But in late December, Cadillac reminded everyone what it does best: Build some of the rawest and most compelling luxury sedans in the world, as evidenced by the 2016 CTS-V. This monster churns out 640 horsepower from a supercharged 6.2-liter V8. Sound familiar? That's the Corvette Z06 engine, and it makes this CTS the most powerful production Cadillac ever.
It also puts the sporting divisions of the Germans on notice. The new CTS-V easily overpowers the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S 4Matic and its 5.5-liter biturbo V8 rated at 577 hp, and the BMW M5 (with the competition pack) and its 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 that pushes out 575 hp.
The rear-wheel drive Cadillac can sprint to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds, which is close to the 3.5-second time turned in by the 4Matic-driven E63 S, and a bit quicker than the 4.1 seconds posted by the M5.
With Magnetic Ride Control, General Motors' stout eight-speed automatic transmission (also used in the Corvette), Brembo brakes and a carbon-fiber option package that pretty much builds your car out of carbon fiber – it's clear this Cadillac means business.
Truth be told, we expected this CTS-V to deliver. It's been a serious sports sedan for a decade, and the recent generation and its 556-hp arrogance have been particularly memorable. But notice what we're doing here? We're talking about product. Not who makes Cadillac's ads, or if the brand's headquarters has a mailing address in NYC.
Like the 2016 ATS-V that's due in the spring, the debut of the 2016 CTS-V (on sale in late summer) is a shot in the arm for Cadillac, and its arrival comes during time of transition. The brand is trying to reinvent itself as a modern luxury maker. It wants new customers, a different image and obviously more sales. Those things are going to take time, but with a 640-hp sledgehammer of a sports sedan on tap for next year, Cadillac can still maintain some of its swagger through all of the change.
Other News And Views
1984 Audi Sport Quattro heads for the auction block
If you're into '80s rally cars, you're really a car person. But if you're into that stuff – and we are – this 1984 Audi Sport Quattro is sure to get your blood flowing. It's one of just 214 road-going models produced so Audi could race even hotter versions of them in the World Rally Championship's Group B class for modified sports cars. The production Sport Quattros had 2.1-liter inline five-cylinder engines that made a healthy 302 hp with turbocharging and electronic fuel injection, though that paled in comparison with the racecars' 450 bhp. This example has a five-speed manual transmission, four-wheel vented racing disc brakes and Quattro all-wheel drive. It wears white paint, which is believed to be original, has cloth Recaro sport seats and rolls on white alloy wheels. It's already titled and registered to drive on US roads.
This Sport Quattro will cross the auction block at RM's sale next month in Arizona, where experts estimate it will fetch $350,000 to $475,000. It has about 5,157 miles on the clock, and it's only had two owners. We bet there will be fierce competition to be owner No. 3.
Shelby American builds Signature Edition Super Snakes
Shelby American is sending out the last generation of the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 with a limited-run Signature Edition of the Super Snake package. The Signature Edition includes upgraded rear brakes, a Shelby Performance cooling package with a new radiator, special badging and floor mats and a day at the track. The Snakes are available in any color offered by Ford on the GT500, plus your choice of Shelby stripes. A wide-body kit is an option.
The Super Snake is a post-title conversion kit that uses a Kenne Bell supercharger to raise the GT500's already-potent V8 engine to 850 hp. Shelby will build 50 examples of the Signature Edition. They cost $44,995, in addition to the price of a GT500. The order bank is open through Jan. 31.
2015 Volkswagen Golf R preorders start Jan. 8.
Psyched about the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R and it's 292-hp, all-wheel-drive goodness? You can preorder one Jan. 8. VW will sell the first copies of the Golf R as, well, copies. The initial batch of 500 will come with blue metallic paint, 19-inch wheels with summer tires and a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. Plus, you get a serialized Golf R watch, carbon-fiber and stainless steel key chain and VIN-specific certificate. These early edition Golf R models are based on high-end trims, and they include navigation and Fender audio systems. They'll start at $39,090, not including destination charges. To reserve one, head over to the Golf R site on Jan. 8, and you'll need to plunk down a (refundable) $500 deposit.