Today, virtually all premium brands offer powerful and stiffly suspended variants of their normally sedate saloons, but today Cadillac is no longer the newcomer to this battle.
Following two previous generations of surprisingly performance-minded models, Cadillac's CTS gets the V treatment. Starting with General Motors’ new Alpha platform that underpins the Cadillac ATS-V, as well as the Chevrolet Camaro, the CTS-V gets the full performance treatment.
Gone are the coupé and wagon variants, as well as the availability of a manual transmission. This CTS-V is exclusively a rear-drive, automatic, four-door executive saloon.
The supercharged 6.2-litre V8 is a derivative of the engine developed for the Corvette Z06, but is a wet-sump iteration that develops 640bhp and 630lb ft. Cadillac touts this engine as more powerful than the last generation Mercedes-AMG E 63 and BMW M5.
Still, those output numbers are slightly down from the Z06 and, according to Cadillac, due entirely to exhaust manifold packaging constraints within the CTS platform.
Power is delivered to the rear wheels through a remarkably rapid eight-speed automatic transmission. The rear differential is the electronically controlled kind and driveshafts are asymmetric, developed specifically to avoid the dreaded axle hop under hard straight-line acceleration.
Chassis improvements make for a 25 percent stiffer bodyshell and the CTS-V is suspended by GM’s third-generation Magnetic Ride Control dampers. Brakes are six-piston Brembos up front and four-piston at the rear.
While the rear brake discs are single-piece items, the fronts are two-piece, 390mm diameter rotors. Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres are fitted - 265mm wide at the front with 295mm at the rear.
The clean lines of the interior are similar to all other Cadillac models, with delta shapes dominating your view, no matter where you turn. Available as an option are 16-way adjustable Recaro front seats, but the large, high-backed buckets take their toll on rear leg room.
The CTS-V is differentiated externally from the standard car by its aerodynamic bodywork. A standard carbonfibre hood includes a central extractor for both heat and lift-reducing airflow, and the wings grow to accommodate wider wheels.