As soon as I squeezed on the trigger of the Caddy’s 640-horsepower engine, the whine of the supercharger made my mouth water.
How tasty, I thought, as my eyes flicked to the center console in search of the modes control. Ah, yes, I punched the button to click through Snow, Touring and Sport to land on Track. With this type of weapons-grade power, it takes mental power to resist the voices that say “Punch it” — but I did anyway. And, mercy, what a righteous roar channels through the 2016 CTS-V.
Nobody really needs such ballistic force in a luxury sedan, but the Corvette racing engineering that went into the CTS-V is a formidable chain of command. I was familiar with the car’s potential because its 6.2-liter, supercharged V-8 is also the engine used in the Z06 Corvette and I’d driven that car on a racetrack.
The CTS-V gets a 10 horsepower reduction but the torque is still an aggressive 630 foot-pounds at 3,600 rotations per minute, which puts all that launch force in the daily driving range. You feel this power and hear this power with every push on the ignition button and every pull of the suede microfiber shifter for the eight-speed automatic. That’s part of the reward in ownership. And it should be at $96,000 as tested.
The CTS is formal luxury in a large midsize sedan with significant interior roominess, including a tall 40.4 inches of front headroom and a lanky 45.7 inches legroom. Back seat legroom is a comfortable 35.4 inches with plenty of footroom.
There are four engine choices ranging from a 268-horsepower turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder; 335-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6; 420-horsepower, twin-turbo version of the 3.6-liter; and the mighty 6.2 V-8 in the V. All engines are matched with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Pricing starts at $47,050 for the entry rear-drive model; add $2,000 for all-wheel drive. Pricing includes four years or 50,000 miles of premium care maintenance.
The V starts at $84,890, including the $995 freight charge from Lansing, Michigan. It compares with such high-power sedans as the BMW M5, Audi S6, Lexus GS F and Mercedes-AMG E63.
The test car with options was $96,485, which included a $1,000 gas-guzzler tax, Crystal White Tricoat paint ($500), the $5,500 carbon fiber package, $2,300 Recaro performance front seats and more.
The V’s transmission is from the eight-speed engineered for the Z06 and it gives quicker shifts than any manual or human can manage — with no diminished pleasure in not clutching. When soaring along your favorite stretch of back road, the driver can hold the power right on the edge to steer with flinty precision. The smart transmission holds upshifts and then with just a squeeze more to the pedal, the rear end digs in for that boost of exit power.
That’s an easy accomplishment in a two-seat sports car, but the CTS is a five-seat, rear-wheel-drive four-door that weighs 4,145 pounds. Rolling on the power is like dialing a rheostat — it just doesn’t seem to run out of instant acceleration. There isn’t time to tell your friends to shut up and hold on. Cadillac cites 0-60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds. Fuel economy ratings are 14 miles per gallon city, 21 highway and 17 combined on the required premium. I have no idea what my real-world mileage was, but I did appreciate the 19-gallon tank.
With standard Magnetic ride Control — the magic flux in the front and rear stabilizer bars V — there is no perceptible weight transfer. The car just bends with the road in a steely performance that is consistent and accurate. It has a weight distribution of 52.7 percent front and 47.3 rear.
The V treatment also gets blue-chip backup from 19-inch Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires 265/35ZR front and 295/30ZRrear. The vented Brembo brakes — 15.35-inch discs front and 14.37-inch rear — have staggered six-piston calipers at the front and four-piston calipers rear. The stopping power helps the car feel invincible.
It takes good bones to make such a supersedan, as Cadillac calls its CTS-V. And while the car does not feel like $90,000 worth of luxury, it does feel like $100,000 worth of performance. And that will just never grow old.
Now shut up and hold on to your stopwatch.
Mark Maynard is online at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find photo galleries and more news at Facebook.com/MaynardsGarage