2017 Cadillac CTS-V

A true driver's paradise

"It has everything that an enthusiast can ask for in a car packaged in some mean-looking sheet metal," said Ershad.

"It is clear that Cadillac means serious business."

"Acceleration from zero is neck-wrenching and you can cross the legal speed limit before you even know it."

"Insane power figures and a rear-wheel drive configuration!"

Curves rule or do they? Modern day cars religiously follow the curvy design path with not many deviating from it. Our test car for the day was from an 'edgy' school of design and could easily be the most unusual shape on the road today. It is called the most powerful model in the company's 115-year history. Fondly remembered for its performance in the 2003 Hollywood flick, 'Matrix Reloaded', this car is an enthusiast's delight. Behold the 2017 Cadillac CTS-V.

Featuring the iconic supercharged 6.2-liter V8 seen on the Corvette Z06, the engine is no doubt the star attraction. Pumping out 640 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and a hefty torque figure of 854 Nm, it is clear that Cadillac means serious business. Through an eight-speed automatic transmission, this power is transferred to the rear wheels. Woohoo! Insane power figures and a rear-wheel drive configuration. A true driver's paradise.

The engine features direct injection, continuously variable valve timing and active fuel management that allow the CTS-V to switch between the regular driver and track maniac easily. The V8 powerhouse propels the CTS-V from zero-to-100 km/h within four seconds and can clock 320 km/h pedal-to-metal (on a racetrack preferably). Acceleration from zero is neck-wrenching and you can cross the legal speed limit before you even know it. The gearbox is super quick, shifts in the blink of an eye and I would say that it can be better than its twin-clutch counterparts at times. Cadillac calls it the Performance Algorithm Shifting, and it works like a dream. Enhancing the whole package is the firmer chassis, which had additional braces and support elements providing a 20 percent stiffer frame compared to the previous year. This lets the CTS-V handle all those crazy power figures and keep the rubber side down.

As horsepower and torque figures keep pushing for the top spot, it is important to have equally good support systems. Cadillac has set up a great brake package for the CTS-V featuring Brembo six-piston units on 390-mm rotors up front and smaller four-piston units on 365-mm rotors for the rear. They are real huge – you need to see them to believe it. The brakes provide enormous amounts of stopping force with great feedback and would feel at home on the most extreme track days. Cadillac has also equipped the latest CTS-V with the best in class, third-generation Magnetic Ride Control which 'reads' the road a thousand times per second and sends the information to the dampers filled with magnetic-rheological fluid. These dampers can adjust their damping rates infinitely and are the best bet to provide that perfect mix of comfort and road manners. Add to that the stiffer bushings and spring rates which provide greater roll stiffness. The race-derived Performance Traction Management controls the different drive modes and provides progressive levels of electronic assistance in Wet, Dry, Sport1, Sport2 and Race modes. For further grip, the CTS-V comes shod with staggered 19-inch wheels all around with some sticky Michelin rubber. The wheels are 45 percent stiffer compared to previous versions.

All this power and handling is housed in one of the most alternative shapes around. It attracts stares rather than glances. Looking like it's straight out of a Star Wars spaceship, the CTS-V looks great with the large honeycomb grilles in both the upper and lower section of the front bumper. Large intakes are provided to feed more air to the supercharger system and more vents on the bumper look great as well as shout that 'tuner' look. A vertically oriented headlamp cluster and daytime running light elements are sleek and look futuristic. The carbon fiber hood cuts out a lot of weight and the sculpted vent acts as a hot-air-ventilator and an aerodynamic aid at high speeds. A front splitter provides a lower front look as well as improves handling by generating extra downforce at the front. Wide fenders all around help to accommodate the bigger wheels on the 'V' compared to the standard CTS. The CTS-V is wider and lower compared to standard models, giving it a menacing stance. From the sides, the CTS-V looks athletic with a slight touch of muscle car lingo. Rear end is dominated by a huge diffuser with two sets of twin exhaust pipes – which can give your tailgater a hint about what's in store. My only slight eyesore would be the big brake lights integrated into the rear spoiler. They look a bit too aftermarket-ish. An optional all-carbon fiber trim gets you a bigger front splitter, hood vent trim and rear spoiler all finished in exposed carbon fiber, and all adding aggressiveness to the already super aggressive 'V'.

The interior of the CTS-V is a blend of luxury and driver-centric features. There are lots of handcrafted cut and sewn elements, with decorative stitching, feel-good materials, great seating feel and associated tech. The car feels at home for a 2+2 seat configuration; three in the rear would be a tough squeeze. 20-way adjustable seats with a mix of leather and sueded microfiber are standard on the CTS-V with the available option of Recaro sport seats. A new 12.3-inch display forms the central control station and reads out all car related info, navigation details and audio settings. Called the Cadillac User Experience (CUE), this system integrates features such as Apple Carplay, Android Auto and an available 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. Standard music system on the CTS-V is a 13-speaker Bose Surround Sound unit that gives an unmatched listening experience as well as features electronic audio enhancement that amplifies the car's power train sounds for a deeper driving feel. A Performance Data Recorder available on the car lets you record, view and analyze your driving characteristics. Basically developed in connection with Cadillac race boffins, the Performance Data Recorder can help you with improving lap times and is focused on all those track-hungry CTS-V drivers.

The CTS-V features all-around park assist and can auto park in parallel and perpendicular spaces. A very useful Curbview Camera saves the front splitter in tight parking spots. One other notable feature on the CTS-V is the option of having a completely digital display in place of your conventional rearview mirror. The system takes data from two cameras on the rear and a projected image. This helps when you have tall passengers blocking your rear view. A flick of a switch can change it back to the conventional rearview mirror. The 'V' features all the new gen safety features like blind spot monitoring, land departure warning and lots of other active as well as passive systems, which makes driving stress-free.

Compared to the competition, the CTS-V provides a lot more horses and features for a lower price tag. It has everything that an enthusiast can ask for in a car packaged in some mean-looking sheet metal. The Germans have got a serious competitor headed their way!

Pros: Monstrous power for a sedan, on-road and track manners, exhaust note
Cons: Tight second row (for three occupants), annoying knock to driver's left knee  
Rivals: Audi RS6/RS7, Porsche Panamera Turbo, Mercedes AMG CLS 63S, Mercedes E63 AMG, BMW M5, Lexus GS F
one word: 4-seater bullet
4.5 stars

6.2L supercharged V8, 640 hp @ 6,400 rpm, 854 Nm @ 3,600 rpm
RWD, 8-speed auto
0-100 km/h: 4 sec, top speed: 320 km/h, fuel consumption: 12 L/100 km
Weight: 1,870 kg

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