First, let’s get it out of the way that the CTS-V is small, low to the ground, and not designed for families. It’s not that people won’t fit, but it’s designed as a driving machine, not a people carrier. There’s limited leg room in the back seat, and the trunk is an adequate size but not large.
You see variations of the iconic Cadillac V shape all over the inside and outside of this vehicle, and the CTS-V is designed beautifully with performance and downforce in mind.
From the rear spoiler and the dual exhaust, to multiple ducts so air can move in and out as needed, to a truly stunning front grille design, you can tell by looking at the CTS-V why it performs as well as it does. It’s a visual masterpiece.
On the inside, the CTS-V features a cockpit that feels more like a racecar that most vehicles non-racecar drivers have the option of purchasing.
It’s not as plush or comfy or luxurious as some of its key rivals inside, but that’s because most of the efforts here went into power and performance, so that’s not a bad tradeoff.
HOW’S THE RIDE?
In a word, it’s awesome.
Power and maneuverability are the bread and butter of the CTS-V. You’re piloting a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8, paired with an 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters. There is no traditional manual offered, but you won’t miss it since you can take over via the paddles.
The numbers on this bad boy (drumroll, please) are … 640 horsepower and 630 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s a lot of horses. And unlike other massive horsepower cars like the Hellcats from Dodge, the CTS-V is not meant to go fast strictly in a straight line.
In my testing, the vehicle’s ability to turn on a dime was unprecedented in my previous testing. I rarely get a thrill from driving today’s new cars, but I got a thrill out of the CTS-V every time I got behind the wheel.
The CTS-V featured a very loud powerplant, which is to be expected with the numbers it offers. People will hear you coming on the road and know to get out of your way.
There was a slight whine from the supercharger that sounded just perfect to me, and made the drive much more enjoyable. And I’m not gonna lie; I definitely startled a few people when I started it up and its big sound kicked in (sorry about that).
The CTS-V is RWD only. It is notable that its two main competitors — the BMW M5 and the Mercedes AMG E63 — both offer all-wheel-drive versions.
Four drive modes are offered. Tour is the standard driving mode and most sedate; Sport mode is a bit more engaging. Track mode offers the firmest suspension and the best lap times if you take the CTS-V around an actual racetrack. Lastly, it may surprise some to learn that the CTS-V also offers a snow/ice setting.
WIth the CTS-V, it is all about the driving experience and the power. You will go from 0 to 60 mph in under 4 seconds, and a few more seconds will get you to 100 mph.
It was truly an exhilarating drive, an instant contender for most fun I have had in any car this year, and possibly ever.
Here’s the inevitable part of any Cadillac review — my laments about the CUE infotainment system.
While it was impressive on the voice command side of the coin, I remain unimpressed with the physical controls of the CUE system, which lags behind competitors in the luxury realm. The issue is the CUE controls are almost all touch-sensitive, not actual buttons, and don’t always respond as you would like them too. They are also harder to use while you are driving than other systems.
On the plus side, the Curbview rearview camera with multiple angles was a nice touch and on par with top competitors.
And you do get other helpful safety features including: Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert; Rear Cross Traffic Alert; Rear Vision Camera; Front and Rear Park Assist; Auto Seat Belt Tightening; Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Warning.
4G WiFi hotspot is also offered.
I’ll preface this with something pretty obvious: You’re not going to buy a beast like the CTS-V based on fuel mileage. But anyway, the official numbers are 14 city/21 highway/16 combined. These numbers proved accurate during my testing. The BMW and Mercedes counterparts were one or two mph better than the CTS-V.
When you’re talking this type of performance vehicle, six figures is the norm when it comes to the price.
Base price for the CTS-V starts about $87K, but once they added the very sharp carbon fiber package ($6,250), Luxury package ($2,500), Recaro high-performance seats ($2,300), Performance data and video recorder ($1,600), Ultraview sunroof ($1,450) and dark gold Brembo brake calipers ($595), among other features, my test vehicle was priced just over $106,000. Paging Scrooge McDuck, we’re going to need your swimming pool full of gold.
If you love driving and can spare beaucoup bucks, few vehicles for sale today can touch the pure enjoyment of wheeling the 2019 Cadillac CTS-V. Some of the foreign competitors beat it in terms of comfort and tech, but based on pure driving experience it may be the best out there.
Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.