By Grant Davis
“I didn’t know they made stealth fighter jets that were street legal.” That was my neighbor’s comment when I parked the distinctively-shaped $69,000, 556-horsepower, supercharged 6.2-liter, V8-powered, Cadillac CTS-V Coupe in my driveway. And if the stealth fighter is the pinnacle of America’s technological firepower in the air, I’ll take my neighbor’s observation as a worthy compliment to this luxury street screamer. Like the new Chevy Camaro, recent Ford Mustang GT and Dodge Challenger, this Cadillac makes you damn proud to be an American. Why? Because the CTS-V kicks the world’s ass with class and that’s something American cars didn’t do for a long, long time.
I’m not sure what Cadillac means by denoting this spec as the “V” model, but after a week of smirking my way around town, I think the V stand for “Vicious.” You have to be committed to loving the hard, angular and vicious lines on this baby. Or put another way, you’ve got to be a red-blooded American who relishes giving the drones in their German luxoboxes the middle finger in a big way. To help you do it, the massive dual-exhaust pipes centered under the rear end look like they’re going to spit fire once the supercharger kicks in the afterburners and you scream your way past nearly every drone on the road.
Cadillac’s CTS sedan from a few years ago reinvented the brand as a viable alternative to the German sports sedans from BMW and Audi, and GM made sure to amp up the new CTS Coupe’s style so no one confused the Caddy with anything else. With the “V” series spec, Cadillac retro-fitted the biggest V8 it could grab from Corvette, dropped it into the new Coupe body, added a burly 6-speed transmission to handle a head-snapping 551-pound feet of torque, slapped pizza-sized Bembo brakes inside the aluminum wheels to slow the beast from its reported top speed of 191 mph, and stretched 19-inch high-performance Michelin tires around said wheels to actually, you know, hold the thing on the ground. Another note that confirms that this is no classic Caddy — 10-way adjustable Recaro high-performance seats, a $3,400 option, hold the driver’s and passenger’s butts in place and do a good job enabling the driver to push the car to its limits while pushing the passenger closer to puking all over the leather and lacquered black dash.
Annoying little stuff AKA nothing’s perfect
This isn’t to say the CTS-V Coupe is the ideal car. My gas mileage for the week was 16 mpg, which I understand is actually higher than the average tester’s results. The rear seats are worthless for anyone taller than 5 feet and still a royal pain in the ass for even small kids to climb in and out. The two massive doors make tight parking spaces problematic; you will ding people’s cars with those things. And God help you if you’re parked on a steep incline and you have to push the door uphill to open it. It’s going to take muscle. Then there’s the fact that the doors are opened with an electronic button that unlatches the door with a pop. That’s cool, until you realize that there’s a manual override lever in the floor to open the door if and when the battery dies or you get hit by lightning and the wiring gets toasted to oblivion. To me that was a bit unnerving.
Of course, one could argue that the “ejector” lever adds to the stealth fighter sensibility. It’s Caddy’s version of an ejector seat lever. How cool is that?