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In a luxury sport sedan market that's traditionally dominated by German carmakers, the Cadillac STS-V makes a tremendous impression. A model from Cadillac's V-Series line of ultra-performance vehicles, the STS-V is based on the STS large sedan. With its supercharged V8 producing 469 horsepower, it had been the most powerful car Cadillac ever produced until being thoroughly passed by its little brother, the CTS-V. The car also comes with upgraded hardware for improved handling and braking and minor styling changes to differentiate it from regular STS models.
The focus on performance doesn't come at the expense of luxury. Just like the standard version, the V-Series sedan is comfy, plush and loaded with a generous amount of premium features. Overall, we're quite impressed. Though the Cadillac STS-V could be a very viable choice for a big-bore luxury sport sedan, the new CTS-V blows it out of the water in just about every area short of interior space. We suggest saving 20 grand and opting for the smaller, better Cadillac CTS-V.
Current Cadillac STS-V model
The Cadillac STS-V is a special-edition, high-performance sedan available in one trim level only. (Cadillac says it limits production to help exclusivity.) Standard equipment highlights include heated front and rear seats, a navigation system and a 15-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system with a six-CD changer.
Distinguishing the STS-V from the standard STS are larger wheels (18-inchers in front and 19s in the back), massive Brembo brakes, a larger front grille for improved airflow, additional brake ducts and additional aerodynamic and stylistic enhancements.
For motivation, the rear-drive STS-V is equipped with a supercharged 4.4-liter V8 engine that pumps out 469 hp and 439 pound-feet of torque. Zero to 60 is accomplished in 5.1 seconds. A highly responsive six-speed automatic transmission (with manual shift control) is standard.
But the Cadillac STS-V is world-class in ways beyond its under-the-hood muscle. It has been outfitted with a sport-tuned suspension. And compared to a standard STS, V-Series sedan's steering is quicker. The result is that it handles like a car half its size while providing meaningful feedback to its driver. A limited-slip differential, antilock brakes, stability control and traction control are all standard on the STS-V. Other safety equipment includes front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags. Rear parking assist, a lane departure warning system and blind spot warning system are also standard.
The STS-V's long wheelbase means there's generous legroom in the front and back. The interior is upscale and handsome, with finely stitched seats and accents of wood and aluminum, though it's still not quite at the top level of quality found in some European luxury sedans. The trunk is also smaller than what one might expect for this class of car.
In reviews, our editors found the Cadillac STS-V to be powerful in every situation. It rockets off the line, but the real allure is what happens afterward. Passing power on the highway is effortless and easy. And even when you don't have the accelerator pedal pinned, the STS-V's handling abilities make it fun to drive. It's true that it's a bit out of its element on tight, twisty roads. In general, the STS-V strikes an excellent balance between high-performance capability and everyday luxury driving. However, the redesigned CTS-V is a substantially better vehicle -- in every conceivable way, especially performance -- and is also about $20,000 less expensive.
Used Cadillac STS-V models
The STS-V debuted for the 2006 model year. It received minor interior trim improvements for 2008, along with additional standard safety features.