2016 Cadillac CTS-V Sedan Test Drive: Ready to Rumble in Style [Review]


After just having finished a week-long stint in the Chevrolet’s 2016 Corvette ZO6 Convertible, I was blessed with the good fortune to trade it for a 2016 Cadillac CTS-V Sedan.

You may question the “good fortune” reference in moving from the ‘Vette ZO6 ragtop to a Cadillac sedan, but the Cadillac CTS-V is no ordinary Cadillac, nor is it an ordinary sedan. The 2016 Cadillac CTS-V marks its third generation as part of a series of “V” vehicles that have been around for ten years. The Cadillac CTS-V sedan is based on GM’s efficient Alpha architecture borrowed from the ATS and enhanced.


So, what’s so special about the CTS-V that is likely to make it more appealing to many consumers than the ZO6? Well, for starters, it’s got two extra doors, a back seat, a spacious trunk, and it’s easier to get into and out of than the ‘Vette. It also delivers a smoother ride.

The Cadillac CTS-V draws its motive force from the same LT4 6.2-liter, OHV, 16-valve, supercharged/intercooled V8 engine with Direct Injection that powers the ZO6. The horsepower output for the CTS-V is 10 less than that of the ZO6 (640 @ 6,400 rpm) and the torque rating is 20 pound feet less (630 @ 3,600 rpm). The engines for both are positioned longitudinally up front and drive the rear wheels, with power geared to the rear wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission with a manual shifting mode via steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. Both vehicles also provide a drive mode selector. The ‘Vette’s is a rotary knob on the console that stays where it’s set, while the CTS-V’s selector is a console mounted rocker switch. The CTS-V offers four modes: Weather, Touring, Sport and Track, while the ZO6 adds a fifth Eco mode to the mix. The CTS-V defaults to Touring.

Obviously the Cadillac outweighs the Corvette by a bunch, but the CTS-V still manages to tip the scale anywhere from 100 to 600 pounds less than its primary competitors: the Audi RS7; BMW M5 and the Mercedes-Benz AMG E63S, thanks to the incorporation of several carbon fiber elements.


Electronic technology plays a major role in handling characteristics, including the 8-speed automatic gearbox, electrically-aided power steering, magnetorheological dampers, as well as the limited-slip differential.

This potent “Caddy” sedan is capable of hurtling from 0-60 mph in a scant 3.6 seconds, can cover the 1/4 mile at 124 mph in 11.8 seconds, and can stop on a dime and give change, courtesy of the power-assisted four-wheel vented disc Brembo braking system, with staggered six-piston calipers (front) and four-piston calipers (rear), and four- channel ABS/TCS with DRP. Rolling stock consists of Michelin Pilot Super Sport 265/35 ZR19 98Y rubber up front and 295/30 ZR19 100Y aft, mounted on 5-“V”-spoke alloy wheels.


The CTS-V’s suspension componentry make up is independent strut positioned by one diagonal link and one lateral link, coil springs, 5-position cockpit adjustable, electronically controlled magnetorheological dampers and anti-roll bar. In the front, and independent-2 diagonal links, 2 lateral links with a toe-control link per side, coil springs, 5-position cockpit adjustable, electronically controlled magnetorheological dampers and anti-roll bar in the rear.

The exterior styling of the “V” version CTS-V is similar to that of the regular Cadillac CTS, but with special aero touches, a bolder grille and low front spoiler and a wide rear diffuser panel with split dual exhaust tips and deck lid spoiler. The CTS-V displays a low, ground-hugging stance, with distinctive front quarter gills. Finished in black, the CTS-V serves up a seriously sinister image.


The cabin delivers a sporty, but sophisticated opulence, with great attention to detailed fit and finish. The available Recaro sport seats are infinitely adjustable, supportive and comfortable, and switchgear is logically positioned for intuitive functionality.

My Test 2016 Cadillac CTS-V sedan wore an exterior finish of Black Raven, while the interior was executed in black with saffron accents and matching carbon fiber trim elements. The base price was set at $83,995, while added optional fare elevated the final sticker to $91,190., making it $19,660 less than the ZO6 that I tested. Extras include: the Recaro high performance seats ($2,300.); luxury package ($1,600); performance data recorder ($1,300.); gas guzzler tax ($1,000.) and destination charge ($995.).


SUMMARY: The 2016 Chevy Corvette ZO6 was an incredible machine, and I thoroughly enjoyed my stint in it, but the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V delivered an equally awesome performance, while adding enhanced comfort and convenience features, along with a heightened level of functionality.

The power at hand for the CTS-V really leaves nothing to be desired. It hauls the mail with rapid authority and without hesitation. The handling characteristics were smoother than those delivered by the ‘Vette, and the stability was most impressive. Let’s face it, the ZO6 is a worthy super sports car, and the CTS-V is a luxurious, but highly capable sport sedan.


In the final analysis, the Cadillac CTS-V showcases a certain poise, while showing off its abilities, and it certainly should give cause for Audi, BMW and Mercedes to beware of the threat that it poses. Essentially, the CTS-V lacks almost nothing. A power trunk close button would be a welcome touch though.

As for which to consider for purchase, my money would go for the CTS-V over the ZO6. Hey, you actually get more for less money. The CTS-V coupe may be considered sexier, but then you sacrifice those extra two doors.

  • Buy itOn the TFLcar scale of:
  • Buy it!
  • Lease it!
  • Rent it!
  • … or Forget it!

I give the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V sedan a Buy It! as a more practical and comfortable alternative to the Corvette ZO6.

2016 Cadillac CTS-V Sedan Specs:

  • Base Price: $83,995.
  • Price as Tested: $91,190.
  • Engine Type and Size: 6.2-liter, OHV, 16-valve supercharged V8 with direct injection
  • Horsepower (bhp): 640 @ 6,400 rpm
  • Torque (lb-ft): 630 @ 3,600 rpm
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
  • Drivetrain: longitudinally mounted front engine / rear-wheel rive
  • Wheelbase: 114.6 inches
  • Curb Weight: 4,129 lbs.
  • EPA Mileage Estimates: 14 mpg city / 21 mpg highway
  • 0 – 60 mph: 3.6 seconds –
  • ¼ mile 124 mph 11.8 seconds /
  • Top speed: 200 mph (drag limited, manufacturer’s claim)

2016 Cadillac CTS-V is the most powerful Cadillac of all time and capable of reaching 200 mph according to the company. Watch this interview with Chief Engineer, Dave Leone, to learn “almost everything you ever wanted to know” about the next generation CTS-V sedan.

arv voss Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.