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2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe Review & Test Drive – ‘A Quick Climb to the Top’

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A little over six years ago Cadillac set out to reclaim its tarnished reputation as one of the premier luxury and performance driven brands in the automobile marketplace.  With the addition of the all-new 2011 CTS-V 2+2 coupe, Cadillac has once again achieved world-class sport coupe status in design, build quality, luxury, technology, super-high-performance capabilities and safety.  This all-new CTS-V coupe does it all and more.

The all-new CTS-V coupe combines the all-new V6 powered CTS coupe’s dramatic and unique design with the 556hp supercharged V8 engine from the CTS-V sedan.  The result is a world-class luxury sports coupe aimed at drivers who want racecar design cues, lots of luxury and supercar performance.

The design is dramatic from any angle and truly unique.  The CTS-V coupe has classic hardtop styling with no conventional B-pillar, the touch-pad operation for the doors removes the need for conventional door handles (borrowed from the C6 Corvette), thus creating a technical, clean profile.  The windshield is laid at a faster 62.3-degrees, and a long, nearly horizontal backglass area combine to create a dramatic profile that is only 55.9 inch high.  Those fender vents are working and help extract the heat generated by the 6.2 liter supercharged engine.  The lower side extensions give the car a lower center of gravity enhancing stability.

At the rear is a sculpted mesh lower grille, a center outlet exhaust with twin, 4 inch wide tips that pass through the fascia and trimmed in chrome, signature vertical LED taillights with LED light pipes to increase visibility to the vehicles following at night, a rear spoiler integrated into the signature center high-mounted LED stop lamp and a sculpted roof-mounted antenna for ONSTAR and XM satellite radio.

The unique front fascia features ‘Bentley-styled’ silver mesh grille that doubles the car’s air intake volume, an important enabler for its high-performance capabilities.  Vertical HID headlamp cluster also feature a LED light pipe and down below cut into the fender are projector beam foglamps.  Next to each foglamp are inlets leading directly to the front brakes to keep them cool during very spirited driving times.  Down below the front bumper is a custom design splitter to increase front downforce at very high supercar speeds. The new V-coupe also features a raised center section of the hood that provides clearance for the supercharger.

The new V-coupe rolls on big 19X9 inch front and 19X9.5 inch forged alloy wheels wrapped with sticky Michelin 255/40ZR19 front and 285/35ZR19 inch rear Pilot Sport PS2 low-profile high-performance tires specifically developed by Michelin for the V-coupe.

The new Cadillac Art & Science design lab design of the car is truly amazing making the car stand out in a crowd of other super-high-performing 2+2 coupes from the world’s greatest auto manufacturers.

Under the galvanized steel sheet metal is where the extra-ordinary power and performance lies.  Power for the V-Series Coupe comes from Cadillac’s LSA 6.2 liter supercharged and intercooled V8 engine rated 556hp at 6,100rpm and a ground-shaking 551lb.ft. of torque at just 3,800rpm.  The LSA engine features an intercooled 1.9 liter Eaton supercharger/intercooler system, premium aluminum-alloy cylinder heads and numerous details designed to ensure it makes its power as quietly and smoothly as possible.  The supercharger has a unique four-lobe rotor design that enhances quietness while also optimizing the performance parameters of the engine.

The torque’s twist is what turns the wheels and the 551lb.ft. of torque is one of the highest of any supercar on the market, more than the Bentley Continental GT, Aston-Martin DBS, Porsche 911 Turbo, Maserati Grand Turismo, or the Ferrari 612 Scaglletti, all 2+2 coupes.

All of the V-coupe’s torque is channel to the rear wheels either via the short-throw, smooth shifting standard Tremec dual-clutch TR6060 manual transmission with rev-matching ability, or through the optional Hydra-Matic 6L90 six-speed automatic with paddle-shift control that blip matches rpm’s during downshifting.  Performance Algorithm Shifting is part of the 6L90’s programming and provides a performance-oriented shift pattern during sustained high-performance driving.  My test CTS-V coupe came with the Tremec 6060 gearbox and it was magnificent, quickly and precisely going up or down the gears.  Power is put down on the pavement through a limited-slip differential.

What a treat to so easily control my acceleration on the freeways and mountain roads.  You want speed from this supercar?  How about 0-60mph in under 4 seconds, the quarter-mile covered in just 12.3 seconds at 117.7 at 117.7 mph, and a top speed of 195 mph with no mph limiter.  That’s fast, super-car fast!

Controlling all of this power and torque on the road and reaching elite levels of road- holding performance, but also maintaining the poise and ride of a luxury car in ‘regular’ driving conditions, is the awesome unique fully independent suspension system.  The technical enabler of that dual-mode driving character is Cadillac’s landmark Magnetic Ride Control.  It is the world’s fastest-reacting suspension technology.  It uses shocks controlled by advanced magneto-rheological, rather than mechanical valves, to greatly accelerate response time and precision.  Electronic sensors at all four wheels literally ‘read the road’ every millisecond, making constant adjustments to damping to create virtually instantaneous and extremely precise control of body motions.  The Magnetic Ride shocks also enable a broader range of damping control to optimize the ride and handling for all driving conditions.  You have two modes-tour and sport, enabling you to tailor the suspension for grand touring or more spirited performance driving when the time and place is right.  Adding to the precision and ride quality of the suspension is the front and rear setup.  Up front is a SLA (short/long arm) setup with a 29mm hollow stabilizer bar, elastomeric handling and ride bushings and 65 N/mm coil springs.  The rear features a SLA (short/long arm) setup with a 25.4mm solid stabilizer bar, elastomeric trailing arm bushing and 90 N/mm coil spring rates.  The front suspension has a direct-mount cradle and the rear suspension a rubber isolated cradle to increase rigidity and lesson noise, vibration and harshness.

It is truly incredible as the ride is super smooth on the blacktop freeways, and cutting-edge slicing and dicing through steep corners in the mountains.  Cadillac’s StabilTrak also comes standard to keep you on your chosen path but you can shut it down by pushing a steering wheel mounted buttons to let the rear hang out in curves and quicken your heartbeat even further.  On the skid pan the new CTS-V coupe pulls 0.93g’s.

The excellent ZF Servotronic II power-assisted rack & pinion steering system is superb at guiding you where you want the V-coupe to go with incredible speed and precision.  Further enhancing the steering system’s ability is a wide, one-piece aluminum strut tower brace fitted over the engine.

World-class acceleration and speed sometimes has to slow down and Cadillac engineers worked with world-class brake manufacturer Brembo to design and engineer a braking system to safely and quickly slow the V-coupe down from speed.  Brembo fits dual-cast (combining cast iron and aluminum) 6-piston calipers up front and 4-piston calipers in the rear grabbing 15.1 inch vented rotors up front and 14.7 inch vented rotors in the rear.  Braking power and control are further enhanced with standard ABS, BA and Dynamic Rear Brake Proportioning.  Braking power from 60mph to 0mph in just 108ft.

All parameters of what makes up a true supercar lie under the skin of the all-new CTS-V coupe and Cadillac takes it further by giving you an interior that perfectly mixes real racecar cues with true luxury amenities and comfort.

Open the doors and you see a long aluminum ‘V’ door kick plate welcoming you aboard.

The small, sporty, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, seat inserts and shifter are covered in microfiber, just like in a racecar providing the luxurious character of suede without suede’s inherent drawbacks of difficult care and moisture sensitivity.  Microfiber gives an excellent grip on the wheel, shifter and keeps you in place during high speed maneuvers.  My test CTS-V coupe came with the awesome, optional Recaro performance driving seats that provided me with excellent support during spirited driving.  These 14-way powered seats include pneumatic bolster controls in the seat cushions and backrests, are heated/cooled with power lumbar adjustments.  My test CTS-V coupe also came with the genuine Midnight Sapele Wood Trim on the instrument panel, center console and door trim.  Leather is found on the top of the dashboard, center console, and top section of the doors along with plenty of chrome trim giving the CTS-V a more luxurious look and feel inside.  Sitting back and adjusting the Recaro bucket seat is a breeze and when you look straight-ahead you see the chrome bezel instrument cluster with the 200mph speedometer, 8,000rpm tachometer, fuel gauge, engine coolant temperature and boost gauge.  The electronic computer readout in the middle will give you information on all of the vital systems plus your current g-force, tour-sport mode selection, etc.  All of the switches, dials and levers are within easy reach and fully illuminated for safe nighttime travel.

More standard equipment inside not mentioned above includes power windows with express up/down, power door locks, cruise control buttons on the steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, power-adjusting/heated sideview mirrors, electrochromic self-dimming rearview mirror, automatic headlamps with adaptive HID lights, AM-FM-XM/CD with MP3 capability, advanced navigation system featuring real-time traffic and weather data, expanded voice prompts, and 3D-imaging of major landmarks, 40GB hard drive, USB port for iPod integration and battery charging, 10-speaker Bose 5.1 digital surround sound, Bluetooth phone connectivity, keyless access, rear parking assist, universal home remote, rear split folding seats with dual cupholders, dual-zone climate control, theft deterrent system, LED interior ambient lighting, 2-driver memory, cargo net, headlamp washers, automatic cabin odor filter, dual map lamps, dual lighted vanity mirrors, thick cut-pile carpeting with floor mats front and rear, aluminum/rubber insert foot pedals, storage slots in each door, a deep/wide, two-tiered center console storage box with padded top and a chrome bezel Cadillac signature clock in the middle of the center stack.

Standard safety features include front/side impact airbags, head curtain side airbags front/rear, rear vision camera, four-3-point safety belts with front pretensioners/load limiters, active front headrests, daytime running lamps, anti-theft alarm system, ONSTAR directions and connections to crash response, front/rear crumple zones and steel beams in each door.

With a base price of just $62,165.00 and $68,640.00, including destination charges, for my loaded test V-coupe, the all-new 2011 Cadillac CTS-V coupe has to be the greatest bargain in the supercar segment.  It is incredible!!



  • Price: Base CTS-V Coupe $62,165 As-Tested $68,640
  • Engine: 6.2-liter Supercharged V8 556 horsepower @ 6100 rpm  551 ft-lbs. torque @ 3800 rpm
  • Drive: RWD (Rear-Wheel-Drive)
  • Wheelbase: 113.4in.
  • Total length: 189.3in.
  • Total width: 74.1in.
  • Total height: 56.0in.
  • Track: f/r-61.8/62.9in.
  • Headroom: f/r-36.9/34.6in.
  • Legroom: f/r-42.4/35.0in.
  • MPG est.: 14mpg city/19mpg highway
  • Fuel tank: 18.0 gallons
  • 0-60mph: 3.9 seconds
  • EPA cargo volume: 10.5 cu.ft.
  • Curb Weight: 4,208 lbs. manual / 4,248 lbs. automatic

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