2012 Cadillac CTS-V Review by Larry Nutson +VIDEO
The car that's like a rocket
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel
I was about to be driving a 556 HP production street car for a week. A supercharged 6.2L V8 rated at 556 HP sounds an awful lot like a race car engine’s performance level. This was going to be exciting.
• SEE ALSO: Cadillac Buyers Guide
I had a very brief previous experience behind the wheel of Cadillac’s CTS-V. I drove the coupe equipped with the Tremec 6-speed manual around the Road America four-mile, fourteen-turn professional racing circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. This was in May at the Midwest Automotive Media Associations (M.A.M.A.) Spring Rally. The minor issue was that it had been continuously raining that day. Exiting a turn I got in to the throttle a little too early and the back end started to come around. I got the CTS-V caught up OK, but that tempered my drive around the track. I didn’t want to be sliding across the grass.
My driver for this week was a 2012 version of the CTS-V sedan with the 6-speed Hydra-matic transmission. In addition to the 5-passenger sedan and the aforementioned coupe (a 2+2), a wagon is also available. Just about everything is standard equipment and the base MSRP of $63,215 is the same for each body style.
Options on my test car included Recaro seats that are heated and vented, and metal pedals ($3400), Graphite finish 19inch wheels ($800), Yellow Brake Calipers ($595), Sueded Steering Wheel and Shifter ($300) and an interior wood trim package ($600). Add in the $2600 Gas Guzzler tax and $875 destination charge for a grand total of $72,385.
I mentioned that just about everything is standard. Two items I would have liked, or perhaps expected, are a heated steering wheel and a power-fold feature for the outside mirrors. The sueded steering wheel might feel a little warmer in winter…and I’m not sure if I even would be driving this car in extreme cold…but the power-fold outside mirrors is a feature that would get lots of use when parked in crowded cities like Chicago.
Cadillac's "V" series was introduced in 2007 and the current generation in 2009. New for 2012 are Rainsense automatic windshield wipers and three new exterior colors. I mentioned that I am not sure if I would drive the CTS-V in the extreme cold. Certainly it should be parked in the garage when it’s snowing. The Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires, 255/40-19 front and 285/35-19 rear, are not snow friendly. A new CTS Touring Package is available with 18 inch all season tires. This might be good choice for those folks who live in winter snow areas and want to drive the car all year.
Take a look at the Cadillac CTS-V Black Diamond Edition (2011)
If winter driving is part of your plan I would look at a good winter tire such as Bridgestone Blizzak that can be had for around $1100-$1200 for four. Mounted on wheels is my suggestion and that adds anywhere from $200 to $600 for each wheel, depending on your taste.
Cadillac advertises 0 to 60 mph time of 3.9 seconds. Top Speed is in the 190 mph arena. EPA fuel economy ratings are 12 city and 18 highway for the automatic and 14 city and 19 highway for the manual. Premium fuel is required.
The supercharger is an Eaton Twin Vortices unit and has an intercooler. Brakes are Brembo with large vented rotors. The suspension features Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control that reads the road and makes constant adjustments to shock damping. I found the CTS-V quite comfortable on Chicago’s streets and not too choppy or rough. The limited slip differential has an axle ratio is 3.73 on the manual and 3.23 on the automatic.
By the way, the sedan and wagon are the same size on the exterior. Inside, the wagon doubles the cargo space to about 25 cubic feet and that grows to 53 cubic feet when you fold the rear seat. Think about a station wagon with 556 hp and a 6-speed manual transmission for taking my dog to wherever.
Driving around the highways and byways of Chicagoland, I found that since acceleration is so fast and dramatic it was best to just pedal softly. The exhaust note is very rewarding and pleasant. A tune that came to mind within my first few minutes driving was Elton John’s “Rocket Man”. The CTS-V is a rocket.
If I owned this car I would seriously consider joining a motorsports club such as Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, IL or Monticello Motor Club in Monticello, NY. Track driving a couple times a month would be very satisfying and relieve most all inner desires to push-it on the public roads.
Like every new Cadillac, this streetable “race car” comes with the Cadillac Shield Owner Benefit Program including a 4 year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and also Premium Car Maintenance for the same period. Read the fine print before putting your helmet on.
© Larry Nutson