Aston Martin celebrates its 100th anniversary with a radical one-off concept car
Cadillac CTS-V review (2007)
There are currently only two new Porsches on sale that exceed 400bhp – the Carrera GT supercar, and the Cayenne Turbo super-SUV. 400bhp is a lot of power. Yet 400bhp is what’s available from the Cadillac CTS-V’s right pedal. Blimey.
The approach to a Porsche-beating car, with preconceptions about American saloons from a hundred car-chase movies, is therefore one of circumspection. You count airbags, not cylinders.
Read more Cadillac reviews
For the record, there are six airbags. But more cylinders – eight, displacing 5.7-litres in total. That’s bigger than the new BMW M5’s V10! It has heritage too, for this is an engine Cadillac nicked from the Corvette, and how your worries about all that power being sent to the rear wheels barely diminish upon start-up. Whining starter then a bark, rumble, and firm, no-nonsense body rock as it thunders into life, signalling that it all could be about to kick off. No lazy auto but a meaty six-speed manual, yet one whose dainty, stubby lever works with more finesse than you would ever suspect. Sure enough, it’s quick, monumentally so. 0-60mph takes just 4.6 seconds, some feat in a car so large. Let Porsche 911 997 drivers line up alongside you; they’ve got the legs at higher speeds but you won’t be embarrassed in dashes to the legal limit, and the noise of your car will drown out theirs, too. (The two of them, full-bore, in a tunnel… what a sound that would be).
Find a long enough runway and the edgy, art deco Cadillac will storm to 162mph which, for a four-door saloon, is quite a pub boast. And as it’s such a large engine, a mountain of torque is always on tap in any gear. Praise be though, it is, curiously, rather friendly. It’s not the monster you’d think as power is delivered in a measured way that makes it immensely useable. Fear not – it isn’t a high-rev screamer, with terrifying peaky power delivered in a blood-rush, but rather a gentle giant, if 533Nm of torque could ever be considered gentle. In practice, this flood of force on tap is satisfying, as is a ride that, considering its muscular nature, is surprisingly supple.
On the road
There’s an underlying firmness leaving you in no doubt as to the size of the wheels and tyres, the stiffness of the suspension, but it is a lot more forgiving than you’d expect. It’s able in corners. Cadillac talks of how it was honed at Porsche’s haunting ground, the Nurburgring. As the German circuit takes no prisoners, this should thus not just be groundless marketing puff. So it proves. Again, surprising friendliness is the key here. It’s not over-stiff, the huge steering wheel controls a slow-by-class-standards but well-defined rack and the handling balance has sufficient precision without ever feeling edgy. It flows into corners rather than bites and pace is quickly found that, other than a few instances of tramlining, is without trepidation.
It lacks the slot-car rapidity of a BMW or the squat unshakable grip of a quattro Audi, but the honed yet wholly American feel is a satisfying one nonetheless. The ‘Stabilitrak’ system, which does just what it says, is worked ragged though. Interestingly, via the extensive dash menu, one of four levels can be selected – fully on, traction off, stability off, or ‘competition mode’. The latter raises the threshold of stability and traction so they only cut in when absolutely necessary. Though in fairness, even the standard setting proved rather leery at times when provoked in the manner journalists are at wont to. Oh, and incredibly, traction settings are controlled by a button on the steering wheel, helping you alter things mid-sequence with a Schumacher-like thumb jab (red fireproof gloves optional).
Cadillac CTS-V: Interior
It’s a small but ridiculously endearing feature. As is a dash display reading, telling you oil temp, oil pressure, water temp, tyre pressure, brake temp and cornering G-force… But other than more rugged seats and a few sporty-look trim additions, the interior is stock CTS. Similarly, the exterior has been bulked up, but discreetly. The biggest mod is the chrome mesh grille (which is admittedly effective and menacing) but even at the rear, Cadillac has resisted fitting quad exhausts or a whale-tail spoiler. Discreet and sophisticated is the word, rather like the tasteful ‘V’ monikers positioned tactically, rather like the way it drives – and, considering the potential brutality of its engine, that’s unexpected. It will remain rare though. All European models are left-hookers, imported from the US to order. They won’t be homologated for Europe and thus numbers will remain low. UK prices? Around £45,000 with rarity guaranteed.
Not many four-door saloons out-grunt a Porsche, certainly not for £45k. Left-hand-drive is a hindrance but if such cars are your thing, don’t be put off. The CTS-V is packed with character and has more appealing sophistication than you’d ever expect – without the frights you fear. Sales will struggle into double figures but those bold enough to sign up shouldn’t be disappointed. And if, for some reason, it’s not quick enough, hold on. We’ve heard rumours that there’s to be a 6.0-litre version...
related stories on msn
Latest Cars videos
On the road with the landmark Lambos for special golden anniversary drive.
Date 13/05/13, Duration 4:26, Views 8725