Edgy & Powerful With Style
Review of Cadilla CTS-V Coupe
By: Drew Dowdell, Fuerte Men Automobile Contributor
What if I told you that one of the hottest luxury cars on the market today comes not from Germany, England, or Japan, but is a fire breathing muscle car in a tux from the good old U.S. of A.? That’s right, the Cadillac CTS-V coupe is an edgy, powerful sports coupe with a ton of style.
Cadillac was the king of style since the advent of the automobile well into the 1970. By the late 1970’s Cadillac had lost much of its swagger. The 1980s and 1990s were lost decades for Cadillac, haphazardly trying to be both a “European sports car” and a “traditional American Luxury car”.
Cadillac launched its current renaissance with the 2003 CTS sedan. That car was an important first step for Cadillac to move towards an equal footing with the European imports. That car was a very well balanced performance sedan that is still respected for its handling today. Where it fell short was on the design of the interior. While it wasn’t cheaply built, it lacked the conservative, trim, luxury look that contemporary luxury cars aspired to.
Moving forward to today, Cadillac has redesigned the CTS with a new interior and exterior, and also introduced a coupe and wagon to compliment the lineup. All three body styles are available in V-spec trim, which is Cadillac speak for “it has warp drive”.
The base CTS coupe comes with a 318 horsepower V6. By selecting the V-series, you upgrade to a 556 horsepower supercharged V8 with 551 lb-ft of torque @ 3800 rpm. All of that power is fed through a 6-speed manual transmission to the rear wheels (a 6-speed auto is also available). Pick a gear... any gear... and the thrust is amazing. You know that part in the opening credits of Star Trek: The Next Generation where the Enterprise stretches out and goes to warp? That's exactly the feeling you get when you launch this car. The exhaust note is tuned to be refined, but you still get a hint of the old school muscle car burble in there. Fuel economy, if you must ask, is 12/18 city/highway for the automatic and 14/19 for the manual. In case you’re wondering none of the import cars even remotely near this price range can provide as much power. The only competition that comes close is the 2013 BMW M5 with 560 horsepower but costs $30,000 more.
The CTS-V isn't just fast in a straight line; this heavy coupe can perform some extremely gratifying cornering maneuvers despite its 4,209lb curb weight. All in all, the curb weight isn't much of an issue as it does not detract from the driving experience. However, it also makes one wonder what Cadillac could have done in the handling department had the car been 500lbs lighter. Thankfully, out on the open highway, Cadillac's magnetic ride control smoothes everything out into a quiet comfortable ride. Where other sports cars with tight handling might beat you up on a highway drive, the CTS-V coddles you.
The optional front Recaro seats are sublime... as they should be for a $3,400 option. Rear seat legroom is still surprisingly good for this car. People asked me about rearward blind spots from the large C-pillars. I never really had a problem with visibility out the back. It isn't the best, but it is by no means bad. Besides, If someone is in your blind spot, just tap the pedal on the right... that should clear up the situation. The trunk opening is small, but over all space is reasonably large. If you think you're going to get yours and three of your buddies’ bags in there for a week away... 'taint happening.
Visually, this car just oozes class and looks like nothing else on the road.
Everyone around seems excited by the CTS-V. I get stopped to talk about this car CONSTANTLY. Everyone from 18 year old kids to 90 year old coots stepping out of their '98 Devilles want to talk to me about the car. Budget for extra time at the grocery store.
In the end you can find minor quibbles with any car. I don't particularly like the location of the emergency door release handle and the switch gear on the dash to the left of the steering wheel is right out of Grandma's Buick Lucerne, but the overall style and performance of this car are simply untouchable even at prices much higher than Cadillac is charging.
About the Author
Drew Dowdell is the author of the Cheers & Gears website designed to review, inform, and rate automobiles. For more information log on to www.CheersandGears.com