When I get invited to drive something fast and powerful around the track at Homestead-Miami Speedway, I get justifiably excited. And, that’s exactly what happened when Cadillac handed me the keys to their top dog. So, what’s it like to drive the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V?
The Cadillac CTS-V has for the past several years been America’s answer to the Audi RS6, BMW M5 and various Mercedes-Benz E-Class AMG variants. Each generation of CTS-V has had the more than enough performance to keep up with the best Germany had to offer, but they’ve always lacked the interior style and material quality that have been the bywords of German luxury super-sedans. Not so anymore.
When you settle into the driver’s seat you notice something decidedly different about the 2016 CTS-V. Not only is this car blindingly quick and fast (0 to 60 comes in a quick 3.6 seconds and top speed is at the two century mark), it’s built like Cadillac actually gives a damn. Comfy and supportive Recaro seats, dry-fit carbon fiber, Alcantara, leather… They’re all present in spades. Before you even turn the key, the 2016 CTS-V experience is nice.
But, it’s after you turn the key that the fun begins. Performance comes from a 6-liter supercharged and inter-cooled V8 boasting 640 horsepower and 630 pound-feet of torque hitting the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. About what you'd expect for a $84,990 base.
For starters, the CTS-V gets a moderately de-tuned (only 10 hp) version of the 2016 Z06’s supercharged V8. That explains the oomph. It seems, however, that General Motors has learned quite a bit about handling, finesse and dealing with earth-rippling amounts of torque after developing three generations of über ‘Vettes.
The CTS-V is incredibly neutral on the track. With a variety of driving modes to choose from (also sourced from the Corvette), you can choose to drive like a hero, get a really good forearm workout or something in between as you lap Homestead-Miami Speedway.
In Track Mode, however, I was amazed at just how much you can push these Cadillacs. I’m not a pro driver by any stretch of the imagination, but each lap I found myself going faster and faster in the turns as I gained confidence. The Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires and Gen 3 Magnetic Ride Control didn't hurt.
Actually, speaking of tires and Ride Control, I was expecting a loud and harsh cabin experience. I was wrong. Because Caddy upped its build quality, even at track speeds, the ride was surprisingly quiet.
Turn-ins are last-minute, thanks to manhole cover-sized Brembo brakes allowing for very late braking. Although, the ATS-V is much nimbler thanks to its diminutive size (when compared to the CTS-V), once you pass the apex, the CTS-V takes over. Hit the gas and the track disappears under your wheels at an ever-increasing rate.
So… is the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V any good on the track or, indeed, any good in general? Yes. Should BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz be scared? Yes. Is there a downside? Also, yes. Despite all of its technological witchcraft, the Cadillac CTS-V is still a 4,134-pound (1,875 kg) car.
That's a lot of weight to move around. While the power is enough to propel the CTS-V to supercar speeds and the suspension does an admirable job of keeping it pointed the right-way-around, it still feels heavy. I guess that makes sense considering it is heavy. But, it does feel several elephants lighter than the pricier rival Porsche Panamera.
All that being said, what's it like to drive the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V? Wonderful. I love it, and I want one.