By on May 9, 2011

If Lord Acton were alive today, I’m sure he’d say: “Power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great cars are almost always bad cars.” I believe it this philosophy that Cadillac hopes will rejuvenate Cadillac, a brand that only recently started taking performance seriously but is already achieving some surprising results. Already our own Michael Karesh has got his kicks with the CTS-V wagon, Niedermeyer has drooled over the sedan and Jack Baruth has killed the track at Monticello in both this coupe and the sedan… it might be safe to say Caddy has a winner on their hands. Still, why not snag the 556 HP V Coupe for a week to see how it handles some California road testing? What’s the worst that could happen?

In 1999 General Motors set the tone for Cadillac’s renaissance with the Evoq show car. Somehow finally realizing that there was frankly no way a Catera, Seville or Deville could ever compete with BMW or Mercedes on any level what-so-ever, the CTS-V, STS-V and XLR-V erupted out of some hitherto unknown Detroit volcano. The first trio of unique Cadillac products were angular and brash at a time where oval was the shape du jour. Sadly the STS-V never achieved the sales success Cadillac dreamt and while I loved the Corvette-based XLR, it had a tiny flaw: a six-figure price tag and the heart of an anemic squirrel (compared to its C6 Corvette cousin). Consequently, the XLR sold like ice to an Eskimo. Packing a (comparatively) demure 443HP Cadillac Northstar V8 into the Corvette chassis, the XLR-V started in the nosebleed section at $101,300 (2008 model year.) For the CTS-V, Cadillac perhaps rightly corrected the performance formula by jamming a thoroughly corrupt 556hp Corvette-derived engine into bespoke Cadillac coupé chassis starting at a lowly $63,465. This is not your father’s Cadillac nor is it available in Mary Kay pink.

Some observers may find Cadillac’s all-angular look distasteful, but I rather love it, especially in this, the ultimate expression of the edgy “Art & Science” ethos, with its ginormous triangular rump finished off with coffee-can sized twin center pipes. Bling-baby-bling. I think a Cadillac should be bold, and since this is the re-invention of the brand (and frankly Cadillac is unlikely to ever again play in the ultra-luxury playground with Rolls and Bentley) styling should set the American wares apart from the masses. Cadillac’s designers are apparently of my same mindset and styled the CTS coupe into something beyond bold: brash. And guess what? It works. I wouldn’t even mind if the CTS got even crazier in the next refresh. Whatever you think of the CTS-V coupe, it doesn’t look like anything else, and that’s a good thing. In every cloud there’s some moisture waiting to rain on your parade however: while the design is avant-garde, the fit and finish is merely pedestrian. Can’t have everything I’m told.

As Michael pointed out in his review of the CTS wagon, the interior of the V is nice, but it’s not as upscale as some of the competition, and since our Coupé tester rang in at over 70-large (twice the price of the base CTS sedan) it’s a bit of a stretch. This is not a problem unique to Caddy however. Any manufacturer that pimps out a base model to this extent suffers from main-stream interiors tied to a premium price tag. For V-duty, Cadillac kept the base CTS’ stitched dash and doors, but continued to eschew the cowhide in favor of pleather on the aforementioned panels which is a shame when most brands dish-up more moo in their performance models.

The slightly more comfortable $3,400 Recaro seats with Alcantara inserts, $300 Alcantara wrapped steering wheel and shifter and $600 dark stained wood accents our tester came with are all optional on the V, so base buyers will find an interior largely the same as the base CTS coupe except for the shiny black center console unique to all V models. Sadly the glossy trim scratches easily and doesn’t, in my opinion, really look quite as good as the silver in the plebian model. Speaking of Alcantara, use of the faux-suede on the wheel looks and feels fantastic but in terms of durability I have my doubts. Alcantara pills as it wears on some surfaces which is a shame because the fuzzy steering wheel almost took my mind off the fact that the Nissan Quest minivan I had the week before had better sport grips. All Vs come standard with the $1,300 gas guzzler tax, a dubious piece of standard equipment to be sure.

 

As Michael pointed out in his CTS-V wagon review, other flavors of CTS suffer from slightly cheap door handles, but fortunately the V coupe like all other coupe models receive some dainty round door “buttons”  instead. The electrically operated door latches are an interesting touch despite not being really any more convenient than traditional releases. On the downside since the mechanism is operated by electricity a manual bypass must still be installed and GM located this emergency handle in a fairly visible spot in the footwell. Taken as a whole it’s more of a novelty than a true feature as the exterior handles aren’t executed nearly as well as the interior.

As often happens during the “coupification” of a sedan, the CTS loses some space vs its sedan counterpart. In the CTS, however, since the wheelbase is unchanged from the sedan and the dash doesn’t move rearward, rear legroom is still quite good for even a six-foot rear passenger with a six-foot driver. Headroom is a different matter. While six-foot-five front occupants will find [barely] enough room, rear headroom is extremely limited making the rear seats suitable for a humpty-dumpty with really long legs. Still, rear seat accommodations are rarely a huge selling feature of performance coupes (I’m looking at you Jaguar XK) so this is honestly going to be more of a deal breaker for base CTS coupe buyers than CTS-V shoppers. I would be remiss in noting that while the M3 loses a bit of headroom in coupe form, it’s a far more livable backseat, if you’re into that sort of thing. The other practicality toll suffered by the CTS-V’s acute angular lines is rearward visibility. It’s a good thing a backup camera is standard since the rear window is absolutely no help when backing up.

Readers know that I’m a gadget guy at heart. This is the one area where the CTS in all forms continue to disappoint. The problem is not with audio performance which is excellent on the standard Bose 5.1 surround system with navigation, XM radio and iPod integration, it’s the interface that’s behind the times. The Cadillac infotainment system combines a pop-up touch screen, a myriad of fairly small and nearly identically shaped buttons and aging software to make a system that is illogical at best. I have driven over 50 different cars of all descriptions in the last year and only two have required me to pull out the user’s guide to divine the operation of the Bluetooth speakerphone, the CTS is one and the GMC Sierra is the other. The odd way the system’s menus function requiring the use of both on-screen touch commands and physical buttons to navigate boggled my techy mind. This system is a testament to the fact that Cadillac doesn’t build cars for my grandmother anymore, she’d never figure out how to use it. If you’re six-feet tall or have long legs, you’ll find the system even more vexing as the all-important “back” button is located a long reach away. This cloud does however have one silver lining: the iPod integration. GM’s system downloads playlist and track info from your device rather than streaming it on-the-fly making scrolling playlists, songs and artists a snappy and enjoyable process. If GM could borrow the software from the new Regal ASAP they might be onto something.

556HP. That’s probably all that needs to be said about the GM LSA engine Cadillac shoehorned under the hood of the angular coupe. The 6.2L supercharged behemoth has the unusual distinction of being the only pushrod engine in the performance luxury play-space. Based on the 6.2L Corvette LS9 engine, the LSA (shared with the recently announced Camaro ZL1) uses a slightly smaller supercharger, slightly lower compression ratio (9:1), cast pistons and a single-unit heat exchanger. These changes cause the output to drop from the 638HP and 604lb-ft of the LS9 to 556HP and 551lb-ft. This engine isn’t as refined as the BMW M3’s 4.0L V8. It’s not as pleasing to the ear as Jaguar’s 5.0L supercharged V8. Instead it has a flavor all of its own; it’s a push-rod all-American ball of whoop-ass fitted to a car that without it couldn’t dance with the competition. It makes the CTS-V the Tanya Harding of the luxury performance coupe dance team: not afraid to smack an M3 in the knees when they least expect it.

It’s therefore easy to see why the XLR-V died, 110K for admittedly smooth VVT DOHC power just doesn’t make sense when you can get 556HP from the CTS-V coupe. (Why Cadillac didn’t drop an unadulterated LS9 into the XLR-V is a question that may never get answered.) The immediacy of the LSA is quite simply breathtaking and the power; nothing short of savage. While the M3 screams its way to its stratospheric 8400RPM redline, the CTS-V lets loose only a subtle bellow from 4,000 to its 6200RPM rev-limiter. I had almost hoped the CTS-V would sound as big and bad as it looks but perhaps this is a case of “speak softly and carry a big engine?”  The only downside we noted over 845 miles was an average fuel economy of 14.3MPG proving once again that fun isn’t free.

Michael’s CTS-V Wagon was saddled with winter tires which limited grip, our coupe tester in sunny California however came equipped with wide, grippy Michelin 285-width summer tires out back. Of course with this much power (at essentially any engine speed) grip is still an issue but the rubber put up a valiant fight against wheel spin as we recorded a 4.2 second 0-60 run (no rollout) time after time (while giggling like a schoolboy.) I am certain that with the right rubber and most importantly the right driver, the CTS-V would be capable of a 0-60 run in the mid 3s. The character of the CTS-V is surprising for anyone who has driven a tuned high-power rear-wheel-drive American vehicle: this one is easy to drive.

It’s not just easy to drive in a performance setting; it’s a car you can actually drive daily on imperfect roads without needing an osteopath on retainer. The innovative Brembo two-piece hybrid rotors (combining an aluminum hub pressed onto a steel friction surface rather than bolted) ensure neck-breakingly quick stops time after time with minimal fade, zero drama and supposedly a lower replacement cost when they finally wear. The electronic nanny reigns in the fun at more-or-less the right moments allowing just a touch of tail happy before it spanks the rear brakes to get you back in line. I never thought I would have seen the day there would be a Cadillac you could “easily” steer with your right foot alone.

As our Facebook crowd pointed out during our week testing the CTS-V: by the numbers, this is one heavy porker tipping the scales at 4,209lbs. In reality however the CTS-V only feels heavy under normal driving conditions, which is a good thing in my book. The Cadillac magnetic ride control does an admirable job of soaking up road imperfections while still allowing corner carving that is almost up to M3 standards. One way auto journalists can tell about a newly arrived car’s road abilities is to look at the tires. Bald fronts: crazy torque steer. Bald rears: Chrysler SRT. The CTS-V arrived with fairly worn tires all the way around. Yes the CTS-V burns out with the best of ‘em, but the fun is really to be had throwing the V into corners. Yes, a Cadillac being thrown into a corner.

In my book, the CTS-V competes most directly with the BMW M3 and the Mercedes C63 AMG until the M6 comes back next year. Of course the CTS-V Coupe is a different matter, the C63 has two problems: rear doors. This lack of direct competition (save that M3) means a shopper with an open mind may cross shop the V coupe with a base 911, or the V’s engine donor; the Corvette. How does it stack up? Glad you asked. The CTS-V lacks the M3’s fantastic dual clutch transmission, racing pedigree and let’s face it; snob value. The CTS-V’s GM automatic transmission is a wearisome companion but the 6-speed manual is easy to live with even in heavy traffic. Is the CTS-V better than an M3? That depends on how you define “better.” The V is certainly more distinctive in many ways more fun.

Also from Germany is the Porsche 911. As Jeremy Clarkson always reminds us, the 911’s heart is in the right place but the engine is located at the wrong end. With a starting price of $77,800 it’s also decently more expensive, a fair amount slower (4.7 seconds to 60) but does enjoy significant bragging rights at the country club. Oddly enough the best matchup comes in the form of the Corvette Z06. Sure the Vette has a universally recognizable shape which counts for something, but for $77-grand the interior is dreadful, the handling is not nearly as refined, there are no back seats and higher insurance premiums come standard with the bow-tie.

At the end of the day the Cadillac CTS-V Coupe is exactly what I expected of it: It’s a deeply conflicted car with one hell of an engine. What I had not expected however, is how truly corrupting it is. Perhaps it’s true that a great car is almost always a bad car. While not what we expect from Cadillac, not quite luxury, far from fuel efficient, far from refined, far from universally gorgeous, possessing a brand name that hasn’t been lusted after in decades, it has never the less found a strangely angular place in my heart. If you are looking for the go with some style under 70K, it’s a great buy. And that’s the thing that’s surprising: Cadillac didn’t manage to build a world class luxury car again, what they did build is one hell of a performance buy. Cadillac? Go figure.

Cadillac provided the test vehicle, insurance and a tank of gas.

Not a fan of our Facebook page? Too bad about that. For our Facebook peeps, here are your answers: Daanesh C: I think I’d rather have the wagon, but I’m a sucker for man-wagons. Kevin M: No, the seats are not more comfortable than the base CTS coupe, but the Recaro optional thrones are marginally better. Yes, it is actually fairly easy to put the power down as long as the road is dry and smooth. Compared to the XK-R? Just as much fun but far less comfortable and the crowd that gives the car a once-over is totally different. Make of that what you will. Darren W: I did feel fairly cool when smoking a Camaro SS. Richard L: Worst MPG: 9.2 for the first 120 miles. Patrick C: smokier than a 60 year old hooker. Eric R: spotter, curb feelers, a flag team and a jelly doughnut. Stephen S: I almost can’t believe I am saying this, but yes, it is completely possible to have this 556HP beast as a daily driver. Greg O: No question, CTS-V > Corvette.

Performance statistics as tested:

0-30: 2.0 seconds

0-60: 4.2 seconds

Average economy: 14.3MPG (observed:18.5MPG Highway)


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76 Comments on “Review: Cadillac CTS-V Coupe, Take Two...”


  • avatar

    Absolutely love this car. I’d take it over a Corvette, a GTR, and just about any other car under $80,000. Thing is, it’s too small for me and too impractical. I ended up buying an SRT8 300c after testing the CTS-Vcoupe. I’m going to trade my SRT8 300c for the 2012 SRT8 300c.

  • avatar

    I ended up buying my mom an STS. 300 HP V6 engine with AWD and fully loaded tech options. The reason the STS-V failed was because it was far too expensive and the styling was dated almost as soon as it was released. I love the car – if you can look past the “old lady” geriatric design, but, with Mercedes cranking out E350′s and BMW pushing 5′s and Audi…it’s obvious there were more places to spend money.

    One of my uncles wants to buy an STS-V and I’m trying to talk him out of it. Convince him to wait till the XTS or whatever is released.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The STS V6 model is a great value on the used market. The car isn’t perfect, and in fact is far from it, but the huge depreciation makes it easy to look past its faults. With the performance and general reliability of the V6 it makes it pretty easy to look past the regular Northstar V8 options and their inevitable future of head gasket issues.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I think GM fixed the Northstar around 2003.

      • 0 avatar

        My only problem with the car is that the buttons for the nav and radio are ridiculously hard to figure out unless you’re a computer whiz.

        Engine is strong.
        Interior is OK.
        Looks very flashy – it’s crystal red – the color of her sorority. Getting out of it, she looks like Cruela Deville.

        She likes it more than my uncle’s MKS Ecoboost but, I think the best car of the big 3 is the 2011 300c.
        MKS’ sync and park assist aren’t enough to sway me.

  • avatar
    cackalacka

    A CEO from a company on a different floor here at the building has one of these.

    Looks better in person. Dare I say, it looks beautiful. And I’m pre-disposed to detest any GM product, or any aggressive, high-beltline styling, for that matter.

    It just looks like a modern American coupe should. I haven’t peered into the window, as I know GM’s rep with interiors, and I’d rather not shatter the illusion of beauty as it stands in my office lot.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Kluttz

      It looks like (and is) a Malibu inside.

      • 0 avatar
        photog02

        @Kevin Kluttz: You know, that’s so odd that you say that since I’ve driven both a new Malibu (hybrid, no less) and the current-generation CTS and found them to be profoundly different vehicles. Can you send me whatever mind-altering substance you are currently imbibing, please? I just poured the last of this wonderful Malbec.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-Iron

        Supposedly they have improved. I am not mad at GM (i.e. not a hater), just very dissapoint. A friend had an 03 CTS and the interior was literally as crappy as another friend’s Malibu.

      • 0 avatar
        photog02

        @Detroit-Iron: the first-gen CTSs were pretty crappy inside from what I’ve seen and heard. They were redesigned in 2008.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    Silly car. I am not diggin the lack of glass anywhere. Cant see out of it, duhhh? am i missing something? I am sure that you can floor it to the next light 50 yards away and slam on the brakes, but any dodo in a 14 year old cavalier can do that. I dont get it. 14 mpg? why get this thing? Perhaps if i liked the way it looked.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      If you want more glass, get the wagon. It’s a very nice-looking wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      cmoibenlepro

      “14 mpg? why get this thing?”

      When someone is able to purchase a $70k car, he should be able to put gas into it.

      If you want good mileage, buy a Prius and stop moaning.

      • 0 avatar
        jerseydevil

        In a few years, these things are gonna look and sell like 3 year old hummers – i. e. worthless. Terrible gas milage, awlful ergnomics, blind spots galore, unusable back seat, stiff ride – this is an overpriced poseur. Unfortuantely, there have never been any shortage of buyers for this kind of automotive porno. I am sad cause I’ve always been a cadillac fan, even the malaise ones.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Kluttz

      Ahhh, jerseydevil, you see right through the GM BS and speak good sense!!! But some dodos do that in a 2006 Civic. And it does just fine with 140 hp. And has NEVER been to the dealer in 85000 miles, save for an MIL that was my fault and fixed itself (you go, OBD-II!). No kidding, it really fixed itself.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      If you are spending $70K on a 500+HP 2-door coupé, I think the fuel economy is probably of little concern.

    • 0 avatar
      jplew138

      If you’re worried about 14 mpg, they have plenty of used Priuses on lots in Texas right now…

      • 0 avatar
        SP

        You know, if you buy the car, you don’t HAVE to “record a 4.2 second 0-60 run (no rollout) time after time (while giggling like a schoolboy).”

        You may do so if you wish, but you may also get 14mpg.

        If you drive it like a car owner and not a car reviewer, you will most likely get more than 14mpg.

  • avatar
    Flipper

    It’s a shame it lost its hubcaps B4 you took the pictures.

  • avatar
    Kevin Kluttz

    A rear-wheel drive Malibu with a big engine. That’s all. It’s GM, the bankrupt car company, remember? About 2 burnouts and it’s back to the dealer for a piston or 8. If the steering wheel stays on.
    I can’t wait to see what Consumer Reports has to say. I’d take an Acura NSX any day. If only it were still available.

  • avatar
    Type57SC

    The black plastic trim on the center console really bugs me. The loaner I drove had all sorts of scratches in it. I can’t tell from the pictures, but is the area around the gear shift still that glossy black plastic in this or does the wood replace that?

  • avatar
    Zackman

    You knew this was coming – it’s me, after all: Why is the trend of impossible-to-see-out-of quarter windows on coupes a growing trend? I’m looking at you, Camaro! Shame, ’cause this half-blind old man loves ‘em!

    I may as well keep going: On a car this expensive across all OEM’s, why oh why don’t they allow the rear windows to open? What advantage do these cars offer above any other coupe? I forgot: 500 HP!

    Still, for my rapidly-depleting value of my money, an Impala is still the most metal for the buck.

    • 0 avatar
      red stick

      You’ve got the wrong mindset. What’s behind you is not important.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not sure what you’re talking about. Have you driven one?

      #1 the rear seat is so small, I doubt anyone can actually sit back there unless they are an amputee or a midget. I doubt anyone’s gonna hate the car for cup holders.
      #2 The rear windows open? Are you kidding? the mechanisms for that would be ridiculously hard to implement.
      #3 It’s a coupe and it’s sexy. You don’t need to look behind you when you have ultrasound + cameras.

    • 0 avatar

      You might consider a short test drive in a Porsche Cayman, the visibility is superb. On nice aspect of a slowly evolving design is missing the high-beltline trend as seen in most domestic manufacturer retro remakes or other modern rides like the GTR. Even pickup trucks suffer from vertical creep.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      It’s my pet peeve, ’cause I remember back when coupes were actually practical for rear-seat passengers.

      True – with 500 hp, you have no need to worry about what’s behind you – or off to the sides!

      • 0 avatar
        rpol35

        It’s my pet peeve, ’cause I remember back when coupes were actually practical for rear-seat passengers.

        You hit the nail on the head, Zackman. I remember them too and I still think there is a significant, untapped market for a coupe with a useable back-seat.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Considering how many sedans look like coupes, there’s really no point to coupes, let alone ones that look, well, like a sedan and have useful rear seat space.

      • 0 avatar

        My dad always bought coupes. His favorites were the Buick LeSabre, Riviera, and Wildcat. My sister and I had plenty of space in the back seat, the cars had loads of power, and they looked great for that era.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        On compact platforms, like the 3 and the Gti, a big plus for the coupe over the sedan is the larger front doors. Simultaneously easing ingress/egress and moving the b-pillar behind the field of vision.

        The generally lower roofline also make loading a top box/roof rack easier, if you’re into that sort of thing.

  • avatar
    ChesterChi

    I guess this is a good car for someone with a severe personality deficiency who believes that a car with a very powerful engine can compensate for that deficiency.

    • 0 avatar
      frijoles

      Haha yes, because eeeeevryone who wants our would like a powerful car must be compensating. It couldn’t possibly be because the car is fun to drive or anything of the sort.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Maybe perhaps if this car was actually in your face about it’s visual differentiation from a regular CTS coupe I would say it was some sort of compensation. But I dare say if I was passed by a CTS-V on the interstate I’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between it and the regular coupe.

    • 0 avatar
      ptschett

      It doesn’t?!? Darn.

    • 0 avatar

      Most of the world doesn’t even have a car. Does that mean that someone that owns one is compensating?

      Face it – everyone who can read these comments is stinking rich on a global scale.

    • 0 avatar
      jplew138

      It doesn’t have to be in your face…and it shouldn’t. Ever heard of the “iron fist in the velvet glove”?

  • avatar
    eldard

    Looks like a rolling bank vault and blind spots galore.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Too quiet, I like the LS6 more. Hopefully GM will crank up the delinquency meter on the ZL1.

    Or maybe I’ll win the Powerball and get to import a Bathurst S.

  • avatar
    photog02

    Every time I start to get excited about GM products, they always deliver some killing stroke to my interest. The Camaro was ready for a styling refresh by the time they hit dealerships (thank you, Michael Bay), they still seem lost when it comes to Buick’s directions- especially with respect to something like a Regal GS/GNX type vehicle, and then I find out a Caddy coupe tips the scales at over four thousand pounds. I know that almost all recent GM vehicles have had some serious weight issues, but this is a hair-on-fire level of insanity. Weight kills performance. There are neither luxuries nor safety equipment in that chassis that could result in that amazing of a scale reading. Sloppy engineering? Maybe. No matter what the cause, this isn’t a good turn for GM and it certainly isn’t helping light my fire for what I was interested in for my next car.

    • 0 avatar
      quiksilver180

      Bingo. Well said.

    • 0 avatar
      M 1

      When your product-design cycle involves negotiating for union smoke breaks…

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        BMW has a union workforce and the M3 couple weighs 3700lbs, 500lbs less than the CTS-V.

        It seems that big businesses 75 year propaganda crusade against the unions since the Wagner Act passed is paying dividends with at least some of the TTAC best and brightest.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        +1 to ubermensch’s comment.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        On the other hand, the CTS-V does have the same EPA combined fuel economy of the M3 and weighs 134 pounds less than more similar sized BMW 5 series. Most luxury cars are pretty heavy due to features and sound deadening materials.

    • 0 avatar

      Photog02,

      +2 on the sloppy engineering. It is also a factor of cost. (Not a single alumimum panel on this car to save weight). Cadillac is trying to raise the profit margin by decontenting and simply dropping in a powerful motor. Can’t say this formula does not work, but for those accustomed to the ride and features provided by the Germans, it is a disappointment and magnifies its lack of refinement.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        Question: Does a mixing of aluminum and steel panels post a challenge for prep and painting on the line? My old 1976 Dart Lite had some aluminum panels in certain areas, but knew nothing how those cars were painted back then. I believe the old MG’s had a mixture of steel and aluminum panels, too.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes. Galvanic reactions are common among dissimilar metals and it does require extra steps to insure it does not occur.

        And this brings up a point that I feel many people miss when comparing vehicles.

        All these options, safety features, and weight saving strategies, all cost money. A factor I think gets lost when car reviewers and buyers do a comparison between a German vehicle and any other vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      I have to admit I was ready to call it a nose-heavy pig, but honestly the weight is not the huge problem you would think. It drives like a heavy car when you want and it doesn’t really cause too much of a problem with handling performance.

      • 0 avatar
        photog02

        The fact that the CTS-V is such a porker (and not the good kind from Stuttgart) isn’t going to stop me from giving one a test drive one day. It is just unsettling, especially since I try and think of myself as an enthusiast who is thrilled to see American cars coming back into their own.

        However, I do know some cars seem to shed pounds when driven with intent. The E39 BMW chassis comes to mind.

  • avatar
    SV

    I like the coupe but I still lust after the wagon.

  • avatar
    quiksilver180

    I saw the CTS coupe a few months ago and wasn’t impressed. I like how this looks though… but it does look somewhat… porky.

    I’d probably take the M3 over this, the Lexus IS-F over the M3, and the GT-R over all of them (almost the same price range, give or take $20k)

    • 0 avatar
      photog02

      That’s funny- I hate how the CTS coupe looks in pictures but was pleasantly surprised when I first saw one in person. It is probably good that we have some polarizing cars being made in America again instead of the anonymous jellybeans of the 1990s.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Why couldn’t Cadillac step up, ask another $1500 for the car and give it a much needed interior redesign and upgrade? Oh I know. It’s still GM.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    “. . .Cadillac, a brand that only recently started taking performance seriously. . .”

    AGAIN

    Yes, it’s easy to forget records set more than 50 years in the past, but please remember Cadillac wasn’t always crap. Holding the record for the standing start mile through 1956, in addition to astonishing performances at Le Mans and the short-lived Panamerica races, Cadillac set a bar for performance, luxury and technological wizardry in the 40s and 50s which has only entered the standard features list of most automakers in the past decade.

    • 0 avatar
      M 1

      I sort of agree, except that these days setting the bar for luxury also means price tags that start with numbers greater than “1″ which are followed by five more digits. It’s a different world now. Fortunately performance still isn’t necessarily colossally expensive, and technological wizardry ought to be cheaper than ever.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Not diggin the black wheels. I’ve seen several of these cars with them, and they look OK in person, but really awful in photos. Usually I love coupes, but the absolute weirdness factor of the wagon keeps me entranced. I’d go for the wagon version.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Never have cared for the styling on the coupe. It’s 2″ stubby trunk overhang, something is missing side profile, black wheels, overly avant-garde looks and the downright silly exhaust placement just make it look too comical and silly. The interior needs work and I can’t for the life of me figure out why Cadillac hasn’t got this part 100% right yet. 14.3 MPG is the final nail in the coffin so to speak.

  • avatar

    I was not impressed with the test drive of the CTS V. It had a terrible ride for a luxury car. Fine for a sports car but very much rode like the Corvette. So why buy this over a Corvette that is quicker and costs $20K less? If it is for the back seats, that is not saying much, as bigtruckseries pointed out. I think his choice of an SRT8 is far more educated (I gladly would give up a half second to sixty for the better ride and more space). It definately is not for the CTS V’s extra comfort. Its seats are worse than the Corvettes, IMO (the Recaros fix that for a big adder). It bucks when you let off the accelerator and has nowhere near the options provided by its German counterparts. And because of its excessive weight for such a small vehicle, it is no wonder it rides like a Corvette. And lastly, its reliability is only mediocre which is why most people abandoned Cadillac in the first place. If I were to buy a CTS, it would be the standard CTS suspension with an LS3 for power. That would be my idea of a cost effective luxury car with plenty of power for $50K.

    • 0 avatar
      SP

      I think the CTS makes more sense as a sedan.

      I can see buying the coupe for the styling, because even though it’s not my cup of tea, it sure is distinctive. But otherwise, I don’t see much advantage over the Corvette.

      I guess, if I was a lawyer or investment banker, I would buy this over the ‘Vette just because people will see you in it, and it projects a more professional image.

    • 0 avatar
      aspade

      “If I were to buy a CTS, it would be the standard CTS suspension with an LS3 for power. That would be my idea of a cost effective luxury car with plenty of power for $50K.”

      Mine too. GM doesn’t make one of course.

      That’s been the gaping hole in the CTS lineup from day one. The 3.6 – let alone the 3.0 – isn’t competitive as a sports sedan. The V is outright scary fast, and priced well out of the entry lux class. Nothing in between.

      There’s no reason a LS3 car has to cost 50K, either. A 2V pushrod motor is certainly cheaper to build than the DOHC, DI V6. They can put it in a $31,000 Camaro. It could go in a $40,000 Cadillac.

      And just like that there’d be no reason to settle for a G37 or 335i anymore.

      • 0 avatar

        A twwin turbo engine is coming in their “ATS”. It’s possible that engine will be available on the CTS. Unlike Chrysler, GM and Ford aren’t willing to produce V8′s anymore for cars unless they are high peformance V8′s.

    • 0 avatar

      You test drove the current V, or the previous one? I thought the current car rode surprisingly well.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      All rear and all wheel drive cars with automatic transmissions, should have the LS3 as an optional engine. I shudder just thinking of all the resources spent on developing ever fancier powerplants, pretty much none of which meaningfully surpasses, or even equals, the old small block when it comes to general driveability.

  • avatar
    SP

    “I would be remiss in noting that while the M3 loses a bit of headroom in coupe form, it’s a far more livable backseat, if you’re into that sort of thing.”

    You just noted it, therefore you are remiss. Shame on you. (Were you trying to be remiss? http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/remiss)

    “The electronic nanny reigns in the fun at more-or-less the right moments…”

    Funny, I wouldn’t have expected an electronic nanny to be the Queen of Fun.
    (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/reign)

    Otherwise, pretty good review.


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