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2011 Cadillac CTS-V Black Diamond Edition Review & Test Drive

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Taking a page from several German car manufacturers, Cadillac introduces a special limited-edition ‘Black Diamond’ version of its awesome CTS-V luxury super-high-performance sedan.

This new limited-edition ‘Black Diamond’ CTS-V sedan further makes the V-Series sedan stand out in a crowd of super-high-performing sedans.  For $4,850.00 added to an already ridiculous low price of just $62,165.00 for the standard CTS-V sedan, Cadillac adds stunning black tri-coat custom paint embedded with SpectraFlair bright silver pigment, yellow Brembo brake calipers, 19X8.5 front and 19X9.5 inch rear custom satin graphite wheels, Recaro 14-way power adjustable/heated/cooled front bucket seats, and Midnight Sapele wood interior trim.

Already turning heads wherever the V-Series sedan shows up because of its unique design, enormous power and torque figures, not to mention its incredible road holding ability, the V-Series sedan quickly established itself among the world’s highest performing luxury sedans by becoming the first production four-door on street tires to break the legendary eight-minute barrier at Germany’s famed Nurburgring.

The new ‘Black Diamond’ edition gives the styling of the V-Series sedan an even more dark, stealthy and menacing look. The unique look of the V-Series sedan features a very athletic form characterized by sculpted and flared front fenders that feature active heat extractors that recall a styling element from the Cadillac’s Sixteen concept car, vertically oriented LED front and rear ‘light pipes’, horizontal spline lines, and a unique dual chrome mesh grille that doubles front-end airflow to help enable the high-performance capabilities of the supercharger, an aggressive front fascia with Adaptive HID headlights, projector-beam foglamps, working air-intakes next to the foglamps that channel air directly to the front brakes for added cooling, and a raised center section of the aluminum hood that provides clearance for the supercharger.  The flared fenders are stuffed with 19X8.5 inch front and 19X9.5 inch graphite black, twin-prong, forged aluminum, five-spoke wheels that are wrapped with specially designed Michelin 255/40ZR19 front, and 285/35ZR19 inch rear, Pilot Sport PS2 low-profile high-performance summer tires.

The rear features the only piece of chrome on the car with the Cadillac scripted name, a centered Cadillac wreath, and lower CTS and V-Series badges.  The end of the rear trunk lid features the LED rear high-mounted stop lamp that also adds downforce.  A specially designed diffuser screen is cut into the rear bumper to help manage rear airflow.  Two, four inch wide polished stainless steel exhaust pipes are also cut into the lower rear bumper and sing out a muffled, growling sound when you mash your foot on the throttle.

Under the skin is where the real action of this ‘world-class’ supercar takes place.  The 6.2 liter supercharged and intercooled V8 engine powers the CTS-V and is rated at 556hp at 6,100rpm and 551lb.ft. of torque at just 3,800rpm.  The supercharger starts to force air into the engine at 2,300rpm to increased acceleration.  The engine’s Eaton 1.9 liter, Twin Vortices Series supercharger design employs twin four-lobe rotors, twisted 160-degrees.  Typical superchargers feature three lobes twisted 60-degrees.  The fourth lobe and added twist, when combined with the unique air inlet and outlet ports, create smoother, more efficient airflow into the engine.  In addition to improved overall efficiency, this supercharger has superior noise and vibration characteristics compared to more ordinary design.

The potent V8 supercharged engine is matted to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.  The smooth shifting, short-throw Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual with a dual-clutch is what I tested and it is a joy to use.  Shifts up or down are quick and smooth, power comes on quickly on acceleration or when you your need to decelerate the revs are beautifully matched.  The Hydra-Matic 6L90 six-speed automatic comes with steering wheel-mounted shift controls.  The steering wheel-mounted controls require no shift lever movement and allow immediate tap up/tap down gear selection.  Performance Algorithm Shifting provides the automatic transmission with a performance-oriented shift pattern during sustained high-performance driving.  You only have to slide the shifter into the manual ‘gate’ to put the transmission into a performance model.

Torque is channeled through the six-speed transmissions to a high-performance rear axle that features a limited-slip rear differential with a cast iron housing for greater thermal management and asymmetrical half-shafts to smoothly manage the supercharged engine’s incredible torque.  The unique design includes alternately sized half-shafts that also help dynamically balance the oscillation to torque from side to side, effectively eliminating ‘power hop’.  World-class acceleration figures for this magnificent Cadillac CTS-V are 0-60mph in under four-seconds, the ¼ mile reached in just 12.3-seconds at 117.7mph with a top speed of more than 190mph.

The V-Series Sedan achieves exceptional levels of road-holding performance, but also maintains the poise of a luxury car in ‘regular’ driving conditions.  The technical enable of this 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 technology, 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.  In the CTS-V, an extra measure of control is offered, with two selectable modes (Tour and Sport), enabling you to tailor the suspension for grand touring or more spirited performance driving.  You can change the modes by simply selecting one or the other from the easy-to-use computer readout in the center of the instrument cluster.  The fully independent suspension also features Short/Long arms, a 29mm hollow stabilizer bar, elastomeric handling and ride bushings, and 65 N/mm coil spring rate up front and Short/Long arms, a 25.4mm solid stabilizer bar, elastomeric trailing arm bushings, and 90 N/mm coil spring rate.  Increasing handling even more is a direct-mount front cradle and rubber isolated rear suspension cradle, and a wide, thick aluminum strut tower brace over the rear of the V8 engine that also enhances the precision and quickness to your inputs from the ZF Servotronic II power-assisted rack & pinion steering system.  On the skid pan the V-Series sedan pulls 0.93g’s.  That high number is also the result of the standard traction control and StabiliTrak electronic stability control system.  You can of course shut the system off to make it easier to slide the rear out during your challenges of steep curving back roads.

Safely and quickly slowing the Cadillac CTS-V sedan down from speed are enormous brakes designed specifically for the car by Brembo.  Up front are 15.1 inch vented discs with 14.7 inch vented discs in the rear.  The front rotors are clamped with six-piston calipers and the rear discs are clamped with four-piston calipers.  The large, vented rotors enable strong initial braking force while optimizing heat resistance and eliminating fade.  The brake rotors from Brembo are manufactured with ‘dual-cast’ technology that combines cast iron and aluminum, resulting in superior performance and weight reduction.  Further enhancing braking power and control are standard ABS, BA and Rear Brake Force Distribution.

The unique design is eye-opening; the power and performance package is breathtaking and world-class in every category.   All that is left is the comfortable luxurious, technologically advanced and sporty cabin.   Cadillac comes through again with streamlined instrumentation, LED lighting, hand-cut-and-sewn accents, custom wood trim, sporty cues and more.

You open the door and glance at the long solid piece of aluminum with the ‘V’ series emblem on the kick plate.  The custom, unique Recaro racing seats are superb finished in leather with suede inserts.  These bucket seats are heated and cooled with power adjustment for the seat bottom, seat back, back and bottom side bolstering beside power lumber adjustments.  These seats are super comfortable and hold you and your front passenger snuggly in place during high-speed maneuvering.  The small, sporty, three-spoke steering wheel is covered in microfiber, just like a racecar that increases grip and keeps sweat from making your hands slip while turning the wheel.  The stick shifter is also covered in microfiber and placed perfectly for sure and easy shifting with the manual.  I loved using it!  Looking straight-ahead is the unique instrument cluster that is designed for easy, at-a-glance reference during performance driving.  A large 200mph speedometer, a large 8,000rpm tachometer have bold readouts, including an LED-lit ‘tracer’ function in the tachometer that flashes as the engine nears the redline.  The large dial to the right contains meters for the fuel on board, engine coolant temperature and boost gauge.  You also get a lateral acceleration display on the lower center dial that also contains readouts for all of your personal driving inputs, trip computer, engine operating systems, etc.

Obsidian Black and chrome accents grace the well designed dashboard and center stack, console, steering wheel and bottom door panels, while Midnight Sapele wood trim wraps around the top of the doors through the dashboard and around the outer edges of the center stack. It is a luxurious and elegant look.  Sporty cues include the aluminum with rubber insert foot pedals for added grip as you change gears, brake and accelerate with ease.

Standard equipment not mentioned above in the Black Diamond Limited-Edition Cadillac CTS-V sedan includes an electronic parking brake, dual zone climate control, power heated, power remote-controlled sideview mirrors, self-dimming rearview mirror, rear seat pass-thru with a pull-down armrest with dual cupholders, front center console with dual cupholders, deep, two-tiered storage box with padded top, deep and wide locking glove box, storage slots in each door, navigation system with a Bose 5.1 surround sound audio system, eight speakers, and a rear-vision camera, a 40GB hard drive device with XM NavTraffic and satellite radio, anti-theft alarm, LED ambient lighting, cargo net, Bluetooth for phone, universal home remote 2-person memory system, headlamp washers, power tilt/telescope steering wheel, keyless access, ultra-sonic rear park assist, integrated iPod/MP3 capability, power windows with express up/down front and express down rear windows, power door locks, grab handles above each rear door, dual map lights, dual vanity mirrors with lights, thick cut-pile carpeting with front/rear floor mats.

Standard safety features include dual-stage driver front airbag, segment-first dual depth front passenger airbag, driver and front-passenger side seat-mounted pelvic/thorax side airbags, roof-rail side curtain airbags with industry-first rollover protection technology that covers front and rear seating rows, 5-3-point safety belts with front pretensioners/load limiters, tire pressure monitoring system, body structure with strategically placed high-strength steel, active head restraints for the front seatbacks and of course OnStar, the ninth-generation, that comes with automatic crash response, turn-by-turn navigation and a more flexible speech recognition system. This new limited-edition ‘Black Diamond’ version is spectacular to look at and drive.

When the sun is shinning the SpectraFlair bright embedded silver pigment against the black paint looks like a starry night sky, and when the clouds move in (like when I photographed the car) or at night, the black paint takes on a look of liquid black.

The car is simply amazing and the price for this special version is even more amazing, just $68,615.00 for all the great styling, power, performance, luxury, high-technology and safety.  I still can’t believe it because comparable sedans from other manufacturers start in the high-hundreds of thousands of dollars!  How can Cadillac do it?



  • Price: CTS-V Black Diamond Edition As-Tested $68,615
  • Engine: 6.2-liter Supercharged V8 556 horsepower @ 6100 rpm / 551 ft-lbs. torque @ 3800 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 113.4in.
  • Total length: 191.6in.
  • Total width: 72.5in.
  • Total height: 58in.
  • Track: f/r-61.8/62in.
  • Turning circle: 38ft.
  • Headroom: f/r-38.8/37.2in.
  • Legroom: f/r-42.4/35.9in.
  • Curb weight: 4,222lbs. manual/4,255-automatic
  • Weight distribution: f/r-54/46%
  • 0-60 mph: 3.9 seconds
  • Fuel tank: 18 gallons
  • EPA passenger volume: 98cu.ft.
  • EPA cargo volume: 13.6cu.ft.
  • EPA fuel economy: 14mpg/city, 19mpg/highway manual/12mpg/city, 18mpg/highway automatic

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