What is it?
This is the most powerful production Cadillac to date. It packs a 640bhp supercharged V8, is claimed to be capable of 0-62mph in 3.7sec and can knock on the door of 200mph.
Cadillac's done more than just shoehorn a stonking engine into an unassuming saloon and leave it at that, however. Compared with the standard CTS, the high-performance CTS-V benefits from a significant reworking.
Performance-focused upgrades include a stiffer structure, wider front and rear tracks, recalibrated steering, substantial Brembo brakes and bespoke Michelin tyres. An eight-speed paddle-shifted automatic channels drive to the rear, while a standard-fit electronically controlled LSD distributes torque between the wheels.
At a shade over £75,000, however, the CTS-V faces some stiff competition. For similar money, you could have a BMW M5 or a Mercedes-AMG E63 - and let’s not forget the other GM-forged sledgehammer: the £53,000 Vauxhall VXR8 GTS.
What's it like?
Cadillac will tell you that the supercharged 6.2-litre V8 in the CTS-V is the most responsive engine it has tested on its dynos, reputedly delivering torque when requested faster than a Ferrari 458 Italia's V8.
Truth be told, it might not be mistaken. Tap the accelerator and the CTS-V will snap forward, engine bellowing and leaping towards its 6600rpm limiter. Hit 120mph, which takes no time at all, and it’ll continue accelerating at a seemingly relentless rate. In terms of straight-line performance, this will not leave you wanting.
The eight-speed automatic isn’t as quick to shift as European offerings, particularly when directed to via the wheel-mounted paddles, but it rarely annoys. Putting the power down is no chore, though, with the LSD, wide Michelins and electronically adjustable Magnetic Ride Control suspension working in harmony to deliver plenty of traction when you want it.
Your enjoyment won’t completely cease the first time you strike a corner, either. With the drive mode selector in track or sport settings, the big Cadillac’s steering is fast and accurate, and roll is minimal. The CTS-V’s body control isn’t as fine as its rivals, however; it jostles around over bumps and cracks. This, in conjunction with some kickback through the wheel, takes some shine off the Cadillac’s high-performance credentials.
Unfortunately the brake response, like that in the ATS-V, is disappointing. The pedal is wooden and lacking in feel, blunting your willingness to attack the road ahead without more time behind the wheel. That said, thanks to the car's muscular rear-drive nature and vocal engine, you don't have to be going fast to have an awful lot of fun. The car's ride quality’s not bad, either, but it’s certainly stiff as opposed to supple.
The interior still lags behind European offerings in many areas, mainly in terms of material quality. It’s spacious, comfortable and well equipped, though, and features such as the customisable 12.3-inch digital instrument panel do bring a touch of class.
Should I buy one?
If you’re one of the handful who would consider buying a distinctive, left-hand-drive super-saloon, then absolutely. It’s fast, comfortable, sounds great, is gratifying to drive and turns heads like little else in its class. There's some fine engineering at work here, too, that adds extra depth to its appeal.
Sure, the interior leaves a lot to be desired, particularly alongside the likes of an M5, and the transmission and brakes could be improved. Much like the recently launched ATS-V, however, the CTS-V is more rewarding than many rivals when driven at sensible speeds. This low-speed involvement and entertainment bolsters the Cadillac’s charm further. It might not be the most dynamically capable, but in terms of feel-good factor it's hard to beat.
When the CTS-V goes on sale in Europe in early 2016, you’ll even be able to order one directly from Cadillac’s sole UK dealership. It’ll still be left-hand drive, but it’ll be in UK specification and come with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty. A chain of GM-affiliated service points will be established, too, so servicing shouldn’t be too problematic.
2015 Cadillac CTS-V
Location Munich, Germany; On sale Spring 2016; Price £75,255; Engine V8, 6126cc, supercharged, petrol; Power 640bhp at 6400rpm; Torque 631lb ft at 3600rpm; Kerb weight 1950kg; Gearbox 8-spd automatic; 0-62mph 3.7sec; Top speed 199mph; Economy 21.7mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 298g/km / 37%