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Cadillac is introducing a new high-performance version of the CTS this fall.
The Cadillac CTS-V pictured here comes with a simple but substantial promise. Cadillac executives say that when it goes on sale in the fourth quarter of 2008, the 2009 CTS-V will be the fastest four-door car in the world.
Introduced at Detroit's North American International Auto show in January 2008, the ultra-high-performance CTS-V is the latest creation from Cadillac's Spec-V performance group, which was launched to develop sporting luxury cars to compete with imports such as BMW's M cars, Lexus's new F series products, and Mercedes-Benz's AMG line. The CTS-V is based on the all-new Cadillac CTS sedan, which debuted in the fall of 2007 to critical praise from many quarters.
The mission for the CTS-V is straightforward: Combine the serious performance of an elite sports car with the poise and elegance of a prestigious luxury sedan.
Serious performance starts with a honking 6.2-liter V8 wedged between the CTS-V's front wheels in place of the V6 engines used in the standard CTS models. Yet this V8 isn't a dual-overhead cam engine like those found in Cadillac's other sedans. It's a supercharged version of the muscular cam-in-block V8s that power the Chevrolet Corvette sports cars, applying a host of refinements in materials and control technology.
Bottom line? When the engine's output is certified, Cadillac expects at least 550 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of torque. That will make this V8 the most powerful engine Cadillac has offered in its 106-year history. More significantly, it will deliver at least 99 horsepower more than any of the CTS-V 's competitors, including the Audi RS4, BMW M3, Lexus IS F and Mercedes C63 AMG.
The mechanicals are upgraded throughout to take full advantage of the supercharged engine's mega-power. The CTS-V will be offered with either a six-speed manual transmission with a dual-disc clutch, or a six-speed automatic with performance-tuned manual paddle shifting. The rear-drive CTS-V will not be offered with all-wheel drive, which is available with a V6.
Underneath, the CTS-V gets GM's Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) adaptive suspension system, which is also used on the Corvette and some Ferraris. MRC uses electronically controlled magnets to adjust the stiffness of the shock absorbers, and is said to be the quickest reacting automatic suspension in the world. The brakes were developed with Italian specialist Brembo, featuring massive rotors and multi-piston calipers front and rear. The summer-season performance tires were developed by Michelin expressly for the CTS-V.
This Cadillac looks likes a standard CTS, only faster. The front grilles are much larger, and fabricated from a heavy wire mesh, with an angular, cow plow-style air dam underneath. The hood is raised with a prominent dome over the supercharged engine, and the standard spoke rims are 19 inches in diameter. We love the look, though those with a preference for the subtle may not.
Inside, the CTS-V is fitted with heavily bolstered Recaro sport seats. They adjust 14 ways, with pneumatic bolster controls in the seat cushion and backrest. Those seats, the shifter and steering wheel are upholstered with a microfiber material that's supposed to create the soft feel and luxurious appearance of suede without the wear or cleaning issues. The trim is glossy, jet-black Obsidian that resembles the finish on a Steinway.
The CTS-V may not be the only pending addition to Cadillac's CTS line-up.
The company surprised those attending the Detroit show by also unveiling a CTS Coupe. This classic 2+2 looks fantastic in the front three-quarter and side views, from which its fastback roofline has a very Italian flair. The rearview, however, is a bit tall and chunky. Cadillac insists the CTS Coupe is only a concept, for now. We'd wager it will reach production as a 2010 model.
The CTS-V, however, is a guaranteed addition to the CTS sedan lineup. The first CTS-Vs should reach dealerships by early fall.
All indicators suggest that this Cadillac will give the best imported super-sport sedans a run for their money in every respect. Moreover, we predict that the new CTS-V will retail for at least a few thousand less than any of its obvious import competitors.
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