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CARS REVIEW - Cadillac CTS-V 2009




What it Is
2009 Cadillac CTS-V Preview – Detroit Auto Show:

If there ever were doubts that Cadillac was shooting for the top, this should erase them. The numbers here are simple: 550 horsepower, 550 lb.-ft. of torque, and a six-speed manual transmission. Were these numbers for a special edition Corvette, we’d be happy enough. But when they’re specs for the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V – a freakin’ 550-horsepower Cadillac! – well, we start to wonder if it’s time to dust off that old “Standard of the World” moniker.

Why it Matters
Cadillac is done with nibbling at the periphery of the luxury car market. With the new CTS it has taken a big bite, and early sales show that customers are thrilled. With the CTS-V, Cadillac takes its sedan to the next level, pitting it against the likes of the BMW M3 and M5, Audi RS 4 and RS 6, and various high-powered Mercedes-Benz AMG products. It outpowers most of them, and with the CTS’s already excellent chassis dynamics, we’re anticipating one hell of a fight at the top.

What’s Under the Hood
GM recently announced that it was killing its DOHC V-8 program, the one that would have produced a replacement for the Northstar V-8 that’s been under Cadillac hoods for nearly two decades now. However, we’re not terribly worried, because if the LSA that lives in the CTS-V is any indication, there will be no shortage of raw power for the luxury division. The 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 produces at least 550 horsepower and 550 lb.-ft. of torque, routing it all through either a twin-clutch six-speed manual or six-speed automatic with steering-wheel mounted shifters. A limited-slip rear differential gets power to the ground, and Performance Traction Management uses the stability control sensors to maximize tire grip for acceleration. Big Brembo brakes, Michelin Pilot tires and a specially tuned suspension make up the rest of the performance package.

What it Looks Like
The new CTS is beautiful, and the CTS-V builds on it, literally. The front air dam is deeper, the grille is mesh, and the hood now sports a power bulge to help clear the supercharger. The flared fenders bulge with 19-inch wheels. In all it’s less heavy-handed than the previous car, but still leaning toward a boy-racer look, cleaving somewhere between the Lexus IS F silliness and the over-subtle BMW M5.

What’s Inside
The interior of the CTS is one of its high points, and is already one of the nicest in its class. The CTS-V incorporates Recaro sport seats with faux suede inserts, which are also echoed on the steering wheel and shifter. The center stack is trimmed with a new “Obsidian” material that looks a lot like piano-black...hopefully it will be a step above the shiny black plastic we often find. The center stack features a 40-gigabyte hard drive navigation system, complete with the same pop-up screen and Bose digital surround sound. Factory-installed Bluetooth is also available.

What Cadillac Says
What do you think they’re going to say? “The CTS-V represents the full extension of our design, technology and performance capabilities,” says Jim Taylor, Cadillac general manager in the press release. “The V-Series takes the award-winning CTS sport sedan and elevates it to a position within the club of the world’s most exclusive and capable cars.” As you can imagine, the fact that the 550 horsepower engine is the most powerful in Cadillac’s history is mentioned one or two times as well.

What We Think
We have driven the new CTS and came away very impressed. In fact, about the only dynamic complaint we had was that the car felt a little underpowered, thinking that an extra 20 or so horses would do the trick. But hey, we’ll gladly take an extra 246 instead, no problem.

By Keith Buglewicz
Photo credit: Cadillac
(www.car.com)
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