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5 things you need to know about the 2017 Cadillac CTS-V • 4 August 2017

Say it ain’t so: a week after I grudgingly returned my 2017 Cadillac CTS-V tester it was revealed that Cadillac will be nixing the ATS, CTS, and XTS automobiles entirely in favor of a single replacement sedan to be labeled the CT5. While the CT5 may get a high performance edition of its own one day, the current CTS-V marks the end of the line for one of the more unabashedly dominant sport sedans ever built. The third, and final generation of the Cadillac CTS-V is the most powerful and most refined of the three versions to have been unleashed on American asphalt, and it’s a fitting swan song for a car that has continually pushed the limits of four-door performance. Check out these 5 things you need to know about the 2017 Cadillac CTS-V The 2017 Cadillac CTS-V is the most gifted sport sedan in its class by a significant margin, thanks to the decision to gift it with GM’s supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 engine. This V8 lump – shared with the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 – generates 640 horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque, numbers that are good enough to embarrass the outgoing BMW M5 (560 ponies) and even the all-new 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S (603 horses). Thanks to its larger frontal area, the Cadillac also manages to avoid the overheating issues that have plagued the Z06 since it was first introduced, giving you lap after lap of unfettered access to its gobs and gobs of output. Cadillac has also elected to keep the CTS-V rear-wheel drive, a decision which manifests each and every time you floor the go-pedal and feel the business end of the car squirm and squat (even when rolling at highway speeds). And yet even with the car’s Performance Traction Management system set to ‘Race’, with the eight-speed automatic transmission in charge there’s really no moment where you run the risk of upending the Cadillac’s fantastic balance. You’re simply treated to incredible acceleration, with a factory-claimed 3.6 second launch to 60-mph and a quarter mile that disappears in under 12 seconds. Once it’s time to bring the CTS-V back down to earth, Brembo binders clamp on to rotors the size of pizza platters and firmly anchor the car’s velocity to the realities of your local speed limit. The downside of having this much weaponized thrust constantly sitting under your right foot, egging you on to ‘dip in’ at every stoplight? Predictably horrendous fuel mileage: I recorded 18-mpg combined over a 700-mile road trip consisting of mostly highway driving. The Cadillac CTS-V is a legitimate family car, with enough room in the rear seat to accommodate full-size adults, and its generous cabin is no surprise given the eye-stretching nature of its long wheelbase (visually lengthened even further by the front splitter and rear wing of my test vehicle’s Carbon Black Sport package). Surprisingly given its size, the V doesn’t tip the scales with as much gusto as you might think: at just 4,129 lbs, the Cadillac finds itself in the unusual position of being one of the lightest cars in its class. Much of this is due to the modified Alpha platform that the CTS-V shares with the smaller ATS as well as Chevrolet’s Camaro coupe, two other vehicles notable for shedding pounds in recent years. By combining the 2017 CTS-V’s low-mass design with GM’s startling Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension, Cadillac has been able to make the large sedan feel lighter on its feet than one might expect. Able to change the car’s damping to match road conditions and driver demands within milliseconds, the system offers exceptional capability when dealing with one corner after another on your favorite back road, or even the hard right-handers that litter Wisconsin’s Road America race course where I had previously had the pleasure of flogging the CTS-V. More important, however, is the poise produced by this implementation of MagRide, meaning that the sedan delivers all of the above handling smarts without compromising daily driving comfort. That’s a departure from the typically stiff-legged suspensions required to keep high-powered executive sedans on an even keel. The ‘Cadillac User Experience,’ better known as CUE, has been a topic of derision almost since it was first introduced several years back. The CUE infotainment system and capacitive touch controls have drawn fire for being slow, difficult to use, and relatively unattractive as compared to what’s on the docket from the competition. While I’d like to say the feature has gotten better with time, there are still issues that crop up even now that one should never have to deal with in a luxury car. During my road trip in the CTS-V, for example, the CUE-based climate control system froze up, making it impossible to change temperatures or fan speed until I had shut the car off and turned it back on again – something I had to pull off of the highway to do. I had a similar experience three years ago while driving the ATS in which I had to initiated a CUE reset procedure at least five times over the course of a nine hour drive in order to continue using the radio. Similar problems, several years apart, do not impart much confidence in CUE’s development. Still, if wonky infotainment is the only real flaw of this four-door cruise missile with face-melting acceleration, then I’d have to believe most prospective buyers would be willing to overlook the occasional digital hiccup on their way to the Cadillac CTS-V’s top speed of 200-mph. This rings even more true when examining the sedan’s price: with a starting sticker of just $85,995, the CTS-V is significantly less costly than the roughly six-figure Mercedes-AMG E63 S, the previous-generation BMW M5 (still lingering on dealer lots), and the $113,000 Audi RS7. Each of these cars is not just more expensive, but also less powerful than the Cadillac, which double-underlines in smoking rubber stripes just how ridiculous the domestic supercar’s market position truly is.

2017 Cadillac CTS-V: Our View • 27 December 2016

The 2017 Cadillac CTS-V is excessively overpowered fun, but you wouldn't know it if all you wanted to do was drive to work or pick up the kids from school.

2016 Cadillac CTS-V Review: Darth Vader’s ride • 17 April 2016

Whenever I walked up to the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V in a parking lot, I heard the echoes of the Imperial March from Star Wars in my head. Only true American muscle aficionados may understand the potency and engineering prowess that goes into turning Caddy’s comfortable CTS sedan into a four-wheeled Death Star, yet it only takes one brief spin – preferably on the safety of a race track, but an abandoned country road will do – to comprehend why this supercharged, super-aggressive, super-speed monster can give the best of the Autobahn-busters sleepless nights. It was the CTS-V’s grandfather that kick-started Cadillac ‘s V Sport project a decade or so ago, a concerted attempt to demonstrate that the storied marque was about more than just wallowing suspension and marshmallow-soft seats. Since then, several of the company’s cars have shown up in the pits for a V Sport makeover, not least the 2016 ATS-V which – in either coupe or sedan form – offer some of the best bang-for-buck in their segment. Nonetheless, it’s this third-generation CTS-V that best epitomizes – with the exception, perhaps, of the V Sport Escalade prototype buried somewhere in GM’s bunker, and which nobody at Cadillac will agree to let me play with – the “glorious maelstrom” ethos of the engineers and former racing drivers on the Cadillac team. There’s presence on the road, even if only a few people will recognize what makes this particular Caddy special. The company’s Art and Science design language has been around for a few generations now, but I think the CTS – and the V Sport model in particular – best illustrates its strengths. At the front, the regular grille’s restraint has been blown through with a mesh version, atop a deep, meaty spoiler. A broad slab of vents cut into the sharply creased carbon-fiber hood, and everything is bracketed by Cadillac’s distinctive LED lights which flow down crisply. Flared arches only just fit the 19-inch lightweight forged-aluminum wheels, shod in skinny Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber. At the rear, there’s a special V-Series fascia and a surprisingly restrained spoiler; Cadillac opted not to fit the carbon-fiber package to this particular car, which adds a more aggressive front splitter, hood vent trim, rear diffuser, and a beefier spoiler, at the expense of discretion and $6,250 from your wallet. This is no styling exercise, mind: the Caddy has grunt to match its promising looks. A little parts-bin sharing – of the very best kind – sees the 6.2-liter V8 supercharged engine from the Corvette Z06 dropped under the hood, matched to an 8-speed automatic transmission. It’s good for a somewhat ridiculous – no, scratch that, utterly ridiculous – 640 horsepower and 630 lb-ft. of torque. It makes the CTS-V one of the fastest sedans on the market, with a quoted 3.7 second 0-60 mph time and a top speed of 200 mph, and demonstrates that it’s not only the big German brands which can do performance luxury. You could imagine the Cadillac shredding it’s expensive, low-profile Michelin rubber with one jab of the throttle, but it’s actually a fairly controlled experience. The CTS-V gets a slightly confusing double-level of driving modes and traction control. First, you can switch between the familiar four driving modes of touring, sport, snow, and track; then, there are five Performance Traction Management settings, starting out in “Wet” and then escalating up through “Dry”, “Sport 1”, “Sport 2”, and finally the most extreme “Race”. Each progressively tames and then discards the nursemaiding until, by the end, you’re almost entirely responsible for guiding several tons of roaring American automobile around the track. Cadillac didn’t seem too keen on my taking the CTS-V racing – having tried it on the excellent Road America track last year at the car’s launch, I know already just how astonishingly capable it is there – but regular owners are practically encouraged to. The six-piston front and four-piston rear Brembo brakes are paired with rotors specially treated for both avoiding track-fade and longevity in everyday use: the idea is that you can drive the CTS-V to your local racing club and then straight onto the course, pausing only to strap on a helmet and stab the button that shifts into a more permissive level of traction control. I resisted the urge to treat the Californian back roads as unofficial racetracks, and instead stuck to the more everyday settings. That’s not to say the CTS-V is any less of an animal, mind; swinging out of my first corner onto an uphill stretch, with the car in Sport mode, I stomped with my right foot and the car’s rear-end went twitchy and squirreled entertainingly across the lane. Not out of control, but definitely good fun. You can tame that skittishness by more carefully balancing your braking into a corner and then easing on the throttle as you pull through; that keeps the RWD car sufficiently planted without the front wheels getting out of line, and leaves you in the perfect position to experience the CTS-V’s biggest party trick. The surge of power from the supercharged engine is colossal, a giant’s hand against your back forcing you up the road and a smile across your face. You can, if you really want to, override the 8-speed with the crisp little magnesium paddle shifters, but frankly there’s no point. The CTS-V’s gearbox handles all that grunt with aplomb, and though in Tour mode it defaults to more subdued shifts, set to Sport or Race it will let the V8 skirt almost all the way up to the engine’s redline at 6,500 rpm. Don’t dismiss Tour mode as the dull option, mind. Thanks to the Magnetic Ride Control, and Cadillac’s acoustic treatment, the CTS-V is eminently capable of serving limo duty. The standard cabin is comfortable enough, with leather seats and microfiber inserts, but the $2,300 Recaro High Performance Seats of my review car threw in greater lateral support which was more than welcome (even if I might not have picked the “Saffron” accent color myself) together with 16-way power adjustment and optional massage. Add the $1,600 Luxury Package and you get split folding rear-seats with outboard heating, a power rear sunshade and manual side sunshades, a 110V outlet, and tri-zone climate control. It’s comfortable, smooth, and astonishingly restrained. Living with the CTS-V, then, becomes a glorious double-punch. On the highway, it’s a long-legged cruiser, the engine always having more than enough power for easy overtaking while its note is placid and discrete. Hit the driving mode button to slot it into Sport when you reach more entertaining roads, however, and the supercharger thrums eagerly into action, more than 4,000 pounds of supercar with all the eagerness to play of a puppy on crack. Public roads are woefully inadequate for getting anywhere close to this car’s limits, either in acceleration or braking, but it’s damned fun trying anyway. The more aesthetically pleasing drives can be memorialized with the $1,300 Performance Data Recorder, which saves a 720p view from the front-facing camera – complete with optional driving telemetry overlays – to an SD card slotted in the glove compartment. Don’t expect to get great economy if you’re trying for the most dramatic footage, however. The official EPA figures are 14 mpg in the city, 21 on the highway, and 17 combined; the V8 will even shut down half its cylinders when cruising to eke out a little extra from each premium gallon. Drive it as the CTS-V really does encourage you to, however, and expect to get something closer to 12 mpg in everyday use. If there’s a place the Germans still have an edge, it’s the dashboard. Cadillac isn’t short on tech – you get Apple CarPlay, Google’s Android Auto, automatic parking assistance, a wireless phone charger hiding in the center console behind the motorized 8-inch touchscreen, OnStar 4G with WiFi hotspot support, and cameras down by the curbs to make sure you don’t dint that stunning body kit, among other things – but while the hand-cut and stitched leather feels great, the gloss-finish black plastic is less appealing. Luckily CUE, Cadillac’s love-it-or-hate-it infotainment system has been refined over earlier iterations, casting off some of its sluggishness and paring back its at-times overloaded UI. I’d still welcome some proper buttons instead of the touch-sensitive keys that come with CUE, but it’s not the headache it once was. The CTS-V is a car with attitude to spare. It’s the car Darth Vader would probably drive, were the keys to all the Tie-Fighters and Imperial Destroyers taken at the weekend. It’s a car that is equally convincing that Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz should take seriously that Cadillac can make a luxury vehicle and a performance one. On the one hand, then, the $83,995 base price – rising to $91,190 with this review car’s extra kit, the $1k gas guzzler tax, and $995 destination – seems a positive bargain. All the same, I know some shy from the thought of spending that amount on a Cadillac, even one which chews through superlatives with such eagerness as the CTS-V. For them, perhaps, the $60,950 CTS V-Sport might fit the bill. Not so aggressive in its looks as the CTS-V, nor – with a 3.6 liter twin-turbo V6 good for 420 HP and 430 lb-ft. of torque – quite as powerful, but it’ll still do 0-60 in a more than respectable 4.7 seconds, and has more than enough potency for public roads. Forgive me, though, Mother Europe, for my loyalties have strayed. While rationally I know I should want something with an AMG badge, or with M branding, the smooth-talking Caddy has won me over. The CTS-V is potent, it’s rewarding, and it’s so rare on the roads as to make the E63 S or M5 it can merrily overtake look commonplace in contrast.

Auto Express • 7 August 2015

Cadillac CTS-V is a convincing BMW M5 rival, with a 6.2-litre V8 producing 640bhp

The Last Waltz: 2014 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon • 22 December 2014

The next morning we headed off to COTA. I snagged the black CTS-V Wagon because I'm a greedy jerk, or at least that's the vibe I'm getting off the Canadian writer who wanted to drive it. First come, first serve, eh? After an uneventful 25-minute drive through urban and exurban Austin we reached COTA, and I was excited to go find the wagon with the manual. Only I never found it. Because it wasn't there. I ran and grabbed the Cadillac PR guy. "I thought you said I was getting a manual wagon?" He smiled, shrugged, and walked away. I'd been tricked! Lied to! How dare they!? In fact, there was only one manual CTS-V at the track -- a coupe -- and it was being sequestered for someone to drive it back to Portland. I was not thrilled. Curious note about CTS-Vs and manual transmissions. Approximately 15 percent of the sedans and coupes sold have three pedals. However, 30 percent of the wagons -- around 450 out of about 1,400 -- are manuals. Makes perfect sense to me. I just wonder what's wrong with the 70 percent who went for the auto. Does it sounds like I hate the CTS-Wagon with the auto? I assure you I don't. I am, however, disappointed. This Caddy Wagon simply didn't live up to the hype of my own memory. I imagine it's like getting back together with a former lover. You've changed, they're different, and the world has moved on. In the case of this Cadillac, a pasty six-speed automatic transmission is just not the answer in 2015, one of the many reasons why the next CTS-V will arrive with GM's fast-shifting eight-speed auto. Five years back, 556 horsepower used to be an insane amount of gumption. These days you can get a Hellcat that makes more than 700 horsepower for less coin. Zero to 60 in 3.9 seconds is real quick, but a BMW M3 is just as fleet. Am I a man without dreams? Is my memory of the long-term CTS-V Wagon romanticized, glorified, overhyped, and inaccurate? I hope not, and I like to think that had this particular black wagon come with a manual transmission I would have figured out a way to steal it. At the very least, when the Cadillac man came calling and asked for her back, I would have put up a fight.

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