Save the sedan – Ballistic 2019 Cadillac CTS-V Tested

Sadly sedans are becoming a thing of the past as buyers migrate to taller and in my opinion, worse handling SUVs and Crossovers. Cadillac has 4 sedans currently in its range, the ATS, CTS, STS and CT6 of which the CT-6 and the XTS will be killed off next year. The CT6, however, will go out with a bang, with a V version sporting the new twin turbo V8, good for an estimated 550 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque.

Meanwhile I just had to get my hands on 2019 Cadillac CTS-V sedan before it too goes away, along with the ATS-V, hopefully to be replaced with one car and a hot V version.

My tester came loaded to the gunwales with options, so the base price of $86,995 had an additional $18,190 tacked on including the $6,250 carbon fiber package – carbon fiber hood vent, spoiler, front splitter and rear diffuser. Add the luxury package for $2,500, excellent Recaro front seats ($2,500), carbon fiber hood ($1,295), performance data recorder (1,600), 19 inch wheel ($900) and you come out at a total of $106,180.

That puts it squarely in the big performance league with some stiff competition, particularly the BMW M5, Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 S and the upcoming Audi RS7. That said the Caddy is no slouch and old school it may be, it still packs quite a punch.

The CTS V borrows power directly from the Corvette Z06, which means it’s supercharged and intercooled 6.2-liter V-8 borrowed pumps out 640hp. @ 6,400 rpm and 630 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm. It loses 10 hp to the Corvette but this is no real loss.

All this power is transmitted to the road through an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual paddle shifters. To keep all this power reigned in Cadillac uses magnetorheological dampers, a limited-slip differential and 19 inch wheels with 295/30 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires at the rear and 265/35 at the front. 

IS IT FAST?

Once you get going and believe me this car really gets going, you will need some serious braking ability. Cadillac fits the CTS V with massive 15.4” discs at the front with 6 pistons per disc. While I had the car, there was never a time where we thought the brakes would not stop us from any speed.

Cadillac has stiffened CTS-V’s structure over the standard CTS by using a host of strut bracing and plates together with MacPherson-type struts and a multilink rear suspension with the dual-coil, three-mode Magnetic Ride Control shocks. One thing of note is the exhaust is quite subdued, with the majority of noise coming from supercharger, especially when you get on the gas, it emits a spine-tingling wail.

There are several modes to choose and even in Touring mode it feels sharp and ready to go, but still manages to iron out all but the roughest San Diego roads.  I spent most of the time in Sport mode which delightfully changes the tachometer from black to white.

Behind the wheel in the very comfortable, multi adjustable, Recaro performance seats ($2,300), it’s all business. The steering wheel is tastefully wrapped in soft Alcantara and is heated in case you forget your race gloves. Push the start button and the CTS-V starts up with a low burble, the exhaust not as loud as you would expect……Corvette it’s not. At low speeds, all is very refined and just a gentle prod on the gas will get you ahead of everyone else with little effort. Push the gas pedal down hard and the Caddy launches pinning you into the seats, illegal speeds are reached in no time.

Mash your foot the last inch and all hell breaks loose, the supercharger wails and the rear end wiggles as the traction control and the excellent Pilot Super Sports struggle to keep everything in check…it’s fantastic fun. 0-60 is dispatched in 3.7 seconds and the 1/4 mile in 11.6, this is one fast super sedan.

The CTS-V is not just a straight-line missile though so I headed out for some twisty roads to test its mettle. Cadillac’s Performance Traction Management system does an excellent job in keeping all four wheels on the tarmac and unless you mash the gas in a tight turn everything should stay under control. Stab the throttle at a light and the traction control kicks in and does an admirable job of controlling the wheels, but I really wish this car had all wheel drive. Maybe the next one Cadillac.

Since it never rains here in Southern California you can be somewhat of a hooligan in most bends and under-steer is nonexistent. The car simply goes where you point it and when in Sport and Track modes body roll is extremely minimal considering the CTS-V weighs just a hair over 4,000 lbs. All in all, this car is massive fun to drive…. period.

INTERIOR

It’s not quite up to Audi/Mercedes levels but it’s still a very a nice place to be. Matte carbon fiber and alcantara adorns the dash, center console, door panels and headliner. Front seats have 20-way power, heated and ventilated with driver’s side memory function as standard.

The Recaro performance seats in my tester had adjustable side bolsters to keep you in place when the going gets twisty and fast. The revised CUE system works well and can display navigation directions and the current song playing at the same time.

Our tester came with the optional Performance Data Recorder which comprises a video camera and software system that records driving via a front-facing camera and overlays performance data on top of the video. Since we didn’t visit a track we didn’t get a chance to use this.

VERDICT

The CTS-V goes up against some stiff competition from the Germans. The Audi RS7 Performance, BMW M5 or Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 S will give you similar performance but they won’t give you the raw edge that the Caddy gives you.

While not much has changed over the 2018 model there’s still something visceral about this car and I love it. It’s a bold, brash and loud American sports sedan, a little scary at times ……and it’s cheaper than its rivals. I can’t wait to see what the replacement looks like, but for sure it will have a twin turbo V8 and that’s all I really care about. 

2019 CTS-V SEDAN NUMBERS

BASE PRICE: $86,995
PRICE AS TESTED: $106,180
VEHICLE LAYOUT: Front-engine, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan
ENGINE: 6.2L supercharged OHV 16-valve V-8
POWER: 640 hp @ 6400 rpm
TORQUE: 630 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic with manual shifting
CURB WEIGHT: 4,108 lb
0-60 MPH: 3.7 sec
QUARTER MILE: 11.6 sec
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON: 14/21/17
OUR OBSERVED FUEL ECONOMY: 13.7 mpg
PROS: Extremely capable chassis, monstrous power,
CONS: Slightly scary, thirsty

2018-12-18T19:34:38-06:00December 18th, 2018|Comments Off on Save the sedan – Ballistic 2019 Cadillac CTS-V Tested