Christmas came just a tad late this year but the wait was worth it. As the last car tested in 2017, the 2018 Cadillac CTS-V sedan didn’t make it in time for our Favorite Cars Of 2017 article but it certainly put a smile on my face for a week. Our particular tester came with lots of extra goodies including a $6,250 carbon fiber package – carbon fiber hood vent, spoiler, front splitter and rear diffuser- making the Caddy some 450lb. lighter than the Dodge Charger Hellcat. Run the numbers and these two have nearly identical weight to power ratios and both reach 150 mph in just less than 17.5 seconds.

The CTS V borrows power directly from the Corvette Z06, which means it’s supercharged and intercooled 6.2-liter V-8 borrowed pumps out 640hp. @6,400 rpm and 630 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm. It loses 10 hp to the Corvette but this is no real loss. All this power is transmitted to the road through an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual paddle shifters. To keep all this power reigned in Cadillac uses magnetorheological dampers, a limited-slip differential and 19 inch wheels with 395/30 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires at the rear and 365/35s at the front. Once you get going and believe me this car really gets going, you will need some serious braking ability. Cadillac fits the CTS V with massive 15.4” discs at the front with 6 pistons per disc. While we had the car, there was never a time where we thought the brakes would not stop us from any speed.

Cadillac has stiffened CTS-V’s structure over the cooking CTS by using a host of strut bracing and plates together with MacPherson-type struts and a multilink rear suspension with the aforementioned dual-coil, three-mode Magnetic Ride Control shocks. One thing of note is the exhaust is quite subdued, with the majority of noise coming from supercharger, especially when you get on the gas, it emits a spine-tingling wail.

Photo Credits: Mai Krakauer

Does it work for a run to Costco?

Unfortunately, due to time constraints we didn’t drive on a track which clearly the CTS-V was designed for. Instead we went in search of any reason to drive it, mountain roads, a trip to Costco, the Post Office, in fact pretty much everywhere. The down side was the amount of fuel it drinks, especially if like me, you have a heavy right foot. The free tank of gas was gone in a day and I filled up 3 more times in the week averaging 12.9 mpg. That said, the CTS-V isn’t an economy car and the return on your fuel investment is astonishing speed and a permanent grin on your face.

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There are several modes to choose and even in Touring mode it feels sharp and ready to go, but still manages to iron out all but the roughest San Diego roads. I spent most of the time in Sport mode which delightfully changes the tachometer from black to white. Behind the wheel in the very comfortable, multi adjustable, Recaro performance seats ($2,300), it’s all business. The steering wheel is tastefully wrapped in soft Alcantara and is heated in case you forget your race gloves. Push the start button and the CTS-V starts up with a low burble, the exhaust not as loud as you would expect……Corvette it’s not. At low speeds, all is very refined and just a gentle prod on the gas will get you ahead of everyone else with little effort. Push the gas pedal down hard and the Caddy launches pinning you into the seats, illegal speeds are reached in no time. Mash your foot the last inch and all hell breaks loose, the supercharger wails and the rear end wiggles as the traction control and the excellent Pilot Super Sports struggle to keep everything in check…it’s fantastic fun. 0-60 is dispatched in 3.7 seconds and the 1/4 mile in 11.6, this is one fast super sedan.

The CTS-V is not just a straight-line missile though so I headed out for some twisty roads to test its mettle. Cadillac’s Performance Traction Management system does an excellent job in keeping all four wheels on the tarmac and unless you mash the gas in a tight turn everything should stay under control. Since it never rains here in Southern California you can be somewhat of a hooligan in most bends and under-steer is nonexistent. The car simply goes where you point it and when in Sport and Track modes body roll is extremely minimal considering the CTS-V weighs just a hair over 4,000 lbs. All in all, this car is massive fun to drive…. period.

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It’s not up to Audi/Mercedes levels but it’s still a very a nice place to be. Matte carbon fiber and suede adorn the dash, center console, and door panels. The entire headliner is also suede. Front seats are 20-way power, heated and ventilated with driver’s side memory function as standard. The Recaro performance seats have adjustable side bolsters keep you in place when the going gets twisty and fast. The revised CUE system works well and can display navigation directions and the current song playing at the same time.

Our tester came with the optional Performance Data Recorder which comprises a video camera and software system that records driving via a front-facing camera and overlays performance data on top of the video. Since we didn’t visit a track we didn’t get a chance to use this.


The CTS-V goes up against some stiff competition from the Germans. The Audi RS7 Performance, BMW M5 or Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 S will give you similar performance but they won’t give you the raw edge that the Caddy gives you. There’s something visceral about this car and I love it. It’s a bold, brash and loud American sports sedan that’s slightly scary as well………and it’s cheaper than its rivals. It makes me wonder what insane amount of power the next generation will have.


BASE PRICE $86,295
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan
ENGINE 6.2L supercharged OHV 16-valve V-8
POWER 640 hp @ 6400 rpm
TORQUE 630 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic with manual shifting
CURB WEIGHT 4,108 lb
0-60 MPH 3.7 sec
PROS Extremely capable chassis, monstrous power,
CONS Slightly scary, thirsty


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