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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Cadillac CTS-V Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Cadillac CTS-V Overview

A Little More Muscle and A Lot More Hustle

Cadillac has long been trying to build a car to compete head-on with the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class. In the new CTS, the company has finally achieved its goal and for 2004, an additional dose of power in the form of two new engines makes the CTS an even greater threat.

While the five-speed manual version of the CTS is still powered by a 220-horsepower 3.2 V6, CTS' equipped with the five-speed automatic receive a 3.6-liter V6 with dual-overhead cams and variable valve timing. The new engine not only feels faster off the line, it provides significantly better acceleration when passing and merging. Rated at 255 horsepower and 255 lb.-ft. of torque, the 3.6-liter seems much more at ease moving the CTS than does the base 3.2-liter. This V6 is remarkably refined, exhibiting almost no vibration and emitting only sounds that are pleasing to the enthusiast ear. We can only hope that the manual transmission model will soon get this upgrade as well, as it would make the driving experience much more sporty.

Of course, if you really want to put some power under the hood, you have to drive the CTS-V. This hot-rod version of the CTS features a 400-horsepower V8 teamed to a six-speed manual gearbox. The CTS-V also features bigger brakes, wheels and tires as well as a revised suspension and custom exterior and interior. The CTS-V will be limited to just a few thousand units.

Regardless of the powertrain, you'll find the CTS rides and handles like no Cadillac before it. The CTS is the first of the Cadillac cars to once again feature rear-wheel drive. Rear-wheel drive is the preferred configuration of driving enthusiasts because it frees the front wheels to do nothing but steer the vehicle. In the past, rear-drive cars punished their owners with inferior traction in snow and rain, but today's modern traction control devices, anti-lock braking systems and electronic stability programs have all but banished that type of rude behavior.

To get the CTS' ride just right, Cadillac spent considerable time running the car around the famed Nrburgring test track in Germany. You'll feel the results of their work upon entering your first sweeping curve. The CTS holds the road with all the cling of a static-charged sock. Just try and get the wheels to peel away and the car fights tooth and nail to stay put. The steering wheel is so heavily weighted you sometimes wonder if the power steering has gone out, but it only takes the slightest movement of the wheel to turn the car and once you pull a bit harder, the variable assist magically appears to carry out your directional commands.

The CTS interior is almost as much fun to look at as the car is to drive. Again, this design strikes out into new territory for Cadillac; you won't find any cushy seats or digital dashboards here. Instead, the CTS has been given a very European flavor, spiced up just a bit with a dash of American seasoning. The instrument panel itself replicates the geometric shapes found outside the car, with a prominent center stack housing the air conditioning, audio and optional navigation systems. Directly in front of the driver is a thick, three spoke steering wheel with a series of redundant controls including a super cool rotary mouse that lets you operate various functions with just the edge of your thumb.

Beyond the steering wheel you'll find a full set of instruments and gauges neatly housed in a deeply recessed binnacle. The navigation and ventilation controls are not immediately intuitive, but after you read through the owner's manual, they soon become second nature. We wish we could say the same for our power seat, which was programmed to lift up and tilt forward each time we opened the door to exit, giving us a little "hurry up and get out" help. We are pretty sure that this feature can be turned off, but rather than waste time looking up the details, we decided to spend the rest of our day driving and enjoying the CTS.

We need to quickly mention that the CTS starts at just a hair over $30K and comes standard with a host of luxury amenities, including dual-zone automatic climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, power windows and door locks, illuminated entry, remote keyless entry with alarm, AM/FM stereo with cassette and CD, front side impact and head airbags, traction control, leather bucket seats with 8-way power driver's seat, auto headlamp control and 16-inch cast aluminum wheels. You'll also find that the CTS comes standard with a massively deep trunk, all important to the many golfers who rely on their Caddy to be their caddy.

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