2017 Cadillac CTS-V Review
Edmunds expert review
Cadillac once set the automotive standards when it came to luxury, power and style. Sure, there were competitors such as Bentley and Mercedes-Benz, but nothing embodied American elegance quite like a big Caddy. Fuel crises and the advent of the European luxury sport sedan helped draw the curtain on the brand's postwar supremacy, but the 2017 Cadillac CTS-V is one of the most assertive comeback statements yet.
The CTS-V comes track-ready right out of the box (with a number of options that make it even more race-ready), but it's really a very mannered daily driver as well. The leather-lined cabin surrounds its occupants in quality materials, the technology interface delivers a speedy connection to the outside world, and the engine sings better than the premium Bose sound system.
There's plenty of song under the hood too, where you'll find the same V8 used in the uber-performance Corvette Z06. The CTS-V makes just slightly less power than the Corvette, but by most measures, this is a top-shelf Corvette in a Cadillac tuxedo.
New for the 2017 CTS-V is the Rear Camera Mirror, which displays a streaming, high-resolution image that Cadillac says makes the field of vision four times greater than a standard rearview mirror. Cadillac's Teen Driver system also arrives on this year's CTS-V, allowing parents to set limits and receive feedback on the driving habits of their teens.
Ultimately, you can't choose a bad one in this group. But dollar for dollar, pony for pony, the 2017 Cadillac CTS-V represents an exceptional achievement in its class: world-beating performance and luxury for less money.
The 2017 CTS-V comes with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear side airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, and full-length side curtain airbags. Also standard are front and rear parking sensors, a front curb-view camera and rearview camera, a head-up display and adaptive forward lighting.
Standard active safety systems include forward collision alert, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and lane departure intervention, and Cadillac's Safety Alert seat, which vibrates to warn the driver of a possible collision with vehicles or objects around the car.
In Edmunds brake testing, a CTS-V stopped from 60 mph in just 102 feet, which is true sports-car territory.
In government crash tests, the regular CTS (on which the CTS-V is based) received an overall five-star rating for front and side crash and rollover protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the CTS its highest rating of Good in the moderate-overlap front-impact and side-impact crash tests.
What's new for 2017
Trim levels & features
The 2017 Cadillac CTS-V is the high-performance version of the midsize, five-passenger CTS sedan. There is one, well-equipped level of trim and only a few options and packages.
Standard equipment includes 19-inch alloy wheels with summer tires, Brembo brakes, adaptive suspension dampers, a high-performance rear differential, xenon headlights, automatic high-beams, LED taillights, heated side mirrors with an auto-dimming feature on the driver side, rain-sensing wipers and keyless ignition/entry.
Standard interior features include 20-way power-adjustable, leather and suede-microfiber front seats that are heated and ventilated, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone climate control, LED accent lighting, a customizable high-definition gauge cluster, a head-up display, a rearview camera, and a front curb-view camera offering a low-level view to help you avoid curb damage.
Additional standard technology includes remote ignition, a self-parking system (can autonomously park both parallel and perpendicular), OnStar telematics, 4G LTE Wi-Fi data connectivity, wireless smartphone charging, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone interface, and the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) system with navigation, an 8-inch touchscreen, voice controls and a 13-speaker Bose surround sound system with a USB port, auxiliary audio jack, and satellite and HD radio.
A Luxury package includes Cadillac's new Rear Camera Mirror, three-zone climate control, heated rear seats with a split-folding seatback, a rear window power sunshade and manual rear side window sunshades. A sunroof is also available but only with the Luxury package.
The Carbon Fiber package adds a hood vent, rear spoiler, front air splitter and rear air diffuser made from carbon-fiber composite. The Carbon Black package includes the components in the Carbon Fiber package along with a black chrome grille and different 19-inch wheels.
An Advanced Security package adds a steering column lock, vehicle inclination tilt sensor and alarm, locking lug nuts, laminated-glass rear door windows and a specially shielded anti-theft alarm system.
Stand-alone options include red or dark gold Brembo brake calipers (replacing the standard gray color), polished aluminum 19-inch alloy wheels, a performance data and camera recorder, and 16-way-adjustable Recaro performance seats. Buyers also have the no-cost option of ordering the CTS-V with or without the base (not carbon fiber) front air splitter.
The 2017 Cadillac CTS-V uses a slightly retuned version of the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine found in the Corvette Z06. It makes 640 horsepower and 630 pound-feet of torque, down just a tad from the Corvette's numbers.
An eight-speed automatic transmission sends power to the rear wheels via an electronic limited-slip differential. Steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters allow manual shifting of the transmission, but alas there's no option for a true manual transmission. Four drive modes — Snow, Tour, Sport, Track — adjust the amount of accelerator, transmission, steering and suspension response. Track mode itself offers five levels of traction control, allowing drivers to test their thresholds of courage and skill.
In our testing, a CTS-V lunged from zero to 60 mph in a sizzling 4.1 seconds — an impressive result for a car that also returns a respectable 17 mpg in combined driving, according to the EPA.
With a monster engine and a body structure stiff as an English lord's upper lip, the CTS-V's acceleration and handling equal — or better — many of its European rivals. It's more than just a performance machine, however; it's also a plush, well-crafted luxury sedan that's comfortable enough to be a daily driver. The exhaust note sounds menacing at full throttle, but a well-insulated cabin makes this a surprisingly quiet car on the highway. A cylinder deactivation system shuts down half of the V8's cylinders when cruising and helps to ease some of the CTS-V's natural thirst.
The seats are comfortable and supportive whether you opt for the standard 20-way-adjustable performance seats or spring for the optional Recaros. Steering response and body control is razor sharp, as the CTS-V's Magnetic Ride Control suspension makes it a predictable companion whether you're covering miles on the interstate or winding your way down a local back road.
The CTS' interior displays high-level craftsmanship, materials quality and technology integration throughout. There's plenty of leather and suede-like microfiber trim, hand-stitched accents, and excellent fit and finish. There are also plenty of shiny finishes and surfaces likely to require frequent use of a microfiber cleaning cloth.
Front passengers enjoy ample personal space, yet the enveloping dashboard and door panels form an intimate cockpit that reinforces the car's sporting mission.
Rear passenger room is decent, but it's tight compared to some other midsize luxury sedans. The trunk, at 13.7 cubic feet, is also small for the class.
The Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system pairs a graphically rich 8-inch touchscreen with touch-panel inputs. Outfitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, CUE is more capable than ever when it comes to smartphone integration. The constant poking and swiping at the touch panel, especially for routine functions such as adjusting the fan speed or stereo volume, gets tiresome, however (although you can also control volume on the steering wheel). It's one of the few drawbacks to an otherwise advanced and impressive interface.
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.