640 horsepower that handles – surely this is the standard of the super sedan world.
– Detroit, Michigan
I turned a failed Sunday afternoon photo shoot – a local church group was blowing up my preferred spot – into a successful Sunday afternoon drive in the Cadillac CTS-V. And, as is often the case when you seek out the better driving roads in your hometown, I eventually caught up to a guy in a Porsche.
The Porsche in this case was a 911 Turbo S Cabriolet, and the mustachioed, aviator sunglasses-wearing pilot was giving her the beans. Now, that’s one quick 911. But it occurred to me as we both played with the available corners and crossed our fingers about running into a cop: This Cadillac can run with just about anything in the world. At least outside of a track environment, there’s not much that can lose a 640-horsepower CTS as a tail. Neat.
- The story has to start with the bonkers 640-horsepower, 630-pound-feet-of-torque, supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine. Those kind of numbers were associated with elite-level supercars and lashed-together SEMA specials just a few years ago; today they can be had in a car with an automatic cupholder cover. Don’t mistake the feeling of unleashing all the force available for the almost-modest 0-60 number of 3.7 seconds – especially in terms of mid-range thrust the Cadillac shames that acceleration figure. And yet, all the power is neatly wrapped in a package that can be reasonably quiet, and won’t mock the rear tires unless you first ask for exactly that. Speed, plus control, equals the perfect super sedan operational envelope.
- It’ll go around a corner, too. I’ve loved every generation of the CTS-V, but none of them handle with such deftness and clarity of feedback as does this newest formula. The electronic limited slip differential allows for virtually zero wheelspin when powering out of a corner (at least in the dry). And, of course, the latest generation of General Motors’ Magnetic Ride Control suspension allows for super quick response time from the chassis, with precious little perceptible roll for a sedan that weighs more than two tons. Check and mate, BMW M5.
- The clever magnetic dampers allow the CTS-V to feel like a good Cadillac, as well as a good sports sedan. Ride comfort is high when you want to just cruise, and road and wind noise levels are low. Oh, and the Bose surround sound system is banging, too, so you can make good use of that quiet by shattering it (just don’t play Aerosmith… this isn’t your old man’s Cadillac).
- After seeing this car in the parking lot, I now realize that triple black (paint, wheels, interior) is the only way to order it. Adjust your schedules accordingly.
- At around $86,000 (base price plus $1,000 gas guzzler tax, and destination and delivery) this car is a hell of a value; but at $100,330 as I drove it, it feels over-optioned. I like the optional 19-inch wheels at $900, but the $5,500 carbon fiber package (which affects aero, but not much outside of a track environment) isn’t core to what makes the Caddy good. Same for the $1,300 Performance Data Recorder, which is a party trick I can’t see using after the first week of ownership.
- The interior is very nice but the styling is busy in any trim, and in this Saffron / Jet Black combo I consider it very taste specific. Listen, I love the Datsun Black Gold ad as much as the next guy, but I feel like the glittering gold/black trim in this cockpit is straight out of an aftershave commercial.
- Gas: get ready to pay for some. I didn’t once approach the combined figure of 17 miles per gallon over my days of driving. I did spend more money fueling up this press car than I have on a single other ride in quite some time. It was worth it, but ouch.
Photos: James Bradbury / Motor1.com