These days, Cadillac’s high-performance “V” lineup is very well known — and very well respected. The “entry-level” ATS-V makes an astonishing 464 horsepower and dashes to 60 mph in something like 3.8 seconds, while the larger CTS-V makes a ridiculous 640 horses and hits 60 ever so slightly quicker.
But how about a round of applause for the original Cadillac V cars? See the used Cadillac models for sale near you
Way back in the early 2000s, Cadillac developed the “V” high-performance brand with three different models. There was, of course, the original CTS-V: Most car enthusiasts know this model, which came out in 2004 and featured rear-wheel drive, a mandatory 6-speed manual transmission and the 400-hp 5.7-liter V8 from the C5 Corvette Z06. I personally owned a 2004 CTS-V, and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. Except, of course, for the fact that it had a foot-mounted parking brake, which is approximately the last thing you want three inches away from the clutch.
Fewer enthusiasts know the high-performance version of Cadillac’s rear-wheel-drive, 2-seater XLR convertible. Dubbed the XLR-V, it was offered from 2006 to 2009 and touted a monstrous 443 hp from its 4.4-liter supercharged V8 — a big step up over the standard XLR’s 320-hp 4.6-liter V8. Unfortunately, it was only offered with a 6-speed automatic — but it could still run from 0 to 60 in roughly 4.5 seconds.
Cadillac’s final original V model was dubbed the STS-V and sold from 2006 to 2010. While most car enthusiasts know the Cadillac Seville as a front-wheel-drive model, the 2005-2011 model switched over to rear-wheel drive. That meant the 2006-2010 STS-V was a high-performance rear-wheel-drive sedan with the same engine from the XLR-V — only now, it made an even-more-impressive 469 hp. The result was 0-to-60 in something like 4.8 seconds — which remains reasonably fast, even today.
And so, this serves as a reminder that there were Cadillac “V” models before today’s latest crop of ultra-powerful, ultra-polished V cars. And who knows? The E30 BMW M3 shows us that maybe someday, in the distant future, when the Cadillac “V” brand has blossomed to become tremendously famous among car enthusiasts everywhere, we’ll all be trying to hunt down an original XLR-V to store in a climate-controlled garage. Find a used Cadillac for sale
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.