The Cadillac CTS-V is considered a separate model from the CTS and comes in one trim level. The CTS-V arrives full of go-fast hardware, the latest infotainment technology, and a single powertrain configuration.
The large 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine generates 640 horsepower at 6400 rpm and 630 pound-feet at 3600 rpm that develops in a more linear fashion than its turbocharged competitors. A derivative of GM’s LT4, the direct-injection engine incorporates aluminum cylinder heads that are specially cast for better heat management, sodium-filled exhaust valves, and stainless steel exhaust manifolds. Heat exchangers have also been added and enlarged to help manage internal temperatures during hard charging track sessions.
The engine also incorporates cylinder deactivation as a kind gesture toward achieving a reasonable fuel economy rating. Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the CTS-V achieves an EPA-estimated 14 miles per gallon city, 21 mpg highway, and 16 combined. These figures are par for the segment but aren't enough to avoid a $1,300 gas-guzzler tax.
The 2019 Cadillac CTS-V starts at $89,290 after a $995 destination charge and the aforementioned gas-guzzler tax. It's immediately distinguishable from the pedestrian-grade CTS as nearly every panel on the car is unique and made in a range of different materials, from steel to aluminum to carbon-fiber. Looking beyond the car’s angular outward shape, the chassis also receives significant attention.
A revised MacPherson strut suspension design resides up front and the rear’s five-link design enables greater body control. The latest generation of magnetorheological dampers is able to literally read every inch of the road at 60 mph and is incorporated into Cadillac’s Performance Traction Management which also ties together traction control and the electronically controlled limited-slip differential. Know-how gained from Cadillac’s V-Series racing team led to the development of five different track mode chassis settings.
Summer-only Michelin Pilot Super Sports tires are wrapped around 19-inch alloy wheels that are impressively 45 percent stiffer than the outgoing generation’s design. Added structural rigidity, six-piston front and four-piston rear Brembo brakes with race-ready pads, and a stiffer steering rack also work to ensure this is a well-rounded performer.
The interior features are similarly impressive. Standard 20-way power front seats feature semi-aniline leather with suede microfiber inserts and are heated and ventilated. In front of the leather heated steering wheel is a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster with unique V-Series graphics and a full-color head-up display that's tied to Cadillac’s infotainment system. Navigation is standard and operates through a subscription-based app, as does OnStar 4G with WiFi. The subscriptions are complimentary for the first year of ownership. The always-free myCadillac app allows one to start, locate, and lock and unlock the car on a smartphone. A Bose Centerpoint premium audio system plays through 13 speakers and features most of the popular sources including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM.
On the safety side, the CTS-V is equipped with rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, and lane keeping assist. One especially interesting feature is the following distance indicator, as it displays the time gap to the car ahead instead of only vague graphics.
There are several notable options still on the table despite the impressive list of standard features. The $6,250 Carbon Fiber Package adds a carbon-fiber hood vent, a more aggressive front splitter, a taller rear spoiler, and a rear diffuser. A carbon-fiber engine cover is $1,295, while moving inside to the interior trim pieces requires another $1,150. A more aggressive set of front seats made by Recaro can be had for $2,300, although they lose the thigh extension and ventilation features of the standard seats.
A Luxury Package ($2,500) brings on a bit of practical-mindedness and includes a split-folding rear seat, tri-zone climate control, heated outboard rear seats, sunshades, a 110-volt power outlet, and a rear camera mirror. Possibly the most exciting optional feature is the $1,600 Performance Data and Video Recorder which is like a professional’s GoPro, only tied into the car’s high-definition cameras and incorporates a long list of the car’s available data sensors to study lap times.
The 2019 Cadillac CTS-V is one massively-powered large car and it has performance limits that are beyond many of our skill levels. Impressive in every way, the CTS-V will leave few unimpressed, although it still doesn’t have the pedigree of a BMW M5 or Mercedes-Benz AMG E63. To some that may make the difference, but maybe that’s part of the CTS-V’s appeal.
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