Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: September 18, 2017
The Cadillac CTS-V is nothing short of a bewildering monster on the track. We know because we spent some quality time with it a few weeks ago at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, wringing out its supercharged V8 and unleashing all 640 prodigious horses. Backing it up were a set of grippy and tenacious Michelin Super Sport tires, a phenomenally tuned chassis with the help of Magnetic Ride Control to keep it buttoned down, and heavy but faithful steering that communicated everything the tires were doing to your own two hands.
It was a privilege to drive the CTS-V where it was meant to be driven, and there was almost nothing negative I could say about it - on the track that is. Now, just because a car can behave well on the track doesn’t mean it can be a usable beast on the shared roads. We’re here to find out what it’s like to live with a CTS-V once it's taken off its racing shoes and slipped on a pair of loafers.
To get acquainted, let’s talk about what makes the CTS-V so special. This is an American supersedan in its third-generation with the heart of a Corvette and the body of a Cadillac. The CTS-V looks menacing from any angle, with aggressive front and rear splitters, quad exhaust tips, a mammoth mesh front grill, and a hood vent that looks like it can shave off a tree. A standard CTS looks like circumcised in comparison. With the Phantom Grey paint on our CTS-V tester, I’d say it’s even meaner and more aggressive looking than all of its mid-size performance competitors like the BMW M5, Mercedes-AMG E 63, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, and Lexus GS F.
Cadillac has also added the Rear Camera Mirror for the 2017 model year, the feature that first debuted in the XT5. The infamous CUE infotainment system has also been revised, borrowed from the Chevrolet and GMC cousins and garnished in classic Cadillac flavour. CUE now utilizes bigger buttons, a more responsive touchscreen, crisper graphics, and an easier interface layout.
Under the hood of the CTS-V is a nuclear powerplant donated from the Corvette Z06: a 6.2-litre supercharged V8 tuned to produce 640 hp and 630 lb-ft (less than the Z06 - detuned and without dry sump lubrication). Power is routed through an 8-speed Hydramatic automatic transmission and delivered to the two rear wheels. Unlike prior CTS-V models, a manual transmission is not available.
Out on the open public roads, there’s no denying the size and road presence of the CTS-V, and while it felt lithe and agile on the wide grand prix track, it isn’t as maneuverable on smaller defined roads. There aren’t as many opportunities to exploit that monster of an engine either. Even on the highway, you can roll on the ramp at 40 km/h, floor the pedal, hang on tight as the rear squanders for traction, and reach the speed limit before you’ve even shifted into third gear.
Flooring the throttle is a one-way ticket to the impound lot, as the CTS-V can reach 200 mph, or 322 km/h. That’s insane for a four-door to be able to claim such numbers but after experiencing its rolling pull on the highways, I believe it. The aero is incredible and somehow not low enough to graze raised pavement or ramps at our local grocery store parking lot. The front hood is also made of carbon fibre and if you opt for the Carbon Fibre Package, the front splitter, hood vents, diffuser, and rear spoiler get the same treatment.
However, even with all that aero the CTS-V has problems putting that power to the ground from launch, and the tires can barely keep pace without a proper warm-up. On the street, that teaches you to be responsible and careful with the gas pedal - overshoot it and the traction control will quickly intervene. Overstep the clearly defined boundaries however, and the rabid CTS-V will bite off its leash.
On the bright side, set the CTS-V to “Tour” mode and you can drive it around town like any other standard CTS. It’s extremely comfortable and the suspension isn’t jarring. Sure it’s stiffer than the regular CTS but it doesn’t bounce or jiggle you around like a ball in a box. Thanks to the Magnetic Ride Control, the CTS-V stays planted, absorbs bumps well, and does a phenomenal job keeping all four tires planted on the ground where they need to be.
The CTS-V delivers quite the auditory experience, as it should for a performance sedan but it’s not as breathtaking as the Corvette, which is a shame because the latter sounds demonically wicked. That supercharged LT4 engine is probably one of the best sounding V8s on the market, and the hushed exhaust only puts the CTS-V at a disadvantage. There are brief burbles on downshifts but the overall experience isn’t as thrilling or hair-raising as juicing out every inch of that powerband with the Corvette’s exhaust and seven-speed manual.
With the CTS-V, you pay to play. Fuel efficiency should be the least of your worries. Yet, for those that might feel a little guilty polluting the planet, Cadillac has fitted cylinder deactivation onto the CTS-V, meaning during light engine loads and demand, the V8 will shut off half of its cylinders and run essentially as a four-cylinder to save fuel. The manner in which the V8 shuts on and off is seamless - you’ll never hear or miss a beat on the road. It’s rather incredible. Over our seven-day tenure, we averaged a stark 14.9 L/100km with a heavier emphasis on highway driving.
As with every vehicle, there are always a few gripes to be had. Firstly, the chassis of the CTS-V is so rigid that the entire body shakes with the rattling engine, and at idle you feel the car rocking side to side as the massive heart from the Corvette rumbles. The 8-speed transmission is also a weakspot and not tuned to the level expected from this segment. It denies my upshifts all the time and doesn’t shift gears with the same crispness from other sedans of this calibre. The gearbox doesn’t rev match very well either, and lurches at times when you downshift too aggressively. To nitpick even further, the touchscreen isn’t very good at hiding fingerprints, meaning when you turn off the display when the sun is shining, the cops will have no problems identifying who drove it last.
The Chevrolet Corvette isn’t a practical car in the slightest with only two doors and hardly any storage. Yet it’s one of those dream cars that many enthusiasts strive towards. However some of these buyers might be burdened by a family, garage space, and the need for a five-passenger hauler that can be driven 365 days a year. The CTS-V is for that type of buyer - those who want the thrill of a Vette but the space of a mid-size sedan, the latest tech, and the luxury expected from the premium segment. With that in mind, who’s to say that the CTS-V isn’t the most practical Corvette on the market?
In essence, the CTS-V is a four-door Corvette, the practical man’s method of hauling around his family with enough power to launch them to the moon and back. You might not be able to explore its limits on city streets but the track is where the CTS-V belongs anyways. Just don’t forget to put the leash back on when you’re done.
型号 Model: 2017 Cadillac CTS-V
顏色 Paint Type: Phantom Grey Metallic
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $93,010
試車售價 Price as Tested: $109,525
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,910
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 5,021 / 1,833 / 1,454
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,880
引擎 Engine: 6.2-litre supercharged V8
最大馬力 Horsepower: 640 hp @ 6,400 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 630 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, RWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 16.5 / 11.1 / 14.0
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 14.9
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Michelin Pilot Super Sport