Taillights.  The interior is also the same as the sedan, but gains more rear seat room and a larger cargo area.  Powertrain is the same 3.6 V6 as the sedan, but limited to a six-speed automatic.  The winner-winner-chicken-dinner is the V-series version with supercharged V8 and six-speed manual that no one else can match (and one of a kind).

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Finally in 2011 Cadillac revealed a stunning take on the CTS by losing two doors and really shaping the rear end of the CTS as the Coupe.  The A-pillar forward is typical CTS, but the doors are larger and have Corvette-style electric door handles and no B-pillars.  The rear has a raked look where the roofline ends in one of the sharpest taillight design on a Cadillac to date that also includes a sharp-pointed third brake light and finished up with center exhaust tips.  In my opinion the rear looks odd, more like a fastback coupe than a regular coupe, nevertheless it was considered one of the most beautifully-styled Cadillac's since the 1967 Eldorado coupe.  Inside the interior is the same, but the front seats are roomy while the rear seats suffer less room, as does the trunk space.  Powertrain is the same V6 as the regular CTS, while the V series shares the same supercharged V8.  In addition to the powertrain and modifications the V series gains twin exhaust tips that are not part of the bumper as in the regular CTS coupe.  In 2014 the CTS is redesigned to be larger to allow the smaller ATS to fit in.  A V series will return, but the coupe will likely surrender to the ATS line and the Sport Wagon is likely not to relive another generation.

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Hot Wheels CTS V Series Sedan

First on the list to arrive in 2010 is the Hot Wheels version of the V series sedan.  Initially it looks good, though there's a few choppy spots like the front grille that lacks the Cadillac badge and the headlights with some odd-double-headed headlight decals.  The casting has some square surfaces, especially in the rear (which should be smoother), though the taillights are properly detailed.  The 2010 has a simple look with headlights, taillights, trim, and V series badges detailed.  The 10-spoke wheels look proper on this casting, and the large sunroof is a nifty feature.  Inside the smooth details of the interior is nicely done with a cool touch:  A section of the base comes up to compliment part of the center stack.  First year colors include a metalflake black, silver, or burgundy.  There's a few other variations that also came out, but the best one (and one I don't have) is the 2011 Christmas version from Wal-Mart that features a full-load of exterior details in addition to the ones from the 2010 version decked out in pearl white.

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Matchbox CTS SportWagon and Coupe

But leave it to Matchbox to exemplify the CTS look with the proper details on the SportWagon and CTS Coupe.  Rather late in 2010 (more like early 2011) the SportWagon appeared with accurate detailing on the actual car with the smooth surfaces, properly-detailed grille and headlights, large sunroof, and detailed rear-end including the tall taillights.  The base is more detailed than the Hot Wheels version, and the interior is just stunning perfecting every inch of the real car's interior!  Even the double-spoke wheels look spot on in this version.  First color was red, which looked a little sloppy to some taste, but then in 2011 silver came out to compliment the new coupe, as did the pear white in the 2011 5-pack.  In 2011 a change occurred as Matchbox changed course, so the recolor that year was orange with orange 5-spoke wheels, while in 2013 a less-tame version appeared in tan with blacked out 5-spoke wheels; the latter a pegwarmer at stores.  I wish it was all-black then it would've been a better seller.

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Shortly after the belate SportWagon release, the CTS Coupe appeared as a 2011 model in silver.  Just like the Wagon the Coupe shared the same smooth details with accurate decals, wheels, large sunroof, and interior.  The biggest difference is the raked rear end with the edgier coupe styling and the base was revised at the rear section to reroute the exhaust toward the center.  After the silver (with the matching SportWagon 2011 version), it was a 10-pack exclusive in black with gold wheels.  Then...nothing...until 2014 when the CTS Coupe was revived in a gorgeous dark red metallic color with blacked-out 5-spoke wheels.  The details, again, carry-over from the 2011 version except for a new rear license plate.  Let's hope Matchbox puts more use out of this coupe!

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So yea, take a picture!  This is the only time you'll ever see Matchbox produce the WHOLE line of Cadillac products in the course of a year and a half, and even though you'll see more Cadillac's from the Mattel brands in the future, nothing like these three!

Update:  Matchbox is starting to get more use out of the CTS coupe, and the latest example for 2016 is the boldest: a gorgeous royal blue color with the return of the multi-spoke wheels and the usual lighting details.  One difference this time around is the lack of grille detailings even though it has the Cadillac badge in the center.  The lack of grille details is a bit odd at first, but after a while you can get a sense of sporting flavor in the look.  It all looks good and on a car like this it just amplifies the look!

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Update 12/19/17: Here's pictures of the silver Cadillac CTS Wagon that was released in 2011 and is a perfect match to the silver CTS coupe released in the same year:

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