What's New for 2006
Cadillac follows up last year's introduction of the STS luxury sport sedan with an STS-V performance variant in 2006. The STS-V features a supercharged V8, upgraded suspension and braking hardware, bigger wheels, aerodynamic enhancements and special interior trim.
It wasn't that long ago that Cadillac's lineup of cars was a motley collection of also-rans in the luxury car market. But matters have turned around nicely for GM's luxury division. Last year, for instance, it introduced the STS sedan, a replacement for the Seville that we think quite highly of. Now, Cadillac has switched on the afterburners and expanded its V-Series line of performance vehicles with the STS-V.
To create the STS-V, Cadillac started by installing an Eaton Roots-type supercharger to the top of its Northstar V8 to create the most powerful production Cadillac engine ever. OK, Caddy didn't just bolt the blower on. First its engineers redesigned every major component of the Northstar engine, reduced the engine's displacement from 4.6 liters to 4.4 liters and dialed back its compression ratio to a more boost-friendly 9.0 to 1. Then, they engineered and patented a unique induction system. The air enters the supercharger from the rear, passes through its spinning vanes from the bottom, is cooled by a top-mounted intercooler and then does a complete 180 before heading down the long runners of the intake manifold. It all fits neatly under the STS-V's bulging hood, makes 10-12 pounds of boost and cranks horsepower from 320 to a mouthwatering 469. According to Cadillac, the STS-V can tick off 60 mph in fewer than 5 seconds.
A six-speed automatic transmission with a manual sequential-shift feature transfers that power to the Cad's 19-inch six-lug rear wheels and fat Pirelli tires. The upsized Brembo brakes measure 14 inches in diameter in front and 14.3 inches in the rear. Small trim touches like aluminum accents on the steering wheel and instrument bezels are as radical as the Cadillac STS-V gets on the inside. Most of the STS's interior features come standard (as one would hope for about $75,000), and the seats have additional bolsters and suede inserts to hold you in place when you're driving immaturely. On the outside, there's no missing the tasteful metal mesh grilles, deeper front spoiler and a rear deck lid spoiler.
The STS-V is a serious performance machine and should be treated as such. True, it isn't an M5 beater. Pit it head-to-head on a mountain road and the STS-V wilts in the face of the M5's fiery and dynamic athleticism. But it outclasses the Jaguar S-Type R and makes for a very interesting alternative to the Mercedes E55 AMG. If you're eyeing a big-bore luxury sport sedan, the 2006 Cadillac STS-V is worth heavy consideration.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The Cadillac STS-V is a performance variant of the regular V8-powered STS luxury sport sedan. Just about every feature offered on the STS is standard. Interior highlights include sport seats with perforated suede inserts, special wood and aluminum accents, a 15-speaker Bose audio system with surround sound and an in-dash six-CD changer, satellite radio, a DVD-based navigation system and a sunroof. HID headlights and rear parking assist are also included. The "V" part of this car's name means that it also comes with 18-inch wheels in front and 19s in back, oversized Brembo disc brakes, aerodynamic enhancements, a performance-tuned suspension, quicker steering and a limited-slip differential.
Powertrains and Performance
The heart of the Cadillac STS-V is a supercharged 4.4-liter V8. It produces 469 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 439 lb-ft of torque at 3,800 rpm. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission that features manual-shift control. Expect a 0-to-60-mph time of fewer than 5 seconds.
The STS-V comes standard with ABS, stability control, traction control, seat-mounted side bags for front occupants and head curtain airbags for all outboard passengers. Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has crash tested the 2006 Cadillac STS-V.
Interior Design and Special Features
Cadillac has been putting extra effort into interior quality and design as part of its self-proclaimed renaissance, and it shows. Panel fit and finish is very good. A generous wheelbase measuring 116.4 inches, which is longer than most of its rivals, promises that the STS-V's backseat passengers will have plenty of room. Rear legroom trumps that found in the E-Class and even edges out the spacious LS 430. On the other hand, at 13.8 cubic feet, the STS-V's luggage capacity is merely adequate.
As you might expect, overtaking slow-moving cars or trucks requires little forethought. Just dip the throttle and go. Mash the pedal and the Cadillac STS-V bellows forth on a huge wave of supercharged torque. The car's rather large size does ultimately limit its ability to hustle through corners, but make no mistake -- this is not a lumpy Cadillac car of yore and is fully competent in matching or exceeding the skills of most drivers. The sport-tuned suspension, larger wheels and tires and big Brembo brakes all do their part to make this a very complete package.