It’s not often that a group of station wagon drivers is asked to quiet down at a track. But that’s exactly what happened when Cadillac rented out Laguna Seca to allow members of the press a chance to experience the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon without a speed limit. It turns out Laguna Seca has a 92 dB sound limit most of the time and our 556-hp station wagons were a few dB over the limit at full throttle leaving turn five. To maximize our time on the track all we had to do was resist the urge to floor the car between turns five and six, but it’s difficult to listen to reason in a car like this.
The engineers and management at Cadillac are incredibly proud of the CTS-V Sport Wagon. This is exactly the type of product that shows GM’s commitment to the Cadillac brand and returning it to glory. Instead of trying to find ways to bring a CTS-V Sport Wagon to market at low cost, the engineers found solutions to the inherent problems that arise from turning a sedan into a wagon -- namely the lack of rigidity that comes with an open cargo area. Cadillac went so far as to cut holes at the top of the shock towers to allow a wagon-specific brace to be added to the rear suspension so the spectacular Magnetic Ride Control system could be used. New GM is paying a lot more attention to these little details because these little details are exactly the sort of things luxury buyers use to justify the huge sticker prices premium cars command.
Cadillac uses the same 6.2-liter LSA V-8 in each configuration of CTS-V and all three offer 556 hp and 551 lb-ft of torque that is routed to the rear wheels via a six-speed transmission. Perhaps the more impressive part is buyers can choose an automatic or manual transmission for any bodystyle. Yes, a 556-hp station wagon with a six-speed manual transmission is being built by an automaker outside of Germany! Nobody at Cadillac was willing to make a guess on the take rate of the manual CTS-V Sport Wagon, but we’re positive these vehicles will become cult classics and have surprising demand on the used market.
As one would expect, the supercharged, overhead valve V-8 produces as much torque as you’d ever want right off idle and delivers an incredible amount of power at virtually any speed. Those who select a manual transmission could loaf around in top gear at 25 mph and not get any complaints from the engine. Keep the shifter in an appropriate gear and odds are you’ll run out of road (or meet an unhappy police officer) before you need fourth gear. It’s amazing how smooth this high performance powertrain is and the exhaust note is equally civilized unless the accelerator is mashed. One could easily drive this car for several hundred miles at a time without becoming annoyed by the resonance so many high performance cars have at legal highway speeds.