2010 Cadillac CTS-VPosted on March 16th, 2010
Potent sport sedan
By Nina Russin
Driving the CTS-V can make the sun shine brighter and the road irresistibly beckoning. It’s that good. The tuner version of Cadillac’s sport sedan is basically a race car with back seats. With 556 horses under the hood, the Cadillac CTS-V is the Corvette Z06 of the sedan world.
To attribute the CTS-V’s other worldly performance solely to its engine would be doing the car a disservice. Features such as magnetic ride control transmit power to the ground in a highly refined fashion.
Having said that, the Cadillac CTS-V is not a car for everyone. In addition to its high-luxury price tag, the chassis is engineered for speed rather than versatility.
It’s not particularly suited for snow. Buyers who plan to drive the car in the winter should expect to invest in a spare set of rims and snow tires. The standard performance tires are too hard in cold weather to provide adequate traction.
Ground effects enhance high-speed handling, but make it virtually impossible to take the sedan off pavement without damaging components.
Test drive in Phoenix
My driving plans for the CTS-V originally included a trip through the Arizona mountains. But a series of snowstorms forced a change of plans. I limited my driving to Phoenix, where the sun was shining and the roads were dry.
The test car is equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission in place of the standard six-speed manual gearbox. The automatic transmission is a no-charge option. Recaro seats up front add $3400 to the car’s $60,720 MSRP.
Other options include special wood trim ($600) and a suede-covered steering wheel ($300). I like the sueded steering wheel for Southwestern drivers, since summer temperatures can make varnished wood and chrome hot to touch. A gas guzzler tax of $2,600 and $825 delivery charge bring the price as tested to $68,445.
Fans of European sport sedans will find the CTS-V well matched in performance. The sedan has similar launch characteristics, steering response and braking to the BMW M5, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG and E63 AMG it competes against.
The CTS-V has a 54/46 front-to-rear weight balance, as compared to 51/49 in the standard CTS. The rear track is slightly wider than the front, allowing for wider wheels that create a bigger footprint. Stabilizer bars on both axles and a limited-slip differential keep the chassis flat, and minimize rear wheel slippage when the car moves quickly through a series of turns.
The automatic transmission adds some versatility for buyers who need to use their car to commute. Despite its horsepower, the CTS-V is quite civilized in traffic, with good visibility around the perimeter, linear braking and minimal noise intrusion to the interior.
A manual shift option lets the driver choose gears when driving the car for sport. Brembo performance brakes provide firm, linear stopping power without being grabby.
The magnetic ride control uses iron in the shock fluid to record and send information about road conditions to sensors. Actuators adjust shock damping instantaneously to compensate. The system works remarkably well, producing a seamless, yet responsive ride which can isolate passengers from bumps in the road, while maintaining firmness at speed.
The supercharged V-8 engine develops peak torque of 551 foot-pounds at 3800 rpm. Superchargers have been a favorite power enhancement among car enthusiasts for years because of their instantaneous throttle response. The engine-driven blower minimizes the effects of altitude on engine performance, reduces emissions by burning fuel more efficiently, and enhances fuel economy.
A relatively low engine compression ratio of 9:1 makes it possible to run the car on regular fuel, though engineers recommend premium under challenging conditions.
A 38-foot turning radius isn’t particularly good for a car of its size, but is adequate for the occasional U-turn.
Thirty-four hundred dollars is a lot of money for a couple of seats, but the Recaros in the CTS-V are worth it. They are extremely comfortable, with aggressive side and seatback bolsters for driving at speed. Lower lumbar support is excellent. Access and egress to the front seats is surprisingly easy, considering the size of the bolsters.
The sueded steering wheel is a nice size that is comfortable to hold. I found the gauges easy to read in daylight and at night. Redundant audio, Bluetooth and cruise controls on the steering wheel minimize driver distraction.
A button on the center stack raises and lowers the navigation system display screen. The screen is quite large, making it easy to see the graphics, but also interfering with the driver’s forward view. Designers were smart to make the screen retractable, but unfortunately, the navigation system will not work without the screen deployed.
The standard Bose 5.1 surround sound audio system is excellent quality, though it seems a shame to interfere with the car’s wonderful exhaust note. Front passengers have ample storage cubbies in the vicinity, including a large locking glovebox, and plenty of cupholders.
Rear passengers don’t get a tremendous amount of legroom, but modest sized adults should feel comfortable. A tall floor tunnel all but eliminates legroom in the center position. Vents in the back of the center console circulate air through the back of the cabin.
The CTS-V has a deep, spacious trunk. While sedans are less practical than cross and sport-utility vehicles for carrying bicycles, the trunk can easily accommodate large pieces of luggage and moderately large gear. Buyers who need more cargo versatility should consider the CTS sport wagon.
The Cadillac CTS-V comes standard with keyless entry and start for easier access after dark. Front, side and side curtain airbags are also standard, as is antilock braking, traction and stability control. Standard OnStar automatically notifies the police and emergency medical personnel if the car’s airbags deploy.
Cadillac builds the CTS-V at its Lansing, Michigan assembly plant.
Likes: A stylish sport sedan with outstanding performance, rivaling the best of what Europe has to offer.
Dislikes: Lack of legroom in the second row. Navigation screen interferes with the driver’s forward view.
Base price: $60,720
As tested: $68,445
Horsepower: 556 Hp @ 6100 rpm
Torque: 551 lbs.-ft. @ 3800 rpm
Zero-to-sixty: Under 4 seconds
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: No
Fuel economy: 12/18 mpg city/highway
2 responses to “2010 Cadillac CTS-V”
Absolutely wonderful review. Extremely unbiased and gave each product an equal chance while coming up with a clear winner for shine/ gloss and for ease of use. Thank you very much
Although I had my car for about a week, I’m pretty impressed by the luxury and design with the beauty of American manufacture. This is my first step into the arena of American-made car, and I must say I am impressed.
Leave a reply