Potent and accomplished V8 super-coupé
Flamboyant tail-lights and a rear window raked to letterbox-slot dimensions
Chassis is said to have been pummelled into shape by months of Nürburgring lappery
Some may find the CTS Coupé’s admirably bold style a bit much
Bold and brutish behind
Big arches house big wheels
No ordinary Caddy
556bhp supercharged 6.2-litre V8
Interior is well finished, neatly detailed, comfortable and impressively quiet
Things are more conventional inside
Such a shame that it's left hand-drive only
The Cadillac CTS-V is a BMW M5-bothering executive super-saloon, but it is destined for rarity
First DriveThorough, classy modernisation dispatches big power with impressive ease
First DrivePotent and accomplished V8 super-coupé. It’s a shame it’s left-hand drive only
What is it?
A steering wheel and gearknob sheathed in suede? It can only go one of two ways: either this really is the road racer implied by that grippy, sweat-resistant material, or you’re sitting in a pretender to the grid of serious high-performance hardware, the suede a conceit likely to deliver disappointment. And, let’s be honest, it’s the second of these that’s more likely when we’re considering the new CTS-V Coupé.
After all, this is a Cadillac (stretch DeVille, anyone?), complete with chrome grille, flamboyant tail-lights and a rear window raked to letterbox-slot dimensions. It’s outrageous, although modestly so next to some of Cadillac’s more extravagant creations, and a follow-up to the previous, well-meant but troubled CTS-V saloon.
What’s not modest is 556bhp’s worth of supercharged 6.2-litre V8, and a chassis said to have been pummelled into shape by months of Nürburgring lappery. And the word from the far side of the Atlantic is that this CTS-V really does deliver.
What's it like?
Get past the wide-opening, frameless doors, with their hidden touch-pad releases, snuggle into a deep-walled Recaro, loose off the starter and clasp that wheel as you hear the V8 pulse into life. It doesn’t sound like Detroit performance iron; there’s a beat, but it’s not window-rattling. You grasp that manual gearlever, feel heavy-metal precision as first is engaged, let out the clutch and… within yards you know that this car is serious. There’s no rubbery twist in the torque-tensed driveline, no creak from the shell or its fittings, and the ride feels promisingly muscular without turning turbulent.
The first clear bend, and it’s wet; you tickle the throttle and feel the rear end spasm like a hose twitching with pressure. The traction control neatly checks the torque – all 551lb ft of it – and the CTS-V holds its line, surging forward as traction is restored.
No point in tramping the throttle in wet bends. Instead, enjoy the precision of the steering, its subtle feel and the Cadillac’s surprising composure over bumps.
This suspension compresses and stretches with a supple firmness that should produce fewer reasons to slow over British B-roads. Rear-end grip may be precipitous – although it’s likely to be transformed on a dry road – but this car could go wheel to wheel with a BMW M6 and not be instantly outclassed. It’s certainly entertaining.
The weighty, measured and robust controls feel like they’ve been honed by those weeks at the ’Ring, the 6.2-litre Corvette V8 burbles with subtle, free-revving urgency, and the whole car has an aura of refinement that pleasingly counterbalances the Caddy’s scenery-ripping capabilities.
Flaws? Most obvious is left-hand drive (and the V’s obstructing brake booster makes a conversion too expensive to contemplate). Then there’s just a single, Manchester-based dealer – GM North America expert Bauer Millett – followed by thirst and a headroom-deprived back seat whose access is rendered hazardous by the trip-wire front seatbelts.
Others may find the CTS Coupé’s admirably bold style a bit much, but it certainly adds to its strong character. The interior is more conventional, but it’s well finished, neatly detailed, comfortable and impressively quiet at a cruise.
Should I buy one?
Cadillac describes its styling as a blend of art and science; this CTS-V adds muscle to the mix, and a thick slice of entertainment too. A shame it will stay rare.
Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
Price: £68,957; Top speed: 191mph; 0-62mph: 4.4sec; Economy: 18.4mpg (combined); CO2: 365g/km; Kerb weight: 1907kg; Engine: V8, 6162cc, supercharged, petrol; Power: 556bhp at 6100rpm; Torque: 551lb ft at 3800rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual