The greatest Cadillacs once sprouted grand fins and taillights inspired by the Space Age. Today, the great 2017 Cadillac CTS-V may not look like a rocket, but it sure as heck moves like one. Packing the same supercharged V8 as the top-shelf Corvette Z06, the CTS-V boasts an incredible 640 horsepower that sends it from zero to 60 mph in about 4 seconds. That's as quick as it sounds. Meanwhile, it has the same classy styling, abundant feature content and, thanks to a trick suspension, still manages to deliver a comfortable ride.
The CTS-V is more than just an enormously powerful engine stuffed into a regular Cadillac CTS, though. For starters, that "trick" suspension features Magnetic Ride Control, or magnetically controlled adjustable dampers that not only provide a comfortable ride but also tremendous handling capability. A stiff body structure, excellent steering, upgraded Brembo brakes, race-derived traction control system and high-performance Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires round out the sporty highlights. It's a true driver's car that can compete with the best high-powered sedans from BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Now, if you're drawn to a full-size luxury sedan with 640 hp, chances are that fuel economy isn't exactly high on your priority list. Nevertheless, the CTS-V isn't the gas hog you might assume thanks to an eight-speed automatic transmission and cylinder deactivation. According to the EPA, it returns an estimated 17 mpg combined (14 city/21 highway).
As a Cadillac, and one of the most expensive ones at that, the CTS-V comes standard with an abundance of feature content at a price that undercuts its competition. Heated and ventilated 20-way power seats, a self-parking system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a navigation system and a 13-speaker Bose sound system are some of the noteworthy standard features. One can also add some extra features courtesy of the Luxury package or 16-way Recaro performance seats, but we would think twice about the rather garish Carbon Fiber package that festoons what is a pretty classy car with boy-racer embellishments.
Ultimately, the 2017 Cadillac CTS-V is a tremendous performance luxury sedan. Its cabin isn't quite as well put together as some of its German competitors and its tech interface can perpetually frustrate, but on the whole, this Cadillac is every bit an engineering achievement that Americans can be proud of. Maybe not landing-a-man-on-the-moon proud, but it's certainly far more impressive than tailfins. And if it seems like your type of luxury car, make sure to check out the Edmunds inventory pages to help find the perfect CTS-V for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.