Caddys have a traditional image as luxurious barges that roll gracefully round the corners and then glide along the straightaway with an imperious smoothness. Yes? Actually no, because that stereotype has been blown clean away by the Cadillac CTS-V, the superstar in Cadillac’s V-Series high-performance line that made its debut in 2004.
Admittedly the first generation got off to a somewhat sticky start with owners experiencing tiresome problems with a whining rear differential caused by inadequate half-shafts. Nothing was officially admitted by General Motors or Cadillac, but the upgraded diff unit fitted from 2006 was proof enough for most. But those teething troubles were just the learning curve needed to produce the extraordinary second generation CTS-V that was introduced in 2008.
This is a spectacular performance car that shares a 6.2 litre V8 with the Corvette ZR1, no slouch itself. Around 550 bhp is more than enough to deliver bitumen-blasting acceleration and searing speed that puts the CTS-V right alongside — or even in front of —German class-leaders like the BMW M5, Mercedes SLK32 AMG or Mercedes E63 AMG. The Caddy comes with six-speed manual or automatic transmission, the latter paddle-operated, and has ride and handling qualities that match the powerful engine. MagnaRide technology features dampers that adjust automatically (and instantly) to the road surface. The comfort of driver and passengers hasn’t been overlooked, either, with a refined interior that features hand-stitched leather and performance Recaro seats that adjust every which way. The unfussy styling of the CTS-V is restrained, with an almost European look.
The second generation CTS-V is a pleasure to drive and to prove the performance point a CTS-V went round Germany’s famous Nurburgring in under eight minutes, smashing the record for a four-door production saloon car . . and that was achieved by the slow old automatic version.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
6.2 I (376 cid) V8
Top speed of 191 mph (307 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 3.9 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Unfortunately, the credit crunch and tsunami-like recession that followed hit Cadillac parent General motors hard, and the HPVO (High Performance Vehicle Operations) team responsible for creating the CTS-V was disbanded, with no plans for reformation in the foreseeable future.