AW AutoTest File - 2004 Cadillac CTS-V

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, May 20, 2004.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Staff Member

    Jul 6, 2001
    Likes Received:

    Flying V: Cadillac's CTS-V Simply Shreds


    (08:30 May 10, 2004)

    This Caddy rocks, baby. More than any American luxury sport sedan since a little-known guitarist named Jimi slipped on his first Fender. Perhaps longer.

    Don't let that back seat fool you. The CTS-V has got enough punch packed under its hood and composure underfoot to make any road-junkie weep-most of all you junkies with tots to tote. Hammer it, and the CTS-V rips off the line with head-banging acceleration. Stomp on the Brembos and the world screaming by your window comes to a screeching halt. For all its well-honed chops, call it speed metal on four wheels, Cadillac-style.

    Owners know what we're talking about, all those who told us they never considered another vehicle. They traded in their Corvettes, garaged their 5s and turned their noses up at RS6s. Why? Because, said one owner, "This is more fun to drive than my Vette and better built, and the Vette was very well built."

    Just how much fun was our enviable responsibility to record. What we found won't surprise those who have already plugged one into their lives, but the unconvinced take heed: Germany has been officially warned.

    With 400 horses on tap and a torque band that stretches nigh on forever, the CTS-V roars in fine American V8 fashion to 60 mph in 5.35 seconds. That's more than two seconds quicker than the standard CTS (7.53 seconds) and smack in BMW M3 (5.1) and Mercedes-Benz C32 AMG (5.2) territory, courtesy of an overhead valve small-block that tops out at 6600 rpm. "Off the line it just pulls and pulls and pulls," said one owner.

    But the CTS-V still lags the E55 (4.78) by a half-second to 60, and getting the Caddy to even run down the drag strip effectively took some work. The tremendous amount of axle hop at launch wasn't easy to control, with one tester calling it the worst he's seen since the Chevrolet Caprice LTZ more than a decade ago.

    But the CTS-V does turn out some great numbers off the line, and continues to throughout the midrange. Its 395 lb-ft of torque and perfectly spaced gears (first gear gets you to 45 mph, second to 65) give a commanding passing performance. It eats up just 1.7 seconds running from 20 to 40 mph and 3.0 seconds from 60 to 80. The CTS-V even pulls with authority in high gears from insanely low revs.

    We also enjoy the fact that the "sport" in this sport sedan has as much to do with finesse as speed. Through our slalom, the CTS-V feels responsive and easily controllable-more like a sports car than a 3800-plus pound sedan-even with all electronic aids switched off. The CTS-V works the cones best under power, which keeps the rears solidly planted. Its 46.2-mph top speed through the 490-foot course bests the E55 (42.9) and the last-gen M5 (44.0), even with a wheelbase that stretches longer than either. Only the M3 and C32-which are at least six inches shorter between the axles-come close, at 46.0 and 45.1 mph, respectively. Through it all, the CTS-V exhibits only the barest hint of body roll.

    The Caddy will also power around our 200-foot skidpad with a moderate amount of understeer, staying balanced with the smallest throttle inputs and pulling 0.88 gs in the process.

    Bringing the whole show to a stop, its brakes-and a terrific set of Goodyear Eagle F1s-pull the CTS-V down from 60 mph in an M5-matching 112 feet (and besting all other aforementioned competitors). No dive, no drama, just a lot of serious negative gs.

    Owners didn't need the benefit of track data to pour on the praise, though. "The performance is world-class," said one owner. "The V8 power is advertised by a pleasant growl on hard acceleration." Others echoed that sentiment, remarking on the satisfying exhaust note, the responsive handling, superb brakes as well as the luxury-car worthy interior. The seats are comfortable and supportive, the fit-and-finish is excellent and the build quality and materials are top-notch, most agreed.

    Many enjoyed playing with the g-meter, which displays lateral acceleration measurements (without need of a skidpad) from the car's easier-to-use-than-average navigation/control console. Most concurred that the V-series styling-particularly the mesh grille-improved on the base car's looks, while one owner went so far as to describe the CTS-V's looks as "a military stealth aircraft, possibly the most distinctive Cadillac styling since the large tailfins disappeared in the early '60s."

    The same owners did have a few complaints. The shifter could be more precise, its throws shorter and the clutch effort not so light, most said. Why the CTS-V lacks steering-wheel audio and nav controls present on the base car perplexed many. Some still complained about the presence of hard plastic bits on the door panels and dash, others about the lack of space to rest the left arm. The two biggest gripes involved the foot-operated parking brake (just plain stupid) and excessive wind noise around the doors.

    The roughness around the edges doesn't detract from the experience. The Cadillac CTS-V simply kicks butt. Add to that a sticker that steals the luxury sport sedan bang-for-buck spotlight (roughly 4k more than M3, 10k less than a year-old M5), with owners paying on average less than 50 large. The American sport sedan is back, and in fine form. Rock on!




    Powerful engine, with a growl
    Crisp, responsive handling
    Good brakes, cool gadgets


    Imprecise shifter, long-throws
    Parking brake on the floor
    No steering-wheel controls


    BMW M5
    Chevrolet Corvette
    Audi RS6



    Every time I step on the gas pedal, I have to double-check to make sure that I'm really driving a Cadillac. Off the line it just pulls and pulls and pulls. Cadillac and the General seem to have finally gotten their collective acts together. The seats are supportive and comfortable, and the g-meter is an interesting feature. My biggest dislike about the car is the interior. It has a cheap, hard, black-plastic dash and similarly styled door panels. It reminds me of my '82 Z28. Other than that, the CTS-V is great. It almost makes me want to get rid of my '03 BMW M3. Steve Hoffman, Pompano Beach, Fla.

    I have been nothing but impressed. The build quality and materials are top-notch. The acceleration, handling, braking and ride quality are incredible, especially for something with four seats and a trunk. The navigation and audio systems are very easy to use and put out quality sound. It may be the ultimate Q-ship, as it draws admiring stares from those who know what the V means, whereas others (hopefully the law) just pass it off as another Cadillac CTS. I always planned on a buying a Corvette. However, when Cadillac decided to build this four-door Vette I was instantly sold. Daryl Miller, Sarasota, Fla.

    This car is an absolute monster when you jump on the gas pedal, yet it is a luxurious, docile cruiser when you want to relax or cover long distances. I love the black interior, that while not up to Audi standards, is great, and the stereo has the best sound I've ever heard. But the main reason I bought this car is for its violent acceleration, insane grip levels and strong brakes. I'm also pleased with all the reliable aftermarket parts available for this LS6 Corvette engine. I'm disappointed with the small things like the key fob, which is exactly the same as my friend's Chevy pickup's, as well as having the same cheap gas cap. GM should have included the steering-wheel audio controls found on the regular CTS. Bill Montana, Greenwich, Conn.


    Cadillac Motor Car Division
    General Motors Corp.
    100 Renaissance Center
    Detroit MI 48207
    Customer assistance: (800) 333-4223
    Internet address:
    Country of origin: United States
    Number of dealers: 1400 (est.)

    Base (includes $695 delivery): $49,995
    As tested: $49,995
    Owners paid; average: $47,942 to $51,195; $49,696


    Sunroof ($1,200)

    Unibody, four-door sedan

    Wheelbase (in): 113.4
    Track (in): 61.1 front, 61.4 rear
    Length/width/height (in): 191.5/70.6/57.3
    Curb weight/GVWR (lbs): 3833/4778

    Fuel (gal): 17.5
    Cargo (cu-ft): 12.8

    Front-longitudinal 5.7-liter/345.7-cid ohv V8
    Horsepower: 400 @ 6000 rpm
    Torque (lb-ft): 395 @ 4800 rpm

    Compression ratio: 10.5:1
    Fuel requirement: 91 octane

    Rear-wheel drive
    Transmission: Six-speed manual
    Final drive ratio: 3.73:1

    Front: Independent short/long-arm with coil springs, gas-charged shock absorbers, antiroll bar
    Rear: Multilink with coil springs, self-leveling shock absorbers, antiroll bar

    Discs front and rear, ABS
    Aluminum 245/45ZR-18
    Goodyear Eagle F1

    0-60 mph: 5.35 sec
    0-100 km/h (62.1 mph): 5.63 sec
    0-quarter-mile: 13.76 sec @ 105.5 mph

    20-40 mph (first gear): 1.7 sec
    40-60 mph (second gear): 2.2 sec
    60-80 mph (third gear): 3.0 sec

    60 mph-0: 112 ft

    490-foot slalom: 46.2 mph
    Lateral acceleration (200-foot skidpad): 0.88 g

    Idle: 47
    Full throttle: 81
    Steady 60 mph: 65

    EPA combined: 19.23 mpg
    AW overall: 14.40 mpg



  2. TheProwler

    TheProwler Active Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Likes Received:
    in limbo
    I'd pimp it.
  3. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

    Oct 12, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Austin, Texas
    wtfaxlehop? :(

    ps: my truck runs a similar ET and was rated at the same lateral G numbers :big grin:
  4. ferrari

    ferrari Guest

    i saw one the other day. gorgeous.

    blog what do you have? a ford lightning?
  5. Seros

    Seros I have e-tourettes.

    Oct 24, 2001
    Likes Received:
    East SF Bay Area
    Why not add an option for good interior?
  6. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Staff Member

    Jul 6, 2001
    Likes Received:
    That + wheel hop = room for improvement

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