For those seeking Corvette performance in a well-mannered, full-size rear-wheel-drive American luxury saloon, STS-V is a dream come true
  • First Drive

    Cadillac STS-V first drive review

    For those seeking Corvette performance in a well-mannered, full-size rear-wheel-drive American luxury saloon, STS-V is a dream come true
24 December 2005

General Motors Performance Division engineers will be the first to tell you that their pride and joy, the 2006 Cadillac STS-V, is more of an autobahn rocket than a hyperactive track star.

Unlike its race-bred sibling, the CTS-V, this latest model in Cadillac’s performance lineup is not intended for hard cornering, hard braking, hard accelerating or hard anything.

That’s not to say the car can’t handle hard charging, or that it won’t match up well against the luxury performance competition; it’s just not going to beat anyone up in the process.

So what exactly does $30,000 over a base STS buy in an STS-V?

Under the sheet-molded composite hood lies a highly refined 4.4-litre supercharged Northstar V8—the first supercharged production Cadillac engine. With 469 bhp at 6400 rpm and 439 lb-ft of torque at 3600 rpm, it’s easily the most potent production Caddy powerplant ever. Power is routed to the rear wheels via an all-new six-speed adaptable automatic transmission.

Chassis upgrades support the powertrain, with stiffer springs, bushings, wheel bearings and antiroll bars; a steering gear tuned for quicker on-center response without overreacting off-center; Brembo four-piston disc brakes, 14 inches front and 14.3 inches rear; and 10-spoke painted aluminum wheels, 18x8.5 inches in front, 19x9.5 inches in the rear, fitted with Pirelli Euphoria run-flat tyres.

Cadillac stylists resisted the urge to hammer home STS-V’s performance credentials, instead opting for functional bodywork and discreet V Series and Supercharged badging.

Performance Division resident hotshoe engineer John Heinricy compares the STS-V’s performance to a base C6 Corvette.

Our drives support Heinricy’s assertion—the car proved virtually as quick as a C6 on GM’s Milford, Michigan, test track, with little body roll, solid consistent braking and enough wiggle room to allow you to steer the tail by flexing your right ankle.

For those looking for a BMW M5 in Cadillac clothing, that might not be enough. But for those seeking Corvette performance in a well-mannered, full-size rear-wheel-drive American luxury saloon, STS-V is a dream come true.

Bob Gritzinger

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