Cadillac CTS-V Review

Written By Tony Tran on Monday, April 11, 2011 | 10:29 AM

The wickedly fast Cadillac CTS-V is easily one of the best Cadillacs ever. In an effort to take advantage of its recent vogue, Cadillac decided to build high-performance versions of several of its cars. Collectively called the V-Series, they are meant to be high-powered, tight-handling, all-around track-tuned performers in the vein of the European performance marques, such as BMW's M series and Mercedes-Benz's AMG lineup.




2006 Cadillac CTS-V 4dr Sedan Shown

The CTS-V was the first Cadillac to get the V treatment, and it's no exaggeration to call it an enthusiast's dream. Based on the CTS entry-level luxury sedan, the CTS-V has exclusivity stamped all over it. The throaty V8 may get all the publicity, but the CTS-V looks, sounds and drives like a very special car.

As you'd expect, though, the Cadillac CTS-V does share a few inherent flaws with the regular CTS, including an awkward interior design and mediocre interior materials. These attributes will likely be addressed with the second-generation CTS-V, which is expected to follow the launch of the new '08 CTS.

Current Cadillac CTS-V

The Cadillac CTS-V comes in one body style and trim. It is a powerful, rear-wheel-drive midsize luxury sedan. The V6 engine from the standard CTS has been swapped out for a 400-hp 6.0-liter V8, which is the same engine found under the Corvette's hood. A six-speed manual gearbox and limited-slip differential are standard. There is no automatic transmission option. Put the pedal down hard and you can expect to move from zero to 60 mph in 5 seconds.

But the performance upgrades go far beyond the bigger engine. Additional highlights include a tightened suspension, massive Brembo performance brakes and 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels with performance tires. Antilock brakes and a driver-adjustable stability control system (StabiliTrak) are standard. More subtle adjustments include a strengthened engine cradle and hydraulic engine mounts.

There is a level of sophistication that extends from the performance construction down to the interior features. You get all of the CTS upscale features as standard, including HID headlights, climate control, sport seats and a premium Bose audio system with an in-dash six-CD changer. Even navigation comes standard. Options are limited to paint colors and run-flat tires.

Cadillac has done its best to gussy up the CTS's normally dull interior to make the V-Series sedan feel special. The original instrument cluster has been replaced by more upscale dials and computer readouts, which even spit out real-time driving dynamics, such as lateral G-forces. There are also aluminum and satin chrome accents on the dash. The more heavily bolstered front seats are comfortable and supportive during aggressive driving. As in the regular CTS, the backseat is spacious, which makes the CTS-V more useful on an everyday basis than similarly priced compact rivals from Audi, BMW and Mercedes.


In road tests, our editors found the Cadillac CTS-V to be the automotive equivalent of a Fourth of July fireworks celebration. It just oozes enthusiasm and begs to be driven hard. Whether you're pushing hard in a straight line, around long curves or sharp corners, the CTS-V does everything you want from a high-level sport sedan and then some, though its drivetrain exhibits the sort of raggedness that sets it slightly below the standards of its European rivals. But no excuses need to be made for the handling, which is precise and predictable in all conditions.

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