Gorgeous late-summer weather and two Cadillac CTS-Vs. A week such as this should never be taken for granted. Like everyone else, I found myself wondering which body style and which transmission I'd prefer. No doubt, the coupe is the winner in terms of sex appeal and novelty. It just makes you smile as you walk up to it in a parking lot. In contrast, the four door might get lost in a parking lot, at least one in southeast Michigan, where six-cylinder CTS sedans are a dime a dozen. Of course, that sort of anonymity will appeal to some, so it really depends on the driver. The same can be said of the transmission choice. The automatic is a bit slow and cold, but it's very refined and is likely a more logical match than the stick shift considering the nature of the car and the massive V-8's relatively narrow powerband. I'd still take the manual, but the driver who wants a luxury car first and a sports car second will likely be better off with the automatic.
No matter how it's ordered, the CTS-V is indeed a world-class player. It falls short of the BMW M3 in a few objective categories -- for instance, most of the interior materials still wouldn't pass German muster -- but it more than makes up the difference in my mind with its beauty and brutish charm.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor