Performance sedans are meant to take our biggest dreams of speed and power and put them into tangible form. From a heaving work of steel, glass, and acceleration that gets our imagination going. Cadillac must have known this because the CTS-V is the stuff that dreams are made of, with its giant V-8 engine producing more power than most of us know what to do with, and doing it so effortlessly that it makes the driver feel like a superhero. The 2018 model handles even better and knocks its rivals out of the water with the engine performance and communication. Is it a bit more hardscrabble than some of its neighbors? Maybe so. But far from a one-dimensional muscle car, the CTS-V is a sleek hitman with a heart of gold.
What's the engine like?
Performance sedans and big glorious engines are nearly synonymous, so it stands to reason that the CTS-V would have to pack some serious power in its undercarriage to cut. Indeed, Cadillac came out fighting with an engine that comes from the Corvette, a supercharged 6.2 liter V-8 that pulls 640 hp and 630 lb-ft of torque. For those of you who can't even imagine what that must feel like, the CTS-V pulls 0-60 in 3.7 seconds and is capable of reaching 200 mph. That's a beast by any name, but with a quick draw 8-speed automatic transmission coupled with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, it grips the road with nearly 1g of lateral acceleration. Those are Jensen Button type numbers that will set your heart racing, all in the calming frame of a luxury car.
How does it handle the road?
The exterior features are not just slick looking, they're designed to make the CTS-Van aerodynamic wonder, and the job is well done. The suspension has been upgraded to meet the needs of the V-8, and there is a 20% stiffness boost that comes through shock tower bracing, a stronger bulkhead and V-shaped braces under the hood. Power steering is no joke here, with a stiffer steering rack that communicates with updated adaptive magnetic dampers to corner like you're in a chase scene where we all know that no one will catch up to you. The hood is a light carbon fiber with a front splitter and bumpers that feed air into and around the car, the fenders stretch over the wheelbase, and the rear spoiler wraps around the entire car. Once Elon Musk's Hyperloop is fully functioning and porting people left and right, you can tell your friends that you've been there and done that because you've sat behind the wheel of the CTS-V.
Have the tech features improved?
To be fair, no one gets into a performance sedan to truck over to the in-laws, popping 'Finding Dory' into the infotainment system for the 90th time so the kids won't riot. It's not so surprising then that the infotainment system is adequate and fitting with the level of the vehicle, but not astoundingly equipped. The CUE interface comes with Apple Car Play and Android Auto, but the abundance of controls and buttons seems to be a distraction more than a convenience. OnStar comes built into the CTS-V with LTE capability and a wireless hotspot, but the touchscreen and connectivity can sometimes lag and isn't due for an upgrade until 2019 at the earliest. There are also some fumbling control buttons in hard to reach places and narrow door pockets with almost symbolic trunk space. But, you can opt for the Carbon Black performance package with a performance data recorder that allows you to record video and measure lap times. With a car like this, it's doubtful that any potential buyers would be dissuaded by a lack of apps or movie choices.
Should I even bother asking about fuel economy?
I mean, you can ask, but if you're asking then you probably already know the answer. No one buys a performance sedan for the fuel economy, and don't look for a hybridversion to come out anytime soon. The most generous numbers have it at 14/21/17 mpg so if you're planning on track racing, have a pit team ready to refuel you after a lap or two. Fuel economy is especially telling because of the coin purse sized fuel tank, which Cadillac measures at 18 gallons but which may be overstating the case. The infotainment system does let you know the nearest gas stations once you start to run low on fuel, which is useful since you're likely to be filling up pretty often.
What kind of safety features are available?
Like any good performance sedan, the CTS-V has incredible layers of safety tech that can be applied or removed based on the experience of the driver and their preferences. OnStar guidance equips the car with Emergency Roadside Assistance, Stolen Vehicle Assist, Automatic Crash Response and Crisis Assist. There is a standard panic alarm, lane assist, and the PASS-Key III+ ignition disable system in the event of a carjacking. Indeed, it seems that many of the CTS-V's safety features are designed to protect your investment from anyone who might get handsy, rather than accidents or road troubles. The NHTSA gave the CTS-V five stars overall in their crash test rating, but the IIHS gave it a 'Marginal' score for the small-overlap front crash protection, which takes the marks down quite a bit.