Review: 2010 Cadillac CTS-V shows Germany that Detroit can do high-performance saloons

With John Heinricy, the former head of GM”s performance division, behind the wheel, the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V handled all 12.9 miles of the Nurburgring Nordschleife racetrack and its 73-corners in 7:59.32. This is regarded by many to be the fastest lap-time ever run by a production-sedan. With this in mind, we were absolutely psyched to get behind the wheel of this high-performance animal for a full-week.

The CTS-V totally departs the Cadillac image of the soft-spoken, smooth riding luxury vehicle. In fact, it’s the total antithesis. For those who yearn for the Caddy of yesteryear; look elsewhere. If you”re the type of driver who lives for that feeling of a cars raw power turning your stomach upside down with every stomp of the gas pedal, you have met your match. The CTS-V is well-known as the BMW M5 Killer – a monumental feat for any American-made car; but it’s true. The CTS-V gives cars like the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG and the Jaguar XJ-R a run for their money, and accelerates and brakes every bit better than the BMW M5.

We have no idea what the engineers at Cadillac were thinking – and frankly, we could care less and have no complaints as the CTS-V departures from what Cadillac is known for.

Hit the jump to read more and to view our high-res image gallery (at the bottom of the post).

Review: 2010 Cadillac CTS-V:

2010 Cadillac CTS-V Specifications:

Base Price: $60,720.
Price as Tested: $69,440.
Engine: 6.2L LSA supercharged V8 ““ 556-hp / 551 lb-ft of torque.
Transmission: 6-speed manual with dual disc-clutch, 6-speed automatic.
Curb Weight: 4,200 lbs (manual), 4,300 (automatic).
0 to 60 mph: 4.0 seconds.
Fuel-Economy: 12/18 mpg (city/highway).

All Photos Copyright © 2010 Omar Rana ““ egmCarTech.


The exterior of the CTS-V builds upon the basic silhouette of the standard CTS, highlighting the aggressive stance and elegant details. The grille on the front is twice the size of that on the standard CTS and is finished in satin, but provides for a more functional and larger air intake. The 6.2L supercharged V8 would not fit in the engine compartment, save for the raised hood, and the aggressive front and rear fascias identify the vehicle as V-series. The 19-inch wheels only augment the aggressive stance on the road and along with the fenders make this car look ferocious.

The design elicits a bit of paradoxical emotion; at times it can seem a bit gaudy and overdone, but then again it will at other times feel as though it was a sleeper vehicle. At times you”ll wish it looked less like the standard CTS, and at others you will wish it looked less like it was something out of Cartier”s front-window.

As for exterior options buyers will be rather limited; you can upgrade the 19-inch painted aluminum wheels to high-polished ones for $800, or add the $900 UltraView power sunroof.


Sitting inside the car is a pure treat to the senses with the abundant microfiber providing the sense of suede wrapping the steering-wheel and shifter. Why not use real suede you ask? Well, one it’s expensive to maintain and two when your palms get sweaty from aggressive driving, suede may not be the best option.

Our test-car also came with Recaro Performance Racing Seats, which replace the standard front bucket-seats for a mere $3,400. Again for those expecting a plush leather comfortable Caddy, the CTS-V isn’t your friend. The Recaro Racing Seats are very firm and will hurt your back end on longer trips.

Other touches that make you realize that you’re not sitting in ordinary CTS, but a car that is a CTS on steroids include exclusive details like a center stack trimmed in new Obsidian black material that also adorns the center console and trims the door and V-Series logo steering, seats and the speedometer.

The 40GB hard drive, advanced navigation system with “˜pop-up” screen and 5.1 Bose Cabin Surround Sound system with 10-speakers and factory-installed Bluetooth functionality all come standard. In fact, the only interior options the consumer has with this car are the $3,400 Recaro seats, and $300 sueded rim steering wheel and shift-knob (which we advise against).


Under the hood of the Cadillac CTS-V sits a detuned version of the same 6.2L LSA supercharged V8 engine found in the Corvette ZR-1 making 556-hp with a maximum torque of 551 lb-ft. The engine is the most powerful ever offered in Cadillac throughout its nearly 106-year history.

Mated to either a Tremec TR6060 6-speed manual with dual-disc clutch or a Hydra-Matic 6L90 6-speed automatic with paddle-shift control the CTS-V goes from 0-60 in what GM claims is less than 4 seconds, although we couldn”t do better than 4.2 seconds.

All that translates well on the straights, but the question on everybody”s mind is: Can the CTS-V handle? That’s the million-dollar question when it comes to many American performance vehicles as Americans are not known for well-performing vehicles. To put it plainly; the CTS-V handles like any German sports car, thanks to its fast-reacting suspension technology, Magnetic Ride Control. The system uses shocks controlled by what is called “magneto-rheological” technology. Assisting the system are electronic sensors at all four wheels that literally “read the road” every millisecond, making constant adjustments to damping to create virtually instantaneous and extremely precise control of body motions. The system shocks also enable a much broader range of damping control to optimize ride and handling for all driving conditions. Drivers also receive the additional benefit of choosing between two different suspension modes that tailor the suspension for a grand touring or more spirited performance driving; Tour and Sport.

Stopping the CTS-V is no problem thanks to Michelin and Brembo. The CTS-V has Brembo brakes on all four corners; six-piston calipers in the front and four-piston calipers in the rear. Slotted and vented rotors enable strong initial braking force while optimizing heat resistance and eliminating fade. Michelin also worked with GM engineers to develop its acclaimed Pilot Sport 2 (PS2) summer tire for CTS-V and its exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels.

Overall, the CTS-V offers performance that is equivalent to or better than other high-performance sedans in the segment. In fact, we’re going to go out on the edge and say that the performance of the CTS-V surpasses that of the Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG and the BMW M5 – its two biggest rivals from Germany.


Prices for the 2010 Cadillac CTS-V start at $60,720 ($61,545 when you include destination freight charges). Optioned out, the 2010 CTS-V fetches an MSRP of $64,345. Add a $2,600 gas guzzler tax and you’re looking at close to $67,000.

Compare those figures to the BMW M5 and all-new Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG and their staring price tags of $85,700 and $85,750 respectively, and the CTS-V is the clear favorite. Even if the price were to top $80,000, Motown would be the one to serve up the winner in this segment as far as overall value.

Review: 2010 Cadillac CTS-V:

All Photos Copyright © 2010 Omar Rana ““ egmCarTech.

– By: Omar Rana