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Here’s Why the New Cadillac CTS-V Is Worth Over $100,000

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.

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  1. No Cadillac is worth $100k!!!! There is not a single GM product including the corvette that is worth $100. GM doesn’t have the ability to build $100k cars. GM has to many people that make decisions on products they could never agree on what makes a $100k car.

  2. Size-wise CTS falls in between 3-series and 5-series. 

    I think Cadillac targeted M3 with first gen, and priced it competitively, but is now swinging for M5 and crept up its pricing accordingly. At $86K no one will cross-shop it against M3/M4, which starts at $64K, but it could seem like a deal against M5. 

    Don’t know if new car buyers looking to spend $100K will actually bite or Caddy will have to throw heavy incentives to move these things.
    • I would agree with some of that, the original CTS-V was priced much closer to the M3 than the M5.  Overall length was pretty different though, the Caddy was quite a bit longer than the average 3-series/M3 of the time. 

      I think that today, buyers looking for something different than the typical fast German sedan may give the CTS-V a look.  It’s been around awhile and I think it’s got the credibility to do well.  We’ll see! 

  3. Love your articles William!

    Will say this, the difference between the 5-Series, E-Class and the CTS is that in this current generation, you can get a CTS in the used market in the mid 20’s. E-Class and 5-Series are still 50K cars+ even in the base forms. They also aren’t typically seen on rental lots like the CTS.
    Now that’s a little bit mean, but it’s true in a lot of ways. I get it’s essentially a Corvette Z06 with 4 doors and more luxury than you can shake a stick at and that is cool. If I had this type of money and in the market for this type of car, I’d want something with more class which doesn’t share parts with a typical rental car. 
    OR I’d buy a year old CTS and a Corvette Z06 for the same money and have both!
    • Thanks!

      And maybe some buyers would think that way, the badge angle should never be underestimated!  And the CTS is definitely not seen as quite as impressive as the E/5.  This car is a whole different beast though.  

  4. Will, just a thought. Compared to the AMG and M, sure it seems like a bargain. But what did a 2004 version of these European cars cost? How much have their base prices appreciated in the last 10+ years? If the CTS V has closed the gap I take it to mean it has established a place amongst this performance segment and price isn’t as important anymore. This may add some additional context to why it’s price has increased nearly 40% even adjusted for inflation.

    • Excellent questions Dan!  Looks like the 2004 E55 was around $75K starting and the E60 M5 was around $90K.  So my guess is that Cadillac came out cheap and established the V as a legitimate performance option; then they went racing, set some records, etc. and once the quality and interior spec was up to speed, they started charging what it’s worth. 

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