2010 Cadillac CTS-V
Base price: $61,545
As tested: $64,145
MPG: 13 city/18 highway
- World-Class high performance sports sedan
- Never tired of driving it
- Relatively bargained priced
- Needs a roomier back seat
- All that horsepower is expensive
By Jim Prueter
World-Class performance at a near bargain price
It’s powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter Corvette-derived V-8 engine that produces 556 horsepower and 551 pound-feet of torque, propelling the CTS-V from zero to 60 in 3.9 seconds. It roars through the quarter-mile in under 13 seconds. Top speed is 191 mph (175 mph for the automatic), and the biggest brakes in the business — huge 15-inch Brembo — bring the portly 4,300-pound super sedan to a halt. Let me get out and check the chain-link mesh grille for the laurelled crest, just to be sure this is really a Cadillac and not a BMW or Mercedes-Benz.
Yes, it really is a Cadillac, sibling of the champagne gold De Ville going ten miles an hour under the speed limit in the left lane on the interstate, driven by an octogenarian oblivious to the turn signal that has been blinking for the last eleven miles.
Beyond its performance credentials, the CTS-V is an outstanding and downright high-performance super-sedan bargain, with a base price of $61,545 (including a $2,600 Gas Guzzler tax). The super-Caddy undercuts the 510-horsepower Jaguar XF R by $18,500, the 435-horsepower Audi S6 sedan by $17,500, the 500-horsepower BMW M5 sedan by $29,000 and the 518-horsepower Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG by $30,000, and delivers nearly identical results. The Cadillac is rear-wheel drive only with AWD only available on CTS models without the “V” designation.
For those who can afford it, there really isn’t a reason not to buy the Caddy over the Jag or Benz.
But the CTS-V isn’t just about straight-line performance. It was more then impressive on Germany’s famed 14-mile undulating asphalt Nurburgring racetrack in the Eiffel Mountains, setting a world record for a production sedan by lapping the course in 7.59 minutes. A 600-plus horsepower Corvette ZR-1 completed the course slightly quicker with a time of 7.26 minutes.
What amazes me most is how the same sedan that is setting track records can be so perfectly mannered around town and in commuter-style driving. The ride is smooth when the console-mounted setting is pushed to touring mode, firmer when set to sport, and seems so perfectly integrated and capable. The CTS-V also features Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control suspension system, which adjusts with higher cornering grip under variable road conditions. The CTS-V makes what’s impossible with other sedans routine and uneventful, even refined.
Outside, the Caddy is gorgeous and almost indiscernible from the base V-6 powered CTS other than a few telltale styling cues like the curvaceous hood bump, aforementioned mesh grille, fat tires and special “V” badging on each front door and on the lower left side of the trunk lid.
The interior is largely unchanged from the base other than the front ventilated driver and passenger Recaro performance seats that adjust 14 ways, and real Sapele wood trim adorning the instrument panel, center console, and door trim.
The CTS-V has a full complement of safety features including dual-stage front and side curtain airbags for front and rear passengers and electronic stability control. The CTS-V earned the highest “Good” rating in front and side impact crash tests conducted by the Insurance institute for Highway Safety, and four out of five possible stars for front impacts and five stars for side impacts in government crash tests.
Clearly the engineers at Cadillac and General Motors were out to create attention to the brand and not necessarily profit with the CTS-V. Such vehicles are known as “halo” cars.
But not all is well with the CTS-V. We wish the rear seat had more passenger room, a back-up camera is unavailable, and because the rear of the vehicle is relatively high, visibility out back isn’t the best. You’ll also pay dearly at the pump with fuel economy rated at 13 city, 18 highway on premium unleaded.
The CTS-V is proof that domestic automakers can deliver an exceptionally rewarding vehicle that will compete with the best sports sedans Germany can produce — and for thousands and thousands of dollars less. This is a genuine world-class sports sedan.