When the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V first showed up in my driveway, I wondered which would take longer: burning a whole tank of gas or me getting pulled over by a police officer. Two days later, with 70 miles of range left on the trip computer, I watched as a motorcycle cop rolled up behind me with his lights on. I knew I was speeding, but as the officer approached the driver’s window, I also knew that it wouldn’t help my case to spout off the car’s specs that include a 0-60 acceleration time of 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 200 mph. “I’m sorry officer, but at least I wasn’t going 200 mph” just wasn’t a good excuse. Fortunately, I wasn’t speeding that bad and he was more concerned with how fast I took a turn, which is an easy feat in this car, so he let me off with a warning.
Knowing that I probably wouldn’t get a second warning, I exhibited a little more restraint in driving after that, but I was still able to get an idea of just how amazing this car is. The Cadillac CTS has been helping Cadillac regain its mojo since 2003, and the all-new 2016 Cadillac CTS-V shows that this company is able to is fully capable of competing against its European rivals anywhere from the Nürburgring to city streets. While I can’t wait to get this car out on a track someday, my week with the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V gave me a new appreciation for this surging luxury brand.
2016 Cadillac CTS-V Exterior:
Just at first glance, the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V is something special with its signature mesh grille, vented hood and fenders and the massive rear spoiler, and this particular car looked downright sinister with its Black Raven paint job. But the color is only the beginning as this tester also had the $995 black-painted 19-inch wheels that help better expose the $595 red-painted Brembo brake calipers not to mention the $5,500 Carbon Fiber Package with carbon fiber hood vents, front splitter, rear diffuser and rear spoiler. The dark colors hide what remains of the tires and brakes, and the standard curbview camera helps keep that low front splitter from getting damaged on parking curbs… it does not look cheap to replace.
2016 Cadillac CTS-V Interior:
The interior of the third-generation CTS was already one of the nicest that Cadillac has ever produced (until the CT6 came along), and the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V takes it up a notch with unique materials and trim. This starts with metallic trim on the dash and a suede microfiber headliner, but this tester gets even better with $2,300 Recaro sport bucket seats, $1,250 UltraView panoramic sunroof, $1,400 Performance Data Recorder and $300 for suede microfiber on the steering wheel and shift lever. This car also had the $1,600 Luxury Package that added three-zone climate control, heated outboard rear seats, power rear sunshade, manual rear side sunshades and a 110-volt power outlet.
In terms of tech, the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V has all you really need like the 12.3-inch configurable gauge cluster, OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, head-up display and wireless inductive charging for smartphones hidden behind the infotainment screen. It would be a shame to drown out the CTS-V’s V-8, but if you really want to, the 13-speaker Bose audio system is up to the task. The Cadillac CUE infotainment system is also standard, and while the system has been upgraded for 2016 with faster operation and compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it is still one of the least user-friendly infotainment systems on the market with touch-screen controls that hide themselves, a small display screen and slow screen changes at times.
Even though it is designed to tear around tracks, the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V offers plenty of room for five passengers to ride in style, although the raised center portion of the rear bench – helping to give a bucket-seat-like feeling to the outboard passengers – greatly reduces headroom for taller occupants. Likewise, there’s plenty of room in the trunk with 13.7 cubic feet of cargo volume.
2016 Cadillac CTS-V Performance:
Under the hood of the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V is the same 6.2-liter supercharged LT4 V-8 as found in the Corvette Z06 only with slightly lower power output and the loss of dry sump oiling (there’s much more room under this carbon fiber hood, after all). In the Cadillac, this direct-injected engine is rated at 640 horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque (down ever so slightly from the 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque from the Z06), and when all that power isn’t necessary, the standard Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation allows for improved efficiency with EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 14 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway**. This fuel economy might seem decent, but CTS-V buyers are still required to pay a hefty gas guzzler tax.
Backing up this engine is an eight-speed transmission that is good enough that will have most drivers forgetting about their lack of a manual transmission option. Shifts are quick and precise, but if that’s not enough for drivers, there is also a manual shift mode that makes use of the steering wheel-mounted magnesium shift paddles. Like the drivetrain, every aspect of the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V has been optimized for performance like the track-tuned suspension, sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, performance-tuned electric power steering, Brembo brake system with six-piston front calipers and four-piston rear calipers, limited slip differential, launch control. Drivers are also able to fine-tune their experience with four selectable driving modes for touring, sport, snow and track.
So what does this all mean for the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V? Not only has it received rave reviews regarding its performance on race tracks, but it also is extremely easy to drive around town… assuming you’re able to restrain your right foot. The ride is noticeably stiffer than your typical mid-size luxury sedan, but it isn’t too rough, which can mostly be attributed to the advanced Magnetic Ride Control system.
2016 Cadillac CTS-V Safety:
With the exception of a fuel cell and a roll cage, the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V could easily pass for a racecar, but it still comes with all of the modern safety features that are common in today’s luxury vehicles including Forward Collision Alert, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning. The 2016 Cadillac CTS has received a five-star crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but the new CTS-V has not been given an overall score since it hasn’t undergone a frontal impact test.
2016 Cadillac CTS-V Overall:
Since it first arrived in 2004, the Cadillac CTS-V has been playing catch up with its European counterparts in terms of both styling and performance, but the all-new 2016 Cadillac CTS-V shows that Cadillac finally has what it takes to be a global leader once again. This car is definitely the Cadillac of sport luxury sedans. After a week with the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V, the only disappointment I was left with was the fact that I wasn’t able to experience this car on a track, but it did show that this 640-horsepower performance sedan can easily be a compliant daily driver.
Regardless of whether buyers are looking for track-ready sport sedan or a mean-looking Cadillac with enough bite to back up its bark, the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V isn’t a cheap proposition. The starting price of $83,995* is about $20,000 more than the previous-gen CTS-V, but you’re definitely getting a lot more car for the money. Tacking on more than $14,000 in options and the required $1,000 gas guzzler tax had this particular car carrying an as-tested price of $100,330, but just like what we’ve come to expect from the M-, AMG- or S/RS-badged German sedans, the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V is worth every penny.
Stop by your local AutoNation-affilliated Cadillac dealership to see the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V for yourself!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2016 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors