Cadillac CTS-V Coupe, losing doors changes the gamePosted: June 10, 2011
Recently Al and I both had the chance to test drive Cadillac CTS-V Coupes. Cadillac was doing some promotion at the Greenwich Concours d’ Elegance and it turned out they were happy to let two 21 year old car nuts get behind the wheel of their 556hp monster without any qualifications other than being over 18 and not intoxicated. As many of you may know, this is not at all how things are done at dealerships. I myself have tried to test a V series at a dealer and was told they don’t offer test drives of such cars for insurance reasons, so understand that this experience was quite surprising and exciting for us on a somewhat abnormal level. This whole experience of the CTS-V made me think though…
Its no secret that the CTS-V in any version is a fantastic value for money, but in coupe form I find it becomes even more so. This is because in becoming a coupe the CTS-V is no longer just a fast version of a standard car. The stark coupe design adds a certain something that removes it from the realm of the norm into the realm of the exceptional, the realm of the Gran Turismo. It is a realm that is highly romanticized, known for its high class and extreme style. GT cars are the ultimate blend of high performance and luxury, classically known for being able to cover vast distances at high speeds while its occupants enjoy a superb level of comfort and style. In coupe form the CTS-V fits this criteria to a tee.
By entering the realm of the GT car Cadillac is not just competing with BMW and Mercedes anymore, they will be in the company of such names as Ferrari, Bentley, and Aston Martin. Now you might expect that it might be a stretch for the Caddy to compete with such cars, but in actuality it will embarrass the Aston Vantage and the DB9 and even the DBS will fall just short in speed. The same goes for the Bentley GT where only the Supersports will have a fighting chance. As for Ferrari, the poor fool who just dropped $200K on a California will find himself being obliterated, and those in late model 612s and 575Ms will find they are unable to pull away in a top end pull. Performance wise this Cadillac really does have a place in the Gran Turismo bracket.
From personal experience I would put it just a bit under the Gallardo and 430 Scuderia I tested a few months back in the way it felt at full throttle. I was able to do a 0-??? pull flat out during my drive and it felt quite rapid to say the least. The sound too was just incredible, that V8 roar topped with a very audible supercharger wine as the revs climbed. The CTS-V also stops well thanks to its Brembo brakes, and I do mean “thanks” because they came in handy. Handling wise it is evident that all that testing on the Nurburgring was well used because it is extremely tight and composed for a car approaching two tons. The automatic transmission was decent, but this car desperately needs a dual clutch gearbox if you’re going to forgo the clutch pedal (I would have the manual).
On the comfort end of things the CTS-V maintains the level of luxury found in its price point, which is very good, but in some areas not on the level with the more exotic brands. This is the only place where the higher priced cars have an advantage in that they can use the highest quality materials because their cars will cost a lot more money. In the CTS there is no extinct wood to be found on the dash and no laser cut crystal key for the ignition, but it is still very comfortable and luxurious despite its shortcomings and it is not “cheap” feeling at all.
This brings us to the price, around $65-75K depending on options, making it around half the price of most of those other GT cars from the Europeans, many times even less than half. It is an incredible bargain, one of the best out there in my opinion. I loved driving the CTS-V more than I thought I would because it wasn’t just a fast brute, it had some of that refinement, that a GT car must have, at balanced level with it’s astounding performance. It also has the advantage over its more extreme competition in that it will be much cheaper to maintain, and to modify as well if for some reason you’re finding its 556hp a bit underwhelming. Taking this into account, it is clear that you could even take on Ferrari’s mighty 599 GTB or a Mercedes SLR Mclaren for a bit under one third of their cost.
Before I drove the CTS-V I figured it would behave in a rather brutish and unrefined manner when compared to the Europeans like most other American sports cars, but I was mistaken. It is actually a very well-executed overall car that deserves to be looked at as a proper Gran Turismo, as well as being one of the best value for money cars on the market today.