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2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe

2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe Reviews
Overall rating:  Product Rating: 5.0

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When you turn your car on, does it return the favor?


by bigtruckseries:      Aug 2, 2010 - Updated Oct 8, 2010


Product Rating: 5.0 Recommended: Yes 

Pros: Sex on wheels.  Will get to and hold high speeds effortlessly.
Cons: Your fuel budget, monthly payments, car insurance and life insurance just went up...WAY UP.
The Bottom Line: World class styling, breathtaking power and a reasonable price tag make the CTS-V coupe a better choice than the current German rivals.


You ever get that feeling you were being watched?  That someone, somewhere was out to get you? That as you proceeded along your way,  a trap was set, waiting for you to indulge in your own crapulence – intent on punishing, persecuting and otherwise inconveniencing you?
 
Well, that is exactly the feeling you will perpetually have if you purchase this car: The CTS-V Coupe
 
I made an IPHONE 4 VIDEO on youtube to bolster my claims of the CTS-V’s performance.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGvRzVaSO7s

Within seconds of leaving the Cadillac dealership, Nassau County Highway Patrol was hot on my tail and simply waiting for me to let out all five hundred and fifty six horses contained within. 
After adjusting my mirrors to make up for the lack of headroom I experienced, fortunately, I spotted the fuzz and planned around his intents.
 
“ Should I just floor it?” I thought.   “That piece of crap Crown Victoria will never catch me on the Wantagh Expressway… he’ll need helicopter assistance, and they won’t be able to assist him for at least 10 minutes – wait a minute… what am I saying?
 
Its true, there are elements of our subconscious that appear and offer us not-so-healthy suggestions, But, they mostly come to us when we are wielding immense power…power that mankind isn’t meant to have. An ungodly amount of power.  Without a clear, sober mind, it is most likely, we will give into the inner voices and make the wrong choice.   I slowed down forcing him to go around me.
 
THE 2011 CTS-V COUPE is the most attractive and powerful  production car to come out of Cadillac’s factories.  Unlike the base CTS Coupe I reviewed a month ago, this car, is more than just looks.  A different suspension system,  better interior amenities and a ridiculously powerful engine make the V a collector’s item with a price tag that will allow more than just the elite a chance at high end performance.
 
Please read my review on the  CTS-COUPE, (as there are some things I don’t wish to have to repeat)



EXTERIOR  and INTERIOR  UPGRADES
 
The exterior changes on the CTS-V are  just enough so that you’ll know which one you’re looking at when you see it on the street. The  polygonal dual exhaust is now changed to a typical circular dual exhaust.  The  front air dam is changed to accommodate  circular fog lamps  and of course, there are little “V” emblems to signify the V-series heritage.
 
Inside, you’ll  find the CTS-V’s only damning feature:  the 2nd generation CTS interior.  Sure, the 2nd gen CTS’ interior was a leap beyond that of the 1st generation,  but, to me, it wasn’t  supple enough. The design language was edgy, yes, but too many plastic parts,  and too much chrome  just wasn’t attractive enough for me.
Fortunately, the CTS-V Coupe offers a $3400 Recaro seat upgrade – which is also available on the regular CTS-Coupe. The upgrade adds sport bolstered Recaros with manual pull out waterfall cushions for the bottom of the thigh, multiple power lumbar adjustments and attractive suede seat colors. Suede is also added to the door panels, steering wheel and shifter for $300.
 
Unfortunately, the suede and leather, still don’t draw attention from the cheap looking  glossy plastics of the cup holders,  and parts of the dash board. Cadillac should have made these bits out of leatherette instead.  I’ve seen the interior of a Lamborghini Gallardo. The interior of this Caddy actually looks more “lively” despite the Gallardo’s containing high quality leather and suede all around.  Perhaps Cadillac should go Hyundai’s route and use more soft touch material like there are in the Genesis  if they aren’t prepared to splurge on an all leather interior.
 
The Recaro package replaces the regular premium leather heated/cooled seats  but, they also take away a few inches of headroom from the cabin since they are slightly thicker. 
I consequentially fit way tighter in this V than the regular coupe.
I also noticed that the power tilt/telescope steering wheel  doesn’t come as far forward as I liked. The manual adjust steering wheel definitely offered me a more comfortable position.  Smaller women won’t even notice this, so its only a situation taller guys like myself will have to deal with.
 
The Navigation system is very functional. The 40 GB hard drive eliminates the need for an iPod, Zune, or whatever else the kids are using these days. Pop in a CD and the system seamlessly rips it to the Hard Disk drive allowing you to store thousands of songs. This head unit also has the ability to pause/record live radio and store about an hour of it. If you’re an Opie&Anthony addict like I am, you needn’t miss the trash-talk just because you needed to get out and pump gas or help a wounded squirrel. The radio system also comes with OnStar-NAV TRAFFIC which allows you to get live updates of traffic conditions (approximately accurate to 5 minutes).  If you choose not to activate the Navigation for your shorter trips, the system will still update you about congestion on the routes you are traveling.
 
Having a pop-up navigation system adds some liveliness to the interior, but, you’ll be stuck wondering, “when will this thing stop working?”  “Will It still be under warranty when it does stop working?”. That’s the reason, I personally don’t like motorized parts in my center stacks. I prefer the way Lincoln integrates their navigation systems high in the dash so it doesn’t obscure your view of the road. It is an interesting addition though.
 
Where, however, is the Heads Up Display offered on the Lacrosse, Corvette and the STS?   Why are there no turn signals for the side view mirrors?   Why couldn’t the designers have integrated mesh brake air-intakes for the rear wheel fenders instead of leaving the rear side quarters of the car so vacant?  And where oh where are my Chrome shift paddles?   A Hyundai Sonata has them…why don’t I? 

A leatherette handlebar for the passenger, molded into the center stack wouldn’t have hurt either.



DRIVING IMPRESSIONS
 
The most shocking thing about driving the V is how un-dramatic it makes  speeds of 80mph – 100mph out to be. I had a nice long highway to experiment with the CTS-V and  on this particular strip, its not uncommon for drivers to be doing upwards of 75mph. Thing is, the V coupe made passing effortless and uncharacteristically quiet. 
I actually had to watch my videos over and over again to realize just how fast I actually was going. At two different intervals I passed at 85 mph and at another, I was doing 100mph and it felt like I wasn’t doing much more than 70. The supercharged V8 wasn’t as loud as most twin turbo V6’s, but, it still lets out a throaty roar when asked.
 
The cabin is shockingly quiet. Road noise was unnoticeable over the A/C.  After all, it was around 95 degrees outside. I had the dual zone HVAC at maximum and my cooled seats at “icemybutt”.  The cooled seat option was not as frosty as I expected, but I could still feel the perspiration leaving my backside.   The heated seat option, however, got hot right away.
 
Tuning road feel  in the CTS-V probably presented Cadillac  with a conundrum.  “How do we tune this thing to feel as communicative as a BMW without making the ride as harsh as a BMW?”  The answer to this question was the incorporation of Magneto Rheological dampening which means there is a shock system using a combination of electromagnets and metal particles suspended in fluid to actively monitor and adjust ride quality on the fly. There is a huge difference in a Cadillac with it and a Cadillac without it. The absence of Magneride technology is painfully noticeable in the 300HP CTS-Coupe, which does not offer this suspension and offers slightly floaty handling. With it,  however, The road feels unnaturally smooth and  higher speeds come without nail biting  jarring or anticipation.
Steering is ridiculously sharp. The Cadillac Coupe is already a small car, but, the steering and the 556 Horses on tap makes it feel smaller than it is.
 
And oh’ when you let those horses out… it’s a feeling that will either make you smile, or roll down your window so you can scream.   0- 60 accelerations take less than 4 seconds. Once again, passing other people – especially those who are speeding – is a piece of cake.  Just watch my video. Words can’t describe how awesome the power offered in this package is.  Though this car weighs in at roughly 4300 lbs – which is more than some full sized sedans on the market, you won’t notice it. Not once did I get the impression the engine was struggling to move the mass presented before it.  Acceleration was as smooth and linear as you’d expect from a car hiding 551 pound feet of  torque.
 
The one snag I noticed is that the throttle is a bit on the touchy side.  That 551 pound feet of torque drops in between 3800 and 4000 RPM.  I didn’t have to even try to drift this car. I had to calm my typical aggressive throttling into and out of corners because as I was entering the highway onramp, accelerating caused the rear end to fishtail a bit.  It was enough to give the poor old dealer a pre-heart attack.  He even suggested I not go for the V-Coupe over the regular model:  “…I can see from the way you drive, you’re going to get into trouble”, he stated.
 
And that fishtailing was despite the fact the V-coupe has “Stabilitrack”, dedicated to ensuring fishtailing doesn’t happen. The body is also 2-inches wider in the rear to accommodate the ultra-sticky  Michelin Pilot Sport summer racing tires.  255/40ZR19  up front; 285/35ZR19 out back. Ensuring you don’t wrap $70,000 worth of car (and yourself) around a pole, is a set of BREMBO brakes larger than the subwoofers in my car. The panic descent from 60-0 mph takes less than 108 feet – over before you have time to pee yourself.
 
The V-Coupe will cut surgically through corners but, the more power you add, produces oversteer. You’ll need to turn Stabilitrack off to test the V-coupe’s lateral limits.  Unless you own a considerable portion of highway, I wouldn’t recommend it. The tires offer enough grip to recover from slight drifting, and panic steer, but what would those same tires do in the rain or ice?  I once drifted my RWD Chrysler 300 about 30 feet on slick ice when the nose yawed slightly to the left as I continued sliding forward after I tried to accelerate from a light. It was one of the scariest experiences in my life.
The CTS-V scared me slightly more.
 
I can already see professional reviewers trashing the V’s automatic transmission. Though I have not tested the manual yet, the Hydra-Matic  6L90 automatic is definitely not the transmission to showcase this car’s abilities.  Upshifts come much too easy while downshifts seem slightly slow.  Flooring it creates a significant jerk that will be felt throughout the cabin. Totally not what I’m used to in the ultra smooth shock-less transmission in my S550.  The slushbox also doesn’t swap cogs any faster if you use the manu-matic mode.
 
Its dissapointing the buttons behind the wheel don’t help expedite cog swapping and unlike most cars with this much power, there are no chromed shift paddles for fingertip shifts.  The clicky buttons on the backside of the steering wheel just don't feel so awesome.


THE COST OF  EXCITEMENT
 
The sticker price of this Caddy was  $62,125 which included:
rear vision camera,  1 year of Onstar with “crash response”, 
XM Nav-traffic Navigation system,  Daytime running lamps,  programmable power door locks and front passenger/driver airbags plus head curtain airbags.
 
Options included: $995 premium gray paint, $800 19” polished aluminum wheels, $700 moonroof,  $600 wood trim package, and the $300 sueded wheel and shifter trim which brought the price to  $72,400.
 
This car also gets a $2500 gas guzzler charge factored into the price.
 
At $72,000, leasing a V-Coupe is quite an expensive proposition.
I was quoted a lease term of 36 months, 12,000 miles for $10,000 down and payments of $826 a month. Because my family and I have leased from this dealer before, and my mother is interested in getting a new SRX from him, he finagled the numbers as best he could for me. $826 a month is still pretty expensive.
 
That same lease term on the $48,000 304HP Coupe sans “V” would cost just $430 a month.
 

IS THE CTS-V COUPE WORTH IT?
 
If you’re one of the few people fortunate enough to be buying a $70,000 race coupe in the middle of a double dip recession, God Bless you. Although the 304HP CTS-Coupe is roughly half the price of the V-Coupe and still no slouch (0-60 in 6 seconds) there is absolutely no way I can dissuade you from wanting this car if you want this car.

Unlike the Corvettes or some Lamborghini which tend to be hopelessly impractical, the CTS-V Coupe has a trunk large enough for shopping,  road feel civilized enough for daily driving and a backseat just large enough for amputees.
 
The one feature I’d really like to see on a car this powerful is a special key that restricts the top speed, such as the one Ford currently offers on the Taurus SHO - just in case you let your kid use the car.
 
The CTS-V coupe’s interior quality feels just a tad less professional than what I experienced in the Mercedes C-class AMG, and the BMW 3, but it offers  the most power to weight of both cars and costs a hell of a lot less. The BMW M3 coupe equipped with the same gadgets as this Caddy starts at $58,400 but requires roughly $14,000 in options:  19” wheels, heated seats,  technology package (Navigation),  anti theft and parking sensors.  Lets not forget $550 for iPod/smartphone integration. But, you’re only getting  414HP!
A similarly equipped C-Class AMG would cost you roughly $70,000 and only grant you 451 Horses to tame (a C-class Coupe won’t arrive till next Spring).  The CTS-V offers more interior space up front and more trunk capacity than both cars.
 
Buying the CTS-V is about getting maximum performance for your money.  Forget what you though you knew about Cadillac and American sedans because the V-coupe will leave those prejudices in the dust. This car is bred to run with the best of Ze’ Germans.




OTHER CARS I've reviewed: 

2008 CADILLAC CTS

2009 CADILLAC CTS-V

2011 CADILLAC CTS COUPE

2006 CHRYSLER 300C SRT8

MERCEDES BENZ E-CLASS COUPE

Buick Regal 

Buick Lacrosse 

Hyundai Sonata 

Honda Accord  

Honda Accord Coupe  
  
Honda Accord Crosstour   
 
Chevrolet Camaro  

Chevrolet Malibu  

Ford Focus  

Ford Fusion HYBRID 
Amount Paid (US$): $73,000
Model and Options: V-Coupe
Product Rating: 5.0
Recommended: Yes 
Roominess:  
Build Quality  
Seat Comfort:  

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