This past weekend, I became a man in terms of driving. I drove my first truly fast car. On Saturday, June 4th, 2011, at the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, Cadillac was offering test drives of some of their models, including the CTS-V Coupe. I approached it with some degree of caution, after a pep talk from Nick, who said that I should treat this experience with a bit of caution, but still have fun with it. I’m not an unsafe driver, but since I had never driven a truly fast car until then, I was a little nervous putting my right foot on a gas pedal connected to what is pretty much a monster.
I jumped into the red coupe when it pulled into the dropoff and adjusted my position, still thinking about what Nick said. I pulled into traffic, and within fifteen seconds, the Cadillac representative next to me said that the on-ramp to I-95 just ahead would be a terrific spot to test the car’s acceleration. At that moment, I eased up quite a bit, knowing that if I did try to do anything nuts, that I’d be on a long leash. When the light shined green, I headed up the on-ramp, and my right foot had a party.
I stabbed the gas pedal, and suddenly understood what “torque” really means. This thing moves. My back was pinned in place as the car thrust forward, and the speedometer climbed with urgency I’d never experienced. By the time I looked down at the speedometer once I was in the center lane, I was driving faster than I had ever driven in any car in my life up until this point. As I hit the brakes and turned around at the next exit, I thought to myself, “Wow. Holy mother of GOD this car is fast. And that was me driving it. ME.” I had lost my fast-car virginity in quite a fashion. This is a seriously fast car, even with the automatic transmission. Since I have not driven the manual version (Cadillac did not provide such a car), I can’t speak from that perspective, but it’s probably even faster.
This car also sounds fantastic. The supercharger doesn’t overwhelm the low rumble of the V8 as the car speeds up, but definitely made its presence known. The combination of sounds is truly delightful, and looking back, it’s easy to understand why I floored it again before exiting the highway and flooring it on the on-ramp from about 30MPH on the way back. It goes just as well as it sounds, which is without fail.
On the way back to the drop-off point, I didn’t go as fast because I was still enamored at this car’s ability. The supercharged V8 engine in the CTS-V is almost identical to the one that’s in the Corvette ZR1, detuned to produce 556 horsepower. Yes, you read that correctly. This is an extremely fast car, and at the price Cadillac has been selling it, it’s no surprise how well-received it is (around 70 large). It also looks stunning in person. Some photos of it don’t do it justice. The interior as well is genuinely well-appointed, and a huge step up from other models carrying the Cadillac name.
Gripes? Well, if you really want to be objective (which I don’t want to be), the gas mileage will be terrible and the thick pillars create a blind spot. But, those gripes are really just trivial. In a sports car that can do what this will do, looking behind isn’t the point at all, and when you can just about blow everything else on the road away with one stab of the fun pedal, why in the name of God do you care about gas mileage? What are we, counting pennies here?
SUM UP: For what this car is designed to do, it is pretty much perfect. It will turn heads more than the BMW M3 or upcoming Mercedes C63 coupe, it costs about the same (if not a bit less), and it’s much, much more powerful. You would be a fool to ignore Cadillac’s V label at this point. These guys really mean business.