We love the CTS-V, but there are a few changes that could make it perfect.
The third-generation Cadillac CTS-V arrived in 2016 and had the difficult job of following the well-loved second-generation car. Even with a refreshed BMW M5 and Mercedes E63 AMG on the market along with an all-new Audi RS7 on the way, the CTS-V still stands out in the high-performance sedan market. The CTS-V is still the most powerful car of the bunch and is the last one to send power solely to its rear wheels. We believe the CTS-V is still a relevant player, but we'd like to suggest five changes to make it rise to the top of the pack.
The CTS-V is already the most powerful car in its class with a 640 horsepower 6.2-liter supercharged V8, so it would be difficult for us to claim that it needs more power—but that won't stop us because FCA has clearly proved stuffing more power into a car is an effective recipe to move units. We'd love to see Cadillac build a hardcore CTS-V Plus variant with the supercharged LT5 from the new C7 Corvette ZR1. In the ZR1, this engine produces 755 hp. We wouldn't mind if GM tuned it back a bit to protect the ZR1 halo status, so 740 hp should do the trick.
Along with the added power, we'd like to see Cadillac make two changes with the CTS-V's transmission. First, we think GM should get rid of the current eight-speed automatic in favor of the 10-speed unit in the current Camaro ZL1. The 10-speed was co-developed with Ford and can shift faster and smoother than the old eight-speed. Secondly, we want to see the return of the six-speed manual option from the second generation CTS-V. No other car in this segment offers a manual, so this would be a huge selling point for the CTS-V.
The manual transmission isn't the only option we'd like to bring back from the second-generation CTS-V. Cadillac killed off the wagon variant for its third generation, which we think was a mistake. The CTS-V wagon has become an instant collectible thanks to its rarity and the third-generation car has lines that would look excellent with the wagon treatment. BMW doesn't build a wagon version of the M5, so Mercedes has the high-performance wagon market to itself at the moment. We know the market for wagons is small, but we'd love to see Cadillac show some love to its loyal fans.
One of our biggest gripes with modern Cadillac models is the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system. CUE itself has been criticized for being slow and a bit cluttered, but Cadillac is hard at work to improve it. The bigger issue is what surrounds CUE: touch buttons. The CTS-V is filled with capacitive buttons instead of physical ones. Simply adjusting the volume using the touch slider can be cumbersome, so we'd like to see Cadillac replace these with conventional buttons and knobs.
Our final improvement to the CTS-V deals with Cadillac's future as a brand. We have heard that both the CTS and ATS may be axed by 2019 in favor of a new sedan model. The CT6 marked a shift in Cadillac's naming scheme and we can only pray the V models survive the change. Cadillac has experimented with V models like the STS V and XLR V in the past, but we think it is important to expand the V brand as M and AMG have done in recent years. This may mean adding some SUV V models. Some people believe the M and AMG brands have diluted themselves, but both have never been stronger and continue to pump out incredible performance models.