The Cadillac CTS-V Sedan has been around for over a dozen years — and it once started at just $49,300. The second generation debuted in 2009 and the MSRP got a bit higher — by then, reaching close to $60,000. The latest generation, including a 2017 model that I just spent a week with, starts at almost $86,000. Add in $16,270 in options and there’s a $103,260 car that Cadillac just parked outside my house. So is this really a six figure car, or did the CTS-V double in price and lose its manual transmission option over the last decade for no discernible reason? Let’s find out! See the 2017 Cadillac CTS models for sale near you
Ok, let’s talk numbers. In today’s money, the original CTS-V would cost $62,546.49, and the second generation would run you $76,121.49, which are both still a far cry from the $85,995 base price for the latest car. So there’s more than just inflation at work here.
The first V-series car was a revelation, a proper V8 super sedan that hit 60 in 4.6 seconds, ran low-13s in the quarter mile, and pulled a 7:59 on the Nurburgring Nordschleife. That’s all still fairly quick in today’s world. The first-generation V car was built on the Sigma platform, which was a Cadillac-specific midsize rear-wheel drive layout that GM used for a decade to carry most of the luxury brand’s lineup. The CTS-V was much beefier, with larger roll bars, better springs and big Brembo brakes — and the star of the show was the LS V8 from the C5 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, as well as the same Tremec 6-speed gearing found in the 2-seat Chevy. It was an impressive start.
The second-generation CTS-V was an evolution of a good thing, using the Sigma II platform — which was a larger, wider version of the original Sigma. Technically, it only ever hosted the 2nd generation CTS, but in reality it was quite similar to the Zeta platform used in the re-introduced Camaro and modeled off a decade of use Down Under at Holden. The LS9 from the Corvette C6 ZR1 now gave the V a monstrous 556 horsepower and 551 lb-ft. of torque — and it still had a manual transmission option. Plus, Cadillac would now sell you a coupe and wagon version of the mighty CTS-V. You could get to 60 miles per hour in under four seconds and hit high 11s in the quarter. That’s fast.
Weight continued to increase, though: The original CTS-V weighed in at 3,850 pounds, and the second-gen was 4,250 pounds. So progress came at a price, although it’s hard to argue with the performance numbers.
Which brings us to today: The latest Cadillac CTS-V seen here has a 6.2-liter supercharged LT4 putting out 640 hp and 630 lb-ft. of torque — and it technically weighs less than the second generation at 4,145 pounds. But those are just numbers; the car I’ve been driving feels supercar-fast while remaining incredibly comfortable. Even if you don’t spring for all the options in my loaner car, you still get a beast of a car, with a multi-mode exhaust that makes all the right noises. Seriously, this thing is addicting, and I found myself downshifting almost every time I came to a stop. With the exhaust — I mean "engine sound management system" — set on "race" mode, it pops and burbles like the Pratt and Miller SCCA World Challenge CTS-V.
In the twisty bits, the big V shows its size, as it’s not exactly light on its feet. I know it’s a cliche, but this is more of a GT bomber than a track attack car. And that’s OK, as the average buyer is more likely to take it to a valet than VIR. If they do, there’s a setting for that too, so that no unapproved burnouts happen while you’re having appetizers.
But at $103,260, is the Cadillac worth it? Competition is stiff, and that’s big money, but you have to put the Cadillac’s price in context. A new E63 AMG sedan starts at $104,400 — and it only has 603 hp. The long-time king of the segment, the M5, is coming back in 2018 with all-wheel drive and 600 hp from a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8. Expect a dynamic drive and a similarly dynamic starting price of well over $100,000.
So the CTS-V MSRP doesn’t seem quite that insane in comparison. Fully equip a new one with literally every package and option box checked and you max out at $107,985, which is just $3,585 more than the starting price of the AMG car. Sure, you won’t have a German super sedan, but you’ll have an incredibly super American sedan — and I think the price is completely justified. Watch the video for more, if for no other reason to hear that sweet, sweet, exhaust note. I already miss it. Find a 2017 Cadillac CTS for sale
Based in Northern Virginia, William is professional writer and editor and acts as the Editor-in-Chief of Right Foot Down. He misspent most of his youth on tracks in the Mid-Atlantic, as well as killing cones in parking lots, and he once taught at a teen performance driving school.