2018 Cadillac CTS-V

2018 Cadillac CTS-V Review

It may not match rivals on the luxury front, but it slays them in price and under the hood.
4.0 / 5
Edmunds overall rating
author
by James Riswick
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

Once upon a time, Cadillacs drew inspiration from the Space Age, with grand tailfins and taillights inspired by rockets and a fanciful future that never came. Well, the real future is here, and the 2018 Cadillac CTS-V definitely doesn't look like a rocket. It does, however, move like one, boasting a mighty supercharged V8 that slams 640 horsepower to the rear wheels. It's even faster than even that sounds.

However, the CTS-V is not some ham-fisted muscle car. No, the CTS-V has a truly state-of-the-art chassis and suspension that allow it to take corners better and impart more communication to the driver than other high-performance luxury sedans. Oh, and it does so while costing considerably less.

That suspension also allows it to have an impressively comfortable ride for a performance car, though if you're looking for a comfy Cadillac couch, this definitely isn't it. Another thing to keep in mind is that although the CTS-V undercuts its German competitors on price, its cabin just isn't up to the level of an Audi, BMW or Mercedes. Cadillac has come a long way, but you do get what you pay for in this regard.

Overall, we're quite fond of the CTS-V. If you're looking for one of the most thrilling high-powered sedans on the market, this Caddy has to be on your shopping list.



What's new for 2018

For 2018, the CTS-V gains an updated infotainment system interface and two USB charge ports for the rear passengers.

We recommend

Your passengers will appreciate the Luxury package's sunshades, seat heating and rear climate controls. You'll appreciate the folding rear seatback that's annoyingly optional. Also make sure to test-drive CTS-Vs with and without the optional Recaro sport seats to see which seat design you prefer.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Cadillac CTS-V is a high-performance version of the regular CTS sedan, which is reviewed separately. The V version packs a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that produces 640 horsepower and 630 pound-feet of torque. You can only get it with an eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. Only one trim level is available.

Standard equipment includes 19-inch wheels, summer performance tires, Brembo performance brakes, an electronic limited-slip differential, a magnetically controlled adaptive suspension, an automatic parking system, xenon headlights with auto high beams, automatic wipers, a driver auto-dimming mirror, remote ignition, keyless ignition and entry, forward collision warning, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems, lane departure warning and intervention, and rearview and curb-view parking cameras.

Comfort and entertainment features include dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power-adjustable front seats (with heating, manual thigh extenders and power-adjustable bolsters), driver-seat memory settings, leather and simulated suede upholstery, a heated power-adjustable steering wheel, a simulated suede headliner, a 12.3-inch all-digital gauge display, a head-up display, an 8-inch touchscreen interface, OnStar communications (with 4G LTE and a Wi-Fi hotspot), wireless smartphone charging, Bluetooth, three USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a navigation system, and a 13-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system with satellite and HD radio.

The Luxury package adds tri-zone climate control, a split-folding back seat, heated rear seats, a power rear sunshade, manual rear side sunshades, a 110-volt power outlet and Cadillac's rearview camera mirror. A panoramic sunroof can be added to the Luxury package. The Carbon Fiber package adds a carbon-fiber hood vent, spoiler, front splitter and rear diffuser.

Also available are 20-way power front seats, which can be upgraded with ventilation or replaced by Recaro performance seats.



Trim tested

The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V (supercharged 6.2L V8 | 8-speed automatic | RWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current CTS-V has received a few minor updates, including a revised infotainment system. Our findings remain applicable to this year's CTS-V.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall4.0 / 5

Driving

5.0 / 5

Acceleration5.0 / 5
Braking5.0 / 5
Steering5.0 / 5
Handling5.0 / 5
Drivability3.0 / 5

Comfort

3.0 / 5

Seat comfort5.0 / 5
Ride comfort3.0 / 5
Noise & vibration3.0 / 5

Interior

3.0 / 5

Ease of use2.5 / 5
Getting in/getting out3.0 / 5
Roominess3.5 / 5
Visibility3.5 / 5
Quality3.0 / 5

Driving5.0

Classic American muscle with state-of-the-art handling capabilities. This is where the CTS-V shines and has a leg up on its staunchest German rivals. Others have evolved into softer and more comfort-oriented machines; Cadillac has only sharpened its edges and packed on more muscle.

Acceleration5.0

Taking just 4.1 seconds to reach 60 mph, the CTS-V offers genuine sports-car-shaming speed, camouflaged in the skin of a practical family sedan. The biggest issue with having 640 hp on tap is finding enough road to relish it.

Braking5.0

The ultra-solid brakes are an excellent match to the engine and easy to modulate. The pedal travel is short, firm and reassuring. Emergency braking is executed without much noise or drama, needing only 102 feet of asphalt to stop from 60 mph.

Steering5.0

The steering response isn't as crisp as we'd expect, but the effort in Touring mode feels spot-on and delivers decent feedback. Track and Sport modes are a little heavy for normal driving and clearly tuned for stability demands at higher speeds.

Handling5.0

Layers of electronic safety nets make the CTS-V manageable for virtually any driver. Turn them off, and experienced drivers will enjoy skating around on all that torque with relative ease. The amount of tire grip available borders on ludicrous.

Drivability3.0

The transmission's shifting can get a bit uneven and rough, even in Touring mode. This might be expected of a dual-clutch automatic, but not the CTS-V's automatic transmission. Throttle response is otherwise smooth and user-friendly.

Comfort3.0

Soft and cushy may come to mind when you think of the Cadillac brand, but the CTS-V is not your grandfather's Caddy. Speed, agility and proper seat support are priorities with this car, so you may want to consider something else if you're expecting a rocket-powered couch.

Seat comfort5.0

The optional Recaro performance seats deliver excellent support and adjustability. The cushions and armrest padding are on the firm side, but that's to be expected. They even performed well on a lengthy road trip. Unfortunately this upgrade can't be paired with ventilation.

Ride comfort3.0

This Caddy is pleasant over smooth highways, but bumpier streets will reveal its true stiff-legged nature, even in Touring mode, which can get tiring. In fact, we didn't notice much separation between any of the magnetic suspension settings during casual driving.

Noise & vibration3.0

Wind noise is well-isolated, but a moderate amount of road noise finds its way into the cabin, a likely trade-off for sticky tires. Under hard acceleration, the supercharger whine is most prominent.

Interior3.0

Cadillac's efforts to up its interior game are apparent but flop when it comes to execution. The capacitive controls look slick, but they aren't as easy to operate as dials or real buttons. Also, the basics, such as easy access to seat adjustment controls, have been grossly overlooked.

Ease of use2.5

The infotainment system response is much improved, but the tilted screen isn't sufficiently recessed, so glare and fingerprints are highly visible and distracting. The steering wheel buttons require too much physical effort and lack convenient placement.

Getting in/getting out3.0

Front-seat access is great; the doors open wide. The seat height makes it easy to slip right in. The rear door apertures are smaller and have less head clearance due to a sloping roofline.

Roominess3.5

Space is generous in the front seats but not so much in the rear. The front buckets have solid backs and sit low, so there's not a lot of room for feet or knees in back. With adults, four is optimal due to a short middle seat that straddles a wide center tunnel.

Visibility3.5

The thick front and rear pillars and small sideview mirrors don't lend themselves to great visibility. The parking cameras aren't great in low-light situations.

Quality3.0

Tight panel tolerances, a leather dash, carbon trim and contrast stitching all look stylish and of high quality. Ambient lighting is also subtle and well-done. What doesn't look great is the heavy use of chrome trim and thin, simulated suede surfaces. Other brands do it better.

Utility2.5

Narrow door pockets, a smaller glovebox and armrest bin, and a nook behind a motorized cover constitute the cabin storage options. Trunk volume is lackluster at 13.7 cubic feet with a laughably small ski pass-through and a split-folding feature that's optional.

Technology

Cadillac updated its tech interface for 2018 and we have yet to sample it. Feature content is to be commended, however, with standard accident avoidance tech, parking aids, navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 4G LTE Wi-Fi and three USB ports.

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.