2016 Cadillac CTS-V: An Uncontested World-Beater

Written by Mark Hacking. Photos courtesy of Cadillac on .

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Super-Spoiler Alert: I believe the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V is the best all-around performance car in the world right now. Now, a caveat that requires mentioning: While I haven’t driven all of the current crop of performance cars, I’ve driven my fair share and then some. But there are a few new entries I haven’t sampled, the Cadillac ATS-V being a notable miss.

I hear the ATS-V is a tremendous performance car; having sampled its big brother, this would not surprise me at all. But let’s turn our attention to the CTS-V exclusively and pick up on our theme.

The supercharged 6.2-litre V8 engine under the bulging hood of the Cadillac is shared with the current Chevrolet Corvette Z06. Due to differences to the intake and exhaust systems, the version in the ’Vette makes slightly more horsepower (+10 Shetlands) and torque (+50 lb-ft). Nevertheless, the V8 puts a full 640 horsepower at the driver’s disposal, along with 630 lb-ft of torque. In other words, plenty.

To put this into greater perspective, the first-generation CTS-V boasted 400 horsepower and the second-generation iteration made do with 565 Clydesdales. Horsepower figures above the magic 600 mark ventures into some pretty serious territory occupied by the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini.

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The CTS-V develops more power and torque than its two main rivals, the BMW M5 and the Mercedes E 63 AMG. The Cadillac can rocket from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds and has a top speed of 322 km/h. This is a level of performance normally reserved for honest-to-goodness supercars – and this is just part of the reason why the Cadillac is so damn good.

The car features five different drive modes from the modest to the outrageous. A performance data recorder (PDR) with lap timer and video camera is an option. Take a lap of your closest track and the CTS-V will save all the evidence, including top speed achieved and g-forces generated, for posterity. The Cadillac features Brembo brakes (the largest set fitted to any current production sedan brand) and 19-inch Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires (with three different compounds for street, track and wet-weather driving).

Yes, this thing is the real deal.

Further proof: The CTS-V also boasts the latest-generation of Magnetic Ride Control, now with 40 percent quicker damping response. When driven on a less than super-smooth surface, the Cadillac shows far greater ability to create a consistently smooth ride than its direct rivals with their stiffly sprung suspensions and punishing run-flat tires. Back on track, though, the CTS-V reveals its true worth. Of course, it’s wicked fast in a straight line. At the end of the long front straight at the diabolically fast Road America, the Caddy hits 249 km/h (155 mph) on the dial before the anchors have to be deployed. (Cripes, this is fast when you stop to think about it.) But the real surprise is how well the car carves corners. The steering is remarkably precise, the handling incredibly neutral and, despite being a true mid-size sedan with room for five, the CTS-V feels very light on its feet. Even when entering some of the tighter turns with too much speed and all the driver aids switched off , the car proves itself to be predictable and easy to control, the back end breaking away just when expected. (The electronic limited slip rear differential, no doubt, deserves some of the credit here.)

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After about 20 laps at exceedingly high speed, the Cadillac proved that it was the very best mid-size performance sedan in the world. There was no need to drive the other competitors in this class because the others would not be able to keep pace – especially when it comes to braking performance.

Lap after lap, time after time, the CTS-V could be sent hurtling into the track’s notoriously challenging braking zones and come out of them looking like a superstar. During the development of the car, Cadillac engineers came to Road America to verify the performance of the brakes. It’s no surprise, then, that the results have been so spectacular. (Truth be told, certain modern supercars would be unable to attain this same level of performance; they would’ve been secreted away to the garage area for maintenance in half the laps.)

In fact, here’s a great measure of just how good the new CTS-V is – the launch event included virtually unlimited laps of one of the more challenging tracks in North America. Other manufacturers have a way of controlling the level of attack at such events: a pace driver, a co-driver, a set number of laps, a trip through the pits every time out. There was none of that here.

Clearly, Cadillac knew it had a winner on its hands before planning for the launch event had even begun. They were right to be confident.

Cadillac has been knocking on the Germans’ (four) doors for years now; with the CTS-V, they have broken through to other side. To top it all off , the American take on performance sedans costs less than its direct rivals. Yes, this could very well be the best all-around performance car in the world. No. It is.

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BY THE NUMBERS
$141.3/HP (CALCULATED W/ BASE MSRP)
103.2 HP/L
308.83 HP/TON
2.94 KG/HP
14.1 L/100 KM (AUTO – COMBINED)

SPECIFICATIONS
VEHICLE: 2016 Cadillac CTS-V
BASE PRICE: $91,685
ENGINE: Supercharged 6.2L V8
HORSEPOWER: 640 hp @ 6,400 rpm
TORQUE: 630 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm
DRY WEIGHT: 1,880 kg
CONFIGURATION: Front engine / rear-wheel-drive
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic
TIRES: Michelin Pilot Super Sport (265/35 ZR19 front, 295/30 ZR19 rear)
FUEL ECONOMY RATINGS (CITY / HWY. / COMB.): 16.6 / 11.1 / 14.1 L/100 km
WARRANTY (MOS. / KM): 48 / 80,000
ALTERNATIVES: Audi RS7, BMW M5, Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG, Volvo S60 Polestar

NOTABLE OPTIONS: 
ADVANCED SECURITY PACKAGE ($685) Shielded theft deterrent system, vehicle tilt sensor, steering column lock, locking wheel package, laminated rear door glass; Carbon Fibre Package ($6,330) – Carbon fibre front splitter, hood vent, spoiler and rear diffuser; Recaro Performance front seats ($2,645); Luxury Package ($1,635) – Automatic tri-zone climate control with air filtration, heated seats (outboard positions), split folding rear seat, rear window power sunshade, manual rear side window sunshades, 110V AC power outlet; Brembo Red Calipers ($625); Crystal White Tricoat ($575); Performance Data Recorder ($1,430).

PERFORMANCE DATA RECORDER
Over the years, many cars have featured lap timers, but no car has featured a factory-supplied performance recording system like that available on the new CTS-V. Controlled via the CUE system touchscreen, the Performance Data Recorder (PDR) captures real-time video, cabin audio and 30 channels of data, literally while on-the-fly. The video recording can then be reviewed by the user on the screen when the Cadillac is parked. While some might think of the PDR as a gimmick, it’s yet another clue that this is a serious performance car.

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For more information on the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V, go HERE.

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