The 2016 Cadillac CTS-V (I give it four out of four stars) is stunningly fast — it goes zero to 60 in 3.7 seconds and has a top speed of 200 mph — but that’s just the beginning of the super sedan’s accomplishments. The CTS-V also brims with advanced safety and convenience features and offers surprising comfort.
Cadillac’s V-series line of high-performance models exists to challenge the peak of Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz’s model lines. The CTS-V competes with the Audi RS 7, BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 for the most exquisite combination performance and luxury the auto industry can attain.
Prices for the 2016 CTS-V start at $83,995. A supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 delivering 640 horsepower and 630 pound-feet of torque is standard, as is an 8-speed automatic transmission. The CTS-V only comes with rear-wheel drive, while competitors like the RS7 and E63 have all-wheel drive to deliver power to the road.
I tested a well-equipped CTS-V that had leather and suede Recaro performance seats, front collision alert, Apple CarPlay, voice recognition, backup camera, a 4G LTE hotspot, automatic high-beam lights, a carbon fiber hood and more.
It cost $93,665, excluding destination charges, but including a $1,000 federal gas guzzler tax.
The CTS-V cost less than comparable models of the RS7, M5 and E63 S-line. Other luxury brands like Infiniti, Jaguar and Lexus don’t build midsize sedans powerful enough to compete with those super cars. Don’t be surprised if Jag adds a 500-horsepower plus version of its new XF sedan next year, though.
The engineering expertise that went into the CTS-V is nearly overwhelming, but the car makes a powerful impression before you even push the start button. The CTS is bigger and roomier than the two generations of CTS that preceded it. The passenger compartment has more space than the RS7, about the same as the E63. The M5 has more passenger and luggage room. The hatchback RS7 has the largest cargo compartment in the group. The Mercedes E63’s trunk is smallest.
The CTS-V’s interior is appointed with carefully crafted materials. The optional Recaro front seats provide both comfort and deep bolsters to hold you secure in fast maneuvers. The front seat could use more storage for glasses, smartphones and the like. The rear seat is comfortable, with plenty of headroom.
The bin behind the center stack climate and audio controls seems a bit less accommodating than in previous CTS.
The center stack’s annoying flat-panel capacitive touch controls for audio and climate controls are unchanged. It’ll be a welcome change when Cadillac returns to a few buttons and dials for those functions.
Cadillac’s voice recognition and touchscreen work well. The addition of Apple CarPlay for iPhone users makes the CTS-V the clear leader in super sedan connectivity.
The CTS-V uses the new third generation of Magnetic Ride Control. It changes the shocks’ response to changes in road surface and driving, adapting for every inch of the road at 60 mph. The system delivers a smooth and comfortable ride over rough surfaces and in steady driving and firms up nearly instantly to keep the CTS-V stable and level in very fast turns and under heavy braking and acceleration.
The supercharged V-8’s 640 horsepower and 630 pound-feet of torque make the CTS-V the most powerful engine in Cadillac history. Both figures handily exceed the RS7, M5 and E63.
The result is a car that’s almost alarmingly fast, even for drivers accustomed to extremely powerful cars. The CTS-V is so stable and quiet that I was shocked to see how fast I was going on the highway. Its handling inspires confidence, deleting the drama from fast curves and high-speed maneuvers.
The V-8 uses cylinder deactivation to save fuel in steady-state driving. The CTS-V’s EPA rating of 14 mpg in the city, 21 highway and 17 combined are admirable for such a fast and powerful car, $1,000 gas-guzzler tax notwithstanding.
Combined with a distinctive appearance that included liquid-appearing optional red paint, grey Brembo brake calipers, a carbon fiber hood with big cooling slots, alloy wheels and distinctive LED lights, the CTS-V is unquestionably one of the world’s finest performance sedans.
Behind the Wheel
2016 Cadillac CTS-V
Rear-wheel-drive, five-passenger, high-performance luxury sedan
Price as tested: $90,695 (including gas-guzzler tax, excluding destination charge)
Rating: Four out of four stars
Reasons to buy: Power; handling; looks; features; value
Shortcomings: Controls; interior storage, AWD not available
Competitive EPA fuel-economy ratings
(Automatic transmission models, rear-drive unless otherwise noted)
Cadillac CTS-V: 14 mpg city/21 highway/17 combined. Premium gasoline.
Audi RS7 Quattro: 15/25/18. Premium gasoline.
BMW M5: 15/22/17. Premium gasoline.
Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 S-model 4Matic: 15/22/18. Premium gasoline.
Comparative base prices (excluding destination charges)
(Automatic transmission models, rear-drive unless otherwise noted)
Cadillac CTS-V: $83,995
Audi RS7 Quattro: $108,900
BMW M5: $94,100
Mercedes AMG E63 S-model 4Matic: $101,700
Specifications as tested
Engine: 3.2-liter 32-valve supercharged V-8
Power: 640 horsepower at 6,400 rpm; 630 pound-feet of torque at 3,600 rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 114.6 inches
Length: 197.6 inches
Width: 82.2 inches
Height: 57.2 inches
Curb weight: 4,145 pounds
Where assembled: Lansing
Key features on vehicle tested
Standard equipment: Anti-lock brakes with auto dry; stability control; front collision alert; front-seat side and knee air bags; curtain air bags; daytime running lights; auto safety-belt tightening; driver awareness package; rear vision camera; front and rear parking assist; tire sealant and inflation kit; OnStar automatic crash notification for one year; 4G LTE hotspot; launch control; magnetic ride control; electronic limited slip differential; 19-inch painted alloy wheels; summer tires; Brembo brakes with grey calipers; carbon fiber hood; leather seat surfaces with suede microfiber inserts; performance front seats; memory for driver settings; power adjustable front seats; power tilt and telescoping steering column; power windows, mirrors and locks; pushbutton start; touch screen; Bose audio; Apple Carplay compatible; Bluetooth phone and audio compatible; SiriusXM satellite radio; HD radio; head-up display; leather-wrapped steering wheel; magnesium paddle shifters; sport alloy pedals; dual zone climate control; rain-sensing windshield wipers; auto-dimming mirrors; automatic high beams; curbside mirror; remote start.
Options: Recaro performance heated front seats; split folding rear seat; power rear sunshade; manual rear side sunshades; heated rear outboard seats; 110v power outlet; Red Obsession tintcoat paint.