2003 Cadillac CTS
2003 Cadillac CTSEnlarge Photo
It's the stake that GM put through the heart of old luxury. From its heyday in the Sixties and Seventies, Cadillac spent a dozen or more years wandering in the cultural desert, while the Germans plundered its sales and Lexus racked up customer-service accolades and quality scores by the armload. The first sign of life came in the form of the STS, a front-drive sedan that dared to put a "sport" behind one of its letters. Then, in 2003, the rear-drive CTS launched the brand back into contention, fueled by a Zeppelin-themed ad campaign and driven by Art & Science styling. The watershed change in Cadillac erased the previous, awful attempts at entry-level cars--Catera and Cimarron--and gave GM's "standard of the world" standing again in the luxury realm.