By on February 20, 2012


If you are unfamiliar with the type of car pictured above, then may I congratulate you on finally getting a WiFi connection all the way up there in your cave on the moon. Yes indeedy, this is the much-publicized Cadillac CTS-V wagon.

No, on the other hand, it is not a press car. Let me explain.

Along with TTAC and a few other outlets, I am privileged to write weekly for a small community newspaper of quite good quality. I mean, apart from the bits that I contribute, obviously.

There it was that I rifled off one of my usual grammatically suspect musings, declaring the CTS-V wagon as rare as seeing Elvis riding a unicorn, and indicating that it was a car only a lunatic would ever really buy. A day later, I received this picture:

“…The chances of actually seeing one are not as bad as you indicated. I just spotted one ….in my garage.”

Then followed a brief correspondence in which the invitation was given to come take the car for a drive any time I wanted. I leapt at the exceedingly rare opportunity: not to drive a CTS-V wagon, but also to meet the sort of person who would actually buy one of these things.

Opinion on the CTS-V wagon is far from rosy around the TTAC offices. Derek Kreindler very publicly doesn’t like it. Jack Baruth likes the V-wagon enough to have bought one, but only if GM weren’t giving them away for free. Also, only if they’d paint the damn thing green.

As for myself, I think the CTS-V wagon is completely ridiculous and I unapologetically, unabashedly love it, love it, love it. If you’re a wagon guy – and I am – it’s the 5-door apex predator, to my mind even more so than the V2-with-a-backpack AMG Hammer-wagon or the unobtanium RS6 Avant.

Yes, building it is most assuredly a shrewd PR move for GM. There are lost tribes living in the Amazon who could quote you 0-60 times and Darth Vader references thanks to the sustained media blitz we’ve had about this thing.

Can the CTS-V also be seen as a bribe to quirky auto-journos to generate favorable press for the General? As much as TTAC loves to lampoon the journosaur as a lazy leech – Vampire the Buffet-Slayer – it’s a compelling argument: after all, as Murilee has pointed out, for most of us it’s all about the cars. To paraphrase Homer J Simpson, you’d step over your own mother just to get something interesting.

So it’s important to shed a little light on these ethical considerations, and to wonder aloud about the importance of repeatedly road-testing a car produced in approximately the same quantities as a special-run Zonda. On the other hand, 556hp station wagon!

What’s it like to drive? Hard to say, from just a spin around the block. I’d need, oh, let’s say 11 or 12 months to really get to the bottom of things…

But I can tell you this, as you extend your right foot deep into the power reserves and the supercharged V8 starts whining and bellowing like a tyrannosaur caught in a bandsaw, try keeping the grin off your face. What’s more, especially in black, it has that GNX-style menace goin’ on. Traffic parts like Chuck Heston was reprising his Moses role whilst brandishing an Armalite.

The CTS-V wagon is indefensible in many ways. It’s not a sleeper: Q-ships don’t have yellow brake calipers. It’s not that practical: sure it’ll haul more than the sedan but with rear-drive only, you’d be better off with something like an X5M. Also, it drinks fuel like an oil-well fire and goes through rear tires like Keiichi Tsuchiya.

What it is though, is special, and unique, and above-all, interesting. I was at Barrett-Jackson this year, and the thought occurs to me that, two or three years down the road, even a beat-to-hell presser wouldn’t look out of place crossing the block amongst the gleaming street-rods and restorations.

Oh, and what of the owner? A dapper, cheerful, well-dressed man in his middle-60s; successful in business and in life, with grandkids and a fleet of Mercs. Then I did a little more digging and found a ’73 big-block ‘Vette, owned since new, a history of wrenching on a Mk6 Formula Ford in the 60′s and (strange parallels, Baruth) a modest collection of hand-made electric guitars.

As Derek points out, you’re not defined by your car. Perhaps, though, who you are has something to do with what you drive. In this case, I felt privileged to have met both the man and his machine.

And that’s eight-hundred words about the CTS-V wagon without mentioning Jonny Lieberman once. Arrgh! Tripped at the finish line.

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100 Comments on “In Defense Of: The Cadillac CTS-V Wagon...”


  • avatar
    Sundowner

    Anyone can say what they want about this car, but it’s a car made by car lovers for car lovers. It doesn’t matter if the General sells 5 or 50,000. The car had to be built on moral grounds alone. It’s exactly the kind of bugnuts crazy nonsensical move that every car company should envy. It doesn’t even matter if they never sell a single one, it sends the messge that Caddy is a little nuts for over the top cars, and when you’re shopping for a premium car, the brand image counts as much as the Consumer’s Digest ratings (maybe even a little more)

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      @Sundowner, GM has reported that the break even volume for the V series is a relative handful, in the dozens to a hundred or so. (memory fails me here!)

      • 0 avatar
        alexcassidy

        I seem to remember their break-even point being reported as just south of 40 cars, which is actually pretty damn remarkable when you think about it.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @alexcassidy- That sound right. I was trying to be conservative. Goes to show why GM is averaging $30,000 per across all of their U.S. sales. I wish I could swing one, though I wish they’d used the Holden Commodore rear roof line. I suppose then it wouldn’t have the Caddy edge. Oh, if only Pontiac were still alive!

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        The number you’re looking for is 7.

    • 0 avatar
      vagoneer

      Snap! Own one too. Just to clear a few misgivings up…it’s a wagon, as in station. It’s fast, as in be very respectful of the awesome power it has. It’s not for everyone, but if you like a wagon, want to buy American, and want to drive a rare gem…you could be a redneck! Haaaa, just a joke, but it really is a special car. Many know what quick is, but few know what fast is….this car is fast, check the 1/4mile times. Suede steering wheel locks the grip, great touch.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    The “egg Mcmuffin” of wagons. Keep us up to date as I I’ve heard from a few that would like to own one.

  • avatar

    Is this really a “wagon” or is it a CTS with a hump on the end of it?

    For practical concerns, I’d rather have an SRT8 Magnum.

    Afterall, how many of these things will ever even see a track?

  • avatar
    Metacomet

    I drive the identical 2011 Black Diamond edition, CTS-V Wagon pictured in the story.

    It was described perfectly.

    An amazing car, you never see another CTS Wagon on the road, much less a CTS-V wagon, and lordy, there can’t be over a half dozen of the Black Diamonds in all creation.

    The Mercedes, BMW and Audi drivers are startled when they actually encounter this Michigan iron that needs only trifle with them.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    There’s nothing practical about a $70000 car… because hey, you’ve just spent seventy thousand smacks on a freaking car.

    Therefore, I love it for what it is. 550 horsepower. Cadillac. Manual. Station. Wagon. Those words were never meant to all be in the same sentence. But there it is.

    If I had the money, it would be a dead heat between this, a CTS-V coupe, or a Lotus Evora.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    The problem with the CTS-V wagon is that it isn’t very good at the wagon thing. You buy one of these if you are a family man that still wants to have fun, right? GM seem to have entirely ignored the back seats when they designed this thing. Sitting back there at 2 different autoshows, the back seats felt very upright, I found no recline feature, legroom seemed poor for this 5’8″ 150 pounder, the windows started around my chin, and an aggressively raked forward c-pillar that makes the door opening quite small. The raked rear window and sloping roofline combine to further reduce cargo space. When they compromise so much of the “wagon” for styling, it seems silly to even bother.

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      If you need serious cargo capacity or people-hauling capability, Cadillac would be more than happy to sell you an SRX or Escalade. The CTS-V wagon is Caddy’s way of saying they’re willing to thwart norms and go beyond the expectations of sports sedans.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      This is what I “love” about the B&B: We bitch that nobody will do a high powered, manual transmission, sportwagon. So somebody does, and now that bitching is that it’s not as practical as, say, a Volvo 240 wagon.

      No doubt Cadillac could put this whole performance package in a restyled 240 with 20% more cargo capacity, swap the engine for a turbo diesel with 15% more horsepower and commensurate torque . . . . and there’d be people here who would STILL bitch that the end product isn’t good enough and is short in (fill in the blank).

      And most of them wouldn’t buy a new car in the first place.

      There are moments when I really feel that the only people who should be able to comment on a new car blog are people who have actually bought a new car in the previous twelve months. Buy a new car, get a twelve month window to let your comments be known. After that, you just get to read reviews and other new car buyers comments.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        @Syke +1

        The quality of comments here are definitely a league above those found on other car sites, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use some improvement.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @Syke- BRAVO! +1, GREAT Post!

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        Well, I am buying new car (wagon specifically) in the next 6 months (true, not a 550hp, $70k wagon), so I’ve spent a lot of time in the back seats and cargo areas of all sorts of vehicles that would handle my family car needs. Practicality > fashion or high powered from my perspective.

        My wife and I have bought 3 new cars in the past 7 years, btw.

        Anyway, I don’t ask for a wagon because I like the styling or the image. I ask for it because it is the best way to get great practicality without upsizing to an SUV. The beauty of a good wagon is that I can fit almost all the stuff that fits in my SUV without having to take the SUV and all the on-road compromises that come with it. I’m just saying I was quite disappointed in the “wagonness” of the CTS-V. I feel like CTS-V wagon was made to appeal to the internet car enthusiast that says he wants a diesel, 6MT, RWD, sport wagon [that he\'ll only buy used] rather than the guy that really wants a super practical car that also performs great.

        Syke, have you been in the back seat of a CTS-V wagon? Maybe you should only be able to comment on people commenting on a car if you have first hand experience to refute said commments. ;)

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        People say they want a station wagon and then GM builds them a wagon that isn’t any good at the things a wagon is supposed to do and they complain. You betcha.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        CJ – can you ever say anything positive about any none Honda or Toyota product? Or are you just blinded by hatred.
        I haven`t looked at the CTS wagon in detail but a quick look at the specs suggests it has essentially the same cargo capacity as the Acura TSX wagon (25 vs 25.8 cu ft, which extends to 58 vs 60.5cu ft with rear seats folded – source is truedelta.com). So if the CTS wagon isn`t a good enough wagon then the Acura TSX, BMW 3 series and Audi A4 are not good wagons. My 2006 Subaru Legacy wagon has a little more room (33 and 66 cu ft) and is a real wagon.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The TSX wagon appeals to some and doesn’t appeal to others. It treads a pretty fine line between hatchback and wagon in my view. Nobody is required to genuflect whenever it is mentioned, or pretend that their wagon dreams have been answered. Nobody gets insulted for not liking the styling, as they do for this thing. The front bumper of the CTS-V looks like a cheap, badly fitted body kit from some teenager’s Eclipse. The roofline is weak and droopy, and the C-pillars look like they’re made out of Bondo around windows from something unrelated. Fabulous!

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        mike – aren’t those a size down from the CTS? The ATS is the 3 series, A4, C class fighter. Anyway, the dimensional numbers on the CTS don’t look bad in comparison to the 5 wagon or the other medium sized luxury cars. They generally look a hair better. Having sat in some other more run of the mill sedans just before jumping in this, I was taken back a bit of how it didn’t feel as large or inviting as you’d expect of a 4200lb wagon.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        CJ – So say you and that is fine as it goes regarding the TSX. I don`t believe anyone is required to genuflex before the CTS-v wagon and nor should they. Although I can see why it appeals to enthusiasts because of its engine etc. Not even BMW has done a M3 wagon, so I am pleased to see something new.
        But you are not the sole authority on what is or is not a wagon. Wagons and hatchbacks are pretty similar and I would love to hear a definitive, objective demarcation of the two vehicle types. Actually though does it matter if the CTS (and the others listed) is a wagon or hatchback. They are more functional than sedans which is why they are popular with some people. Can`t we leave it at that rather than hear you troupe out a list of derogatory terms of abuse (as per normal).

        Quentin – yes those cars a a little smaller overall. The CTS was in between the 3 and 5 series, with the new ATS the CTS can get larger and be fully 5 series size. There were not many premium or luxury wagons to choose from. Cubic capacity is cubic capacity when discussing wagons or hatchbacks vs sedans.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I’ll stop commenting on new car posts as soon as people that have never owned a 15+ year old car stop posting stuff like “my new Camry is much faster and more reliable than this!” on old car posts.

      • 0 avatar
        Patrickj

        @Syke
        My distinct feeling is that there is not a lot of people on this board who’ve bought a new car in the past decade.

    • 0 avatar
      mbe3204m

      agreed. Much as it’s nice to see an American wagon like this being made, I’d still rather own an E350 4Matic (ok ok, an E63 AMG) wagon if I was looking for the true “station wagon built on the chassis of a sport sedan” experience. But as most others have noted, this was not built for practical purposes. to see them build one that’s more practical and doesn’t cost $70K though, would be great.

      The BMW 5-series GT is more like this than the E-class wagon though…I have seen a GT in the Boston area and it actually looked better than the pictures; I really liked it. Haven’t driven either that or the Caddy though, so not sure which one I’d buy.

    • 0 avatar
      motion92

      It is not a “wagon”,its a “sport wagon”. I have a Cadillac SRX with lots of cargo space, good power(Northstar) and good handling.That’s my hauler.
      My CTS-V wagon has better cargo area than a sedan, with supercar power and supercar handling. We are talking about a 12.5 quarter mile, with space for the dog or a lot of beer.
      Cheers, Gary

    • 0 avatar
      gmorgan

      Sure there are cars that no the “wagon thing” better,but there are no other wagons that do the Corvette thing better.I bought a 2011 V-wagon, and after one year, then bought CTS wagon (Premium) AWD to replace my SRX as daily driver. in my opinion, the wagon is more attractive than the sedan, and more dog-friendly. When I have my Wife, my dog and a 12.5sec quarter mile/180MPH ride… the world feels right.

      i

    • 0 avatar
      Metacomet

      Fact of the matter is I bought the wagon to make my semi-annual moves from Tucson to Portland and back for the wife and I

      It allows us to move 6 months worth of clothes and personal effects quite handily, and remains the acknowledged baddest ass grocery getter ever

      It is all the wagon I need, but I understand in matters like this, one size does not fit all

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Cadillac can call it a wagon, but to me it’s a 5-door hatchback. I find Cadillac styling clunky and well beyond its expiration date. Desperate to distinguish itself, Cadillac’s A&S does not age well at all.

    • 0 avatar
      ...m...

      …anyone who spent quality time in a real wagon, back before the minivan extinction event, would recognise the CTS for what it is: a middling hatchback with wagon styling affectations…

    • 0 avatar
      ciddyguy

      I disagree, this is a WAGON, it has the ubiquitous overhang in the rear as found in most wagons and has a much larger cargo hold with the seats up than most hatchbacks.

      Most hatchbacks have their rear wheels pushed way back to the bumper almost (true, most are FWD) but still, this is more in the vein of a wagon than a true hatchback.

      Even Mazda straddles the wagon/hatchback thing with their previous Protege5 and the current 3 as it’s a bit of both, really.

      While I’m not a fan of this styling nomenclature that Caddy has been using for years now, in this application, its ridiculous beyond belief, but in a good way for those who want to be different – and enjoy driving and if you still need to haul something, it CAN do that too.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      “Cadillac can call it a wagon, but to me it’s a 5-door hatchback. I find Cadillac styling clunky and well beyond its expiration date. Desperate to distinguish itself, Cadillac’s A&S does not age well at all.”

      Funny… My impression of the thing is that Cadillac can call it a wag, but to me it’s an SUV. It’s so tall that I can’t see the roof and, to me, being able to see (and load cargo on) the roof is the difference between an SUV and a wagon.

      When I was looking for my perfect compact family wagon, I saw one of these things in a parking lot and researched the possibility of a used one. It didn’t look like my kind of wagon because it’s too f’ing big, too expensive, and I don’t want to spend my weekends vacuuming cheerios out of a luxury car’s cupholders. I eventually gave up and bought the cheapest beater-vehicle that I could find that mostly-matched-my-paper-requirements, which turned out to be a 10-year-old Ford Escape that I snagged for $4k after trading in my even-older beater.

      If any car company wants new car money from me, then all they need to do is build me me an actual compact wagon that can tow my small utility trailer, hopefully with a diesel or hybrid drivetrain. Otherwise, I’ll buy cheap used cars and support my local mechanics — those guys live in my community and need to make a living and take care of their kids, just like me. I’m eagerly awaiting more information about the C-Max and the Cruze Wagon — if those machines can tow a sheet of plywood back from the hardware store, I’m in.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        If the CTS-V is meaningfully too high to be a wagon, are the any wagons currently for sale? Let’s lobby Subie for a wagon built on that new Scion/FT86 platform of theirs. Now, THAT, wold be one heck of a wagon!

        Still, too tall or not; wagon styling and semiwagon cargo room, 556hp, a genuine smallblock and a bloody manual. Damn, that hits all the right buttons. Truth to be told, my main gripe with the thing is the same as with the M3; range is scarily compromised by so much engine drinking from such a small tank. The AMG Vagon, and the Panamera, are not as doomed to spend their lives doing donuts around gas stations.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      “Cadillac can call it a wagon, but to me it’s a 5-door hatchback. I find Cadillac styling clunky and well beyond its expiration date. Desperate to distinguish itself, Cadillac’s A&S does not age well at all.”

      Funny… My impression of the thing is that Cadillac can call it a wagon, but to me it’s an SUV.

      It’s so tall that I can’t see the roof and, to me, being able to see (and load cargo on) the roof is a big part of the difference between an SUV and a wagon.

      When I was looking for my perfect compact family wagon, I saw one of these things in a parking lot and researched the possibility of a used one. It didn’t look like my kind of wagon because it’s too f’ing big, too expensive, and I don’t want to spend my weekends vacuuming cheerios out of a luxury car’s cupholders. I eventually gave up and bought the cheapest beater-vehicle that I could find that mostly-matched-my-on-paper-requirements, which turned out to be a 10-year-old Ford Escape that I snagged for $4k after trading in my even-older beater. I kinda like the Matrix, the Venza, pre-2010 Subarus, and the Volvo V50 wagon — but none of them were what I was looking for, and they all carry a hefty price premium just or being wagons-like.

      If any car company wants new car money from me, then all they need to do is build me me an actual compact wagon that can tow my small utility trailer, hopefully with a diesel or hybrid drivetrain. Otherwise, I’ll buy cheap used cars and support my local mechanics — those guys live in my community and need to make a living and take care of their kids, just like me. My wife wants a Prius V, and I’m eagerly awaiting more information about the C-Max and the Cruze Wagon — if those machines can tow a sheet of plywood back from the hardware store, I’m in.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        How can you even mention the lack of practicality when discussing this car? It is a Corvette with a nicer interior and a back seat for the kids, even 4-doors for taking coworkers to lunch. It has a little more cargo room for weekend trips, or maybe putting the dog in back. It isnt going to replace the SUV or minivan, it was never intended to. You want to tow something? Haul lumber? Let kids eat cheerios in back?? If thats all you can think about, then you are not even remotely in the target demographic for this car.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @mnm4ever: “If thats all you can think about, then you are not even remotely in the target demographic for this car.”

        So it would seem!

        You’ll note that I didn’t buy one. The thing made a favorable first impression, but the idea of buying one was discarded after reading up on it. I had initially thought that it was worth a look because there are so few wagons on sale in this country, and I’m willing to go upmarket (but not German) to get the right car.

        But, still, why make a wagon that isn’t both practical and efficient? Isn’t the whole point of a wagon to get sedan-like efficiency with a usable cargo area? Why bother making it look like a wagon if you aren’t going to provide that?

        The thing that goaded me in to writing the comment above was that it looked like the right tool for the job at a glance — and then it turned out to be completely wrong, despite the first impression.

        (P.S. I went through the same process with the Dodge Magnum wagon, too. The muscle-car engine killed any hope of getting the kind of efficiency I was looking for.)

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        @Luke, I guess my point is, it doesnt look like the right tool for the job. Not at first glance, not at second, it never did. Funny that you mention the Magnum because it doesnt either. The only thing either of those cars have that you desired was a wagon body. Complaining about the lack of utility and efficiency of a muscle-wagon is akin to complaining about a Prius V being perfect if it just had a twin-turbo engine and AWD.

        The reason they make a wagon that isnt both practical and efficient is because not everyone wants the same qualities in a car. The Prius V sounds like its right up your alley… efficient, roomy, wagon body, infinitely practical. I would rather stick toothpicks in my eye than buy one, I would NEVER consider a vehicle like that. Just not my thing. But I do not complain because Toyota didnt give it enough performance. It is good that you have choices, even if they are not what I would choose.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @mnm4ever:

        The fact that I had to read up on the CTS-V and the Magnum in an effort to find a family wagon has more to do with the lack of non-SUV family vehicles that we have in this country than with the vehicles themselves. They are obviously the wrong tools for the job — but they could have been closer to my requirements than the other machines out there.

        I eventually gave up and grudgingly bought the smallest/cheapest compact SUV that I could find. It also needed to have kid-hauling features (airbags, and carseat anchors), and the ability to handle external cargo (our primary car is a Prius). I got the price down in to no car payment territory, though.

        BTW, my wife really likes the Prius V as a replacement for her dependable and well-worn 2nd-gen Prius. Our old Prius has been a great car for us, and she wants to keep that ball rolling while getting a little extra space for hauling kid stuff. But the Prius isn’t all things to all people, and it isn’t well suited to hauling external loads. A Prius V will probably end up on our driveway in a few years. If it could tow a small utility trailer without voiding the warranty, though, we’d buy two. The Prius V might be worth having a car payment.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    Two years ago I saw one at a rest stop on the Ohio Turnpike, made my day.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    I just can’t get onboard with the black themed, chiseled styling thing. Does nothing for me. To each his own I guess.

  • avatar
    boxelder

    I completely agree with Mr. McAleer. This car is pure American excess, distilled to perfection. What would Darth Vader drive? You know the answer… The only thing that keeps me from purchasing one of these monsters is that I’d be too torn between wanting to go ripping up asphalt – while at the same time wishing to keep it a zero-mile showpiece for future generations to lust over.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      @boxelder- fwiw, a well heeled friend traded his M5 for a CTS-V Sedan because, to quote him, “… it is better, more fun, and $20G less,”. His other regular driver is a late model Ferrari, F430?? (clear engine cover).
      Just what till you see the turbo,DOHC package. (I can only hope!)

      • 0 avatar
        boxelder

        My 2002 Subaru WRX Sport Wagon was previously owned by a friend of mine. He has been “trading up” since then, first to an Infiniti G35 and then to a CTS-V sedan. The exhaust note alone is enough for me, as it sounds just as wicked as it goes. And it’s available as a wagon! (I’m a dyed-in-the-wool wagon guy.) Now I’m not trying to brag here, but I’m fortunate enough to be able to afford this beast, should I choose to do so. The problem is that pure lust hasn’t yet overcome my sensible side. But when it goes out of production, I’m hoping I don’t have a “coulda, shoulda, woulda” feeling lingering like I do about the Pontiac G8 GXP I almost pulled the trigger on. Shoulda!

  • avatar
    WEGIV

    Funny you mention Lieberman. The language in this article reminds me of his epic Audi RS4 review — in a good way.

    Still chuckling at “whining and bellowing like a tyrannosaur caught in a bandsaw” and “drinks fuel like an oil-well fire”

  • avatar
    dejal1

    “As Derek points out, you’re not defined by your car.”

    Really? You mean all those commercials are a lie?

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    An AMC Hornet Wagon with 556HP?

    Whodathunkit….

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Man, I absolutely LOVE what Cadillac has done in the last ten years! Wow! This is my dream wagon, ’cause that’s the only way I’ll ever own or drive one – in my dreams!

    I also really like the angular F-117 Nighthawk-like lines. Sharp lines makes a statement and not a blob of melted plastic.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      @Zackman, I am with you on the new Caddys! I Leased an STS4 that was a wonderful car. (Had to give it up when I retired, though the lease was only $320 down/ $320/ month, lest you think I am trying to brag.) I have driven a good share of the German & Japanese lux cars by way of comparison and Cadillac is clearly in the hunt. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to drive the, at the time upcoming, current CTS on the management validation ride. It was incredible, and we only had the DI-V6 at the time. I did have a similar opportunity with the STS-V with the supercharged Northstar. They are fantastic cars, and I can only imagine the performance level of the SC 6.2L. I can’t wait to get in an ATS, hundreds of pounds lighter and designed from the ground up right here in Warren, Michigan to beat M3 on its “home court”, the Nurburgring. These ARE the good old days!!!At least in terms of Automobiles.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        Dr. Olds: At the Cincinnati Auto Show over the weekend, I was speaking with a Caddy rep while looking at their wagon, and she explained to me it was on the Epsilon ll platform, not the same as the Equinox and Terrain. At least there’s some differentiation to make Caddy a bit unique to its cousins.

        As for me, I’ll check out the 2014 Impala next year – may be time to get a new one then.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @Zackman- All CTS variants, including this wagon, are “sigma” architecture, NA engineered and unique to Cadillac.

        The rep seems to have miscommunicated, unless you are calling SRX a wagon. It sounds as if she was referring to it, which I think is Theta II, along with (dead)9-4x. Cadillac takes pains to assert that it is different from the Equinox/Terrain/(dead)Saturn VUE thetas. I don’t really know how different they are. They look similar, but then a Riviera and Somerset Regal looked a lot alike from some angles but were very,very different cars!!

        The XTS is the only Epsilon II Cadillac application I am sure of, though I could be wrong about SRX. LaCrosse, (dead)Saab 9-5, and 2013 Malibu and the new Impala are all Epsilon II. I am told the Impala looks quite a bit more substantial, in a move similar to what Ford did with Taurus.

        On the other hand, the current Impala ought to have all the bugs worked out and comes with the wonderful 3.6L V6 engine standard this year. Choices are good, but then you have to choose!

        ATS is a brand new, NA engineered RWD architecture. I am still upset the lower cost Pontiac version will never happen. Cross your fingers for a Chevy instead!

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      I love my CTS wagon. It’s great even without the LS-9. Those who don’t get this car need not apply.

      End of story.

  • avatar
    WheelMcCoy

    Brendan,

    I haven’t seen your writing here in a while… or perhaps I didn’t visit enough. But as usual, I like reading your writing.

    The CTS-V is definitely not for me, but I see its raw appeal. Forget Darth Vader; I prefer to quote from Dark Helmut in Space Balls – “Ludicrous Speed!”

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    the CTS-V reminds me of the AMG stable… in world obsessed with mpg and carbon dioxide emissions and hybrids, its nice to see companies who flaunt it

    i know that the fact remains that very few countries allow normal folk to enjoy these machines and i know deep down that only the next few generations will see their like… these are dinosaurs but what fantastic beasts they are

    americans like many have a parochialism where they can’t see how awesome it is to be able to be able to afford muscle cars… you must understand there’s probably a kid in scandinavia or some communist hippie green country who sees these kinds of cars and knows its impossible… just how americans lust after the turbo diesel manual wagon that the euros seem to have an abundance of

  • avatar
    claytori

    One of these passed me on Saturday on the 400 Highway north of Toronto. How rare can they be? BTW, he was travelling at a relatively normal speed.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    I saw the headline and my first thought was; “Why the hell should anyondy have to defend it?”

    It is what it is… And FYI guys if you want to moan about it not being a true wagon, go find Grandpa and his 1996 or older honest to god full sized wagon and drop a big block in it. Either that or buy one of those 300hp minivans they sell now a days.

    • 0 avatar
      Brendan McAleer

      Dan, the V-wagon doesn’t really need defending, as you point out. However (not to get too inside-baseball) there’s sure a lot of facebook arguing about whether or not it’s a cool car. Derek and Dearthair are again’ it, I still love the thing. Hence the post, which was also to comment on seeing one in the wild. Also, hitting 800wds exactly was fun.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      And thats what I find so crazy, how anyone can actually complain or debate about whether or not this is a cool car?!?!

      People dont like the wagon, they would rather have the sedan, or the coupe? Well, for once the manufacturer isn’t screwing anyone out of thier choice, you can buy whichever body style you choose. With a stick even. People don’t like the styling? There are dozens of cars that I do not care for the styling of… but they do not have 550hp either. 550hp goes a long way to excusing styling. Plus, I happen to like it. And if you don’t? Then don’t buy it, but you should still appreciate that GM has the guts to offer this drivetrain at least. It’s too expensive? OK, well sure, I can’t really afford it, but considering the performance, I cannot really say its TOO expensive for what you get. It has too much power? Can you really have too much power?? They sell the 3.6 V6 that is perfectly adequate for anything. The V is special, dont ruin it for the rest of us because you cant appreciate that this car at least exists. And finally, for those people out there commenting about how it doesn’t have enough utility for a station wagon, oh I really dont know where to begin. You guys simply do not get it, not even a little bit huh. It is a 550hp track star. It is insane, its over the top crazy. It is supposed to thrill you, make you giggle with nervous laughter, and frighten you a little too.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Sure wish GM had the guts to sell me a sporty $25K Regal or $20K Cruze based wagon with a manual six speed… They never have enough guts to do anything like that. Ya know – these products already exist in other parts of the world. It’s not like they’d need to start over from scratch. Just build them here on the same assembly line as the sedans.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      a galaxy 500 woodside – that’s the ticket!

  • avatar
    Dan

    I think it’s silly to pat Cadillac on the back as if building 100 unaffordable uber wagons is doing the right thing for car enthusiasts.

    When 5 years into the run they still haven’t built a single CTS with the LS3 which should have been the non-rental engine all along.

    They would have sold 100,000 by now, including one to me.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      You can thank CAFE for that model mix. GM is in bed with Obama though, so they can’t pretend it isn’t their fault that only rich people can buy the cars they want.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @CJinSD- What evidence makes you think GM is bed with Obama? I don’t think they have had a lot of choices lately.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        http://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/gm/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2011/Jul/0729_cafe
        http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2012/01/23/022036-auto-union-supports-higher-cafe-standards-tach-hopes-uaw-wakes.html

      • 0 avatar
        aristurtle

        I’m pretty sure that GM wants Cadillac to actually market to rich people as a legitimate competitor to the German luxury brands rather than the Old GM way of marketing to retirees who can’t afford a Mercedes.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @CJ in SD- First link didn’t work? re:second link: GM is not the UAW. The UAW is in bed with Obama and vice versa. GM is a company with the UAW representing the bulk of its hourly workers. GM simply has to comply with law, deal with that union. Believe me, GM would far rather focus on building products people want rather than what regulators demand.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        doctor olds,

        I’m not sure why the link to GM’s own statement on their approval of the new CAFE standards doesn’t work for you, but it does when I try it. The UAW is GM, as they were issued 17.5% of common stock in addition to $6.5 billion worth of preferred shares by the clown in chief. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104549771

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @CJin SD- It does not show as a link on screen, apparently some of it is cut off.By the measure you cite, you, and all other americans own a larger share than the UAW. I don’t like the deal they got, either, but I know there is a lot more to the company than the UAW.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        At least you recognize that UAW members and Americans are mutually exclusive. ;) When I scroll over everything from http to cafe on that URL and then right click, I’m given the option to open the link and then the link opens.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        That is odd. On my PC, the first link is partially outside of the comment field, and is not a link. Anyway, you want to see the UAW minority ownership as the company, while I spent my career in the other part of the company, and see the UAW as just the largest labor union. GM had little choice but to go along with the new CAFE, if that is what you mean by them being in bed with Obama.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        So Obama and CAFE wants GM to build $60K+ monster wagons? I would have expected Obama and CAFE to want Aveo/Sonic wagons with electric motors.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @Dan: “I think it’s silly to pat Cadillac on the back as if building 100 unaffordable uber wagons is doing the right thing for car enthusiasts.”

      Sorry, but I have to disagree with you on that one. Where else could one get a car that can smoke most anything else on the road and in wagon form no less (if you want) for ~$70K, but from Cadillac? It’s a screaming bargain for the capability the car has. I want one of these so very much, but fate and circumstances have left me with other responsibilities.

      CAFE’s heavy hand has burdened the standard car with the V6. Unless GM can start selling a helluva lot of Sparks and Sonics rather quickly, I’m afraid the few V8 cars extant now will be even more endangered.

      If money were no object for me, I’d have one of these over a Z06 or even a ZR1 Corvette. As I age, I would be able to get in and out of one with a lot less clicking and grinding. And I’d finally have enough room for my touring drum kit, too…

  • avatar
    word is bond

    “It’s not that practical: sure it’ll haul more than the sedan but with rear-drive only, you’d be better off with something like an X5M”

    I don’t understand this. How does rwd make this less practical? It’s not like the X5M is an off-roader, or anyone cross-shopping these needs an off-roader.

    What I can’t understand is why anyone would buy the sedan. It’s not cheaper, and you gain nothing over the wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      Brendan McAleer

      Not for off-road, more for snow/slush. With that much power, even a decent set of snow tires is going to be overwhelmed as weather conditions get poor, and presumably you’d be looking at a year-round vehicle if you were buying the wagon for practical reasons. This one doesn’t get driven in winter, an ML500 steps in.

  • avatar
    rwb

    The only reasons to dislike this car are willful contrarianism and disliking the looks.

    Both are wrong.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    It’s mind boggling that the General would build a wagon that might sell maybe 200 copies a month (mainly the v6 ones), but refuses to bring in the Cruze stationwagon which could easily sell 10 times as many.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      Well to sorta answer you question I believe they would rather that you spend more money on an Equinox. VW seems to be one of the few who can sell wagons and it not affect they’re SUV/Crossover sells.

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        I think it’s the TDI that sells the wagons for VW. We joke about the “holy grail” on websites (manual diesel wagon), but one company actually sells it and people actually buy it. Makes ya wonder…

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “I think it’s the TDI that sells the wagons for VW. We joke about the “holy grail” on websites (manual diesel wagon), but one company actually sells it and people actually buy it. Makes ya wonder…”

        It proves that wagons are just a niche. The demand is low. The only companies that find it worthwhile to supply such low volumes are firms that have little US market presence but that have a customer base in other markets to justify the development.

        Last year, Dodge sold more Calibers in the US than VW sold Jetta wagons. (To be fair, the fleet sales on the Caliber were probably through the roof, but you get the idea.) As I noted on another thread, the Volt (that apparently everyone here loves to hate) outsold the TSX wagon by more than two to one.

        It just isn’t worth investing much into making mainstream high volume wagons, since there is so little market for them. CUVs serve that market well and there is far more demand for those.

    • 0 avatar
      CarShark

      That confuses me, too. Are they worried that it (and the hatchback that we aren’t getting, either) will cut into Malibu or Equinox sales? It can’t cost that much more to have them done in Lordstown.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        They (almost every carmaker here) have evidently decided there is not enough volume to justify the business case.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        What happened to getting a customer into the GM fold so they keep buying GM’s? Isn’t a profit on a Cruze wagon as good as profit on a different GM? Its still profit. So they sell one less Malibu. I’m not going to buy a GM SUV or sedan but I might consider a sporty GM wagon. Make what I want and make it durable and I might keep buying GM wagons.

        The time when they could decide what I’m going to buy b/c they dominate the markets is past.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Mad Max redone as anime.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    I sat in the back of one this past Sunday that the Jacksonville auto show here in FL. It is not overly spacious and my wife hates the look of it. That been said..My kids are 2 and 7????By the time they get to big for it I would have own two more cars.
    I am not the intended market as I cant afford it but if I could I might would consider it. I did get to drive a regular V6 model during the show at GM’s test drive exhibition.
    My wife loves the Flex. We saw the 2013 model at the show with the redesigned front end. She wants me to get that. Wonder how you guys would feel about a twin turbo charged V8 Mustang powered Flex?

  • avatar
    Boff

    The CTS-V wagon doesn’t need defending.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    I just can’t get excited about this, or any of the other CTS-V models. Same goes for the BMW M cars, or AMG Mercedes, etc. The obsession with the CTS-V wagon, both here and elsewhere, becomes really tedious after awhile.

    I like wagons in general, but I don’t care for any of the current ones available, and I don’t see myself owning one in the near future. The enthusiasts who complain loudly but never purchase new are a waste of bandwidth.

    Since I like to put my money where my mouth is, my new Volkswagen is a manual. For what it’s worth, the dealer had to trade an elusive manual Jetta TDI wagon to get it.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    this thing goes in my lottery fantasy garage, and no where else. That’s where halo cars shine. This stupid, excessive, beautiful, wasteful beast may well put a Caddy on my test drive list when the time comes to replace the wife’s Lexus. Just not a 70k one that “drinks fuel like an oil well fire”.

  • avatar
    NateR

    Even if I could afford it (I can’t) and even if I could somehow justify spending $70k on a car (again, not likely), I wouldn’t buy this.

    However, I LOVE that this car was allowed to exist. Not your father’s Cadillac indeed.

  • avatar

    As a non-American I’d like to say that this car is, without doubt, the one US car that i’d give my left nut for. It looks awesome, has a rude and grunty V8 driving the rear-wheels and it’s finally grown into that angular face.
    If I was to ever live over there again I’d be searching for a mint used example to wrap in matt-black.

  • avatar
    vagoneer

    It’s a wagon guys! Based on the CTS sedan, and coupe! All have roughly same dimensions, check the stats. I load bikes on top of my Vagon all the time, roof line is about the same as my previous wagons: A4 Avant, Magnum, Saab 9.5 wagon and my GTI hatch. It’s a wagon…the SRX is the crossover. It’s also deadly fast……another thing many of you may think you know about….

  • avatar
    vagoneer

    Chicago, wish I could enjoy those AZ roads! Lots of speedtraps there though. Lakeshore Drive is like a GrandPrix course at times and provides good driving.

  • avatar
    peso611

    I am 40 years old with a wife, 16 year old, twin 9 year olds, and a 1 year old rottweiler. We own three cars 2000 Honda Accord V6 (Daily Driver), 2011 Escalade Platinum (wife/family), and a 2012 V Wagon 6MT(weekend warrior). I originally was shopping for a convertible sports car (BMW 650, E550 Cabriolet), but i ended up with the wagon. I came across the wagon when my wife said I could not buy a two door sports car. The Vagon works great for me, I love it. I get a sports car and I can still haul around the kids and dog if something happens with the truck. Best of two worlds for me; wife is happy and I am ecstatic. It’s not car for everyone, but I’m sure glad they build it just for me.

    • 0 avatar
      shericks

      Just saw this line of conversation, my CTS-V Wagon hangs out in Colorado, great to hear about other folks who live the amazing life of owning one of these. Mine is a 6MT Black Diamond and I get thumbs up all the time. Have seen exactly one other one on the road, was congratulated by every employee at my local Caddy dealer when I picked it up, as it was “the coolest car we’ve ever sold”. Feels great to support great American engineering. I heard earlier in the year that they’ve sold 447 of them in the last 2 years, about 10% of those are 6MT’s.

  • avatar
    DarkSky

    Agree that visibility could be better and wish cost weren’t so painful, but really want to know, given how easy it is to spin the rear tires (on a 6 speed standard), why not make AWD available in the V? Sure, it would add some weight and reduce performance a bit, but you’d get better poor weather handling and spread the torque across twice the road patch in lead foot summer driving. Why force people into the 3.6L turbo to get AWD?


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