The stick-shift CTS-V coupe that we had in the office recently was great fun, but the V sedan is certainly no slouch either. And its increased practicality almost makes up for its decreased sexiness (although I think the sedan might look a bit meaner). That lovely exhaust note and the mountains of horsepower are quick to bring a smile. The paddle buttons to manually control the transmission aren’t all that satisfying, but when left in regular mode or bumped over to the Sport setting, the automatic trans does very nice work indeed. The steering is excellent, too, and I love the optional Alcantara-covered wheel.
This driver’s seat is among the most comfortable car seats I’ve ever sat in, which is ironic because the vastly overstuffed seats in the regular CTS are some of the worst ones on the market today, in my opinion. The V’s optional Recaro seats are super supportive and grippy, with just the right amount of padding and side bolstering. Like those in the CTS Sport Wagon we experienced recently, though, the driver’s seat felt a bit loose. Weird…
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
The Cadillac CTS-V is a world-class sport sedan that is plenty capable of standing up to the German competitors from BMW’s M division and Mercedes-Benz’s AMG unit. I had driven a manual-transmission CTS-V coupe just days prior to getting in this automatic-equipped sedan, so my attention was immediately focused on the gearbox. While it’s not offensive in its operation, the Cadillac transmission can’t really hold a candle the BMW seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and the Mercedes-Benz seven-speed automatic. Both of those transmissions offer faster, more aggressive downshifts with better rev-matching. The result is that the BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG have smoother drivelines with a more fluid, engaging feel. Of course, if you prefer the Cadillac’s monstrous power and distinctive looks, the answer is simply to buy the manual transmission, which is fabulous.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor
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
It’s rather difficult to focus on interior trim when you’re eyes are locked on the digital speedometer display-it doesn’t take much movement from your right foot to send the numbers spinning quicker than reels on a Vegas slot machine.
This is one wicked muscle car, but I’m most impressed at how well it straddles the line between beauty and beast. The V is all too happy to be driven in anger (especially once the transmission is placed into sport mode), but it’s remarkably compliant while schlepping about town. It’s one thing to create a car that’s composed at 130 mph, but it’s a whole other ballgame to also make it comfortable in 35-mph bumper-to-bumper traffic.
The CTS-V sedan’s $64,000 base price may seem a little high when compared to the $55,000 entry price of a four-door M3, but not once you scan the content list. Virtually every piece of standard equipment on the CTS-V, including electronic damping control, navigation, heated front seats, satellite radio, park assist, and a deluxe audio system with a USB input, is optional on the Bimmer. Add those to the mix, and the M3’s price tag actually exceeds that of the Caddy by roughly $1000.
Evan McCausland, Web Producer
The V-series is the best thing to happen at Cadillac since this brand introduced V-8 engines 95 years ago. The thumping idle and the lusty lunge forth after a brush of the throttle really tickle my gizzard. Any family man harboring closet Corvette dreams will find deliverance with each handshake of the CTS-V’s suede-skinned steering wheel. This is a BMW M3 with a bigger back seat and a more vibrant heart beat. The fact that there’s only one camshaft lurking under this Cadillac’s hood makes it all the better when you blow off the lame Lincolns, the smartass Shelbys, and the prissy Porsches that get in your way.
Don Sherman, Technical Editor
2010 Cadillac CTS-V sedan
Base price (with destination and gas guzzler tax): $64,145
Price as tested: $69,440
6.2-liter supercharged V-8
6-speed manual transmission
Magnetic ride control
19-inch painted aluminum wheels
Stabilitrak stability control
Tire pressure monitoring system
Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob
Steering wheel mounted shift controls
Dual zone climate control
Power and heated outside mirrors
XM satellite radio
Heated front seats
HID headlamps with washers
Keyless entry with remote start
Rear park assist
Bose 5.1 surround sound system with 10 speakers
40GB hard drive
Options on this vehicle:
Recaro high performance seats — $3400
Thunder gray chromaflair exterior paint — $995
Midnight sapele wood trim — $600
Sueded steering wheel and shift knob — $300
Key options not on vehicle:
Ultraview power sunroof — $1150
19-inch polished wheels — $800
12 / 18 / 14 mpg
Size: 6.2L supercharged V-8
Horsepower: 556 hp @ 6100 rpm
Torque: 551 lb-ft @ 3800 rpm
Curb weight: 4222 lb
Wheels/tires: 19-inch painted aluminum wheels
255/40R19 front; 285/35R19 rear Michelin Pilot Sport performance tires.