Speechless. Muttering "ermahgerd" over and over as the 2016 CTS-V whipped into the pits of Autobahn Country Club following a five-pack of fast lead-follow laps. Smile plastered on, hands tingling and throttle foot twitching involuntary for more.
This is a super-sedan of the absolute first order. M5, E63 and CTS-V are now as closely matched as any three assassins in history.
640HP from the CTS-V comes on strong, of course, but it is how clean and balanced the Cadillac is on power that really sticks with you. The CTS-V's massive engine upgrade to a supercharged V8 has done nothing to the car's in-tune suspension design and calibration, upgraded to the max obviously for this flagship of the marque. So the damping and grip package feels firm and heavy in its Track settings, but in the best way imaginable.
So alive in your hands: the ZF-supplied, "V-tuned" steering of the CTS-V feels more accurate than a sniper rifle, yet playful off-camber and throughout bends.
Where the 707-horsepower of the Hellcat twins can feel slightly leaned-back -- particularly when pressing you hard into the seats! -- the CTS-V is more of a leaned-in and engaging experience. Particularly around bends, where the Hellcats can put sideways thrills ahead of true apex-slicing and GT-R-like speed, as on the CTS-V.
The brakes? A hard wall of power as you dip ever-so-lightly into their performance range via the racing pedals in the footwell. These are six-piston Brembos in front, four-piston Brembos in the back. Grey paint comes standard on the auto-dry calipers, but the test CTS-V featured red clamps as a $595 option. 19-inch polished alloys also join the spec list, adding $995 over the standard painted set.
At the middle of the track's straightaway, the CTS-V had me begging the Corvette Z51 in front to GOoooooooooOOO! Outta my way! Once the back wheels have hooked up solidly and TCS intervention subsides, the eight-speed automatic + Z06 engine combination are a fearsome pair. The CTS-V absolutely sucks in distance --- the apex paint markers on any track worldwide will just become a soupy whitish-red blur in your peripheral vision.
The sound of the CTS-V is also quite intense, despite a parked rev-limiter limiting the fun in our exhaust sample video clip. On throttle and at speed, there is the relentlessness of a twin-scroll supercharger only on 7/10ths throttle and above. It kicks in with the sound of an afterburner on a fighter bomber, a high-strung purrrrring harmony above the deep baritone base from the growing 6.2-liter V8 engine.
Three videos here plus 70 all-new photos of the 2016 CTS-V in Phantom Grey, plus pricing and options for the test car toward the end of the page. Spoiler alert: it is $100k, but feels worth every dime inside and out.
The videos below are a PDR track drive, exhaust note sample and a regular HD track drive video. The PDR and HD drive videos are recording the same actual laps; we didn't know the PDR recorded in-cabin sound from its built-in camera! Overall PDR operation is a piece of cake. The $1300 option is an industry-first and points to how all car drive video systems will be in a few years.
PDR Track Drive Video - 2016 Cadillac CTS-V
How to use PDR? You pop your own SD memory card in a dedicated glove-box slot, then follow the button prompts on the CUE infotainment system. Select what data overlap style you want for the video, tap the round red Record button and off you go. We can see that there is a video quality gap between my HD GoPro Hero 3+ on 1080p 60fps and the PDR camera, notably in the frame rate of the PDR. Likely adjustable deeper in the setting somewhere, and still cool as fahk regardless. Having the video come back with throttle position, brake position, gear, speed, revs, ESP activity and more is fascinating. It truly offers a world of info to improve your speed out there.
Curiously, we had major issues on track with traction. I knew there was some TCS (not really ESP -- purely traction assistance, it felt like) intervention on the tight course. But had no clue how severe it actually was. Not 100-percent sure if Track mode on the 5-mode PTM was actually selected --- the CTS-V was like a battle submarine on this outing: hot seats versus hot bunks, though.
As soon as one journalist got out, another plopped right down with a pleased exhale into the CTS-V's $2300 optional Recaro buckets. No time to tinker with modes, unfortunately.
This concentrated blast of time in the ultra-hot CTS-V also explains the semi clunky photos we came home with. Sorry, other driver dude, for your face in 20-plus photos. =]
Not sorry for capturing the AWESOME style of the CTS-V in the flesh. Even in this ultra-dark and subtle grey paintwork, the design of the CTS-V is jawdropping from all aronund. The $5500 carbon pack helps with exposed-weave splitters and spoilers, but the really stunning achievement is an Elmiraj sense about the all-new nose.
This extra wide new grille is not shared with any CTS below the V-series, so helps really set a sinister mood. Its dark mesh internals match top and bottom for a race-car's level of air intakes. The slim dark pewter of the grille's exterior is baller and frames the new crest exceptionally well. The huge new hood and fenders with integrated fents and ducts for all this racecar cooling will give you a dizzy sugar rush at every stare.
Moving air -- plus time and space -- rapidly is obviously a CTS-V achievement all around, actually. From the flip ducktail spoiler in back to the unique cooling radiators? It is all functional and all incredible. Oh, your car has one radiator? The CTS-V has dedicated cooling systems for 5 hardcore systems:
-- engine oil
-- engine coolant
-- charge air
-- rear differential
An incredible achievement of a supercar. Concept-level exotic looks, fun and performance authenticity on the track to shame an M5, but acceleration drama that feels crisper and more brutal than the E63?
2016 Cadillac CTS-V.
Exhaust Note Video - 2016 Cadillac CTS-V
HD Track Drive Video - 2016 Cadillac CTS-V
2016 Cadillac CTS-V - Phantom Grey w/ Carbon Pack
CTS-V Price Sheet