Lake Bell Test Drives the Cadillac CTS-V Coupe

The actress and THR contributing editor, automotive, finds the new sports car more Black Sabbath than Frank Sinatra.
Courtesy of Cadillac

Cue Sinatra's "Come Fly With Me." Three days in a Cadillac at the end of summer? Clear the roads, Hollywood, I'm gonna start smoking Cubans and wearing satin dinner jackets. But wait, here's the problem: I'm not just driving a Cadillac; I'm driving the 2012 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe. There's no time for cigar smoking in this rear-wheel-drive, 6.2-liter V-8 coupe because you're too busy shifting six speeds of supercharged brawn.

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At first glance, the CTS-V is a far cry from the elegant, albeit kitschy, allure of Caddys of the (distant) past. Its geometric, boxy design evokes Optimus Prime, not nostalgia for high-roller cruising luxury. And for a car competing with the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG and the BMW M3 -- known for performance and aesthetics -- I admit the body of the CTS-V did not initially appeal to me. But what's undeniable is the coupe's 556 horsepower, which comes from a girthy, Corvette ZR1-derived motor and transmission.

Not that I'm complaining. If anything, the sheer torque (551 pound-feet) on this beast let me roll through Los Angeles' stifling traffic almost exclusively in second gear. (Now I am complaining: There should be a dedicated lane for high-performance cars -- think HOV lane -- so serious drivers can explore the upper gears once in a while.) This torture finally ended when I received a call from a pal who needed an impromptu ride home from the airport. Where do I sign? Anything with a highway, for chrissakes! I'm such a good friend.

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As I shifted into fifth on a straightaway on the 10 Freeway -- revving the engine so high that the CTS-V's supercharged-enhanced exhaust note crescendoed to a sexy trill that mimicked an in-his-prime Axl Rose -- I had an epiphany: This is a classic muscle car (it emphasizes power over handling). I was a hearty 20 mph over the speed limit without blinking.

Why was I trying to fit a Sinatra peg into a Black Sabbath hole? Ozzy helped me see that the CTS-V is purely a good-time girl, not one you bring home to Mommy. This car is so fast (0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds), it makes you sweat. With a base price of just under $64,000, this badass American "Iron Man" will smoke competitors any day of the week. Cigars not included.

What do you think?

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