The 2017 Cadillac CTS-V Is the United States’s Best Sport Sedan
A solid argument that America is pretty great already.
WHAT THE HELL IS IT? General Motors’s balls-to-the-wall, take-on-the-world super sport sedan.
WHO IS IT FOR? Patriotic Americans who want one car that can do it all.
WHERE DID WE TEST IT? Connecticut, mostly.
THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE IS: It looks good—especially with the Carbon Fiber Package’s exterior goodies and the Carbon Black Package’s darkened trim bits.
THING THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO NOTICE, BUT YOU DO ANYWAY: The $13,200 you spent on the Carbon Black Package and Carbon Fiber Package adds basically zero performance.
CAR IS GOOD AT: Taunting supercars, boosting Cadillac’s image, putting enormous grins on faces.
CAR IS BAD AT: Having a manual gearbox. Because it doesn’t have one.
HAULING PEOPLE: 4/5
HAULING STUFF: 3/5
CURB APPEAL: 3/5
“WOW” FACTOR: 4/5
WOULD YOU BUY IT? In a goddamn heartbeat. It’s like two cars I love, merged into one: the performance of a Corvette Stingray Z51, and the comfort of a Cadillac CTS. I’ll go beyond whether I’d buy it or not: If you asked me to choose one car to drive for the rest of my life, I’d be pretty tempted to pick this one.
DEEP THOUGHTS: Some folks out there—or even here at The Drive—have poo-pooed the CTS-V for being almost too powerful. The ATS-V or CTS Vsport are better suited for real life. Its limits are so high, they argue, that they’re all but unreachable in the real world.
To which I reply: That’s a load of crap.
The same argument could be leveled against pretty much any supercar, yet you don’t hear anyone arguing that people should steer clear of Ferraris or Lamborghinis for lesser sports cars.
And let’s not lie: Some may say the CTS-V’s performance limits are so high, you can’t access them on public roads…but we all know that we’d find ways to do it. We’d find those quiet, empty stretches of road where nobody goes, look both ways for cops and traffic, and let it rip. We’ve all done it before, and we’ll likely all do it again. And even if those moments only come up once in a blue moon, they’re the moments we remember forever—the ones that make owning a 640-horsepower car worthwhile.
Unlike the Charger Hellcat—the only American four-door on the market today with more power—the CTS-V isn’t just a quarter-mile monster. It handles like the Corvette it wants to be, tearing through corners with grip and glee. The steering is a delight, serving up plenty of detail about the road without being verbose. (This is a Cadillac, after all.)
Likewise, the extensive selection of well-tuned modes for the performance systems does a stellar job of unlocking the car’s potential. It offers the usual assortment of low-traction, daily driving, sporty driving, and track use found in most modern sport sedans—but once it’s in Track, the Performance Traction Management menu comes into play, offering a whole ‘nother set of options designed specifically for track use.
The CTS slots into a nice Goldilocks size category for a sedan—large enough to fit four people in comfort, but without being unwieldy on city streets or in parking lots the way the likes of a CT6 or S-Class can be. It’s roomy enough that it can even fit an average-sized person beyond an NBA-sized driver such as yours truly.
The interior layout scores points from a driver’s perspective—the important controls fall right at your fingertips, and the microsuede steering wheel is a treat to hold—but loses some on the luxury car side. Every new infotainment system the rest of the automotive world hauls out is a reminder that Cadillac’s CUE could be better, and some of the materials don’t live up to the standards set by the likes of Benz and Bimmer.
Still, if Cadillac wants to spend its money turning the CTS-V into a four-door track weapon that’s still comfortable enough to drive every day instead of gussying it up with bougie trim…hey, you won’t hear any complaints from me.
Price (as tested): $86,590 ($109,610)
Powertrain: 6.2-liter supercharged V8, 640 horsepower, 630 pound-feet of torque; rear-wheel-drive; eight-speed automatic
Fuel Economy: 14 city, 21 highway
0-60 mph: 3.6 seconds (Car and Driver test)
Top speed: 200 miles per hour
Number of times I hugged our press fleet manager when he gave me the CTS-V for a weekend: 1