The Bottom Line
I first drove the CTS-V at a day-long press preview drive put on by Cadillac. Not only did I give the CTS-V a five-star rating based on that drive, but I put it on my Best New Cars of 2009 list. Still, I wanted to see what it was like to live with the CTS-V as a daily driver for a full week and try it out on the roads I know best. Okay, maybe I just wanted an excuse to drive the CTS-V again. A week with the CTS-V turned up a few sore spots I didn't spot in my initial test drive -- but it's still a brilliant car.
- Unbelievably powerful
- Incredible handling
- Works well as a daily driver
- Very reasonably priced considering its performance
- Complex stereo, climate and navigation controls
- Poor iPod functionality
- Expensive options
- Hot-rod version of the CTS with a 556 horsepower supercharged V8
- Price range (including $1,300 gas guzzler tax): $60,650 - $70,590
- Model tested/price: CTS-V, $66,835
- EPA fuel economy estimates: 14 MPG city/19 MPG highway
- Best rivals: Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, BMW M5, Lockheed-Martin F-22
Guide Review - 2009 Cadillac CTS-V follow-up test drive
When I tested the Audi R8, I came to think of it as a supercar you can live with every day. The same applies to the Cadillac CTS-V. It's hard to think of the CTS-V as a supercar, because it has four doors and a decent-sized trunk. Don't let that fool you. Its acceleration, grip and balance defy belief. Eat your heart out, Germany.
A week with the CTS-V revealed a few issues. I had a really hard time getting comfortable in the Recaro seats. I mean a really hard time, as in 800mg of ibuprofen when I got it wrong. Luckily, the Recaros are optional, and at $3,400 I'd gladly give 'em a pass. The iPod integration sucks -- other than that, the infotainment is excellent -- and the mega-button controls make it hard to turn down the fan or change from CD to FM without taking your eyes off the road. And what's with charging $995 for metallic paint? That's so... European.
I also discovered that the CTS-V makes a wonderful daily driver -- quiet, smooth and comfortable. Set the cruise at 70, switch the suspension to Touring mode, and it'll ease on down the road like a proper Caddy. When you come upon a Chevy Astro doing 62 in the fast lane, you can shift down 4th, blast around him like a Saturn V rocket, then hit cruise and resume wafting.
Naturally, I wafted my way to the About.com Cars Top Secret Curvy Test Road, which the CTS-V attacked with all the zeal of a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. It's an absolute animal, but only when you want it to be. If I had a Top Five Most Amazing Curvy Test Road Cars list, the CTS-V would be on it.
I took a friend for a ride to show him what it's like to go 0-60 in 4 seconds. Once he regained the power of speech, he said, "That's amazing. I would never have believed that a car like this could come from Cadillac."
I can't sum it up any better than that. -- Aaron Gold
The test vehicle for this review was supplied by GM.