by John Tallodi
With its supercharged Corvette derived V8 and ultra-sharp chassis the CTS-V is Cadillac's answer to the brace of mega-horsepower European sport sedans that sit at the top of their respective ranges. Not much was wrong with this formula last year and for 2017 the changes are minimal.
6.2-liter Supercharged V8 Gas
Based on the regular CTS sedan the CTS-V adds another layer of luxury with a sprinkling of sporting intent. The front seats are aggressively sculpted with wide side bolsters and the materials used throughout the cabin are on par with the best offerings in its class. Controls and switchgear are quality items to although having to scroll through the touchscreen to access basic functions can be frustrating. The last word in fit and finish still belong to the Europeans but the differences are so small few would notice.
The wraparound cabin design ensconces the front occupants while still offering plenty of space, this does not extend to the rear where taller passengers will be rubbing elbows and wishing for some more head and knee room. The cargo area is tight too, folding down rear seats will help when travelling two up but the trunk is one of the smallest in its class.
The Cadillac CTS-V comes with a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 producing 640 horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque. These are big numbers, bigger than the competition and Cadillac claim a 0-60 mph time of 3.7-seconds which is class-leading too. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a limited slip differential, the sole transmission option is a smooth shifting 8-speed automatic.
Some competitors like BMW's M5 feature a dual-clutch transmission but the CTS-V gives up little on shift speeds and remains smooth when crawling through traffic, something dual clutch systems are not always great at. The next M5 is rumored to be fitted with a conventional automatic too so the CTS-V may well be ahead of the curve on this one.
The CTS-V acquits itself well on the track too. Despite its bulk it trades punches with some very fast rivals and the supercharger offers instant pick-up from extremely low engine speeds providing for seamless acceleration out of tight bends.
The CTS-V is available in one comprehensive trim level with a number of options available to enhance the specifications.
Standard performance items include magnetic ride control, electronic limited-slip differential, high performance summer tires witted to 19-inch alloys and a performance traction management system incorporating launch control. Recaro performance seats and a data logger are available options.
Safety specifications include a Teenager driver system (allowing monitoring and control of various vehicle behaviors), lane keep assist and departure warning, forward collision alert, front curb view camera, automatic parking assist and rear cross traffic alert.
Luxury and technology items such as heated and ventilated power front seats, remote start and keyless entry, Apple CarPlay integration, wireless charging and head-up display are also all standard fitment. A Luxury Package further adds a rear camera mirror (streams HD view of what is behind vehicle to the rear view mirror), split-folding rear seat and heated rear seats.
Other available packages include the Carbon Fiber Package (Carbon trim kit) and Advanced Security Package (locking wheel nuts and laminated glass) some of which are available individually as well.
The Cadillac CTS-V takes the best traits of the European sports sedan and adds a distinctly American flavored big V8 into the mix. The result is a characterful and highly capable offering. Interior space may be a bit compromised in the rear and ultimate luxury levels may not quite match the best but the CTS-V excels where it counts and come highly recommended.