• 2017 Cadillac CTS-V – Driven

    Meet the third-gen Cadillac CTS-V
  • Large Grille and Heat Extractors
  • Carbon Black Package - $6,950
  • Aerodynamic Fascia
  • Sporty Rear End
  • Aggressive Exhaust Rumble
  • 8-inch CUE infotainment system
  • Navigation
  • Difficult HVAC Controls
  • Seats are fully adjustable
  • Plenty of room in the back
  • Rear passengers get HVAC too
  • Swanky digital instrument cluster
  • G-meter, Lap timer, and PDR
  • On-board HD Camera
  • Impressive Interior
  • Aluminum 6.4-liter LT4 V-8
  • 640 Horsepower
  • 630 Pound-feet of Torque
  • 0-to-60 in 3.7 seconds
  • Quarter-mile in less than 12 seconds
  • Topspeed: 200mph
  • Eight-speed auto with paddle shifters
  • Blast to Drive
  • $86,990

A high-class, four-door Camaro ZL1

This isn’t your grandfather’s Cadillac. Nope, this is the third-generation CTS-V – a 640-horsepower, rear-wheel drive sports sedan with cutting-edge technology under the skin and looks to kill. Oh, and it also hits 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds and goes 200 mph. It rivals the best Germany has to offer, such as the Audi RS7, Mercedes-AMG E63 S, and Porsche Panamera Turbo. This Caddy might not match the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat for horsepower, but it definitely has more class.

I recently spent a week living with the 2017 Cadillac CTS-V, doing everything from grocery store runs and idling in the parent pickup line at the kiddo’s school to launching the blacked-out sedan down open blacktop as the 1.7-liter roots-type supercharger screamed atop its 6.2-liter small block V-8. There’s no doubt the CTS-V is a riot when it comes to performance, but just how good is it at being a Cadillac?

Continue reading for the full review of the Cadillac CTS-V.

  • 2017 Cadillac CTS-V – Driven
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Transmission:
    eight-speed automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    640 @ 6400
  • Torque @ RPM:
    630 @ 3600
  • Displacement:
    6.2 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.7 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    200 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    8.5/10

Exterior

- * Meet the third-gen Cadillac CTS-V
- * Aerodynamic Fascia
- * Large Grille and Heat Extractors
- * Carbon Black Package - $6,950

2017 Cadillac CTS-V – Driven Exterior
- image 737437
Large Grille and Heat Extractors
Dark, menacing with only a few touches of chrome define this CTS-V’s theme

Dark, menacing with only a few touches of chrome define this CTS-V’s theme. Yeah, Cadillac offers several other color options, but the black-on-black look suits it well. Much of the blackness is credited to the Carbon Black Package, a $6,950 option that brings 19-inch “Midnight Dark” alloy wheels, the black chrome-accented grille, and a slew of carbon fiber both inside and out. Outside, this includes the carbon fiber hood vent, carbon fiber front splitter, and the carbon fiber rear diffuser, and the tall, carbon fiber rear spoiler.

About the only bright trim on this CTS-V is the Cadillac badge, the headlights, the V-Series badge on the front fender, the door handles, the trim around the windows, and the bar atop the license plate.

2017 Cadillac CTS-V – Driven Exterior
- image 737435
Eight-speed auto with paddle shifters
The CTS-V has some serious aerodynamics improvement over the standard CTS

Aside from its color, the CTS-V has some serious aerodynamics improvement over the standard CTS. The front splitter, the larger grille, the heat extractors, the underbody panels, and the rear diffuser all help manager airflow to achieve that 200-mph V-max. And yes, everything is functional. That’s especially true up front where seven heat exchangers hid behind the bumper and grille. Each has something it cools, from the main radiator for the V-8 and the intercooler for the supercharger to the rear differential and transmission. Functionality is a big part of the CTS-V’s design.

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase (Inches) 114.6
Length (Inches) 197.6
Height (Inches) 57.2
Width (Inches) 72.2
Track front/rear (Inches) 62.1/61.2

Interior

- * 8-inch CUE infotainment system
- * Seats are fully adjustable
- * Swanky digital instrument cluster
- * G-meter, Lap timer, and PDR
- * Onboard HD Camera

2017 Cadillac CTS-V – Driven Interior
- image 737415
On-board HD Camera
The outside might be functional, but the interior is slightly less so

The outside might be functional, but the interior is slightly less so. I found the CUE infotainment system frustrating to use. The 8.0-inch display is slower to respond to fingertip touches than other GM 8.0-inch systems, and the HVAC and radio controls are just overly complex and solve a problem that didn’t exist. A set of classy yet traditionally functional controls would go a long way to making the CVT-V (and even the standard CTS) a more livable luxury sedan.

Besides the finicky controls, the CTS-V lives up to its hype. It has room for five people and a sizable trunk. The back seats are large enough for adults to get comfy and the secondary HVAC controls and air vents let rear passengers set their own temperature and fan speed. The system can also be controlled from up front so parents can manage the kid’s cooling.

2017 Cadillac CTS-V – Driven Interior
- image 737420
Seats are fully adjustable
The seats are impressively adjustable, offering control over the thigh and back bolsters, lumbar, height, and rake

My tester came with the optional $2,300 Recaro front bucket seats with suede microfiber inserts. The seats are impressively adjustable, offering control over the thigh and back bolsters, lumbar, height, and rake. They would be perfect for the track thanks to their grippy surface. On the daily, though, I found the suede inserts and thick bolster do a better job at trapping heat. Sadly, the Recaros don’t offer ventilation, only heating. The wife says that function works wonderfully.

The CTS-V also boasts a swanky digital gauge cluster that is configurable with three main themes and more than a two dozen combinations of ancillary gauges and vehicle parameters. Being a proper GM track monster, it has a G meter, a lap timing, and the Performance Data Recorder with the HD camera mounted just ahead of the rearview mirror. Slide in a memory card and the PRD will record your driving and overlay information like speed, rpm, g-forces, and lap times.

Interior Dimensions

Legroom front/rear (Inches) 45.7/35.4
Headroom front/rear (Inches) 40.4/37.5
Shoulder room front/rear (Inches) 56.9/54.8
Hip room front/rear (Inches) 53.8/53.3

Drivetrain

- * Aluminum 6.2-liter LT4 V-8
- * 640 Horsepower
- * 630 Pound-feet of Torque
- * 0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds
- * Quarter-mile in less than 12 seconds
- * Top speed: 200 mph
- * Eight-speed auto with paddle shifters
- * Blast to Drive
- * $86,990

2017 Cadillac CTS-V – Driven Drivetrain
- image 737423
640 Horsepower
The all-aluminum small-block boasts 640 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 630 pound-feet of torque at 3,600 rpm

The heart of the Cadillac CTS-V is its engine. This is GM’s LT4 V-8 and is the same supercharged, 6.2-liter engine found in the Corvette Z06 and Camaro ZL1. Unfortunately, Cadillac falls below Corvette and Camaro in GM’s pecking order, so its LT4 is 10 horsepower and 20 pound-feet short of the Chevys. Regardless, that still leaves the Cadillac with world-class power.

The all-aluminum small-block boasts 640 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 630 pound-feet of torque at 3,600 rpm. And just like every small-block Chevy since 1955, it uses a single camshaft located inside the block and uses pushrods to operate the two valves over each cylinder. Of course, the LT4 is a member of GM’s fifth-generation small-block, meaning it has direct fuel injection, variable valve timing, and cylinder deactivation. These features certainly contribute to the Cadillac CTS-V having an EPA-estimated highway mileage of 21 mpg. That is very respectable for a V-8 with more than 600 horsepower.

2017 Cadillac CTS-V – Driven Drivetrain
- image 737424
630 Pound-feet of Torque
This 4,129-pound car will hit 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds, rip through the quarter-mile in only 11.8 seconds at 124 mph, and continue pulling until it hits 200 mph

GM’s 8L90 eight-speed automatic transmission also helps in fuel conservation, while also keeping the V-8 spinning in its power band during spirited driving. The transmission can also be controlled manually via paddle shifters. Power is sent rearward to an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. The smart diff manages the twist well, alternating power between the tires to maintain traction down to the millisecond. The eLSD works in conjunction with the traction control and drive modes to provide the best power-to-the ground possible. Disable the traction control, though, and you’ll instantly morph the massive Michelins into puffy clouds of expensive smoke.

The drivetrain isn’t the only tech keeping the CTS-V running right. The sedan has GM’s Magnetic Ride Control – those fluid-filled dampers that constantly adapt to changing road conditions and offer a range of ride stiffness that correlates to the drive modes. Just as in the Corvette and Camaro, the MRC works incredibly well, though I do wish Cadillac would make Comfort Mode a bit less firm. The same goes for the transmission’s shifts; the car remains too high-strung and acts like a Greyhound yanking at its leash even around town.

Small critiques aside, the nitty-gritty numbers don’t lie when it comes to the CTS-V’s performance. Provided it’s launched well and the 295-series Michelin Pilot Super Sport rear tires hook up, this 4,129-pound car will hit 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds, rip through the quarter-mile in only 11.8 seconds at 124 mph, and continue pulling until it hits 200 mph. Road-holding is equally good, with a 1.0-g held on the skidpad and braking from 60 mph in an eye-popping 99 feet. These are supercar numbers from a four-door Cadillac!

Drivetrain Specifications

Engine 6.2L supercharged V-8
Displacement (cu in / cc) 376 / 6,162
Bore & stroke (in / mm) 4.06 x 3.62 / 103.25 x 92
Horsepower 640 HP @ 6,400 RPM
Torque 630 LB-FT @ 3,600 RPM
Transmission 8L90 eight-speed automatic
0 to 60 mph 3.7 seconds
Top Speed 200 mph

Behind the Wheel

2017 Cadillac CTS-V – Driven Interior
- image 737419
The CTS-V is an absolute blast to drive fast

The CTS-V is an absolute blast to drive fast. Its supercharged V-8 never runs out of steam on any road short of a drag strip. Its steering is quick and precise. It’s Brembo brakes (six-piston up front, four out back) do an amazing job stopping the car, regardless of speed. Even outward visibility is good, lending to a good sense of control from behind the suede-wrapped wheel.

But not everything is perfect with the CTS-V. Like I mentioned the car doesn’t feel satisfied tooling around town. It wants to move. It wants to dance. The rumble of the exhaust and whine of the supercharger are constant reminders of the 640 horses living under that carbon fiber hood. Worse still, (and I can’t believe I’m saying this…) the CTS-V is just too powerful to enjoy on public roads. That sweet V-8 wants to rev, but anything past half throttle either has the tires spinning or speed limits getting completely blown away. It’s like having bulldozer and only using it to build sandcastles. I guess that’s why they say, “it’s more fun to drive a slow car quickly than a quick car slowly.” But don’t let my personal temptations bar you from wanting this car. I just need to scratch the itch on a proper racetrack.

2017 Cadillac CTS-V – Driven Exterior
- image 737421
The suspension is a bit too firm, and the transmission’s shifts are far too harsh

The only (slightly more) objective criticism is the CTS-V’s Comfort Mode. I alluded to it before, but the car still feels hyped up even when this drive mode is selected. The suspension is a bit too firm, and the transmission’s shifts are far too harsh. In Sport Mode, it’s great, but sometimes I like to enjoy a peaceful drive with the wife without getting kicked in the pants by a tranny.

Nevertheless, the CTS-V is definitely on my short-list of most fun car I’ve driven and I’d buy one in a heartbeat if I had money to blow. Speaking of that…

Pricing

2017 Cadillac CTS-V – Driven Exterior
- image 737430

Without all the fancy stuff, the 2017 Cadillac CTS has a base price of $46,990. That’s not bad considering it’s rivals. Caddy will happily sell you a soft, luxury-lined model with all the bells and whistles without any of the sporty stuff starting at $60,190 for the Premium Luxury trim. There’s also the V-Sport model with a 420-horsepower twin-turbo V-6 for $61,690 or $71,790 with the Premium Luxury package added. But none of these compare to the CTS-V for raw power and sinister looks.

The 2017 CTS-V starts at $86,990. For that, you get the supercharged 6.2-liter V-8, eight-speed auto, magnetic ride control, limited-slip rear differential, Brembo brakes, all the functional aero bits, the digital gauge cluster, CUE, and full leather seats with heating and venting up front. My tester was filled to the brim with options, though, including the $6,950 Carbon Black Package. That brings the exterior carbon fiber pieces, the interior carbon fiber trim, suede steering wheel and shifter, and black wheels.

2017 Cadillac CTS-V – Driven Exterior
- image 737432
Topspeed: 200mph

The $2,075 Luxury Package adds the Rear Camera Mirror, tri-zone climate controls, split rear seat with armrest and heated outboard seats, the power rear sunshade and manual side window shades, and a 110-volt power outlet. Then there’s the $2,300 Recaro front buckets, $1,600 Performance Data Recorder, and $1,450 panoramic moonroof. Last but not least is the Dark Gold paint on the Brembo calipers for $595.

Tack on the $1,000 gas-guzzler tax and $995 destination charges, and my tester totals out to $103,260

Competition

2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S

2017 Mercedes-AMG E63
- image 693198

The AMG E63 S is just as beastly as the Cadillac, though it goes about life a bit differently. As a whole, the car is more luxury-minded thanks to an absolutely gorgeous interior that easily outdoes the CTS-V’s and an exterior that’s a bit more reserved.

Power comes from a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 with 603 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 627 pound-feet of torque at only 2,500 rpm. It might be slightly down on power compared to the CTS-V, but thanks to 4Matic AWD, the E63 S puts the power down more predictably. A nine-speed automatic mediates relations between the all-aluminum, direct-injected V-8 and the stick rubber. Performance numbers are impressive, with 60 mph coming in only 3.2 seconds and the quarter-mile happening in 11.5 seconds. Interestingly, the Merc’s top speed, when not governed at 155 mph, is “only” 186 mph. Perhaps the CTS-V’s extra bodywork really does pay off.

The Mercedes-AMG E63 S makes the Cadillac CTS-V seem like a bargain when it comes to pricing, though. The Merc starts at $104,400 and will quickly soar when extra options.

Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S.

2018 BMW M5

2018 BMW M5 High Resolution Exterior
- image 727588

The M5 is a staple in the performance luxury segment and has been for decades. Now for 2018, the M5 has a fresh face, an updated interior, a more powerful engine, the addition of AWD, and the subtraction of a manual transmission. While those last two items might make purists sad, the Bavaria’s latest is no slouch or ho-hum sedan.

The familiar 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 returns but makes 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. Though lower than the others, the torque peaks at only 1,800 rpm and stays strong till 5.700 rpm where horsepower immediately takes over and lasts till 6,600 rpm. An eight-speed automatic transmission does the shifting and a part-time (no, not a type-o) AWD system. Yes, you can turn the AWD system off should you decided to drift the M5 with its Drift Mode setting on. Normal operation has the AWD system constantly engaged. BMW says the 2018 M5 will hit 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and onto a top speed of 189 mph. Looks like the Caddy is still the fastest of the bunch.

As of this writing, BMW hasn’t released the price for the 2018 M5, but we expect it to start around $100,000.

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW M5.

Conclusion

2017 Cadillac CTS-V – Driven Exterior
- image 737398
Aerodynamic Fascia

The 2017 Cadillac CTS-V is a helluva car. With a good ole fashioned Chevy small-block V-8 under the hood making a class-leading 640 horsepower thanks to a supercharger, this American monster is able to truly fight off its global rivals. Its armor is made of carbon fiber and is lined with microfiber suede. It’s surname has history and it’s battling to clear the Cadillac crest of past sins. There’s no doubt Cadillac has come a long way in recent years, but there is still more work to be done. Nevertheless, Caddy is on the right track. Now, if people would just start buying them.

  • Leave it
    • Transmision isn’t the smoothest
    • Recaro seats make me hot
    • Expensive options

References

Cadillac CTS

2017 Cadillac CTS High Resolution Exterior
- image 703853

Read our full review on the 2017 Cadillac CTS.

2016 Cadillac CTS-V High Resolution Exterior
- image 599734

Read our full review on the 2017 Cadillac CTS-V.

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