It's been 10 years since the first Cadillac CTS-V exploded onto the sport sedan scene, startling not just longtime crest-and-wreath customers unaccustomed to the car's blazing V-8 performance, Vader-esque looks, and manual transmission, but also spooking the cadre of German luxury brands who hadn't expected their supremacy in the segment to be challenged with such gusto. Now entering its third generation, the all-new 2016 Cadillac CTS-V incorporates a litany of lessons learned from the previous two models, and in the process pulls off one of the auto industry's most difficult balancing acts: combining face-melting performance with over-the-top luxury that tames its savage breast to the point where you'd be completely comfortable lending it to your grandmother for a run to Bingo Depot.
I recently had the opportunity to pilot the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V at Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin's famous race circuit, and a facility that puts a distinct emphasis on top-end speed. Combined with nearly a full day spent tooling around the region's beautiful lake country, I was able to sample the full 10-octave range of the deep-chested CTS-V's magnificent new platform. Hopefully none of the car's virtuosic - or is that ballistic? - performance is lost in the translation from visceral sensation to the written word.