Full 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe Review
What's New for 2011
The 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe is an all-new model.
The 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe is stunning in the metal and it has the supercharged V8 power to accompany its aggressive lines. For a select few buyers, these traits alone might be worth the price of admission. And this car's $62,000-plus price tag is intimidating, since it rings in $24,000 more than the standard 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe. But in addition to stunning performance, the additional outlay of cash also gets you a CTS Coupe with fewer compromises.
With 556 horsepower coming from a 6.2-liter engine that drives the rear wheels, the CTS-V Coupe will easily humble any other coupe in its class -- and quite a few that are well outside its price range, as well. The car also handles impressively, with nimble dynamics that belie its 4,200 pounds. For those with a penchant for performance, these traits alone should be worth the price of admission.
When it comes to comfort, the CTS-V Coupe also has its advantages. A suspension configuration with adaptive dampers offers a more composed ride than the base-model CTS Coupe even as it delivers athletic response at high speed. Furthermore, the standard seats in the CTS-V Coupe are more supple than those in the standard CTS Coupe, while the optional Recaro high-performance seats provide lots of support without trading away all-day comfort.
There are, however, some less desirable things about this car. While the interior has the attractive style of the Cadillac CTS sedan, the interior volume is much smaller, especially in the narrow two-passenger rear seat. Headroom is an issue for front seat passengers when a sunroof is in place, and there's not enough in the rear seat for passengers much taller than 5-foot-7. Compounding matters, rearward visibility is abysmal, while the trunk offers just 10.5 cubic feet of capacity.
Rival luxury coupes like the BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz CLK550 outclass the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe in terms of comfort, refinement and convenience. The 2011 Lexus IS F sedan and pricey BMW M6 are also intriguing, high-performance alternatives. The 2011 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG sedan is also noteworthy for its power and refinement, although it is also quite a bit more expensive. But if straight-line performance and styling outweigh all other concerns, the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V should be on your short list.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe is offered in one very well-equipped trim level that includes 19-inch alloy wheels with high-performance tires, Brembo brakes, an adaptive suspension, adaptive xenon headlamps, foglights, heated outside mirrors, rear parking sensors, cruise control, keyless ignition/entry, full power accessories, dual-zone automatic climate control, 10-way power-adjustable heated front seats, driver seat memory, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, LED interior accent lighting and wood interior trim.
On the technology and entertainment front, the CTS-V Coupe also comes with Bluetooth, a rearview camera, a touchscreen navigation system (with real-time traffic and weather updates) and a 10-speaker surround-sound system with satellite radio, a 40GB hard drive for audio storage and a USB port.
Options are few and include a sunroof, 14-way-adjustable Recaro front seats, microfiber-suede trim for the steering wheel and shift knob, and a two-tone saffron-color interior with microfiber-suede seat inserts.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe is powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that produces a thundering 556 hp and 551 pound-feet of torque. The CTS-V Coupe comes only with rear-wheel drive (the standard CTS Coupe is available with optional all-wheel drive), and a six-speed manual transmission is standard while a six-speed automatic is available.
In testing of this CTS-V Coupe with a six-speed manual transmission by Edmunds.com, acceleration to 60 mph from a standstill takes just 4.2 seconds, which is close to supercar performance. The CTS-V's adaptive suspension dampers can be adjusted to either Tour or Sport modes. In Sport mode, this car's handling is impressive considering its 4,200-pound curb weight, and it weaves through the slalom at 69.3 mph and circles our skid pad at 0.90g.
Fuel economy is predictably unimpressive from such a powerful supercharged engine, registering an EPA estimated 14 mpg city and 19 mpg highway.
Standard safety equipment for the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe includes antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, front-seat side airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags and GM's OnStar emergency communications system.
Stopping performance for the CTS-V is impressive, as the car needs only 106 feet to come to a halt from 60 mph. Even after repeated runs, the large Brembo brake units produced consistent results with no sign of fade.
Interior Design and Special Features
Just as with the rest of the CTS lineup, the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe interior features a pleasing angular styling theme to match the exterior edginess. Soft-touch materials are plentiful and are accented by tasteful stitching. Upping the cool factor is the navigation system's touchscreen, which hides within the dash with only a sliver of display available for tracking audio information and then will emerge for full-screen display when navigation is required.
The CTS-V Coupe offers optional Recaro seats with microfiber suede inserts for improved passenger support as well as a distinct style. It's important to note, however, that the Recaro seat option eliminates the standard split-folding rear seat and substitutes a center pass-through with armrest. An optional two-tone interior is also unique to the CTS-V.
Unfortunately the interior also comes with its fair share of flaws. Outward rear visibility is notably poor, forcing the driver to rely on the rearview camera when maneuvering in reverse. The standard front seats offer a decent amount of comfort and even feature microfiber suede inserts and adjustable thigh support. The optional Recaro seats are pricey, but are highly recommended as they provide both more lateral support for spirited driving and more comfort. The low roof line compromises rear-seat headroom and the raked rear window exposes rear passengers to solar heating. The optional sunroof significantly restricts front seat headroom.
Trunk space is a smallish 10.5 cubic feet, and the narrow opening requires quite a bit of jostling in order to fit bulky items. Golf clubs will not fit width-wise, and will eat up the available space as they must be placed diagonally. The large gooseneck hinges also swing quite far down into the space, crushing anything fragile that might be in their way.
Of course, no one really needs a car with 556 hp. But you'll surely want one after you experience this Caddy. The 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe has power to burn, and the supercharged V8 will put a huge grin on your face every time.
The CTS-V is no lightweight, yet it handles well, with the adaptive suspension keeping all four wheels solidly planted on the pavement. Driver confidence is further bolstered by accurate steering with crisp turn-in and adequate feedback, while the powerful Brembo brakes deliver consistent, linear stopping performance. Compared to cars like the M3, however, the CTS-V feels much larger in tight corners.
Thankfully, the CTS-V's athletic handling does not come at the expense of ride comfort. When you equip a standard Cadillac CTS Coupe with its full complement of performance options, the car can feel harsh over anything but the smoothest of pavement. The CTS-V Coupe, on the other hand, benefits from its adaptive suspension, which allows you to tailor the damping to the conditions with Tour and Sport modes. The 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe is everything that Cadillac itself has been trying to become over the last decade or so -- stylish, high-tech, fast and, most of all, modern.