If you missed the exciting first half of “The BEAST: Cadillac’s CTS-V
‘Part I’ the story is HERE.
“Oh-my-god, OH-My-god – OH-MY-GOD!!!”
Once I got used to the massive thrust, the aforementioned statement came
out of more than a few passengers. Speed and pressure pull you into the
Recaro seats progressively. You know when a ship hits light-speed in “Star
Wars?” Yup, it’s a lot like that.
Unlike a turbocharged engine, which gives a moment before the thrust
pounds into your chest – this supercharged engine is linear with no lag,
no waiting – no nothing; you go – fast – right-now! There is a hint of
supercharger whine that accompanies the V8’s subdued growl.
I’m a cornering freak. Yes, out and out acceleration is important, but
living near some of the finest alpine roads in the country and a
kick-ass (but weather dependent) road-racing track give my ego the need
for fat-G cornering. I need a car that can match is grunt with the
ability to latch on to a corner with the tenacity of Kate Gosselin’s
desire for publicity.
In this respect, the Cadillac CTS-V does not disappoint.
Gripping the fantastic, suede-ish steering wheel, I felt the fat front
tires communicate when the hefty CTS-V entered, transitioned and exited
every corner. For a car that weighs over 2-tons, I was dumbfounded with
its balance. Never, not even for a moment did I find the cornering of
the CTS-V anything less than extraordinary.
I did venture into my foolish curiosity and completely shut off all
electronic aids (a steering wheel mounted button showed the way). Even
with smoking the rear wheels, I had more control than the M3 and
Mercedes Benz CLS 63 AMG I recently drove. I must say, this is NOT a
smart way to drive such a monster. There is a competition mode that
allows just enough tail-wag to steer the rear without killing the
Out of every corner, driving from Evergreen, Colorado through Echo
Mountain and all the way over to Boulder, Colorado via back-roads the
2010 Cadillac CTS-V shined. Even when I scared myself at a massively
underestimated corner, the CTS-V dispensed with it casually.
Every corner’s exit, I would straighten out, drop a gear and mash the
accelerator, quickly setting up for the next one. The velocity is
other-worldly and takes some getting used to. It reminds me of bigger,
more luxurious Mitsubishi EVO X. That’s a bold statement from
yours-truly as I consider the EVO one of the best all around performers
on the planet.
As I exited mountain passes, shook off the remaining adrenaline and
recalibrated the electronic traction aids while cycling the magnetic
suspension to its regular setting – I noticed how serene the interior
was. It is much nicer than the 1st generation’s interior with better
quality everything. I engaged the seat cooling control, extended the
screen to full height and selected something smooth and easy. Within a
few minutes, I was calm, cool and collected. I coasted home from one of
the most satisfying drives I’ve had since blasting a Porsche Panorama
Turbo around a race track.
In a word – the driving experience is “heaven.”
There are a few flaws:
It sucks down premium-unleaded like a frat-boy with a beer bong. I
averaged under 14 mpg (granted: that was combined with mucho-aggressive
driving). Rear seats are a bit tight, especially if you try to mount
baby and child seats back there. As the seats are scalloped for
performance-comfort, they are not THAT kid friendly. Still, if you have
kids (or, most likely grandkids) to shuttle, they work.
At least Cadillac equipped the rear with 3 seatbelts in the back. It ups
the utility whereas some of the competitors opted for 2 seatbelts in
the back – which defeats the purpose of 4-doors in my mind.
The buttons on the back-side of the steering wheel lack the feel and
usability of real paddle shifters. Not that I like any paddle shifters,
at least the ones used on higher end sports cars (which this truly is)
feel more substantial than these video-game-like buttons. I rarely used
them, preferring the gear lever’s gear selection feel.
There should be a standard backup camera given the height of the tail
(and small-ish rear window).
My main gripe is something to do with soul. The Cadillac does have
character, but it lacks the soulful tune its mighty V8 can produce.
Everything is over-muted. I know, I know — it’s a Cadillac, it’s
supposed to be sophisticated! Well, in my mind if you’re nutty enough to
want a super-beast like this, don’t you want to hear it?
I liked the older CTS-V’s engine note better. Perhaps the engineers at
Cadillac should take a ride in a Chrysler 300C SRT8 and simply listen to
its fabulous HEMI. The way I look at it, THAT is how an American-made
luxury/performance sedan should sound.
Other than that, I am completely sold on the fabulous 2010 Cadillac
If I lived anywhere but all-wheel-drive preferred Denver, Colorado; I
would seriously consider a 6-speed manual. It’s an absolute bargain
(considering how it performs and feels) for $61,000 to $68,000. Not that
I have that kind of bread – I’m married with kids. All the same, I
think that this is the very best vehicle for folks who need something
with two more doors (and nicer digs) than the Corvette ZR1. Oh, and if
you’re timid don’t bother with the beast – it will eat you alive.
Well done GM!
Automotive media, racing, vehicle evaluation, wrecking yards, and car
sales are just a part of Nathan Adlen’s vehicular past. He writes out
of high octane passion! To read more reviews by Nathan Adlen or just to
enjoy more of excellent writing please visit him on at his examiner.com
page HERE. Photos by: