By Drew Johnson
Monday, Aug 3rd, 2015 @ 11:45 am
Left Lane News
As good as the Cadillac CTS-V has been since its introduction in 2004, it’s always been a square peg in a round hole. Straddling the line between the BMW M3 and M5, the CTS-V has never really had a market segment to call its own.
But with the launch of the ATS-V, which now goes head-to-head with the M3, the CTS-V has finally found its lot in life as a direct rival to the M5. With its purpose now clearly defined, we packed our bags for Elkhart Lake’s famed Road America racetrack to see if the 2016 CTS-V really has the chops to take on BMW’s flagship performance sedan.
The heart of the beast
When talking about any performance vehicle, it’s always a good idea to start with its most important component — the engine. In the case of the CTS-V, that heart is the same basic supercharged 6.2L LT4 V8 that you’ll find beating beneath the hood of the latest Chevrolet Corvette Z06. An encouraging starting point for sure.
But the higher-ups at General Motors didn’t want a four-door Cadillac upstaging the company’s flagship performance coupe, so the CTS-V’s power ratings stand at 640 horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque, down 10 and 20, respectively, from the Z06. Still, those figures more than wallop the M5’s 560 horsepower and the 577 horsepower offered by the Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 S.
All of those ponies are funneled to the CTS-V’s rear wheels via GM’s in-house designed eight-speed automatic transmission. Though not a dual-clutch setup, Cadillac says the unit can swap gears in as little as 150 milliseconds. The gearbox is also about 27 pound lighter than the unit it replaces in the old CTS-V, despite having two more cogs.
Drivers can either leave the eight speed in Drive or take control via the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, which are crafted out of genuine magnesium. There are also several drive modes to choose from, including Sport and Track settings. With the Track mode engaged, there are several more sub-settings available that alter the car’s traction and stability control systems. If you’re feeling really gutsy, you can even turn all of the electronic nannies to off.
Read more: Review – First drive: 2016 Cadillac CTS-V