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The First-Generation Cadillac CTS-V Is a Great Deal

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author photo by Doug DeMuro February 2017

People are always asking me what vehicle they can get that's reliable, practical, fuel-efficient, highly exciting and cheap. You cannot have all of these things, I tell them. But you can have most of them -- if you get a first-generation Cadillac CTS-V. I know this, because I did it.

The first-generation Cadillac CTS-V was sold from 2004 to 2007, and it was based on the first-generation Cadillac CTS. Although the original CTS hasn't aged particularly well, the CTS-V remains a solid buy thanks to its extra styling touches and, most importantly, its powertrain.

I'll cover the powertrain first. The first-generation CTS-V went on sale in 2004 with a 5.7-liter V8 that made 400 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque, which were truly impressive figures for a performance sedan at the time. The 2003 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG, which was the most powerful sedan ever made when it debuted, had less than 70 hp more than the CTS-V.

Beginning with the 2006 model year, the CTS-V swapped out the 5.7-liter V8 in favor of a 6.0-liter V8 that made the exact same numbers -- 400 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque -- but offered a wider torque band for better acceleration. Regardless of which one you chose, however, you'd be doing 0 to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds, which is truly impressive.

More importantly, the first-generation CTS-V has two other benefits over European rivals people always seem to be considering. One is it was only available with a stick shift. This was also true of the E39 (2000-2003) BMW M5 but not true of any AMG Mercedes -- or the BMW M3. There's no automatic in the original CTS-V, and the stick shift is pretty slick once you modify it to remove the play in each gear.

The other benefit offered by the CTS-V is reliability. GM's 5.7-liter and 6.0-liter V8 engines are relatively reliable, with only a few minor issues here and there, and when there are issues, they tend to be pretty cheap to fix. Or, if you prefer to work on things yourself, you should have no trouble finding the solution to any problems you might have, since there's a huge community around these cars -- and these engines.

I know all this because, well, I owned a first-generation CTS-V. Back in 2012, I bought a 2004 model for something like $18,000, which was a bargain back then, and I sold it a few months later for the same price. These days, little has changed: There are 52 different 2004-2007 CTS-V models on Autotrader with an average price of $15,300, which means the original CTS-V is both cheap to buy and not losing too much money, so you should be able to get back roughly what you paid when the time comes to move on to the next car.

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.

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RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2008 Cadillac CTS 3.6 AWD
Used 2008 Cadillac CTS
$9,250
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2005 Cadillac CTS 3.6
Used 2005 Cadillac CTS
$3,488
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2009 Cadillac CTS 3.6
Used 2009 Cadillac CTS
$12,419
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 First-Generation Cadillac CTS-V Is a Great Deal - Autotrader