Car News:  Oversteer

The Cadillac CTS-V Completely Redefined American Performance Cars

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2018 Cadillac CTS Luxury AWD Sedan
Certified 2018 Cadillac CTS
$42,500
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2018 Cadillac CTS Luxury Sedan
Used 2018 Cadillac CTS
$28,877
RELATED READING
See all Cadillac CTS articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs MAZDA cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Will Kinton October 2018

If you were asked to pick the most influential American car of the past 15 years, you would be hard-pressed to find a vehicle as important as the Cadillac CTS-V. In fact, not only did the CTS-V completely change the way almost every American car brand thought about performance vehicles, it actually changed their entire theory of how a car should drive -- and how that impacts the driver's experience. That sounds like a bold claim, but hear me out.

First, a little background.

Back in the early 2000s, Cadillac was struggling mightily to beat the Germans in the luxury car game -- and it's no surprise why. The competition was incredibly good, with offerings like BMW's E46 M3 and the E39 M5. On the other hand, Cadillac was more or less still living in the 1980s, offering mediocre, uninspiring products like the Catera and the Eldorado. If you take a look at the broader American market at the time, you'd find that the Mustang still had a solid rear axle, the Camaro was still based on the F-Body chassis, the Mercury Marauder was the best American performance sedan, and the only car that could possibly compete with the Europeans at that point was the Corvette -- and even that wasn't on par in terms of quality. The old paradigm that American cars were only fast in a straight line was actually pretty accurate back then.

So when Cadillac debuted the regular CTS in 2004 with an independent rear suspension, rear-wheel drive and the option of a manual transmission, it signaled a real shift in the wind. While the CTS was novel, however, it wasn't exactly what changed the American automotive landscape.

Instead, it was the CTS-V that made everyone take notice. Cadillac, the brand of car that Jerry Seinfeld bought for his elderly snowbird father on his TV show, was now selling a sedan to the American people that was developed at the Nurburgring. It had a big 400-horsepower V8 sourced from the Corvette and a 6-speed manual transmission, and it managed to turn corners as well as any German performance coupe or sedan at the time, with super sticky tires and an upgraded suspension. Yes, the interior was still pretty cheap feeling, but it was like nothing else on the American market at the time -- and Cadillac completely rebuilt its image around it to become a luxury performance brand. Chevrolet even started their craze of making an SS version of almost every car in their line up after this, no doubt building off of the lessons learned in building the CTS-V.

The CTS-V barely survived the government's bailout of GM in 2008, but it came out on the other side stronger than ever, finally with an interior befitting of a luxury car, a new chassis, more power, magnetic suspension and bigger brakes. This version posted a lap time of the Nurburgring of just 7:59.32 in 2009, the fastest time for any sedan at the circuit. This car proved that Americans can build a competitive performance sedan to not only consumers and European companies, but other American companies as well.

Just a few years after this, Ford debuted its "One Ford" vision that focused on bringing their European division together with their American division, and the Europeans were given the lead. This led to the Focus the, Fiesta and the Fusion, all of which were full of European DNA. Additionally, the Mustang was rebranded as a purebred sports car with an independent rear suspension and a focus on overall performance as opposed to mostly power. Chrysler, too, began injecting big power into its vehicles, with most "SRT" models following the arrival of the CTS-V -- and while handling wasn't quite as much of a focus for cars like the Dodge Magnum SRT-8 and the Grand Cherokee SRT-8, performance and excitement were certainly improved compared to the brand's offerings from just a few years earlier.

Indeed, whether or not the CTS-V played a major role, it seems it came at the beginning of some big changes to the American car market. The CTS-V proved to American companies that they could build a performance car like the Europeans were selling and that it could be popular -- and that a true "performance line" was worth a shot. Now, every car released has to be at least somewhat engaging to drive, and even the Camry is advertised as sporty. For those reasons, I think it's pretty easy to say that the CTS-V was a watershed moment for American cars.

MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
Video | Here's Why I've Already Spent $28,000 on My 2005 Ford GT
This Chrysler PT Cruiser Looks Like a London Taxi
Autotrader Find: Never-Titled 1997 Plymouth Prowler With Matching Prowler Trailer

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2018 Cadillac CTS Luxury AWD Sedan
Certified 2018 Cadillac CTS
$42,500
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2018 Cadillac CTS Luxury Sedan
Used 2018 Cadillac CTS
$28,877
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
The Cadillac CTS-V Completely Redefined American Performance Cars - Autotrader