• Jul 9th 2010 at 11:57AM
  • 122
2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe – Click above for high-res image gallery

We've already discussed the complete, audacious beauty that is the 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe. Not only is it one of the most attractive designs to come out of General Motors in decades, but it's arguably one of the best-looking vehicles on the road today, proving that Cadillac (and GM, for that matter) is once again capable of delivering world-class designs.

Sexy? Yes. But can she cook?

We don't have many complaints about the 304-horsepower, direct-injection 3.6-liter V6 found under the hood of the standard Coupe. It certainly means well and does a good enough job of keeping the CTS experience entertaining, but we'd be liars if we didn't say we'd rather have a powerplant with a few more stones – 252 more, to be exact.

Enter the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe. It has a supercharged V8 that makes 556 horsepower. It comes with a six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment. It's under $65,000. Not only that, but the larger cojones found on the V sedan are translated into the coupe's styling, making for a car that's at once audacious and vicious, with a beating heart of total lunacy.

In the late 1990s, General Motors gave us the Opel-derived bar of soap known as the Cadillac Catera, telling us that it was "The Caddy That Zigs." But the Catera is long gone (good riddance) and we've found a candidate that's more worthy of carrying on that short-lived tagline. Take your blood pressure medicine, folks – the CTS-V Coupe is here. And it does a lot more than simply zig or zag – it utterly dominates the high-powered sports coupe segment.

Photos by Steven J. Ewing and Chris Shunk / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

All of the design attributes we love in the CTS Coupe – the wedgy, slashtacular angles of the side profile, the seductively shapely hind quarters, the center-mount rear exhaust – are amply amplified on the V. The overall exterior dimensions are exactly the same as the base coupe, but the V-specific styling cues, namely the bulgier hood, sharper front grille, larger fog-light surrounds and the exposed dual pipes of the exhaust, define the strong character lines and overall shape. These steroid-enhanced visuals drive home the point that the CTS-V means serious business. It'll certainly draw a crowd, as we found out on several occasions during our test. In fact, one small town store owner closed up shop for ten minutes just so he and his staff could ogle the V out in the parking lot.

The sedan's 19-inch wheels wrapped in low-profile Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires (255/40-series up front, 285/35 out back) are carried over to the Coupe, and hidden behind those wheels are the same large brakes, measuring 15-inches up front and 14.7-inches in the rear. Still, the whole CTS-V package is arguably more attractive with the two rear doors lopped off. The shorter body and lower stance work well with the bolder design elements, and we'll once again reiterate how much we love the Corvette-style hidden pushbutton door handles – an expensive piece of technology that we're glad to see getting more use outside of the Chevrolet dealership. With a profile that's so strong, ordinary door handles couldn't do the Coupe justice.

But while the CTS Coupe's design is world class on the outside, it poses a few problems once you pass beyond those fancy door openers. Most noticeably, the raked rear window and chunky C-pillar make for obstructive blind spots, and even though Cadillac says that it's lowered the seat height by two inches to compensate for the squatter roofline, we're having a hard time believing what we're told, especially with the ultra-comfortable and supportive Recaro chairs up front. But holy jeez do we love these seats, and if you're shopping CTS-V Coupe, you'd be a total fool not to option up for them.

The rest of the V Coupe's interior is exactly the same as what you'll find in the standard CTS, which nowadays is simply competitive, at best. For a car that carries a price tag of over $60,000, you'd be right to expect higher-quality leather, plastic and wood, but this is still a chapter that GM tells us is being rewritten, and for the sake of long-term livability and sustainability, the ink can't dry quick enough.

It's easy to focus on the so-so quality of the CTS Coupe's interior when you're only dealing with the 304-horsepower V6, but when you have 556 raging stallions at your disposal, you realize that GM's R&D money went into the right place. All it takes is the sound of the V8 catching fire for you to think less and less about wanting more touchable surfaces aside of those found on the steering wheel, pedals and gear shifter. And speaking of that lever, if Cadillac is going to hand out CTS-Vs fitted with the Hydra-Matic 6L90 six-speed automatic transmission, the paddle-shifters need some serious rethinking. With your hands resting at the standard nine-and-three position, you need to really extend your fingers to properly click the cheap plastic nubs mounted on the back of the steering wheel. The easy solution? Get the Tremec TR6060 manual cogswapper (not that the auto is a slouch – just ask John Heinricy).

The CTS-V Coupe's acceleration is simply staggering, and with your foot pressed to the floor, you'll hit 60 miles per hour just before "four Mississippi" escapes your lips. Asking the rear wheels to distribute 556 horsepower and 551 pound-feet of twist is a big task, and you can easily squeal the tires from every stop, even with traction control fully engaged. It's all in good fun, though as we like a car that bites back. The engine and exhaust noise emitted under hard acceleration further stimulates the thrill of full-throttle thrust, especially since there's a split second in which you only hear the roar of the 6.2-liter LSA V8 before the supercharger finishes spooling. Just as you start to take in the grumble from that fierce piece of all-American aluminum muscle, the supercharger's whine takes over; the two noises playing together in symphonic harmony.

Even though an autobox-equipped CTS-V Coupe weighs in at a relatively portly 4,237 pounds, the added 1.6 inches of width combined with the Magnetic Ride Control suspension setup make for sheer bliss when storming through corners. Putting both the suspension and transmission into Sport mode liven things up, with the MagneRide monitoring and adjusting damping rates every millisecond and the transmission altering the way it holds and dispatches cogs to keep you in the powerband as you enter, move through and exit a turn. There's always power on tap when you need it, and the CTS-V is not afraid to maintain a gear up to the redline when asked. The full 556 horses aren't available until 6,100 RPM, but having 551 lb-ft of torque at 3,800 RPM means you're riding smooth up and above 4K.

Steering inputs are immediately followed through at the front wheels with no noticeable vagueness, and the V Coupe's 54/46 front/rear weight distribution kills any sort of nose-heavy, understeer-prone tendencies. What's more, putting the Stabilitrak in competitive mode lets the rear end move a bit more freely while still keeping things in line. There's nearly no need to fully disengage the traction control during spirited drives on public roads, and we're totally okay with the fact that you have to hold the steering wheel-mounted traction control button for quite some time to completely turn off the nannies. Switch it off, though, and the CTS-V Coupe becomes a burnout machine capable of some serious antics. And if things do get ridiculously out of control, the six-piston front and four-piston rear Brembos provide ample and easily modulated stopping power – not to mention some serious brake dust after long stints of hard driving.

With the suspension set to Tour and the transmission left in its default setting, the CTS-V Coupe is as brilliant around town as it is out on the twisties. It's comfortable for long stretches of highway cruising and has enough damping power to soften broken stretches of pavement more than you'd expect from a car with such abbreviated sidewalls. When the need for power arises, the V willingly responds, but when it isn't tasked to be anything more than a muscle car wearing a tuxedo, it's graciously tamed.

Would we have one over the sedan? Hard to say. Ginsuing off the two rear doors, resculpting the body and only marginally improving the driving dynamics warrants nearly a $1,000 price increase over the four-door, but even so, at $62,990, the CTS-V Coupe is a serious bargain. An Audi S5 is cheaper and has a better interior, but the Cadillac can run circles around the Audi every day of the week and twice on Sunday. BMW M6? No thanks – it's remarkably more expensive and has too many digital safeguards in place before the V10's power can be unleashed. Ford's Shelby GT500 provides a compelling argument, but we'll pass on the comparatively pedestrian Mustang line when we can have something that's as precise, refined and, we'll say it again – sexy – as the Cadillac.

But the best part about the CTS-V Coupe is that, when it joins the sedan and upcoming Sport Wagon later this year – and we're on the edge of our Recaros for that last one – it will stand out as the most attractive vehicle in a full line of supercharged Caddies. We'd probably buy the wagon, but we'd kick ourselves every day for not getting the two-door. The sedan would save us the most money, but it's not nearly as functional or eye-catching as the load lugger, and it's bound to be more common. For the first time in quite a while, Cadillac has given us too many choices – not too few. But as conundrums go, this is one we can live with.

Photos by Steven J. Ewing and Chris Shunk / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I WANT ONE!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm sorry, but although I appreciate you really like this car, to anyone outside of the US this thing just reeks of the typical vulgar, simplistic, overpowered American junk that the US has been trying to convince us all that it has stopped producing.

      Clearly not.

      And yes Ford has turned things round somewhat but GM need to do better if they think that this impresses anyone without a two-foot wide arse and a trail of KFC grease running down their 'God Bless America' T-Shirt.

      I know this is a complete stereotype and completely wrong 99% of the time (I hope) but I'm afraid this is what the rest of the world see, and you can't completely blame us for that.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This car looks disgusting, but I am sure it drives great. Looking at it from the rear quarter...I think it is honestly worse than a pontiac aztek. Seriously one of the ugliest rears from an angle ever produced in history.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think the fog light surrounds look cheap and outdated. Not a huge fan of fender vents either. Other than that though, I love it. I will take a black on black manual with the Recaro seats please.
      • 5 Years Ago
      [quote]Even though an autobox-equipped CTS-V Coupe weighs in at a relatively portly 4,237 pounds[/quote]

      What are you smoking. Four thousand, two hundred and fourty pound curb weight for a COUPE. That's not relatively portly. That's Jarred before he went to subway; and he's wearing a bikini in a wet t-shirt contest.

      That thing is a DOG. Who wants to drive a fat whale of a car that can't corner and is only gonna shred tires in order to go fast?
        • 5 Years Ago
        You only fail to be able to turn if you don't have enough grip for the weight of the vehicle. Well, not only does the car have a lot of grip area (wide tires), but weight actually increases grip too by pushing down harder on the grip area and creating more friction.

        This is why the Bentley actually can handle and this can too. If you had ridden in the Bentley, you wouldn't say it couldn't turn.

        You should ask Mr. Newton about this next time you speak to him.

        As to your turbo Civic stuff, I find it hilarious. 300HP from a Civic engine isn't easy. 200: easy. 250: not hard at all. 300: you'll likely either have to modify the engine internals to reduce compression or run 100 octane fuel. This is especially true if you are talking about any kind of Civic that weighs only 2300lbs, at that point you're talking about starting with a 1989 Civic Si or so and those are even harder to get to 300HP. So you're not talking about a regular street car here.

        And even if you did, on most tracks this car would beat it. Because with its higher grip, more power and RWD it can get out of the corners faster.

        I do agree the Civic would be a lot of fun. Light cars are darty, and that's something a heavy car never can be. The Civic would be better in an autocross because of this. But on a track, darty just doesn't come into play as much as people think, which is why performance cars keep getting larger, heavier and more powerful. Look at Ferrari. Look at BMW. Even look at Honda.

        • 5 Years Ago
        You know, I take the 2+2 stuff back. I don't know why I copied that from the wikipedia page for the Continental GT, given that I've sat in the back of one. Even if Bentley considers it a 2+2, the back seat is only small for a GT. As a coupe, it's a fine back seat and I shouldn't be implying the rear seats in the CTS coupe are larger because they likely are not.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well since the sedan, which is a couple hundred pounds heavier IIRC, runs a sub 8 minute time on The 'Ring then I'll assume this can handle fine.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Spin cycle, I would not go too far with the weight pushing down on the tires thing. The lateral cornering forces generated with more weight would easily negate that advantage. I seem to recall smaller,lighter vehicles with inferior power to weight ratios mopping up at the Ring when the top sports cars and top drivers actually raced there. Porsche 908s and Ferrari 312s easily outran the 917 and 512 (both had better power to weight ratios than the lighter cars as well as larger tires!) at places like the Ring and the Targa Florio. While I agree the the V Coupe is impressive, it still will suffer from the weight even as well as it may hide it when driven with extreme anger.
        • 5 Years Ago
        ***The Bentley Continental GT is over 5,100lbs, it makes 552HP and yet it handles well.***

        A bentley. You Can't Be Serious. Is that possibly the heaviest brand of automobile that doesn't come with bullet-proof glass?

        Obviously your definition of 'handles well' has nothing to do with mine. If you don't know the kind of impact weight has on handling, breaking, fun and acceleration of a car then I should beat you with a Newton Meatsickle.

        Let the beating commence:
        F=ma. Be it forwards, backwards, up, down or side to side.
        Or I=mr^2 if you look at rotation.

        The m in those equations is mass. As in if you are a massive whale driving around in a buffuelo of a car like this "coupe", you're gonna lose lot's of races.

        You should go to a track sometime and race a turbo civic in this fat coupe. I bet you the little 2300lb civic with front wheel drive and 4x double wishbone suspensions and around 300hp on a stock block would spank this turdmobile silly and be lot's of fun in the process.

        Seriously, you wanna tell me this car handles 'well for it's gigantic weight problem', that's fine. But I'm not going to believe some biased webzine or yourself when you're standing in direct contradiction to mr. Newton.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow Cadillac, You've done it again! Not only do I love the normal CTS Coupe, but this is heart stopping HOT! and the upcoming CTS-V Sport Wagon?!?! that will be utterly crazy awesome.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Look almost Identical to the no CTS-V Coupe...

      Yes this car looks different... but its that different look thats no settling with me... something is off about it and idk what it is because the CTS-V sedan looks great.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Autoblog keeps lying about the interior quality of Cadillacs. I challenge anyone to go by a Cadillac dealership and see exactly what I am saying. The CTS interior is world class!

      If you call them on it you will not be able to post because they will disable your abilities!!

        • 5 Years Ago
        "Autoblog keeps lying about the interior quality of Cadillacs."

        I agree. This is an amazing interior in ergonomics, looks and quality. AB open your eyes, pls !!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Did you just use the corvette interior to exemplify a good quality interior???
        Jesus H. Christ you need to go sit in some nicer cars.
        I can tell you right now that I've sat in many many used cars that have nicer interiors than NEW corvettes. The corvette interior is HORRIBLE with nasty materials, terrible fitment and no taste, AND it doesn't hold up well to wear.

        I guess some people just have no taste or are so blindly biased they can't see anything wrong with their team.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Keep in mind, when its your job to write about cars, you have to come up with something to write about. Therefore, interiors become bigger topics than they should be.

        Use the Vette for example. If journalists were to give cudos to a Vette interior, when you factor in the performance and value they'd be crowning it the greatest car ever if they gave it a fair evaluation. So in order to compare it to other cars, they must bash the interior of the car so that other vehicles costing twice as much can still be considered. Yes, the Vette seats can be better but any car enthusiast would rip those seats out and throw in some better ones....instant fix!!!

        The CTS's interior is incredible. The layout and seating position are perfect. The materials are fine. To be criticizing the materials that make up the dash and console just shows how someone really doesn't get it . Seriously, to mention the quality of the leather, plastic and wood in a car like this is ridiculous. Those comparisons should be left for the high end luxury cars.....not in a high performance vehicle.

        Blind spots??? It goes with the territory. Radical designs usually make sacrifices in this department. If you're paying attention while you're driving it shouldn't be an issue!!!

        (I;'m not singling out AB's writers, it happens everywhere)
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Almighty General strikes again. This is an amazing Automobile, and as styling goes, I dare to say the best looking vehicle in production as of now. I was fortunate enough to see one in person......pictures do it no justice, just a beautiful vehicle inside and out. Another GM product that proves they are back, and will again be an American and world icon for building great automobiles. Beautifull product......GO GM!!!!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm beginning to think this whole Science and Technology theme is hard to execute without NASA grade production techniques.

      They should scrap it and move on to something else.

      BMW, and Audi have went through like 3 different themes while Cadillac is still struggling with this one.
        • 5 Years Ago
        BMW went from conservative to innovative to boring. Audi went from REALLY boring to conservative to conservative with lights. I personally like the A&S design language. At least a Cadillac doesn't look like anything else(or overly like each other). I think them and Jaguar have the best design languages in the in the luxury car group currently.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't know what to make of it, best to wait till i see it in person. The concept of it is fascinating but i gotta say in pictures it looks rather disproportional.

      -Its HUGE!!!! (look how small the girl is compared to it) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvnQn3_f8eg

      -The distance between the shoulder line and the rear wheels is like a mile, sorta looks like the fiat 500

      -the trunk looks ridiculously high, its approaching electric car/wagon territory.

      But i guess in real life it will probably look more 'put together.' Kudos GM for showing some tenacity... first the Camero then this, i see you don't what anymore board meetings with Timothy Geithner.
      • 5 Years Ago
      'Best looking car'?!

      Jeez, you Americans truely have no taste.
      It`s a big fat chrome polished black box.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sir, that is a big fat chrome polished black box that kicks ever loving ass.
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