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2011 Cadillac CTS-V Review | Toronto Star

2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe Review

 

2011 Cadillac CTS-V

By Jim Kenzie, Toronto Star

 

Last month, I just happened to have a Cadillac in my driveway. Not just any Cadillac, but the fastest, most powerful Cadillac ever offered for sale.

 

Fast? How about me being faster in this car around Toronto Motorsports Park’s road course than long-time Porsche racer Rick Bye was in a Porsche 911?

 

Surprised the heck outta me, too. Not to mention Rick. But this is what we discovered when we drove them head-to-head for last week’s cars-versus-motorcycles feature, and that is how potent the Cadillac CTS-V is.

 

It is available in sedan, coupe or wagon bodystyles.

 

Given North America’s distaste for sportwagons, I’m sure Cadillac will build about a dozen of the latter. Nonetheless, I think it’s just about the coolest car ever.

 

But ours was the coupe and that, in general, is just fine.

 

All CTS-V models utilize the 6.2-litre supercharged V8 lifted from the Corvette ZR-1, developing 556 horsepower at 6,100 r.p.m. and 551 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,800 r.p.m. (down from 638 horses and 604 lb.-ft. in the Corvette), mated in our test car to a Tremec six-speed manual transmission.

 

Rear-drive only in the CTS-V; lesser variants offer four-wheel drive.

 

All this with a starting MSRP of just over $70,000. Think high-performance sedans like the Mercedes Benz E63 or BMW M5 (currently not available; we’re waiting for the 2012 model due later this year) and you’ll be well into six figures, none to the right of the decimal point.

 

Stunning car, stunning value.

 

What? Did I say a stick-shift in a Caddy?

 

Yep. A good one too, with slick, short, positive throws which aren’t even that stiff, given the amount of torque it has to transmit.

 

You could be forgiven for thinking that stuffing a Corvette engine into a mid-size Cadillac would just create a pig, albeit a pretty fast pig.

 

Not so.

 

Well, it is pretty fast. Cadillac’s claim of a 0-100 km/h time of about four seconds is hardly shabby. I couldn’t get near that because I don’t have enough drag-racing experience and couldn’t keep wheelspin under control.

 

But what’s most impressive about this car is not its straight-line speed. It’s how well this car gets around corners. Yes, in a Cadillac.

 

What used to be called “MagnaRide” is now “Magnetic Ride Controll.” A special “magneto-rheological” fluid in the shock absorbers contains magnetic particles; application of a specific degree of electric current around these shocks can cause the fluid to thicken instantaneously, thereby stiffening the shocks.

 

This system was developed by the former GM Delco division, was first used in Cadillacs and Corvettes, and is now also deployed in cars such as Acuras, Audis ? and Ferraris.

 

Sometimes you are properly judged by the company you keep.

 

These adjustments, based on data collected from the car’s chassis sensors and engine-management system, can happen up to 1,000 times a second, about as close to “real-time” shock adjustment as it gets.

 

The base set-up in the CTS-V is sportier than on lesser CTS Caddies, but it still allows a wider range of settings to enable a decent ride with excellent control in cornering and braking.

 

The driver can further choose between Touring and Sport modes, emphasizing comfort or handling.

 

The ESC ? Electronic Stability Control (“StabiliTrak” in Caddy-speak) ? has different modes depending on how fast/brave/silly you are, including a “competitive driving” mode which shuts off the traction control and pushes the ESC threshold way out there.

 

You can also shut the ESC off altogether, but that’s probably not wise.

 

The brakes, supplied by Italian race brake manufacturer Brembo, have huge rotors, six-piston calipers up front and four-pots on the rear. They do a remarkable job of hauling down this big, heavy (1,900 kg; 4,200 pounds) car.

 

You can feel this weight when you’re pressing on, but the car is still remarkably nimble.

 

The steering is light but quite communicative, and a steadying understeer attitude can be modified with judicious application of the throttle pedal.

 

Speaking of, doing so unleashes the car’s prodigious torque, as the supercharger whines into action and shoves you back into the seat.

 

Ah yes, the seats. My tester had the optional Recaro seats, and why wouldn’t you check this box on the order form?

 

They are terrifically supportive if a bit constricting, especially if you’re trying to wedge yourself into the rear buckets in the coupe (which, by the way, beats walking home in the rain, but only just).

 

But there’s not much point in buying a CTS-V if you’re not going to drive it hard enough to need these.

 

They’re heated and ventilated, too ? wish I had figured out the ventilating thing before I got out on to the race track on a very hot afternoon.

 

There’s a lateral g-meter to show you just how close to the limit you are. Problem is, if you are that close to the limit, there’s no way you should be looking at the instrument panel.

 

And when you’re through being a hooligan at the racetrack, you can nestle back in those Recaros, crank up the AirCon, find your favourite channel on the Sirius XM satellite radio and cruise on home, enjoying the high-quality ambiance of the interior.

 

This is a Cadillac after all.

 

But not one most people would recognize.

 

Read Article: http://www.wheels.ca/article/800341