I recently had the chance to drive the new Cadillac CTS-V, which is a tremendously fast and exciting sport sedan. Or, I should say, it was a tremendously fast an exciting sport sedan — past tense. I say that because the CTS-V is gone, or at least going away, to be consolidated with the ATS and replaced with something called the "CT5" next year, a casualty of the buyer shift away from sedans.
Undoubtedly, it’s a shame. The CTS-V is one of the most exciting cars on the market, and that becomes obvious the moment you look at the spec sheet: it uses a supercharged V8 with 640 horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque, which is more power and torque than the all-new BMW M5 is making. In fact, it’s more than the new M5 Competition. And Cadillac is putting down these numbers in an aging sport sedan that’s about to be canceled.
That’s impressive — but when you really get into the CTS-V, you start to see where it’s showing its age. Particularly in the technology arena, where the CTS-V just doesn’t have the latest features of high-priced competitors — a big drawback when you’ve hit a sticker price of $100,000. Not only do people want performance, at that price level, but they also want all the technology that goes along with it, and Cadillac is short, with an old-school gauge cluster screen and a backup camera so mediocre I find it hard to believe it was even acceptable back when the CTS came out in 2014.
But, all is forgotten when you fire up the CTS-V and you hear its massive V8 make the kind of noises you’d expect from a massive V8. It’s tremendously powerful, no doubt, and it accelerates very well: 0-to-60 mph comes in 3.9 seconds, which is an excellent figure, and one big benefit of a supercharged engine is that it always seems ready to go, compared to a turbocharged engine that takes a bit of time to spool up. Indeed, the CTS-V feels fast at any speed, and I really mean any speed, including when you’re flooring it on the highway and you’re trying to get from 60 to 80 mph, or even from 80 to 100 mph. It’s a monster, and it has the sound of a monster.
It also feels surprisingly comfortable. The CTS-V has a nice, roomy interior and comfortable seats that don’t grip you too excessively like the seating in some rivals. It’s a luxurious experience, and surprisingly so for a car with this much performance, this much acceleration, and this sort of sound — to the point where it’s clear the CTS-V does the "dual personality" thing a bit better than most.
Handling, however, doesn’t quite reach the level of rivals: the new BMW M5 and the latest Mercedes-AMG E63 are far sharper than the CTS-V, which is no surprise as both models were recently redesigned. The CTS-V holds its own, to be sure, but steering is a little lighter, a little less connected, a little less precise than the latest German rivals. The luxury sport sedan game is one where you constantly have to be changing in order to keep up, and it’s clear the CTS-V is a little old.
And, of course, that’s why it’s going away — but it’s also why we’ll miss it a bit. The CTS-V will likely go down as the last real rear-wheel drive, big-V8-powered, muscley sedan, as others move to smaller engines for better fuel economy and all-wheel drive for better grip. The V, then, is a bit of a dinosaur, but in a good way — and I’m happy I got to check one out before the sedan revolution reaches Cadillac, the engines get smaller, and the beloved CTS-V goes away for good. Find a Cadillac CTS for sale