The 2017 Cadillac CTS-V is as close to a four-door Corvette Z06 as you're ever likely to get. Underneath the carbon-fiber hood rests one hell of an engine, a 640-horsepower supercharged V8. It's only slightly less powerful than what you'll find in the Corvette. Thanks to GM's chassis wizards, the car's handling is an equal match for the powerful engine.
This particular car packs in a number of options, including Recaro seats and the performance data recorder that allows owners to measure lap times and record video. The most expensive option is the $6,950 Carbon Black Package. This nets you a carbon fiber hood vent, front splitter, spoiler and rear diffuser. This car isn't cheap, but it does undercut the less powerful Audi RS7 and Mercedes-AMG E63 S.
Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale: This is a seriously fun, if also flawed, car. And the biggest contributor to the fun is the big lump of V8 under the hood. The supercharged 6.2-liter makes 640 horsepower, but Cadillac could've left the number off and just called it "effortless." The gentlest pressure on the gas pedal will result in you picking up an extra 10 mph without ever noticing. And when you stomp on it, you get this huge and immediate surge of acceleration. It's truly giggle-inducing. Although the CTS-V is big and heavy, it handles the power well. It gives you enough info on what's happening so you feel in control, and the chassis is impressively composed.
The only real weak points I can find on the CTS-V (besides the low gas mileage) are the interior controls. They are abysmal. The infotainment screen is pretty poor, with a clutter of information at the main screen, and difficult-to-find commands for getting to other menus. But worse than that are the climate and volume buttons. They're all touch-sensitive spots on the center stack. They're not very responsive, and the vibratory feedback it provides isn't noticeable while driving. It doesn't help that the feedback feels pretty inconsistent, too. For me, I think I could learn to live with the infotainment, simply because I love the way the rest of the car feels and drives. But, Cadillac, you need to get to updating this ASAP.
Associate Editor Reese Counts: OK, Cadillac's infotainment system sucks. Let's get that out of the way. Touch capacitive interfaces don't work well in cars. This does have the old version of CUE, so I'm hoping the next-gen system will fix some of the interface issues. Like Joel, this wouldn't turn me off from buying the car. With a supercharged 640-hp V8 under the hood, things such as unresponsive buttons that gather fingerprints like a homicide investigator tend to wash away.
Dip into the throttle to see what this car is all about. You don't even have to nail it, just give it enough to wiggle the rear. I think I would love this car if all it did was make cool noises and turn rubber into smoke. Everything else is gravy. But the suspension, brakes and steering all match the engine's performance. I firmly believe that GM's chassis engineers are as good as anyone else in the world. Look at cars like the Chevy Corvette Z06 or Camaro ZL1 1LE. There are no qualifiers when it comes to performance.
It looks menacing, too, with the black paint, big intakes and tons of real carbon fiber. The fact that a genuine Corvette engine rests under the carbon-fiber hood is as awesome in real life as it is on paper. The interior (aside from CUE) is probably the best I've ever seen in a GM vehicle. It's all black, meaning there aren't a plethora of colors and materials like other Cadillacs. Also, the Recaro seats are worth every penny.
Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: The Cadillac CTS-V is driving adrenaline. It's old-school muscle in an Esquire-approved suit. It's 'roids and cufflinks. It's a blast to drive. This specific tester is done up in all black with carbon fiber dripping out of every orifice. With 19-inch "after-midnight dark" wheels and a black chrome-accented grille, it feels like the modern version of the Batmobile for a real-life Bruce Wayne. Yes, it's a stunner. It's every bit the performance monster a BMW M5 is, but with distinct Cadillac flair.
That being said, this particular model excels because it's simple. Carbon fiber set against an all-black backdrop is excellent. I've driven other CTS models that come across as busy or overdone, in this case, less is more. The 6.2-liter blown V8 sounds and feels great. It's raw when you prod it, but reasonable for around-town driving. Still, I was itching to find a road course as I drove into the office. Cadillac's V-Series cars ache to go fast.
Yes, this sedan has a strong emotional appeal, but it's pretty practical, with a big back seat and decent-sized trunk. CUE was fine for me, but it's not my favorite system. The visibility is good for the driver. A lot of these little things work together to complete the execution. I only had one night in the CTS-V this week, but it was a good one.