“Al!!!” yelled my wide-eyed wife, a front-seat passenger.
“Oh, oh,” added her friend Nan in the backseat.
I was trying to show these women what it’s like to vault from a standing start to 60 miles an hour in 3.8 seconds. I saw it as a teachable moment, as the gift of experiential expansion. They saw it as something less.
Indeed, the incident became a teachable moment for me. I learned that some people don’t enjoy the thrills of acceleration that I do.
I was also reminded that the 200-mile-per-hour CTS-V is the most exciting Cadillac ever built, and one of the fastest production cars in the solar system.
The CTS-V is Cadillac’s CTS midsize sedan with so much HGH and anabolic steroids in its system it was even banned from professional wrestling. What we have under that carbon-fiber hood is the same supercharged, 6.2-liter V-8 employed in the hottest Corvette: the Z06. This engine develops 10 fewer horsepower in the CTS-V than it does in the Vette, thanks to the Caddy’s more restrictive exhaust system. But, as my wife and her friend found out, 640 horsepower is still enough to make the CTS-V, shall we say, abrupt.
All that oomph is mailed to the rear wheels via a very smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox and an electronically controlled limited-slip differential that decides how much power goes to each rear wheel in a given driving context.
The CTS-V’s supercar engine performance is matched by equally stunning handling and braking. The car’s wonderful cornering facility begins with special structural reinforcements, like the bar that runs across the top of the engine, tying together the two shock towers. The resultant 20 percent increase in rigidity bumps up the suspension’s athleticism, as does the adaptive damping that continuously tailors shock-absorber response to the driving situation.
Handling is also enhanced by performance tires that afford a grip worthy of a Trump-Macron handshake. They won’t break loose in a turn until the lateral forces on the car reach the force of gravity. A typical family car has about three-fourths of that grip.
Huge Brembo high-performance disc brakes take the CTS-V from 60 mph to zero in a remarkable 99 feet. (While the brakes were wonderful, I would not have spent $595 to fit them with the optional “dark gold” calipers I found on the tester.)
Steering precision and feel are also right there.
Despite its preoccupation with performance, the CTS-V doesn’t forget that it is a luxury car. This handsome sedan is loaded with hedonism and electronics. The interior is tasteful and exquisitely detailed, with virtually no hard-plastic surfaces.
The tester was fitted with the new Carbon Black Package, a $6,950 bundle that included a carbon-fiber hood vent and rear spoiler, as well as special wheels, a black chrome-accented grille, and carbon-fiber interior trim. And its standard sport buckets had been replaced by Recaro buckets, a $2,300 option bordering on perfection. (I liked the Cadillac logo on the seat backs, but could have done without the embroidered reminder that they were made by Recaro.)
Driving the CTS-V was a pleasure. The car’s performance and nifty engine note were met with a generous measure of civility and comfort. While the “Sport” and “Track” mode stiffen the ride, the “Touring” setting is commute comfortable.
For what this car is, its $85,995 base price is reasonable, especially when compared to similar Teutonic rides. The CTS-V also holds its value well. According to NADAguides, a clean 2012 model with 50,000 miles on it — which was priced at $63,215 new — is still worth over $37,000.
2017 Cadillac CTS-V
Base price: $85,995.
As tested: $103,260 (including a $1,000 gas guzzler tax.)
Standard equipment: 6.2-liter, supercharged engine, eight-speed automatic transmission, rear-drive, high-performance tires and brakes and a list of amenities tall enough to play center in the NBA. (It included a new teen driver monitor for anyone crazy enough to let their teenager drive this thing.)
Options: You name it, we got it.
Fuel economy: 14 city and 21 highway (93-octane gas.)
Engine performance: Ask my wife.
Ride quality: Surprisingly civil.
Warranty: Four years/50,000 miles bumper to bumper.
Four Bens: Excellent.