2016 Cadillac CTS-V Performance Sedan: Seminal Role Player


Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

V-Series is the pinnacle of Caddy design, performance and technology.

True indeed it was a spectacular day at Road America in Wisconsin with the 640-horsepower and 630 lb.-ft. of torque CTS-V performance sedan. The 2016 model and 3rd generation V-Series iteration boasts a 0-60 mph sprint time of just 3.7 seconds and represents Cadillac’s first factory vehicle to exert a 200 mph top speed. Powered by an authoritative 6.2-liter supercharged V8 — which is coupled to an 8-speed automatic transmission with Performance Algorithm Shifting and magnesium paddle shifters — the $84,990 American roadrunner represents the best of both luxuriant and motorsports worlds with its transcendent, split personality.

The passion for elitism and exclusiveness exists to raise the image and change the perception of the American icon.

Fit for both gentlemen racers or urbane ladies looking to emulate their taste for the “finer things in life” behind the wheel, the CTS-V has no problem posing its performance mannerisms by way of Recaro High Performance Front Seats ($2,300), a Performance Data Recorder ($1,300), 19″After Midnight spins ($900) outfitted in specialty Michelin rubber, Magnetic Ride Control, and a Brembo brake package ($595), while simultaneously showing off technological sophistication through 4G LTE WiFi, BOSE audio, Apple Car Play, Wireless Charging, and an UltraView Sunroof ($1,250). With this vehicle Cadillac is transforming the brand from every front and revealing the company’s direction in technology and design. After a full day in the driver’s seat I can attest that the V-Series provides the traits and acumen for both “daily commutes” and “weekend racing.”


History is paramount to momentum.

A journey ripe with 112 years of experience, advancements, mistakes, and history is typically a path that will produce elevated, future results. Although the V-Series didn’t launch until 2004 with 400-horsepower, Cadillac had already put into place the key ingredients required for a successful strategy. Now, both V-Series models — the ATS-V and original CTS-V — play seminal roles for competing against BMW’s M cars, Audi’s S vehicles and Mercedes-Benz’s AMGs. With this burgeoning movement to attract young, affluent and influential audiences, performance is now a signature of the Cadillac brand.

Inspiration comes from within.

To inherit a better understanding for the new CTS-V, after previously driving the ATS-V at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, TX, I headed to Wisconsin to rip the runway on the infamous 4-mile, 14-turn Road America road course. I already had a pretty good idea of what to expect with the next gen CTS-V and was not disappointed whatsoever. Most of my time was spent in a $94,990 well-equipped Crystal White Tricoat exterior and Jet Black interior model. I took it out on the road for familiarity before hitting the track where the action’s at. The driver focused interior clamors for opulence and featured the aforementioned Recaro performance seats, V-Series configurable 12.3” instrument cluster, V-Series Carbon Fiber trim, a frameless mirror, metal pedals, and bespoke cut-and-sewn fabrics such as the suede microfiber accents. Minus the Recaros, the base seats are still 20-way adjustable. They vibrate (Safety Alert Seat) when a lane maneuver is made without signaling and with the Driver Awareness Package inclusive of Lane Keep Assist, Lane Departure Warning, and Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert, the vehicle will self correct and move back within the lines. This felt odd as the Cadillac took control, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.


Technology will continue to enhance the communication between human interaction and telematics.

Wait, there is far more to the crafty cabin than meets the eye. It begins with 4G LTE Wi-Fi which I used to search the Web in airplane mode with my iPhone. Speeds were great and the signal was strong. The 8” Cadillac Cue 2.5 infotainment system has tremendously improved with a 3x faster chip, 4x enhanced graphics processing, and 1.5 million points of interests. At the bottom of the media center display you’ll find five shortcuts that can be highlighted as music stations or map inputs. Yet, it was Apple Car Play that drew in my attention. Once paired the software replicates the pivotal apps and content on your Apple device (Android coming shortly). Working seamlessly, I used it to text callers from voice commands and connected all my music including playlists. Apple Car Play also displays your audiobooks, maps, podcasts and phone lists. It’s absolutely brilliant!

The car buying market is a concrete jungle and requires a V-Series to accelerate through the clutter.

After ergonomic adjustments I settled in the sedan with normalcy. The dead pedal is wide and solid, the mirrors are small but razor edged to slice through wind, the rear view mirror is thin and looses the frame, the 1-touch opening front pain on the dual sunroof is fast, and the transmission holds gears through redline but will cut back power until you upshift. The suede steering wheel grips with passion and is embedded with thumbprints and large paddle shifters. The seats perfectly sculpt to your physique and the 13-speaker Bose Centerpoint surround sound sytem with active noise cancellation cranked my Bob Marley just enough. The proprietary Bose algorithm analyzes stereo signals from any source including AM/FM, CDs, MP3s, and satellite radio and reprocessing them into multiple channels for greater precision of each instrument as if you were live. Let’s also not forget the Front Curbview Camera to protect that precious Carbon Fiber splitter and Front & Rear Park Assist for drivers requiring parallel assistance.


V equals visceral!

After a brief and healthy lunch break it was time to hit Road America. Seeing that beautiful fleet of CTS-Vs patiently awaiting their commanders was impressive. Emanating a semblance of authority, every exterior feature earned its way on the vehicle for specific performance functions first, then style. With a Carbon Fiber hood, sporty chin splitter, rear spoiler, rocker panels, Gurney lips, quad pipes, and a V-Series grille, the Cadillac is absolutely menacing. And if it looks like metal, it is either metal or Carbon Fiber. Moreover, opt for the Carbon Fiber package for 150 lbs. more downforce than the previous car. Motorsports capabilities is partially attributed to the 6-piston front and 4-piston rear Brembo brake package with Duralife coated and vented rotors and fixed Gray calipers. My ride had the Red calipers. The other half of the equation stems from high-speed traction from Michelin’s vehicle specific Pilot Super Sport 265/35ZR19 front and 295/30ZR19 rear tires. They feature three unique Michelin rubber compounds, a steel belt package borrowed from Michelin’s racing tires, and dual purpose tread for both daily driving and track aggression.

The end of a perfect beginning.

Following a professional instructor first I pranced around Road America to feel the difference between the various levels of the 5-Mode Performance Traction Management system which gives the driver the autonomy to fully use the stability programs, dumb it down, or turn off the system for more slip. We also whisked through the slalom and played with Launch Control. Unleashing the 640 horses down the backstretch was the highlight of my summer. It was a magnificent send off!

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