It's thirsty, expensive and a bit Wayne Rooney but despite the Cadillac's flaws, it is very hard not to like this charismatic motor

What is it?

Having charmed us with the saloon and coupé versions of its quite spectacularly mad CTS-V series, Cadillac now offers the same power fix in estate guise. It's also claiming to be the world's fastest load lugger, topping out at 190mph and reaching 62mph in just 4.1secs. Woof.

What’s it like?

Based on the CTS Sport Wagon, the V-spec car gains the same Corvette-based 6.2-litre supercharged V8 deployed in its siblings. This develops a massive 556hp and 551lb ft of torque and laugh-out-loud performance. We tried the six-speed automatic version, complete with paddle-shifters – it isn't as lightning quick as the best German 'boxes, but does allow for a good compromise between relaxed cruising and banzai B-road running.

Response from that titanic engine from any speed is just phenomenal, getting you from merely quick to go-to-jail speed with slightly alarming alacrity. But the Caddy's V8 really needs to sound more inspiring. More NASCAR, more popping and crackling on the over-run would be welcome. As it is, you get a too-refined blare overlaid with a bit of supercharger whine.

In spite of its weight, the Wagon is surprisingly agile, with steering that has nicely progressive weight if not the greatest feel. Really pile into a corner and you'll begin to feel the cars prodigious heft, though. That said, the brakes do a good job of hauling you back from the brink. Thanks to its trick magnetic damper control, ride and body control are both the right side of good, too.

In the cabin, you'll find surfaces that feel premium, stitching that wouldn't look out of place in a Bentley and a sense that its all been properly put together. It is a simply massive improvement over past efforts.

Should I buy one?

The CTS-V Sport Wagon is also a bit (okay, a lot) wedgy at £73,500, but if you are in the market for mad-power estates, choice is pretty limited. The only obvious contender is the 518bhp Mercedes Benz E63 AMG at £76,020. Of the two, I'm pretty sure which would be the better ownership proposition.

But in its defence, I know the Cadillac would make me smile wider – and more often.

Gavin Conway

Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon

Price £73,500; Top speed 174mph; 0-62mph 4.1secs; Economy 14.5mpg; CO2 343g/km; Kerbweight 2040kgs; Engine type V8, 6162cc; Power 556bhp at 6100rpm; Torque 551lb ft at 3800rpm; Gearbox 6-speed automatic

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philcUK 14 September 2011

Re: Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon

Peter Cavellini wrote:
Does 14 to the gallon apparently.
more or less, slightly more than the Audi RS6 Avant apparently.

Peter Cavellini 14 September 2011

Re: Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon

shomann wrote:

lucasworldcars wrote:
Why would anyone in their mind buy a 190 mph estate?

Why would anyone buy any vehicle that can go 190 mph? Because they can afford it and want exceptional performance. Some people find it interesting to have an estate that has similar performance to a SuperCar. Different strokes for different folks as they say.

Does 14 to the gallon apparently.

jackjflash 14 September 2011

Re: Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon

TegTypeR wrote:

Hey Jack, long time so see. Where have you been hiding?

Very true, my tight fisted streak wouldn't allow me to buy something like this new but what ever way you look at it, this car is going to shed money on the used market.

Hello Teg, been lurking about, just got a pile of work to do this month so I have to show a little restraint and cut down my Autocar browsing to a couple times a week.

This Caddy is a bit different from past efforts in that it goes right at its competitors. If some of its detractors would actually go see/drive one it could change some minds if they were pragmatic at all. The car is quite striking to see in the flesh and a refreshing change from the competitors melted bar of soap designs. Short supply and high demand will keep resale values high.

I suspect once again we have reached an impasse so time will have to tell.

Nothing wrong with being tight fisted, especially in the current state of the economy.