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Steel Champion

Cadillac’s CTS-V coupe remains an enthusiast’s dream.
By Tom Crosby

Driving Cadillac’s CTS-V coupe is like taking Secretariat on a trail ride. Equipped with the most powerful motor Cadillac has ever built, the 556-horsepower super-charged V-8 engine chomps at the bit with just the slightest request. It reaches 60 mph from a stop in under four seconds and accelerates like a racehorse in the straightaway when passing traffic on the highway.


Cadillac’s CTS coupe delivers a powerful and classy ride. ©GM Company photo

A decade ago, Cadillac launched its CTS line. Today, it’s Cadillac’s best-selling car, and is offered as a sedan, sports wagon, or super-charged CTS-V. We test drove the rear-wheel-drive coupe with a six-speed Tremec RR6060 manual transmission. Automatic transmission also is available. Ours was the base model coupe–with some options–but there also are V-models in sedan and wagon styles, plus luxury, performance and premium trims.

Little is changed for 2012; this sports car has received numerous accolades for its styling, handling, and power. A side blind zone alert was added as standard.

The profile–always important for those who want a car with undeniable muscle–includes a steeply sloped windshield and a long, horizontal back glass that slightly restricts visibility. Under the clean-looking rear fascia, centered dual chrome-tipped tailpipes resemble rocket boosters on a space ship. Options added on our test model included yellow brake calipers ($595) on 19-inch graphite wheels ($800) and a glittering black diamond tricoat paint job ($995).

Inside, the steering wheel and smooth-shifting, floor-level gear knob were suede ($300) providing tactile pleasure. Recaro high-performance seats were supportive, comfortable, and heated/vented for front seat passengers.

Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control, which it claims is the world’s fastest-reacting suspension technology, reads road feedback through sensors on four wheels and adjust damping every split second to provide impressive handling on curvy roads or ramps. Michelin tires were developed for the CTS-V to grip like glue.

Strong safety features include a dual-depth, front passenger air bag; pelvic/thorax side air bag; and rail/roof, rollover, curtain air bag.

Among many top standard features, the audio system includes a navigation panel with real-time traffic and weather data, plus 3-D images of major landmarks. While motor growls are appropriate with power surges, noise levels are low. Fit and finish using quality materials enhance cockpit comfort.

Rear seats are tight–a common thing with coupes–and cargo space is average for the class.

  • LIKES: Handling, luxury, power, classy ride
  • DISLIKES: Price, rear visibility
  • BOTTOM LINE: May be the best high-performing, American-made sports coupe.

Tom Crosby is vice president of communications for AAA Carolinas. He is based in Charlotte, N.C.

Mar/Apr 2012 Issue

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