Cadillac has been slaving away to re-establish itself as a premier luxury brand capable of keeping up with the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz, and that jockeying for position couldn’t have been clearer at the launch event for its new flagship midsize sedan this past October. The brand descended on Toronto on Oct. 18 and 19, inviting out a wide array of the city’s fashion and lifestyle writers and personalities to get an idea of what the new CTS is all about. Unlike your typical launch, which consists of little more than a quick speech and a few hours of driving, this time around Cadillac had a bit more in store for its invited guests.
Every element of the event was clearly focused on living the high life, from having the new CTS lifted onto the rooftop terrace of the Shangri-La Hotel in downtown Toronto, to the first pit stop of the drive event at the Alton Mills Art Centre in Caledon, and right down to the Holt Renfrew-sponsored personal styling session provided to attendees by Alexis Honce. As much as Cadillac has done a great job of improving its vehicles’ performance, this event was definitely more focused on tying the brand to all things luxury-lifestyle than on anything else.
I’m the first to admit I’m somewhat smitten with Cadillac’s latest design direction. The company has aimed itself squarely at the top tier of the segment, and aside from working some kinks out of the infotainment systems, it is creeping closer and closer to taking some serious dollars away from the likes of Benz and Bimmer. The new CTS has already managed to drive away with Motor Trend’s 2014 Car of the Year award.
It’s always interesting to see a brand successfully reinvent itself, and although GM hasn’t always been overly successful at it, the old and stodgy image of the 60-something Cadillac drivers cruising southern Florida might finally be a thing of the past. In their place stand the fashion-forward, young, clean-cut go-getters who want their ride to look as good as they do. As long as the brand doesn’t start trying too hard to push that specific image, it’s bound to do just fine.