Full 2013 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe Review
What's New for 2013
The 2013 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe returns essentially unchanged.
On appearances alone, the angular 2013 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe is like nothing else on the road. Its aggressively raked roofline gives the car a forward-leaning stance that makes you think of a predatory animal ready to pounce. This innovative design with its sharply beveled angles piques the interest of everyone who sees it. Like so many other things in life, however, this Cadillac's form trumps functionality.
Beneath its beautiful surface lie numerous compromises in function that might be too much for some to bear. Rear visibility is as poor as it gets, and the elevated rear deck and thick sailplane-style C-pillars will have you relying far too heavily on the rearview camera when you're reversing in tight quarters. On top of this, the rear window does little to shield backseat passengers from the heat of blinding sunlight. Just as troublesome is the trunk that is compromised by downward-swinging hinges, standard seats that are oddly shaped with annoying pressure points and an optional sunroof that limits headroom more than it should.
Of course, these are all complaints that relate to the conventional CTS Coupe. To the CTS-V's credit, at least you get a hearty boost in power output in the form of a 556-horsepower supercharged V8. The V-specification coupe's handling is also very impressive, though this heavyweight package lacks the responsiveness of its lighter rivals when it comes to overall maneuverability.
Stacked up against the likes of the similarly priced Audi RS5, BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, the 2013 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe may have the upper hand when it comes to brute power, but it falls well short when it comes to refinement. Of these cars, the CTS-V is more like a sports car, not a sporting coupe, and you must embrace its muscular, demanding personality for it to make sense as your daily ride.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Cadillac CTS-V is a high-performance, four-passenger version of the Cadillac CTS Coupe, a car that is reviewed separately, as are the CTS-V sedan and wagon.
Standard features include 19-inch wheels, summer performance tires, high-performance brakes, a limited-slip differential, a 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 phone connectivity, OnStar emergency communications, 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, an auxiliary audio jack 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 rear-wheel-drive 2013 Cadillac CTS-V is powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that produces 556 hp and 551 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and 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 mpg with the automatic.
Standard safety features for the 2013 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe include 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, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, an emergency button, stolen vehicle locator and active intervention, and remote door unlock. In Edmunds brake testing, the CTS-V stopped from 60 mph in an impressively short 104 feet, which is onpar with the finest sports cars in the world.
Interior Design and Special Features
As with the sedan model, the interior of the 2013 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.
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 exposes them to direct sunlight. To make matters worse, the standard seats are both too firm and unsupportive, although the optional Recaro sport seats address this shortcoming.
Trunk space seems acceptable on paper, with 10.5 cubic feet of capacity, but the narrow access is troublesome for larger items. The large gooseneck hinges of the lid 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 2013 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 BMW 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.