2012 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe: A serious luxury performance machine

Posted: June 12, 2012 at 10:15 am

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The 2012 Cadillac CTS lineup represents very nice vehicles that provide an above average level of performance capability. And...if you are a fan of the base CTS models, you're sure to enjoy the CTS-V version Cadillacs even more. The 2012 CTS-V Coupe is a wicked-looking machine -- perhaps a little too angular to suit everyone's personal taste, but count me as an avid admirer. After all, taste is in the eye of the beholder. It's also not out of context to think of this latest iteration CTS-V as a high-performance luxury coupe version of Corvette's ZR1. Admittedly, the 'Vette generates a higher boost from its supercharger and sports a different exhaust, which, along with other tweaks, cranks out more horses and higher torque than does the CTS-V, even though they share the same basic engine.

The power source is an extremely potent, 6.2-liter supercharged, intercooled OHV V8 engine with 16-valves and sequential center-feed fuel injection. The engine is longitudinally mounted up front and pumps out an SAE-certified 556 horses @ 6,100 rpm along with 551 pound feet of torque @ 3,800 rpm. Motive energy is delivered to the rear wheels via either a Tremec TR6060 -- six-speed fully synchronized manual gearbox with a single overdrive, or an electronically controlled Hydra-Matic 6L90 six-speed automatic overdrive with torque converter clutch. The engine is the most powerful ever offered in the nearly 106 years of Cadillac's history. The automatic transmission features both steering wheel

The CTS-V displays a more aggressive appearance than its base counterpart as well. It actually amplifies the assertive stance of the standard car and seems to radiate the car's increased performance capabilities. The dihedral Cadillac grille is larger, allowing increased air flow to the potent engine, while the hood is raised to accommodate the supercharger. Both the pronounced and extended front and rear fascias readily identify it as a V-Series vehicle.

The coupe and sedan feature the same wheelbase but the coupe measures 3.1-inches less than the sedan, is 1.6-inches wider, 2.1-inches lower and 391 pounds lighter than the sedan. The CTS-V family rolls into 2012 virtually unchanged, offering only a pair of new exterior colors -- Black Diamond Tricoat and Opulent Blue Metallic. Also, side blind zone alert is added exclusively to CTS-V Coupe.

The interior of the V- Series includes all the plush elements of the CTS sport sedan and then some. Extras include available Recaro performance seats, a suede-like microfiber covering for the steering wheel, seats and shifter. The center stack is trimmed in an Obsidian material, which also appears on the center console and door trim. The instrument panel, door trim and center console are hand-stitched like every CTS. There's a 40-gigabyte hard drive supporting the info-tainment systems, an advanced navigation system with a pop-up screen, Bose digital surround audio system and Bluetooth capability.

The CTS-V features Magnetic Ride Control (the world's fastest-reacting suspension technology) with electro-magnetically controlled shocks fore and aft -- adds to the car's cat-like agility. The front suspension is an independent SLA set-up with a hollow 29-mm stabilizer bar, and tuned spring rate. Suspension in the rear is also independent SLA with a 24-mm solid stabilizer bar. StabiliTrak, a four-channel, four-mode stability system, Traction Control and engine drag control are standard fare, with Performance Traction Management optionally available. Braking is handled by Brembo four-wheel disc componentry, with four-channel ABS, hydraulic Brake Assist and dynamic rear brake proportioning, and the tires are Z-rated performance Michelin Pilot Sport2, staggered -- 255/40 R19 front and 285/35R19 rear, mounted on 5-"V" (what else?) spoke forged alloy rims that are 9-inches wide in the front and 9.5-inches out back.

My test 2012 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe wore a Thunder Gray Chromaflair exterior finish with an Ebony interior, featuring a Midnight Sapele wood trim Package. The gearbox was the 6-speed manual. The base sticker was set at $63,215 while the Recaro high performance seats with heating and cooling and metal pedals, Navigation system with XM Nav-Traffic, V-specific sueded steering wheel and shift knob, 19-inch satin graphite finished alloy wheels, gas Guzzler tax and destination charge elevated the final tally to $71,185. before sales tax and license fees.

SUMMARY: The 2012 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe is aggressive in its appearance as well as in its performance. Acceleration is blistering, with the ability to stop on a dime while offering change, and the ride quality, though firm, does not give up comfort. Steering is precise as well as predictable.

There will be those who prefer the Sedan over the Coupe, though I can't imagine why. Admittedly, the sedan provides easier rear seat access and a little more room, but the Coupe is so much more appealing and sexy. In the final analysis, the CTS-V Coupe is an exceptional luxury sport vehicle that is wickedly fast and quite plush, providing another seat and surroundings that are far more luxurious than the ZR1 Corvette -- and for a lot less money.

I have a favorite test road that invariably instills car-sickness for passengers, particularly my significant other, but she was fine and enjoyed the ride in the CTS-V Coupe immensely. The car's performance ultimately exceeded that of many more expensive sports cars.

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2012 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe: A serious luxury performance machine

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June 12th, 2012 at 10:15 am