Full 2012 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe Review
What's New for 2012
For 2012, the Cadillac CTS-V Coupe gains a standard blind spot warning system and active head restraints.
This is not your grandfather's Cadillac Coupe DeVille. This modern two-door Caddy has a 556-horsepower supercharged V8, handling tuned at the world-famous Nurburgring, and seats fashioned by Recaro, not inspired by La-Z-Boy. Yet like those grand old classics, the 2012 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe is most definitely a head-turner. With its outlandish concept car styling, nothing else looks like it on the road, and it's safe to say that very few cars can keep up with it either.
The problem is that the Coupe pays for its styling with significant practical drawbacks that inevitably make other super sport coupes easier to live with. While the Coupe's cabin design is a dead ringer for the attractive and well-built one found in the CTS-V sedan, actual interior room is notably less. Of course, coupes are expected to be less spacious than their four-door comrades, but the CTS Coupe doesn't even meet these lowered expectations.
As such, a 2012 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe isn't going to be as easy to live with on a regular basis as a BMW M3 or Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. However, if you throw such practical notions to the wind, then this Cadillac has the performance guts to hang with (and/or beat) those aforementioned coupes and many more world-class performance cars. The CTS-V goes from zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, which is the quickest for its class, and good enough to stand toe-to-toe with high-end sport coupes like the Jaguar XKR and Porsche 911.
Of course those latter cars cost vastly more than the relatively bargain-priced CTS-V. So there is definitely a trade-off to be had when considering the 2012 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe. The question is: Do you think with your heart or with your head?
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2012 Cadillac CTS-V is a four-passenger high-performance version of the CTS Coupe. That car is reviewed separately, as are the CTS-V sedan and wagon
Standard equipment includes 19-inch wheels, summer performance tires, high-performance brakes, a limited-slip differential, magnetically controlled adaptive suspension, automatic and adaptive xenon headlamps with washers, foglamps, rear parking sensors, a blind-spot warning system and automatic wipers. Comfort and convenience features include keyless ignition/entry, remote ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, a cabin odor filtration system, heated eight-way power front seats, driver memory functions, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather/faux-suede upholstery, a split-folding rear seat and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Electronic features include Bluetooth, a rearview camera, a navigation system, real-time traffic and weather, a pop-up touchscreen interface and a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system with a CD/DVD player, satellite radio, digital music storage and an iPod/USB audio interface.
Options include a tilt-only sunroof, heated and ventilated Recaro sport seats, and faux suede covering the steering wheel and shifter.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2012 Cadillac CTS-V is powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that produces 556 hp and 551 pound-feet of torque. Rear-wheel drive and a six-speed manual are standard, but a six-speed automatic is a no-cost option. In Edmunds testing, a manual-equipped CTS-V Coupe went from zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 14 mpg city/19 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined with the manual and 12/18/14 with the automatic.
The 2012 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe comes standard with high-performance antilock brakes, stability control and traction control, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. Also standard are a rearview camera, a blind-spot warning system and GM's OnStar emergency communications system. In Edmunds brake testing, the CTS-V stopped from 60 mph in a superb 104 feet. Few cars can beat that.
Interior Design and Special Features
As with the sedan model, the interior of the 2012 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe features a pleasing angular theme to match the exterior edginess. Soft-touch materials are plentiful, accented by tasteful wood trim. The optional navigation system emerges from the top of the dash and retracts almost fully, leaving a small section visible as a touchscreen display for the audio system -- a smart and elegant solution to having a separate control panel.
This is where the flattering stops, though, as the interior is otherwise filled with compromises and flaws. Outward rear visibility is notably poor, forcing the driver to rely on the rearview camera and blind-spot warning systems. The optional tilt-only sunroof significantly limits front seat headroom even for those of average height. Rear seat passengers must always deal with a lack of headroom, and the raked rear window will leave their heads exposed to direct sunlight most of the time. To make matters worse, overall comfort and support are hampered by flat and stiff front seats, though at least the optional Recaro sport seats address this shortcoming.
Trunk space is an acceptable 10.5 cubic feet on paper, but in reality, the narrow opening requires quite a bit of jostling in order to fit bulky items. The large gooseneck hinges also swing far down into the space, crushing anything 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 2012 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 and ultimately less agile.
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.