Top Gear Road Test - Cadillac CTS-V

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Jan 24, 2004.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    [January 07 2004]

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    Deep in the US mid-west lurks a tough guys' race track dubbed Road America. Four miles long and punctuated with white-knuckle corners, it's a scary place to be in anything but top-notch machinery. Which makes me wonder why I'm heading out of the pits in a Cadillac.

    Aside from an audacious but short-lived bid for LMP glory at Le Mans, Cadillac is not a name that jumps to mind when you think of racing. But that could change this year as General Motors' top drawer brand is entering a 500bhp-plus version of its Five Series-sized CTS into a US production saloon/sports car race series.

    Regular shoppers, meanwhile, will be served up the 5.7-litre CTS-V, which comes with a mere 400bhp and in which I am now fast approaching one of Road America's meaner turns. Brakes are what you need at this track, and lots of them. Thankfully the V has monster Brembos all round and sheds speed swiftly and without drama. Now, it's time to see if it can corner - something Cadillacs have not been famous for in years gone by.

    A swift fourth to third downshift in the six-speed manual - yes, manual - 'box and I turn in for a 90-degree left-hander. The steering firms up nicely after being a tad light on the straights and the sticky, low-profile Goodyear Eagles head faithfully towards the apex.

    Sensing that everything is working out rather well, I squeeze the throttle and send a dose of the V8's torque back to the rear wheels. With 395lb ft of torque steaming out of the big Corvette-derived motor at 4,800rpm, it's a no-brainer to break the rear loose and drift to the exit point with ego-flattering accuracy. Call me ambitious but I'm wondering if Cadillac needs another driver to keep Italian hotshoe Max Angelelli honest in the racing CTS.

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    Back on a straight, there's time to glance at the digital lateral-g meter built into the dash to see just how brave I was in the corner. The display says 0.9g, which is pretty decent for a Cadillac, to put it mildly. I'm really starting to like this car. It stops smartly, corners crisply and goes like stink: 0-60mph in 4.6 seconds, says Cadillac, and a top end of 165mph. Nice numbers and believable, I'd wager, but what's even more special is the mid-range grunt. That 'Vette pushrod motor just keeps on giving, with a seamless flow of thrust accompanied by a distinctly Detroit-ish exhaust growl. Owners of BMW M3s and M5s, Audi S4s and 'Benz E55s take note; this particular Cadillac is no dodderer heading for the country club. With half a chance it'll give you a bloody good hiding.

    On the smooth track surface the CTS-V corners virtually flat and the ride is pretty firm, as you'd expect. What's surprising is how compliant and composed the chassis remains when I venture onto the frost-heaved public roads of Wisconsin. The CTS-V doesn't smother bumps like its boulevard cruising ancestors, but nor does its rearrange your internal organs over harsh surfaces.

    The fact the CTS-V has turned out so well wasn't a lucky accident for Cadillac. GM devoted serious engineering talent, experience and cash to create a car worthy of knocking on the door of Germany's elitist performance saloon club. Stuffing the V8 engine into the space normally occupied by a 3.2-litre V6 took some doing, but the work didn't stop there. The Corvette Z06's six-speed 'box was modified for the CTS, a much beefier driveshaft and limited slip differential installed, plus the aforementioned Brembo stoppers, which are a stonking 14 inches across at the front.

    Throw in bigger dampers, stiffer springs, a shock tower brace and stiffened engine cradle. Suffice to say, this was a thorough job, with plenty of time fine-tuning the suspension at the mighty Nurburgring. Talk about taking the game to the enemy.

    Outside, you can tell the V from the cooking variety CTS by its lowered bodywork, wire-mesh grille and seven-spoke wheels. Where the V shows the fewest signs of change is in its cabin, which remains pretty much standard CTS issue, except for suede seat inserts and a sportier instrument cluster. This is a disappointment because the plastic-intensive dashboard design is one of the CTS weak spots. But investing in a new dash was not on the cards for a low volume spin-off model like the V.

    The real beauty of the CTS-V lies in the fact that it exists at all. It is the first, but not the last, of a series of high performance vehicles coming from Cadillac and shows this once-moribund division is preparing to kick some German butt. And just like the Corvette, which made this project possible, the CTS-V is stunningly good value in its class. At $50,000, it undercuts the M5 in the US by more than $20,000. Some are already calling this Cadillac the four-door Corvette, an appropriate analogy in terms of performance. I'd call it America's first civilised muscle car and encourage Cadillac to keep giving the V-sign to the competition.

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  2. Fee

    Fee Boba Fett Likes the Nips

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    Cool hope its on the show next season
     
  3. jinushaun

    jinushaun New Member

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    Top Gear = definitive source :cool:
     
  4. mitsubi

    mitsubi OT Supporter

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    thats such a nice car..
     
  5. Flac0

    Flac0 Custom User Title

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    :werd: I want this car. :bigthumb:
     
  6. Left

    Left Lakers Fan For Life!

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  7. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    I hope Jeremy flogs the Hell out of one of these on the show. :cool:
     
  8. fallenbox

    fallenbox Guest

    I'd rock that :hs:
     
  9. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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  10. bbp

    bbp bike watching troll king OT Supporter

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    anyone know how much the cts-v weighs?
     
  11. VBGOD

    VBGOD Guest

  12. Balzz

    Balzz N54 Elitist OT Supporter

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    If Jeremy Clarkson likes an American car, it's one hell of a car.
     
  13. jewpac42

    jewpac42 New Member

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    Its so ugly its not even funny.
     
  14. dmora

    dmora Guest

    For those that dont know better, this is equal to giving one the finger in the US.
    :kdubbd:


    And its too bad such a great performing car will be molested with such ugly facia.
    :(
     
  15. beetle

    beetle blah blah blah OT Supporter

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    looks good in black, so so in silver. still this car has a lot of potential, especially with the vette engine in it. how long until we see the tuner versions of it? at $20K less than the M5 you could get it, spend the 20K in mods, and end up with a something no M5 could touch. :hs:
     
  16. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Infinite potential really. :naughty:

    I wish it was offered in White Diamond, with charcoal and grey leather, that's a great color combo.
     
  17. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

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    I'm amazed that it made it to the market. And delighted :kdubb:

    Hopefully Lincoln is taking notes :x:
     
  18. dmora

    dmora Guest

    Lincoln would need to invent a whole new car to get this going. Maybe if they brought over the Falcon XR8 with the O3 Cobra engine? :kdubbd::x:
     
  19. nyuaznguy

    nyuaznguy Member

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    Great looking car, I think I know what I'm putting my GM credit card rebate money towards. =).

    It should complement my M3 nicely.
     
  20. DMClark

    DMClark Active Member

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    :bigthumb: That's the spirit.
     
  21. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Damn, your garage can never lose then. :bigok:

    Finally GM is releasing some cool stuff to use my rebate towards as well. :o
     
  22. dmora

    dmora Guest

    GTO > CTS-V :squint:
    Just get some Willwood big brakes all around and a nice I/E/H/C package and it can never lose.
    :kdubbd:
     
  23. linenoyz

    linenoyz OT Supporter

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    It has a built-in lateral G meter?? That's fucking cool. :eek3:
     
  24. Pursuit

    Pursuit Guest

    why is it that the CTS is as boxy as a GN?
     
  25. LEGbEND

    LEGbEND .

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    i dont like how it looks :hs: ive discovered i dont like vertical-stacking headlights (ie G35, 350z, cts)

    but its cool to have the cadillac name bringing positive recognition to the american market.
     

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