2011 Cadillac CTS-V: First Drive Review Page 2

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Row of 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupes at Monticello Motor Club

Row of 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupes at Monticello Motor Club

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And with the traction control switch set to "off," the sensation of power-sliding a car with 556 horsepower of supercharged V-8 is addictive.

Despite our lack of track familiarity, we never once felt nervous in the big beast. It's that much fun.

Surprisingly, the ride quality is very good, courtesy of Cadillac's unique magnetic ride control suspension. It uses electric current to change the consistency of magnetorheological fluid in the shock absorbers multiple times a second, permitting independent control of each shock's compliance rate depending on driving conditions.

COMING SOON: Video of Cadillac powertrain engineer explaining the CTS-V's unique features

The engine is smooth and unobtrusive--Ireson called it "docile"--until it's unleashed. We wonder if the CTS-V Coupe might not be a handful around town due to such easy power availability, but we'll wait for our own road test before we render judgment.

The CTS-V is hardly a subtle car on the outside, with wider fenders, an aggressive metal mesh grille and air intake, and of course a splendid burble of an engine note. Which rises to a howl toward the redline.

The interior is fantastic, with its hand-finished cut-and-sew leather surfaces and chrome accents. It's a bold design, brasher than its German counterparts, but everything works together.

Quibbles? The coupe's rearward visibility isn't the greatest, though with cars carefully spaced out for individual laps, we had no need of rear-view mirrors at Monticello.  And, yeah, with the Recaro front seats, rear seat room may not be what a six-foot man might like. So?

As British auto writers used to say, the shifter "falls readily to hand," making the six-speed manual our favorite for track time over the six-speed automatic. The manual might be tedious around town, but it all depends how you might think you'll use your CTS-V.

We suspect that if you're one of the lucky owners--Cadillac says demand for their "V" models is running above projections--you'll be highly tempted to find out where you can put on some track time.

It's that much fun.

High Gear Media drove a manufacturer-provided vehicle to produce this hands-on road test.

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Comments (11)
  1. For me it looks wrong, very flat face to it and some strange lines. Makes it look very ugly. Shame as performance is there.

  2. I'm not sure what planet Dom is on but that car is sick! Definitely a contender in the Audi RS5 and BMW M3 world.

  3. this car looks (and from the above review) sounds like it is really, really impressive. i am a bit of a "homer" with respect to rooting for US auto manufacturers so i love hearing about good product launches. may not be the family/class of vehicles intended to address some of the politician's push for green, green, green, but sure seems to offer a great product for buyers in this niche!

  4. I've always been into German luxury cars because, well honestly they were the only good ones. But this car, my God it's amazing. It looks so aggressive, has a beautiful interior, and just performs like a proper luxury car should. If I was to go out and buy one luxury car right now the CTS-V sedan would be the one. The coupe looks cool but with this type of car I just prefer four doors and comfortable seating for four.

  5. I've had a 09 CTS-V sedan for 10 months now (16k miles). Still feels like the first day. I have ZERO complaints. This car would be amazing if it was a BMW or MB. The fact that it is a Cadillac represents a major milestone for GM and the USA. Do not judge it unless you've driven it. Trust me.

  6. Yeah, I think I'd want the sedan too--coupes are just too restrictive. But the CTS-V line looks and sounds pretty amazing. Like the "brasher than BMW" thing. Am wondering if the CTS-V Wagon might be the sleeper of bunch?

  7. To Limo Liberal: Yeah, right, the ol' politicians are forcing right-thinking Americans to buy green cars they don't want. Look, in reality, the CTS-V is a nice toy but completely irrelevant to GM's success or failure. The Chevy Cruze, which you guys cover, is way way way more important to the future of the company. Ditto the Chevy Malibu. And the next pickup truck. Cadillacs are a rounding error, even if they're profitable.

  8. Im not a fan of Cadillac and/or American automobile products, but I must say the CTS-V is the best American sedan GM has concocted to date. Although I would prefer an E63, this car screams brilliance and performance and should give its owner a helluva ride.

  9. That car is awesome-just beautiful. Driving on a track and being able to open it up-makes me wish I was an auto journalist!

  10. Comments # 8 thru # 11 are link-spam crap. DELETE. #FAIL

  11. I have been the not so proud owner of a 2011 CTS-V Sedan with every option you can buy. Although this vehicle is a high performance machine, it is plagued with typical problems that have consistently caused people like myself to buy foreign cars. While driving off the lot, I noticed a rattle when accelerating to speed on the highway. Thinking this was a fuel issue, I put top of the line premium fuel in it.... Still had a problem. Took it to TWO cadillac dealers who said the same thing. "Yes, we know it rattles but it won't hurt the performance or reliability"... Had I purchased a 75K Mercedes, there would be ZERO rattles. Second, a small tip of a radio nob was lost due to a careless valet driver. I figured I would call Cadillac parts to rep

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