Striking design, unearthly power, surprising refinement, and amazing value are the core features that drive the CTS-V Coupe and Wagon to the top of any list, and that's what's behind their place on our short list of Best Car To Buy nominees for 2011.

We were one of the first outlets to get a ride in the CTS-V Coupe this spring, and our own John Voelcker attended the press launch to drive the car at Monticello. Next week I'll be behind the wheel of the CTS-V Wagon, though you'll have to wait a few days to see what sort of impression the longest V-variant makes.

The Coupe, with its unique proportions and angular surfaces is a bit of a love/hate design, with some objecting to its substantial hindquarters. We're fans of the car's styling, and even bigger fans of its performance. The Wagon perhaps wears the angular Art & Science look best of all, and adds the functionality of extra cargo space to a seriously high-performance package.

To put the stats in perspective, at 556 horsepower and around $60,000, the CTS-V line offers a bigger performance value than even the Corvette Z06--and does it in a far more luxurious package. It's heavy, though, at over 4,000 pounds in any of the three body styles, and that's reflected in its handling, though the V line's wider wheels, stickier rubber, and upgraded suspension make it far more capable than the standard CTS.

Head over to our Best Car To Buy Award page for more on the award, the other nominees, and, coming next week, the winner.