The 2012 Cadillac CTS-V is very nearly a wolf in sheep's clothing. Even though the CTS-V offers a shocking performance upgrade over the standard Cadillac CTS, the tweaks made to its styling, aero package and general attitude make it a little too aggressive to qualify as a true sleeper. That being said, this is one luxury car that will surprise more than a few dedicated sports models both on the street and on the track when it comes time to put the hammer down and rip through the twisty bits.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2012 Cadillac CTS-V.
1. The 2012 Cadillac CTS-V Comes In Three Body Styles
The 2012 Cadillac CTS-V is unique in the high performance luxury world in that it comes in not one, but three separate body styles. The Cadillac CTS-V was initially offered as a four-door mid-size sedan, but eventually the lineup grew to include the breathtakingly angular Cadillac CTS-V coupe and then the surprisingly practical Cadillac CTS-V wagon. The latter actually offers a very usable 58 cubic feet of total interior cargo space with the rear seats folded forward.
Although each Cadillac CTS-V model is based on its standard CTS sibling, there are a number of important styling changes that have been made to the vehicle's looks. The CTS-V gains unique wheels, mesh grilles, an aggressive front fascia, an intimidating power bulge in the hood and unique V badging, all of which help set the cars apart from their more pedestrian stable mates.
2. The 2012 Cadillac CTS-V Features A Supercharged V-8 Engine
The 2012 Cadillac CTS-V comes with an impressive lump under the hood. The CTS-V is powered by a detuned version of the same 6.2-liter V-8 that is found in the Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 supercar. Despite using a different supercharger than the 'Vette, the CTS-V's blown LSA mill offers up an exceptional 556 horses and 551 lb-ft of torque. These numbers are made possible via the use of hypereutectic aluminum pistons, an aluminum block, an air-to-liquid intercooler and a lightweight internal design that is still strong enough to take the boost the makes the CTS-V such a beast.
3. The 2012 Cadillac CTS-V Comes With Two Transmission Options
The 2012 Cadillac CTS-V provides a pair of transmission options that together cover both the sporty and the comfort-oriented character of the automobile. True performance diehards will naturally select the Cadillac CTS-V's six-speed manual box, a row-your-own affair which offers the most precise control over gear shifting and an option which has become increasingly rare in a mid-size sedan - let alone a wagon. For those who would rather let a computer handle the shifting duties for them, the Cadillac CTS-V can also be had with an optional six-speed automatic tranny. It offers selectable gear changes via steering-wheel mounted shift paddles, and unlike dual-clutch automated manual designs that have begun to proliferate through the industry the Cadillac's traditional torque converter unit is capable of offering extremely smooth cruising at civilized speeds.
4. The 2012 Cadillac CTS-V Offers Impressive Performance
Taken together, the Cadillac's 556 horsepower, 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine and six-speed engine options allow it to accelerate like few other automobiles with a two-ton curb weight. The fastest Cadillac in the history of the brand, the CTS-V sedan can hit 60 miles per hour from a standing start in an astonishing 3.9 seconds (with the coupe and the wagon playing in the same neighborhood with the pedal down). The vehicle has a top speed of just under 200 miles per hour, and it can screech to a stop from 60 miles per hour in a very short 100 feet thanks to its enormous six-piston front brakes and four-piston rears supplied by Brembo.
5. The 2012 Cadillac CTS-V Was Tuned At The Nurburgring
It's not just the phenomenal power that makes the 2012 Cadillac CTS-V such a blast to drive. GM engineers also spent an extensive amount of time tuning the vehicle's chassis on the famed Nurburgring race course in Germany, the same proving ground where competitors such as BMW have traditionally put their vehicles through their paces. The Cadillac CTS-V features a Magnetic Ride Control suspension system that automatically adjusts to driving conditions in order to provide the best balance between comfort and performance. The vehicle's suspension also can be set to sacrifice a smooth ride for the utmost in raw performance - a characteristic that helped expert driver (and engineer) John Heinricy pilot a CTS-V sedan to the track record at the Ring when it was first released in 2009.
6. The 2012 Cadillac CTS-V Features A Sporty Interior
The 2012 Cadillac CTS-V's interior is largely based on that of the standard CTS, but it does come with a few notable upgrades that are better suited to the automobile's high powered nature. Perhaps of greatest interest to enthusiasts are the availability of Recaro sport seats which offer 14-way adjustments in addition to the ability to provide incredible stability when gripping the body through fast turns. The trim found throughout the vehicle's passenger compartment is piano black instead of chrome, and a number of suede accents are also included as a nod to the CTS-V's special place in the Cadillac lineup.
7. The 2012 Cadillac CTS-V Provides Substantial Luxury
In addition to its menace, the 2012 Cadillac CTS-V also offers the high level of luxury amenities that one would expect from a mid-size premium vehicle. The CTS-V offers heated and ventilated leather seats, an optional sunroof, a navigation system, a 5.1 Bose surround sound system, Bluetooth integration, rear parking assistance, a rearview camera and satellite radio. Automatic editions of the car also come with an adaptive remote start feature that automatically activates the vehicle's defrost system and climate control in order to clear front and rear glass of snow and ice prior to the driver slipping behind the wheel.
8. The 2012 Cadillac CTS-V Is A Docile Daily Driver
Much of the focus on the 2012 Cadillac CTS-V is naturally oriented towards its mind-blowing capabilities on the race track. What really helps set the CTS-V apart from dedicated sports cars, however, is just how livable it is on a daily basis. In fact, when the automobile's Magnetic Ride Control suspension system is set to emphasize comfort the Cadillac truly drives like a Cadillac - a vehicle that absorbs pavement insults with ease while still offering the kind of road feedback associated with a performance car. The Cadillac CTS-V can be thought of as a Corvette wearing a tuxedo, albeit one which can also offer two additional doors, three more passenger spots and even the added practicality of a wagon configuration.
9. The 2012 Cadillac CTS-V Is A Safe Sports Car
The 2012 Cadillac CTS-V envelopes driver and passengers in a protective web of airbags, including front airbags, side airbags for those riding up front and of course side curtain airbags that deploy along the entire length of the Cadillac's cabin. The CTS-V also features active safety features such as electronic traction and stability control (which can be dialed back in order to allow for more spirited driving when desired), as well as the OnStar system which can automatically put vehicle occupants in touch with first responders in the event of an accident.
10. The 2012 Cadillac CTS-V Is Affordable In Its Class
The 2012 Cadillac CTS-V is a world-beating performer that is up against some pretty serious hardware in the luxury sport sedan / coupe / wagon segment. One of the Cadillac's secret weapons, however, is just how inexpensive the automobile is in comparison to its competitors from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The Cadillac CTS-V sedan starts at an MSRP of just $64,515 - $20,000 less than the previous generation BMW M5 and almost $25,000 less than the Silver Star-wearing E63 AMG. It's not often that 'high performance luxury' and 'value' are found together in the same sentence, but the 2012 Cadillac CTS-V delivers on both counts.