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Autos: The Cadillac of American Coupes

Robert Ross

One of the world’s most formidable ultraperformance sedans is Cadillac’s CTS-V, a 556 hp supercharged sledgehammer that claims to be the fastest four-door around the Nürburgring and goes from zero to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. Reasonably priced and locally grown, this outlier from Detroit proves that GM has what it takes to raise the stakes in a game dominated by German brands from Munich, Stuttgart, and Ingolstadt. Now, with the arrival of the much-anticipated CTS-V Coupe, Cadillac applies the CTS-V sport sedan’s take-no-prisoners drivetrain to a more intimate and provocative two-door platform.

Cadillac spotters know that V means performance above and beyond that of the mainstay models of GM’s premier marque. The CTS Coupe—which recently launched with the base sedan’s 306 hp V-6 engine—was quickly followed by the V variant. GM originally presented the CTS Coupe as a concept in 2008 and then fast-tracked it into production without softening the elegant, razor-edged styling of the show car.

The CTS-V Coupe retains the same wheelbase as the sedan, but it is 1.4 inches lower and 3.1 inches shorter. And although it reflects the aggressive art-and-science philosophy that underpins Cadillac’s sharp-creased design aesthetic, the two-door CTS-V shares no exterior panels with the four-door apart from a grille, front fenders, and headlights. The design is clean: The door handles have been replaced with discreet touch pads, and there is no B-pillar interrupting the side glass.

While the CTS-V Coupe is no bleeding-edge sports car, it nonetheless has the performance chops to humble most European machines. It also offers amenities and comfort commensurate with those of cars built to provide luxury first and driver excitement second. And starting at just $63,500, the CTS-V Coupe is as reasonably priced as the CTS-V sedan.

Even more impressive than the supercharged 6.2-liter V-8’s 556 hp is its 551 ft lbs of torque, which move the coupe from zero to 60 mph as quickly as the sedan. Enormous Brembo brakes and calipers complement the Magnetic Ride Control—the world’s fastest reacting suspension, which uses magnetic force (instead of moving parts) inside the car’s shocks—while riding on 19-inch cast aluminum wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 performance tires.

Orthodox old-timers will be glad to know that while an optional 6-?speed, paddle-shift automatic transmission is available, a Tremec 6-speed manual comes standard—for the type of soul-stirring stick shifting that you can experience in very few current automotive offerings. The optional Recaro front seats, which can be adjusted to 14 different positions, and loads of suedelike microfiber provide comfort and a sporting flair.

With the mighty V version of the two-door CTS, Cadillac has come to market with a luxury sports coupe that lets buyers eager to support domestic automakers have a piece of American high-performance cake, and eat it too.

 

Cadillac, www.cadillac.com

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