BMW has its M division and Mercedes-Benz has AMG but what a lot of people may not know is that Cadillac has its very own go-fast division, one without a name but with its vehicles marked with a small “V” symbol on their badges. With the demise of the STS-V
, the CTS-V is the sole model falling under Cadillac’s performance marque but thankfully it comes in three different flavors: a sedan, coupe and wagon.
All offer their own unique advantages and disadvantages though our pick probably would have to be the wagon, or Sport Wagon as Cadillac likes to call it, because of its combination of performance and practicality.
You can’t go wrong with any model in the CTS-V lineup; the cars are essentially luxury sleds powered by supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 engines. This engine, codenamed LSA, shares much in common with the high-performance LS9 unit found in the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 supercar, and while it may not produce as much as 638 horsepower, it certainly puts to shame most of its European rivals.
This is because the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V puts out a supercar-like 556 horsepower and 551 pound-feet of torque. That is in a whole different league to the 412 horsepower of the BMW M3 or the 451 horsepower of the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG--it's even higher than the outputs of the much more expensive BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG.
So what kind of performance figures can you expect? Cadillac claims a 0-60 mph time of 3.9 seconds, but we think with the right conditions you could shave a few tenths of a second off that acceleration time. Top speed is a claimed 175 mph.
Out on the road the CTS-V, whichever bodystyle you choose, drives beautifully, thanks in part to its magnetic ride control suspension. The LSA engine is docile and smooth around town but when unleashed at a track is a whole different beast.
If you’re the type that likes to be noticed, this is another area where the CTS-V stands apart from some of its rivals. There’s no mistaking the CTS-V as the performance breed in the CTS lineup. It features an aggressive bodykit and pumped guards, and it sits on a set of 19-inch wheels wrapped with only Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires.
Inside is another work of art. Full leather trim, Recaro seats, a 40GB hard drive based infotainment system--what more could you want?
For a more in-depth look at the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V, click here for our review
of the coupe version.