2013 Cadillac CTS-V Road Test Review

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Something about driving the Cadillac CTS-V makes you swagger when you step out of it.

After parking the super Caddy, you'll find yourself walking into places with an authoritative air, as if you own the world. It has been said power corrupts, and while we wouldn't characterize the feeling as being corrupted per se, the phrase "infused with attitude" does have quite a bit of resonance in this circumstance.

Like so many high performance cars, the Cadillac can get from Adele to Beyonce with insane quickness. However, unlike numerous other high performance cars, the CTS-V accomplishes this with a sophistication completely belying its amazing potential. While the angular, sharply drawn lines of the CTS-V would lead you to imagine a harsh ride and an all-enveloping exhaust note, the CTS-V instead displays polish, sophistication, and refinement.

Among the model's distinctive mechanical features are GM's Magnetic Ride Control suspension system, a set of exceptionally robust Brembo brakes, and four super-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 high performance tires mounted on 19-inch forged aluminum wheels. The heart of the CTS-V though is the resident supercharged 6.2-litre V8. Capable of providing immensely intense levels of thrust, the extremely powerful engine delivers its 556 horsepower and 551 ft-lbs of torque to the rear wheels via a limited-slip differential.

The highest performing Cadillac ever built for the street is offered with a choice of two six-speed transmissions. For those who love to row to go, there is a six-speed manual with a dual-disc clutch. For those who prefer to mostly set it and forget it, a six-speed automatic with steering wheel-mounted shift controls is the other offering. The automatic's steering wheel-mounted controls require no shift lever movement to allow immediate tap up/tap down gear selection. However, moving the shift lever into the manual gate will activate a performance-oriented mode to facilitate a more aggressive shift program for sustained high-performance driving.

The 2013 CTS-V also gets a high-performance rear axle with a cast iron housing specified to enable faster warm-up and cooling. The red hot Caddy's rear end features asymmetrical half-shafts as well, to smoothly manage the incredible torque output of supercharged engine.

As you might imagine, the CTS-V's governing fuel economy philosophy is more about "smiles per gallon" than miles per gallon. Canadian claimed estimates are 18.1 L/100km in the city and 11.2 on the highway with the automatic transmission, while the manual should return 14.9 in the city and 10.6 on the highway (when driven conservatively).
Nail the throttle and the supercharged V8 makes its presence readily audible. However, rather than blasting a skin-shredding shriek, the engine emits a warmly muted, yet undeniably powerful baritone-accompanied by skin-shredding acceleration. The Corvette-sourced engine streaks the Cadillac CTS-V to 100 km/h from rest in about four seconds. Wind it to redline in second gear and you'll be doing 130 km per hour- as well as wearing a HUGE grin on your face. Keep your foot to the floor, the Cadillac will eventually top out at 318 km per hour.

Working your way up through the gears with the manual transmission is the stuff driving enthusiasts dream of fondly. Clutch action is smooth and take-up is immediate. The shift lever moves confidently through the gates, seemingly guiding itself-each shift predicating another insanely strong surge of acceleration.

For 2013, Cadillac's engineers reworked the braking system to incorporate two-piece front rotors as standard equipment. Designed to offer greater resistance to warping and potentially longer rotor life, this new strategy also reduced the weight of the suspension system. Speaking of which, pavement irregularities are absorbed with a degree of competence wholly in keeping with Cadillac's rep for old school smooth. Yet, when the CTS-V is asked to turn in sharply, the magnetic system keeps the body flat while the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires bite into the pavement relentlessly. Having exhibited outstanding balance, grip and agility, the CTS-V then heads swiftly off in the new direction you've chosen with no extraneous steering inputs or hesitation.

Ride = old school.

Handling = new rules.

For many years, anyone desiring a truly capable four-door sports sedan of this caliber was pretty much locked into one of the Germans. With the 2013 Cadillac CTS-V, North Americans desiring supercar performance with the practicality of a four-door sedan can confidently shop domestic and feel good about the $73,300 purchase.

It's one of the finest performance cars available today.

Drive a Cadillac CTS-V, you will indeed feel infused with attitude, and justifiably so.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sport Sedan, Cadillac, 2013, CTS-V, $50,000 - $74,999,

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