2013 Cadillac CTS-V Road Test & Review: Introduction
Something about driving the Cadillac CTS-Vmakes you swagger when you step out of it. You'll find yourself walking into places with an authoritative air, as if you own the world. It has been said power corrupts, and while we wouldn't characterize the feeling as being corrupted per se, the phrase "infused with attitude" does have quite a bit of resonance in this circumstance.
Like so many high performance cars the Cadillac can get from Aretha to Beyonce with insane quickness. However, unlike so many high performance cars, the CTS-V does it with a sophistication completely belying its amazing potential. While the angular, sharply drawn lines of the CTS-Vwould lead you to imagine a harsh ride and an all enveloping exhaust note, the CTS-V instead displays refinement.
The first production four-door sedan to break the legendary eight-minute barrier at Germany’s famed Nürburgring on street tires – the CTS-V established an indisputable reputation as one of the world’s highest-performing luxury sedans right out of the box.
In short, the CTS-V is one badass Cadillac y’all.
A model unto itself within the Cadillac CTS range, the CTS-V is available as a wagon and a coupe as well, just as is the rest of the CTS lineup. What distinguishes the CTS-V is its amalgamation of precisely coordinated technological and performance elements.
Among the model’s distinctive features are GM’s Magnetic Ride Control suspension system, a set of exceptionally robust Brembo brakes, and four super-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 high performance tires mounted on 19-inch forged aluminum wheels. The heart of the CTS-V though, the foundation for the Cadillac’s incredibly exhilarating driving experience, is the resident supercharged 6.2L V8.
Capable of providing immensely intense levels of thrust, the extremely powerful engine delivers 556 horsepower. Its output is channeled to the rear wheels by either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic and a limited-slip differential.
2013 Cadillac CTS-V Sedan pricing starts at $65,410, including the $895 destination and handling charge.2013 Cadillac CTS-V Road Test & Review: Design
The 2013 Cadillac CTS, upon which the CTS-V is based, already makes an angularly handsome statement. That said, everything you see on the CTS-V differing from the standard CTS is there to help the car go faster.
For example, the CTS-V’s unique chain-link open mesh grille doubles front-end airflow to the engine for improved breathing and cooling. The aggressive front fascia’s huge openings also channel incoming air to the brakes and through the oil cooler — where it can do the most good.
Further, the aerodynamics of the piece helps the front end of the Cadillac stay planted to the ground at the extremely high speeds the CTS-V is capable of generating. Meanwhile, the raised center section of the lightweight aluminum hood provides clearance for the supercharger. The rear spoiler integrated into the trunklid, in addition to producing downforce to improve the Cadillac’s traction at speed, also houses a center high mounted stoplight.
And, while they may not be the prettiest set of 19-inch aluminum wheels you’ve ever seen fitted to a high performance car, they are exceptionally lightweight and designed to pull air in to cool the brakes.2013 Cadillac CTS-V Road Test & Review: Comfort & Cargo
Essentially, what you have in the Cadillac CTS-V is a contemporary reimagination of the Cadillac legacy.Behind the wheel, you and your fortunate front-seat accomplice can be throned magnificently in a pair of Recaro's finest (should you opt for them—and we highly recommend you do). Electrically adjustable and supremely comfortable, the seats' suede-like inserts keep you glued precisely in place, as even the most dynamic of automotive acrobatics ensue.
Speaking of that suede (OK, Alcantara) when you opt for the Recaros our test car had the material also covers the steering wheel, shift lever, and door panel inserts, imparting a new definition of sporty.
Storage space and cupholders abound throughout the interior of the CTS-V. You’ll find map pockets behind the front seats, storage pockets in the doors, a generously commodious center console, and a similarly munificent glovebox. The trunk is capable of swallowing some 13.6 cubic feet of cargo. For those of you for whom such numbers do not incite an image, that’s basically enough space for a reasonably well-dressed couple to pack very comfortably for a road trip.2013 Cadillac CTS-V Road Test & Review: Features & Controls
The hand cut and sewn double-stitched leather dash radiates an ambiance of exclusivity, while the sleekly drawn instrument panel reminds you this is indeed a high performance situation. LED accent lighting enhances the Cadillac’s interior experience after dark. The tachometer also incorporates LEDs in a tracer-like function to alert you to the smooth winding engine’s approach to its redline. The CTS-V’s instrumentation includes a boost gauge for the supercharger and a lateral acceleration display providing braking, acceleration and cornering readouts.
Standard comfort and convenience features include dual-zone automatic climate control, a 10-speaker Bose Surround audio system with navigation, satellite radio, an AM/FM stereo, CD/DVD capability, MP3 playback, a 40-gig hard drive, Bluetooth audio and telephone connectivity, and a USB audio input port. Keyless entry and start, ultrasonic rear park assist, a rearview camera system, and remote vehicle start are also standard equipment.
Further, the world’s fastest Cadillac brings heated front bucket seats with power eight-way driver and passenger adjustment, articulating head restraints, and driver memory features as standard (BTW, the aforementioned optional Recaros incorporate these same features).
The microfiber steering wheel we loved so much in our test car is optional, a leather wrapped unit is standard. Either way though, a set of auxiliary controls for the audio and cruise control functions are incorporated within it as a standard feature. The wheel will also include paddle-shift controls if you decide to go with the automatic transmission.2013 Cadillac CTS-V Road Test & Review: Engine/Fuel Economy
The most powerful engine ever fitted to a Cadillac model powers the 2013 Cadillac CTS-V. Producing 556 horsepower and 551 ft-lbs of torque, the engine endows the Cadillac sedan with outstanding acceleration and top speed potential.
The 6.2-liter V8 features an intercooled Eaton supercharger with four-lobe rotors twisted 160 degrees. By way of comparison, most automotive superchargers feature three lobes twisted 60 degrees. The CTS-V’s fourth lobe and 160-degree profile are combined with unique air inlet and outlet ports to create smoother, more efficient airflow into the engine.
The Cadillac is offered with a choice of two six-speed transmissions. For those who love to row to go, there is a Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual with a dual-disc clutch. For those who prefer to set it and forget it, a Hydra-Matic 6L90 six-speed automatic with steering wheel-mounted shift controls is the other offering. The steering wheel-mounted controls require no shift lever movement to allow immediate tap up/tap down gear selection. However, moving the shift lever into the manual gate activates a performance-oriented mode to facilitate sustained high-performance driving.
The CTS-V also gets a high-performance rear axle with a limited-slip rear differential mounted within a cast iron housing to enable faster warm-up and cooling. The rear end also features asymmetrical half-shafts to smoothly manage the supercharged engine’s incredible torque output.
As you might imagine, the Cadillac’s fuel economy philosophy is more about “smiles” per gallon than miles per gallon. The EPA says to anticipate 12 mpg in the city and 19 on the highway with the automatic transmission, while the manual can do 14 in the city and 19 on the highway (when driven conservatively).
In our less than conservative testing experience we averaged 14 miles per gallon overall.2013 Cadillac CTS-V Road Test & Review: Driving Impressions
Nail the throttle and the 556-horsepower, 6.2-liter supercharged V8 does make its presence audible.
However, rather than screaming a skin shredding shriek, the engine emits a warmly muted, yet undeniably powerful baritone—accompanied by skin shredding acceleration. The Corvette-sourced engine streaks the Cadillac CTS-V to sixty from rest in four seconds. Wind it to redline in second gear and you'll be doing 80 miles per hour, while wearing a HUGE grin on your face. Keep your foot to the floor, the Cadillac will eventually top out at 198 miles per hour.
Working your way up through the gears with the manual transmission in our test car is the stuff driving enthusiasts dream fondly of. The clutch action is smooth and take-up is immediate. The lever moves confidently through the gate, seemingly guiding itself and each shift predicates another strong surge of acceleration.
For 2013, Cadillac’s engineers reworked the braking system to incorporate two-piece front brake rotors as standard equipment. Designed to offer greater resistance to warping and potentially longer rotor life, the new strategy also reduced the weight of the suspension system.
The design features a separate cast iron rotor brake ring mounted to an aluminum “hat” attaching the brake assembly to the wheel hub. The hat and brake ring cool at different rates, which helps the rotor dissipate heat more effectively. And yes, the Cadillac stops with even more alacrity than before. In fact, the car stops so hard your eyeballs practically bulge forward in your face.
Meanwhile, the suspension system absorbs pavement irregularities with a degree of competence wholly in keeping with Cadillac’s rep for old school smooth. Yet, when the CTS-V is asked to turn in sharply, the magnetic suspension system keeps the body flat while the super-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires bite into the pavement relentlessly. Having exhibited outstanding balance, grip and agility, the CTS-V then heads swiftly off in the new direction you've chosen with no extraneous steering inputs or hesitation.
Ride = old school. Handling = new rules.
2013 Cadillac CTS-V Road Test & Review: Safety/Ratings
The 2013 Cadillac CTS-V’s active safety features include four-wheel ABS, emergency braking assist, electronic brakeforce distribution, HID headlights that swivel when you turn the steering wheel, fog lamps, and rain sensing automatic windshield wipers.
You’ll also find:
- A dual-stage driver’s air bag
- A dual depth front passenger’s air bag
- Driver and front passenger seat-mounted pelvic/thorax side air bags
- Roof-rail side curtain air bags with rollover protection technology covering both front and rear seating rows
- Front safety belt pretensioners
- A tire pressure monitoring system
- High-strength steel structural components
- Front seat active head restraints
- Ultrasonic rear parking assist
- A rearview camera system.
Additionally, the 2013 Cadillac CTS-V comes standard with a one-year subscription to the OnStar Directions and Connections service. With it, OnStar’s RemoteLink Mobile App controls vehicle functions, accesses vehicle information, and is capable of sending directions directly to the vehicle using a smartphone.
While NHTSA has yet to crash test a CTS-V, the IIHS rates the Cadillac “good” in frontal offset, side impact, roof strength, and rear crash protection/head restraint.2013 Cadillac CTS-V Road Test & Review: Final Thoughts
For many years, anyone desiring a truly capable four-door sports sedan of this caliber was pretty much locked into one of the Germans. With the Cadillac CTS-V, Americans desiring supercar performance with the practicality of a four-door sedan can confidently shop domestic and feel good about the purchase.
What got lost over the years as the makers of America's most notable luxury car bought into longer, lower and wider was the marque's reputation for power and technological innovation. A cursory list of Cadillac innovations includes the first self-starter, the first independent front suspension system, and the first synchronized transmission. Furthermore, Cadillacs back then were routinely fitted with smooth, powerful and elegant V8, V12, and even V16 engines.
The CTS-V reclaims much of this ground.
Essentially, what you have in the Cadillac CTS-Vis a contemporary reimagination of the Cadillac legacy. The car is indulgently luxurious, immensely capable, and devastatingly powerful—the way Cadillacs started out being, way back when. While many may consider the outstanding performance of the 2013 Cadillac CTS-V a novel exercise, in actuality, the car is merely living up to its birthright. One of the finest performance cars available today, when you drive a Cadillac CTS-V, you will indeed feel infused with attitude.2013 Cadillac CTS-V Road Test & Review: Pros & Cons
• Respiration arresting acceleration
• High-tech standard feature
• Seemingy hand-crafted interior
• Comfortable ride (for a performance car)
• Poor fuel economy
• Rear visibility somewhat compromised
• Standard front sport seats leave a bit to be desired comfort-wise (get the Recaros)
• Cadillac brand’s old-school reputation