Used 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon
Edmunds' Expert Review
The 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon delivers a combination of world-class performance, style and value in a practical wagon body.
Why on Earth would Cadillac do this? Stuffing a 556-horsepower supercharged V8 into a wagon would seem to garner the same sort of mainstream commercial success as Amish Playboy. Who in their right mind would want a wagon with the performance of a sports car?
If you need to ask these questions, then there's just no way you'll ever understand the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon. Either you think wagons are awesome or you think they're dowdy grandma-mobiles that went out with wood body panels. If you get it, then the CTS-V Sport Wagon tends to elicit the same sort of giggle-inducing reaction as seeing someone clever do something incredibly goofy. Here is a car that has enough cargo room to go antiquing and then enough horsepower to leave the grannies at Ye Olde Treasure Barn coughing in a billowing cloud of white tire smoke.
The Sport Wagon is now the third CTS body style to receive the "V" treatment following the sedan and this year's new CTS-V coupe. As with the other two CTS-V models, the wagon receives a supercharged V8 as well as firmer suspension tuning, bigger wheels, stickier tires, more powerful brakes and V-specific styling enhancements. But the CTS-V has more than just world-class performance going for it; this Caddy also provides an amenable ride for both daily driving and long-distance road trips. Of course, with its generous 25 cubic feet of luggage space with the rear seats raised and 53.4 cubic feet with them lowered, the Sport Wagon is more practical than the whole lot.
In fact, there's no other car sold in the United States that gives you this much practicality and this much performance in one slick-looking package. Like the other CTS-V models, the Sport Wagon is not without its foibles -- its standard seats leave much to be desired in terms of comfort and support -- but for car enthusiasts who get it, the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon could be the only car they ever really need.
2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon configurations
The 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon is a high-performance sport wagon that's offered in a single well-equipped trim level. Standard features include 19-inch wheels, high-performance tires, Brembo brakes, adaptive xenon headlamps, foglamps, a power tailgate, an adaptive and adjustable suspension, keyless ignition/entry, remote ignition (automatic transmission only), a rearview camera and rear parking sensors.
Inside the cabin, standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control, heated eight-way power front seats, driver memory functions, leather and faux-suede upholstery, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, OnStar, a navigation system with real-time traffic and weather, Bluetooth and a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system with a CD player, satellite radio, an iPod/USB audio interface and digital music storage.
Options include a panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated Recaro sport seats with adjustable cushion and backrest bolsters, interior wood trim and faux-suede trim for the shift knob and steering wheel.
Performance & mpg
The 2011 Cadillac CTS-V is powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter V8, a slightly detuned version of the engine under the carbon-fiber hood of the mighty Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. It sends a shock-and-awe 556 hp and 551 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, and a six-speed automatic transmission with shift buttons mounted on the steering wheel is available as an option.
In Edmunds performance testing, an automatic-equipped CTS-V Sport Wagon sprinted from zero to 60 mph in a remarkably quick 4.7 seconds and ran down the quarter mile in just 12.7 seconds. The CTS-V Sport Wagon's estimated fuel economy is 14 mpg city/19 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined with the manual transmission, and 12/18/14 mpg with the automatic.
The 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control and traction control, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. GM's OnStar emergency communications system is also standard. Braking performance is excellent, with the sedan posting a short stopping distance of 109 feet from 60 mph in Edmunds testing.
No Sport Wagon or CTS-V model has been crash tested, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the regular CTS sedan its highest rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests.
The fact that the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon tips the scales at just under 4,400 pounds makes its astounding performance all the more remarkable. The combination of its muscle-bound V8 and modest exhaust note makes the CTS-V deceptively fast. While the manual transmission is a good one, with a nice firm shift action and a surprisingly light and progressive clutch, you'll actually get quicker acceleration with the automatic transmission when it's in Sport mode. However, the automatic is neither the quickest nor the smoothest-shifting unit we've experienced.
The CTS-V's standard Magnetic Ride Control suspension offers a good balance between ride quality and handling via driver-selectable Tour or Sport modes. While it's capable of throwing down some seriously quick lap times at a track, the CTS-V can't hide its 2-ton-plus mass on a tight, winding piece of asphalt. That hefty feeling in tight corners is quickly forgotten when you turn the mighty V8 loose on the straightaways, though.
First, the bad news. The 2011 CTS-V's interior isn't much different from that of the regular CTS model. Now the good news: The CTS already sports one of the nicer passenger compartments in the segment. The overall look is high-class, with an attractive and functional layout for gauges and controls. Materials aren't the best in class, but they're generally high quality. The faux suede seat inserts and steering wheel/shift knob trim are an especially nice touch.
The cabin's most significant shortcoming is a driving position that can be awkward for some, and the standard front seat design, which lacks the comfort and support required for spirited driving. The optional Recaro seats address both of these issues (while adding ventilation to boot) and are highly recommended.
Cargo capacity is obviously important with a wagon (even one with 556 horses), and the CTS-V Sport Wagon provides a generous 25 cubic feet with the rear seats raised and 53.4 cubic feet with them lowered. This is a bit more than the Audi A4 Avant, but a little less than the BMW 3 Series wagon.
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Features & Specs
More About This Model
Nothing says "I've still got sack" like a 100-foot burnout in a supercharged, pushrod-powered American wagon loaded with a toddler, a stroller, a case of Huggies pull-ups and 2 gallons of organic reduced-fat milk. This, friends, is the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon. It's a machine built for the unemasculated American male who still makes a nod to utility. And we want one. Badly.
Honestly, we're not certain who the customers are for Cadillac's wild crossbreed of speed and function. The investment banker family man with the need to carry the occasional ladder, maybe? Or, perhaps, the successful mortgage broker whose midlife crisis involves wholesome burnouts with two kids and a dog in the back?
We don't know. And, frankly, neither does Cadillac. Best of all, it doesn't really matter. Why? Because Cadillac only has to sell 37 CTS-V wagons — the third V-series car in the CTS line — to break even on the project.
And if that's not a testament to economies of scale, we don't know what is.
Wagoning the CTS-V
Talk to Don Butler, vice president of Cadillac marketing, and you begin to get an idea why this is the case. "There's not a lot different on the wagon," Butler says. "Really, it was just a matter of making certain the wagon could live up to the standard of V-branded products."
We can verify that it does. Our mother-in-law nearly slapped us silly the first time we ran the big Caddy up on the torque converter, released the brake and pinned her freshly styled locks into the leather headrests. Wagons, at least in her day, never performed such feats.
But the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon is happy to oblige. After all, it's endowed with all the trickery of other Cadillac V cars — supercharging, two-mode magnetic ride control suspension, Brembo brakes and huge, sticky Michelins. Sure, there were small compromises to keep the budget down — like the fact that this car shares its rear fascia and exhaust outlets with the standard CTS Sport Wagon while other V products get proprietary rear bumpers and exhaust outlets. But the wagon's only real compromises come in the form of additional weight and reduced rigidity.
You Can't Tell
According to Ed Piatek, CTS-V Wagon program engineering manager, the wagon is 8 percent less rigid than the sedan in bending rigidity and 3.8 percent less rigid than the sedan in torsional rigidity. However, it speaks highly of the wagon's body structure that the development team didn't feel the need to add any additional bracing over that of the standard CTS Sport Wagon.
Thanks to a heavier body structure and glass, the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon is about 154 pounds heavier than the sedan, depending on equipment. This brought the total weight of our tester to 4,485 pounds.
We'll admit to not having back-to-back drives in both the sedan and wagon, but if you're not in this game for ultimate performance, then those differences matter little. This is a fast, fun machine that just happens to offer real utility in addition to its stunning speed.
And About That Speed...
Of course, under the wagon's hood resides the same 556-horsepower 6.2-liter supercharged V8 we're now accustomed to seeing in all über-quick Cadillacs. Our test car was fitted with the six-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted shift buttons. And if you want an exceptionally rare machine, the wagon is available with a six-speed manual transmission.
But like all CTS-Vs, this one plain stomps when it's asked to. It banged out a 12.7-second quarter-mile pass at 113.4 mph. That's 0.3 second and 1 mph off the pace of the last CTS-V Sedan we tested. Sixty miles per hour arrives in 4.7 seconds (4.4 seconds with a 1-foot rollout like at a drag strip). Again, a few clicks off the pace of the sedan (4.4 seconds), but not a deal-breaker — at least not for us.
Braking, as produced by the CTS-V's six-piston front calipers and two-piece 15-inch front rotors required 111 feet to stop from 60 mph. The two-piece rotors were aftermarket parts fitted to our car for track use during its press launch. They cost $1,295 and will be available soon from the GM Performance Parts catalog. A rear differential cooler was also fitted. It hasn't been priced yet but is estimated to cost $1,995 and is available from Cadillac dealers.
In our handling tests the wagon danced through the slalom at 68.9 mph and held on around the skid pad at a 0.88g average. That's imperceptibly less speed between the cones than the CTS-V Sedan (69.2 mph) and only marginally less grip, too (0.89g).
A CTS-V All Its Own
Still, what the numbers won't tell you is the effect a 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon has on those with whom it shares the road. And that, at least in our experience, is exactly no effect at all. With the exception of one interested panhandler in the Central Valley, we drove the wagon half the length of California and then some — more than 900 miles in total — without so much as a lifted eyebrow.
This is both good and bad. For us and anyone else who prefers to slide past unnoticed, it's very good. That said, there's a certain subtlety, a slight, unheroic attitude that can only come from a car with this much power and function. Like Clint Eastwood, it makes a statement by how little it says.
It's a theme that carries through to its driver. We found ourselves doddling — driving with little intent to reach our destination. Until, like a cat who must suddenly be in another room, we'd give it all the beans to shake traffic in one deliberate move.
And shake traffic this Caddy will. Like the hell spawn of GM, the wagon transforms from docile mommy mobile to ass-tearing thunder truck in one stomp of the pedal. And it will do it with a kid and a load of lawn fertilizer in the back.
It's this car's combination of stunning feedback, massive power and high limits coupled with the ability to, say, make a Home Depot run, that makes it truly unique and immeasurably more fun than others of its ilk.
It's for Real Inside
Flop down the wagon's rear seats and there's enough room for a medium-size person to sleep — 58 cubic feet in total. And the pass-through center armrest allows you to carry long items without even folding the seats. There's even a tie-down track system behind the rear seats to help you lock your heavy items to the floor in the event that hauling ass and hauling cargo should coincide. Sure, it's not a massive wagon, but there's far more utility here than in the sedan.
Otherwise, this is the same interior we've come to appreciate in other CTS-V styles. Our tester was fitted with the optional Recaro thrones that suit those of all statures. Snug yet highly adjustable, these seats incorporate every feature we could ever want in a place to put our behind while driving — heating, ventilation and 14-way adjustability.
There's also dual-zone climate control, a rearview camera and a 300-watt 10-speaker Bose audio system with 40 gigabytes of built-in hard drive memory. What else could you really need?
Empty Your Wallet Here
All variants of the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V start at $62,990 including destination fees. But our tester, loaded with nearly every option — Recaro seats, Sapele wood trim, Thunder Grey paint, sunroof and the automatic transmission — rings up at a hefty $76,325 estimated price. Included in that figure are the two-piece rotors and rear differential cooler mentioned above.
No doubt, that's a lot of money for a wagon of any kind. Maybe this will help: Don't think of it as an $80,000 wagon. Rather, consider it a machine dedicated to your family's needs which just happens to double as a high-cost insurance policy for your masculinity.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of this evaluation, which originally appeared on insideline.com.
Used 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon Overview
The Used 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon is offered in the following submodels: CTS-V Wagon. Available styles include 4dr Wagon (6.2L 8cyl S/C 6M).
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Should I lease or buy a 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.