Test Drive: Cadillac CTS-V Coupe

Joe Pugliese

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.

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.

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.

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