2010 Cadillac CTS-V Expert Review:Autoblog
Despite recent products to the contrary, when much of America thinks "Cadillac," a lot of people still recall the land yachts of the '70s and '80s. Hoods and decks marginally shorter than your average aircraft carrier, and Sedan de Villes and Fleetwoods serving as hearses or transportation for those awaiting a ride in one. But something happened to Cadillac a few years back. After several failed attempts to compete with the Germans (Seville STS, Allante and Catera), General Motors began crafting a strategy to take on the luxury marques abroad. At the forefront of that movement is the Cadillac CTS and the pinnacle of their efforts is this, the CTS-V. To paraphrase and co-opt the grizzled Oldsmobile tag-line: "The 2009 CTS-V is not your grandfather's Cadillac." Not by a long shot.
Photos Copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Max Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.
While the Cadillacs of yore were only marginally removed from their seagoing counterparts – both from a dynamic and steerage standpoint – the CTS-V stands in stark contrast. In standard guise, the CTS is bold and handsome, utterly modern and instantly recognizable. This is even more so in V trim.
To qualify as a V-Series model, the CTS had to have both the moves and the looks to accompany the badge. So Cadillac's Clay Dean-led design team incorporated the same mesh grille seen on earlier Vs, along with a deep front fascia that diverts air around the car rather than under it. This adds to the visual appeal as well as enhancing stability at elevated speeds.
Extensions along the flanks and rear bodywork visually lower the CTS-V and carry the bottom edge of the front air dam to the back. The only other exterior change is the hood bulge required to clear the marvelous LSA V8. Like the LS9 in the Corvette ZR1, the LSA is a supercharged 6.2-liter V8. And like its big brother, it proves that a simple, compact pushrod V8 can do amazing things in the 21st century.
This Caddy thunders down the road with 556 horsepower and 551 lb-ft of torque, with most of that twist available around 1,500 rpm. Compared to the CTS-V's most obvious competitors – the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 – that low-down grunt is a selling point. And while the Bimmer's rev-happy V10 is fun on the track, it loses its luster when commuting to the office. And though it's true that the E63 offers substantially more grunt than the M5 (465 lb-ft at 5,200 rpm versus 383 lb-ft at 6,100 rpm), it's still outmatched in both output and responsiveness by the CTS-V. The Cadillac, like its two-door Corvette sibling, can be driven around town in a thoroughly relaxed fashion. And with a choice of either a six-speed automatic with sport and manual shift modes or a row-your-own Tremec with the same number of cogs, the CTS-V pleases with what's under the hood and what's nestled in your palm.
But in order for a car to be competitive in this high-dollar, high-horsepower segment, the CTS-V needs more than great mechanicals. The office space needs to be up to snuff, with top-notch materials, peerless build quality and down-to-business functionality. Like its entry-level counterpart, the CTS-V scores well on all counts. The dashboard and doors are trimmed in the same cut-and-sew leather as the standard CTS, but the V benefits from carbon fiber trim across the dash and doors, along with a center stack and console finished in a high gloss piano black.
More important than interior trimmings are the front seats. Thankfully, Cadillac saw fit to offer the CTS-V with a proper pair of thrones. Optional 14-way adjustable Recaros are available at a price ($3,400), and they're worth every penny. The side bolsters can be adjusted to fit the driver's torso to a "T", allowing the person manning the helm to comfortably take advantage of the V's thoroughly revised suspension. And if that price still seems too steep, it's made slightly more bearable with the inclusion of Alcantara trim coating the center of the seats, shift knob and steering wheel.
Once your butt is situated in the grippy Recaro, it's time to fire up the engine and unleash the beast. Of course, this being a Cadillac and not a Corvette, it doesn't make as much noise as its Bowtie'd counterpart. In fact, the CTS-V sounds downright subdued – but there's no mistaking it for a Lexus. Like other great V8s, its slightly lumpy at idle, but given that the engine is the heart of the CTS-V, it's more like a pulse and less like a '60s muscle car on the verge of vapor lock.
With our tester's 6L90 automatic transmission in Drive, a gentle squeeze of the throttle sets the CTS-V smoothly into motion. Given the V's capabilities, you'd expect the sedan to feel high-strung and truculent at slow speeds. It's anything but. Measured application of the throttle results in perfectly linear acceleration – and when you finally hammer the go-pedal, all that twist plants your backside into the seat unlike any other sedan on the market. Push the LSA harder and the exhaust note becomes even more aggressive, although it never grates. It simply responds, "Sure, I'm more powerful than some supercars, but I'm also a grown up."
When the roads finally begin to bend, the CTS-V is more than ready to take up the task. The Delphi-sourced magnetic adaptive damping system allows for a wide range of suspension rates, eliciting fast responses by using shocks filled with magneto-rheological fluid (an oil impregnated with iron particles) that changes viscosity when an electric current is applied. The result is a fluid – not floaty – ride that handles the most pockmarked roads with aplomb. As speeds and lateral forces build, the dampers automatically tighten up and the MR button on the center stack firms things up even further.
Like the adaptive damping, the CTS-V shares the ZR1's Brembo calipers, with six-piston units up front and four-pots in the rear. Fortunately (for cost) or unfortunately (for performance), the V has to make do with vented iron rotors instead of the exotic carbon ceramic units on the 'Vette. But it doesn't matter. The brakes work beautifully, with a firm pedal feel, linear responses and fade-free performance. The stiff, one-piece calipers provide perfectly precise modulation, making deceleration as easy and impressive as acceleration.
The automatic transmission's shifting duties can be handled in one of two ways: either pushing the shift lever to the right and tapping fore and aft, or tickling the switches on the back of the steering wheel's spokes. Although the switches work as advertised, their placement leaves something to be desired, as your hands have to be perfectly placed at 9 and 3 o'clock to operate them, making gear selection in fast corners slightly difficult.
Shifting niggles aside, the CTS-V is – without a doubt – one of the finest cars on the road today and one of the best vehicles ever built by General Motors. It packs the performance to run with the fastest super sedans from Germany and looks that are both modern and uniquely Cadillac. For those who like the idea of ZR1 performance, but need something with room for four and a usable trunk, the CTS-V is the chariot you've been waiting for. And to make the deal even sweeter, you get all this for a price substantially lower than the competition.
The CTS-V's cost of entry is $58,575 and comes standard with the Brembo brakes and MR dampers. The Thunder Gray ChromaFlair paint, Recaros, and premium audio with navigation brought our tester to $68,540, including delivery, with the $900 Ultra-view sunroof being the only major option missing from the checklist. Even by ticking off every possible factory option, the maximum tab comes in just over $71,000 – nearly $14,000 less than the starting price of a BMW M5. If only GM could've launched the new CTS-V sooner, it would truly be a celebration of what the company is capable of.
Photos Copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Max Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.
Click above for a high-res gallery of the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V
After decades of decay, Cadillac began a transformation in the waning years of the last century that would allow the brand to compete against modern luxury brands. Decrepit beasts like the late Eldorado and Seville were euthanized and, while the decision to switch mostly to alpha-numeric naming was dubious, Cadillac finally started creating cars that could compete directly with the best from Europe and Japan, and the first generation CTS was one of them.
In spite of this progress, the Germans still had something Cadillac lacked, namely AMG, M and RS models. So Cadillac devised the V-Series, the first of which was the 2004 CTS-V. Just as BMW does with the M3 and M5, Audi with the RS4 and RS6 and Mercedes with innumerable AMGs, the CTS-V had a bigger, more powerful engine; beefier brakes and tires; a suspension to match and an upgraded interior. This, however, is an arms race that has yet to subsie in spite of ever higher fuel prices. With BMW, Mercedes and Audi now offering even more powerful engines, Cadillac has stepped up to the plate with an all-new CTS-V and we had a chance to drive it at the even newer Monticello Motor Club in New York. With a new supercharged LSA engine closely related to the LS9 in the Corvette ZR1, the CTS-V makes some big promises. Read on after the jump to see if it delivers.
Photos Copyright ©2008 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.
American automakers started trying to create what they called Euro-sedans way back in the mid-'80s. At the time, they thought a European sedan was nothing more than a de-chromed version of a regular sedan that was stiffly suspended with a little more tire. The result of this thinking was cars like the Chevy Celebrity EuroSport and Pontiac 6000 STE. Needless to say, none of these were competitive with Audi or BMW were offering. Cadillac didn't even try to compete at back then since it was still selling big Fleetwoods and De Villes. Fast forward two decades and GM has well and truly learned how to build cars that can attack the heart of the German sport sedan segment, as the regular 2008 CTS, which has drawn largely rave reviews since its debut last year, has demonstrated.
We got a close look at the CTS-V in June at the Milford Proving Ground and went for a ride in one so we already knew the car was fast. With 556 horsepower and 551 lb-ft of torque, how could it not be? But many past GM efforts performed well on the controlled surfaces of a proving ground environment but fell flat on their faces in the real world. So before we hit Monticello, we embarked on a 90-minute route from White Plains, NY that took us through a mix of urban stop-and-go, freeways, small towns and some twisty mountain roads.
The driving environment of the CTS-V is largely the same as the standard CTS, but with some upgraded trim like micro-fiber inserts in the seats and around steering wheel that feel rich to the touch and look great. The standard seats are based on those in the standard CTS, but unless you have an extra-wide girth, we recommend opting for the 14-way Recaros – you won't be sorry. The standard seats are reasonably supportive and comfortable, but the lower cushions are too short. The Recaros have adjustable thigh supports, as well as adjustable everything else.
The CTS-V does transmit more of the road surface to your back-side than the regular sedan. You will not mistake it for one of those floaty, '80s-era Fleetwoods. Nor is it anything like an early C4 vintage Z51 Corvette. The magnetic ride damping system does a great job of filtering out the unpleasantness while still letting you be aware of what's passing underneath. Similarly, the audible feedback of the tires and exhaust are louder than a base CTS but far less than a typical aftermarket exhaust system. It's a nice balance that lets you know you're driving a serious automobile with very serious sporting pretensions, but that it doesn't mind getting up and going to work each morning.
Visually, the CTS-V stands out in a crowd more than either its lesser siblings or its predecessor. The big mesh grille now has twice the open area of the previous V, a necessity to flow enough air for the up to seven heat exchangers. The CTS-V is also the first GM car to be equipped with an electric park brake. The base CTS has one of those old school foot operated jobs, but Cadillac engineers wanted more foot room for the manual transmission CTS-V.
The EPB leaves extra room for the dead pedal on which you can rest your left foot when not using the clutch. With 551 lb-ft of twisting force, the clutch needs a lot clamping force. Fortunately, the use of a dual plate clutch like the one in the ZR1 means that your left leg won't end up being twice the size of your right. The clutch effort is nicely weighted and the travel is well matched to the accelerator and brake.
Once we got to Monticello, there was a briefing from CTS-V lead performance integration engineer Chris Berube. Along with all the technical details about the engine, he gave us a warning about shift points. Showing us the power and torque curves, he noted that most engines reach a power peak somewhere below their maximum rpm. Even without looking at the tach, you can feel the loss of acceleration as you approach the red-line. Such is not the case with the LSA power-curve. It has no peak, rather it just ends at the red-line. If the valve-train and other components could withstand higher sustained speeds, it could make even more than its advertised 556 horsepower. Thus, it's very easy to hit the CTS-V's rev-limiter before you know what's happening. The speedometer and tach have red tracer LEDs that follow the needles as they arc around the dial, and as you approach red-line they start to flash.
This new Monticello track is absolutely astounding. It's a 4.1-mile, 22-turn natural terrain circuit designed by veteran road racer Brian Redman and track architect Bruce Hawkins. We'll tell you more about the Monticello Motor Club in a separate post later, but suffice it to say that this was a perfect locale for the debut of the CTS-V. It took some getting used to since none of us had seen the track before, especially since it's so long, and with 500 feet of elevation change, there are many different types of turns. It's challenging for drivers of any skill level, especially driving a monster like the CTS-V.
Like the team responsible for the ZR1, the CTS-V crew strove to build a car with immense performance that was at the same time very usable on both the street and track. A driver with less skill can thrash it without getting bitten back at every wrong move. For those with a higher degree of skill, the CTS-V offers a higher ceiling for exploring even greater limits. Switching the stability control system to Competitive mode raises all the thresholds before the system will intervene, which allows you to hang the tail out in a controlled drift before reeling it back in.
Switching the magnetic ride control from Touring to Sport will noticeably reduce body roll. Sport mode is probably a bit too harsh for use every day, unless you live somewhere with really smooth pavement. Ride quality wasn't an issue on the perfectly contoured pavement of the Monticello track and the stiffer damping allowed the car to respond to our inputs much quicker than in Touring mode.
With a mass nearly 900 lbs more than the ZR1 and considerably less Michelin rubber wrapped around its wheels, the CTS-V could never be expected to be as nimble as the two-seat Chevy. However, any car with this much power that can put it to the ground with no hint of wheel hop or axle tramp is clearly doing something right. Cadillac uses an asymmetric half-shaft setup that has different natural frequencies on each side of the rear axle, which prevents the two wheels from getting into a race condition. Combined with the traction control system that uses signals from the stability control to vector the torque and help turn-in, driving the CTS-V extremely fast comes naturally.
Production of the new CTS-V starts in October and Cadillac hasn't finalized pricing yet. We're told to expect a base price of about $60,000 with only a handful of options, but the only option you really need are those Recaro seats. That's more than $20,000 less than a BMW M5 or a Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 – and the Cadillac is faster than both. For those who crave the supercharged grunt of a ZR1 but regularly need space for more than one passenger, the 2009 CTS-V will get you shockingly close in a remarkably sophisticated package that's a bargain in this segment.
Photos Copyright ©2008 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.
Our travel and lodging for this media event was provided by the manufacturer.
New Car Test Drive
Cadillac is making world class sports sedans.
Boasting style, performance and technology, the Cadillac CTS is a sports sedan that can go toe-to-toe with the best the world has to offer, including the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus GS, Infiniti G37, and Audi A4. Available all-wheel drive makes the CTS a good foul weather car.
And for its part, the high-performance Cadillac CTS-V can compete with the best high-performance sports sedans in the world (BMW M3, Mercedes C63 AMG, Audi S4) at a much lower cost.
This doesn't surprise us, quite frankly, because we've been watching the CTS for some time now. The original car was good and they've been improving it ever since, particularly in the area of refinement. What may surprise you about the CTS is its level of refinement.
The CTS boasts responsive handling and excellent high-speed stability, yet it's smooth and quiet around town or when cruising at highway speeds. The ride quality strikes a perfect balance between smoothness and handling. The steering is accurate, with good feel and a nice, weighty demeanor. The car feels solidly put together, and it's quiet underway. Inside is an attractive cabin trimmed with nice materials that exudes an airy, open feel. Everything is easy to operate.
Simply stated, the Cadillac CTS is a very enjoyable car.
The CTS and CTS-V feature sophisticated suspension systems developed, among other places, at the world-famous Nurburgring race track in Germany. Called the Nordschleife, the 14-mile northern loop of what was the old Nurburgring circuit is considered the toughest, most dangerous, most demanding purpose-built race track in the world. A 2009 CTS-V posted what may have been, at that time, the fastest lap at the Nordschleife for a standard production four-door sedan, an impressive feat given the hot rods BMW, Mercedes, Audi and others routinely roll out. To prepare for this lap John Heinricy from GM's performance division simply shifted the automatic transmission into Drive and let it do its thing.
New for 2010, is a 3.0-liter V6 engine rated at 270 horsepower and 223 pound-feet of torque. Though smaller in displacement, the new engine offers more power than the previous 3.6-liter that came standard. Meanwhile, an optional 3.6-liter V6 is available with 304 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. We found both engines smooth and responsive. They are thoroughly modern in every way, boasting all-aluminum construction and double overhead-cams with variable valve timing and Direct Injection for the optimum in power, fuel economy, and emissions. Either is available with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
The 2010 CTS models come with new features such as 19-inch polished alloy wheels with 245/45ZR19 tires, an air filtration system that takes care of cabin odors, a suede-trimmed steering wheel, a wood trim package for the CTS-V, along with new colors and repackaging of the options.
The Cadillac CTS uses rear-wheel drive, which is the best layout for performance sedans. But it's also available with all-wheel drive. The AWD uses an active transfer case that normally applies 40 percent of the power to the front wheels, 60 percent to the rear, but in slippery conditions can apply all of the torque to either axle. A limited-slip differential is available.
The Cadillac CTS-V has a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that makes 556 horsepower at 6100 rpm and 551 pound-feet of torque at 3800 rpm; it is available with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. CTS-V is rear-wheel drive. The CTS-V is a genuinely fast car. Cadillac says it's capable of 191 mph and 0-60 mph performance in 3.9 seconds. We found the CTS-V to be one fast ride at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California, capable of lap times on the sinewy circuit nearly as quick as a NASCAR Sprint Cup racecar. The CTS-V rides on the firmer side, much like the European luxury sports sedans do.
The 2010 Cadillac CTS comes with a 3.0-liter 270-hp V6 engine ($36,730) or a 3.6-liter 304-hp V6 ($43,825). The automatic transmission is optional ($1,300). All-wheel drive is available only with the automatic.
CTS standard features include leather seating surfaces, dual-zone automatic climate control, OnStar with turn-by-turn navigation, a Bose eight-speaker sound system with CD, MP3 and auxiliary capability, remote keyless entry and programmable central locking, power windows with express-up-down on the front and express-down on the rear, power driver's seat and XM Satellite Radio.
The optional Luxury Package ($3,400) for the CTS with 3.0-liter V6 adds a six-disc CD changer, Bluetooth, a cargo convenience net, accent lighting, memory, heated and 10-way power driver and front passenger seats with power lumbar, theft deterrent alarm, universal garage door opener, wood trim, and leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Performance Package ($5,000) adds foglamps, HID headlamps, limited-slip differential, V-rated tires, performance brakes, sport suspension and some additional features. The optional AM/FM/CD/MP3/DVD audio system ($3,145 with 3.0-liter V6, $2,145 with 3.6) has Bose 5.1 Cabin Surround Sound, 10 speakers, a hard-drive, HDD-based navigation, XM NavTraffic/Real Time Weather and USB connectivity.
The Premium Package for the CTS with 3.6-liter V6 ($6,095) includes cabin filtration, the high-end sound system with navigation, keyless entry, remote start, rear park assist, heated and ventilated seats, power tilt and telescope steering column with memory, moonroof, and numerous luxury and convenience features that are parts of other packages. The Performance Package ($1,840 with manual transmission, $2,090 with automatic) includes 19-inch polished wheels, performance tires, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters (with automatic transmission), fog lamps, performance suspension, limited-slip differential, and performance brakes. In addition, there are several stand-alone options, including the moonroof, polished alloy wheels and various paint choices.
The CTS-V ($60,720) features a supercharged V8, a limited-slip differential, Brembo disc brakes with six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers, P255/40ZR19 tires in front and P285/35ZR19 tires in the rear, and 10-spoke alloy wheels measuring 9.0 inches wide in front and 9.5 inches wide in the rear. The CTS-V also has distinctive exterior details, including a mesh grille and appropriate badging, to make it stand apart from the normal CTS. The CTS looks clean, elegant and modern, but the CTS-V, with its few changes, takes on a more assertive appearance. Optional for the CTS-V are Recaro front seats ($3,400) and a suede steering wheel ($300).
Safety features that come standard on all models include front, side and side-curtain airbags, ABS and Stabilitrak electronic stability control and traction control. Optional all-wheel drive improves safety further.
The Cadillac CTS looks like a modern Cadillac sports sedan should. We think it's a great looking car, with adventurous lines everywhere, especially in the gracefully sloping rear roof section.
The eggcrate grille on the CTS is in keeping with the rest of the Cadillac lineup, plus it provides a generous supply of incoming air for the engine, brake and transmission cooling functions. The large lighting units at the front and rear make good use of LED (light-emitting diode) technology: lots of light and lots of style for little electrical load. The taillights, rear quarter panels and decklid also fit the Cadillac theme. Below the rear bumper are exposed dual exhaust tips.
The CTS-V is distinguished by functional features. The power dome hood, distinctive wheel and tire package, and the bold mesh grille suggest intent for serious driving. The larger mesh grill is for improved airflow. The power dome hood is as small as they could make it. Big brake ducts help cool the big two-piece Brembo calipers. The center brake light reduces rear lift. The dual exhaust provides better performance.
Inside, the theme is black with brushed metal and chrome accents. It's very contemporary, very modern, very attractive and very space efficient.
The dashboard is fairly low and away from the front seats, which gives an airy and open feel to the car. The center stack on the CTS is beautifully done, easy to read and use, with some interesting readout placements here and there. While the previous-generation model had a cold interior, the current CTS boasts a lovely cabin indeed.
We found the comfortable front bucket seats held us down and in place behind the wheel, including some enthusiastic driving on central California's windiest, curviest roads.
We really appreciated the range of adjustments offered by the power seats and the power steering column. The tilt-and-telescope column offers ultimate comfort and proper driving position. The instrument package is complete, easy to read, and graphically pretty.
In short, we found the CTS cabin to be a nice place to sit and take a drive. The driver is held in securely yet comfortably to properly operate the car, and the passengers enjoy a feeling of ease, confidence and luxury. It's great to see Cadillac offer such a terrific interior.
The AM/FM/XM Bose 5.1 sound system with the 40-gigabyte hard-drive, iPod connector and USB port offers the ultimate in musical enjoyment. Using the navigation screen, it's easy to switch back and forth between the three broadcast and three stored-music formats by simply touching the screen, and the blue display is large enough to be read from the back seat. We think it's one of the best, most fun-to-use sound systems available. Many other luxury cars have audio systems that are fussy or difficult to operate.
The CTS-V has a sportier cabin, with a thick-rimmed steering wheel available in suede. The dead pedal, allowing the driver to brace the left leg, is optimized for racing. A Recaro option is available with 14-way adjustable seats, including bolsters that can be pumped up for hard driving then deflated for cruising.
The Cadillac CTS is a responsive sports sedan with excellent handling and high-speed stability, yet it's smooth and quiet when cruising.
Both V6 engines have dohc, variable valve timing and direct injection. As a result, they are both responsive and lively. The 3.0-liter, with its 270 horsepower, is a very good standard engine, although it doesn't match the power and torque of the 3.6-liter V6. The Direct Injection gives each engine extremely good throttle response, and also enhances fuel economy and emissions. Somewhat surprisingly, there is little or no penalty in fuel economy with the larger engine, so, if the additional expense is not an issue, we have to recommend it. With its 304 horsepower it feels ready to go out and play anytime you want, delivering a really solid combination of power, torque and assertive sound whenever the throttle is opened all the way up.
The six-speed automatic is very quick and positive to shift manually, up or down, with a little bit of throttle blip on the downshifts to keep the drivetrain happy and to keep the tires from skipping and chirping. The six-speed manual offers an easy clutch and requires only a light touch on the shift lever to change gears; it is surprisingly good. The choice comes down to your preference. We liked both of them.
The steering is sweet to drive, very accurate, with good feel and a nice, weighty demeanor. The steering system uses a forward-mounted power rack-and-pinion that pulls, rather than pushes, the steering arms. (It pulls on the steering arm of that front tire which will be on the outside in the turn, so in a right-hand turn it is pulling on the left-side steering arm, placing that side in tension rather than compression.)
All-wheel drive is optional on the CTS. We found it makes the car feel very stable and adds to driver confidence on winding roads. We recommend getting if wintry weather or big rain are part of the seasonal picture.
The brakes are excellent, equipped with ABS and Electronic Brake-force Distribution. They provide very good stopping power, even for a car that tips the scales at well over two tons.
For all its steering, cornering and handling prowess, the CTS doesn't seem to exact any penalties in quietness or harshness over the road, an impressive combination. It feels very solidly put together. It's quiet inside in all modes other than wide-open throttle. Its 17-inch high-performance tires seem to assist it with this balance.
Driving the CTS-V is a completely different experience from that of the CTS. It's not a lightweight at well over 4000 pounds, but with 556 horsepower and 551 pound-feet of torque, it delivers stellar performance. Yet, it's perfectly capable of idling around town. The clutch is light, the shifter feels just about perfect, the seats are comfortable and, the CTS-V can mosey down to the grocery store just fine. It's fairly quiet underway, and the ride is not harsh.
On the road, we found the CTS-V idled smoothly and quietly but responded to throttle inputs unlike any other Cadillac. Big torque, big power, right now. The huge tires didn't make very much road noise, but they did provide the kind of cornering we're not used to in a fully equipped, 4300-pound luxury sedan. In combination with those instant-acting shock absorbers and the big tires, the CTS-V felt like a German-style sports sedan, with quick steering and deft handling on the country roads, a smooth ride, and massively powerful brakes.
On the track, we found the CTS-V to be a rocket, fast and predictable. We were quickly able to drive it very hard while still well within our driving abilities. It is a car that inspires confidence. The CTS-V is a superb car, capable of running against the best sedans from Germany and Japan.
The Cadillac CTS looks great and is relatively roomy inside. It's got lots of go for the performance enthusiast. And all-wheel drive is available for wintry climates. For those who don't need or want the extra stuff, there's lots of style with the standard V6 and rear-wheel drive. But we recommend checking the box for the all-wheel-drive system regardless of where you live because it adds so much more to the safety margin and it's more fun to drive, even if the car is heavier for it. We could find ourselves infatuated with the awesomely impressive CTS-V but, in actuality, we could be perfectly happy with the CTS and its optional 304-hp Direct Injection 3.6-liter V6.
NewCarTestDrive.com correspondent Jim McCraw test drove the CTS in Northern California and the CTS-V near White Plains, New York; with Mitch McCullough reporting on the CTS-V from Infineon Raceway at Sonoma, California.
Cadillac CTS 3.0 ($36,730); 3.0 Auto AWD ($39,930); 3.6 Auto ($43,825); 3.6 Auto AWD ($45,725); CTS-V ($60,720).
Options As Tested
AM/FM/CD/DVD/MP3 Bose 5.1 Cabin Surround Sound with 10 speakers, HDD-based navigation, XM NavTraffic, and USB connectivity ($2,145); Performance Luxury Package ($2,855).
Cadillac CTS 3.6 AWD ($45,725).
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