Car of the Year 2005 Cadillac CTS-V

Equating a Cadillac with one of GM’s economy marques might seem like slander, but Car of the Year participant Bill Harlan intended it as a compliment when he dubbed the CTS-V a Pontiac in disguise. “I like it,” Harlan said of the car. “There’s a disconnect between the name of the car and how it handles and drives. This is a Pontiac, not a Cadillac. But everything works very well. It’s a fun car.”

In other words, the CTS-V wearing the Cadillac badge is as confounding as Ferrari releasing an SUV or Aston Martin introducing a pickup truck. For decades, Cadillac had been famous—and at times infamous—for designing big, boatlike sedans that exuded luxury but hardly ever approached sportiness. Even the 2004 XLR, Cadillac’s knife-lined answer to Mercedes’ SL and Jaguar’s XK, is more cruiser than sports car, a convertible burdened by a plump body and an underpowered engine.

The CTS-V represents the first round of a barrage of V-branded vehicles that Cadillac will introduce. The XLR, the SRX sport-utility vehicle, and the STS sedan all will be released in high-performance form as Cadillac attempts to add more edginess to its staid image. In a radical makeover worthy of reality television, Cadillac transformed the small sedan from an entry-level luxury vehicle into a high-revving sports car that begs to be pushed on mountain roads. 

To power the CTS-V, Cadillac crammed the Corvette Z06’s 5.7-liter V-8 engine under the four-door’s hood. On the roads of Napa Valley, the 400 hp CTS-V proved to be just as much fun to drive as its sporty sibling. The suspension is configured for performance, which results in a jarring ride over pockmarked stretches of pavement, but the car’s tightness makes it a superb performer in switchback territory. Those who prefer to maintain a low profile will appreciate that Cadillac added only minor exterior updates to the CTS-V, so that only enthusiasts will be able to spot the hot rod among the many base-model CTS cars on the road.

Until now, BMW’s M3 has dominated the sport-sedan segment, but the CTS-V should challenge its reign in a way that no Pontiac ever could.

 

Specifications

Engine 5.7-liter V-8
Power 400 hp at 6,000 rpm
Torque 395 ft lbs at 4,800 rpm
Zero-to-60 time 4.6 seconds
Top speed 163 mph
Transmission 6-speed manual
Wheelbase 113.4 inches
Curb weight 3,850 pounds
Base price $50,000

Lufthansa allows first-class fliers to drive a Porsche 911 or Panamera while waiting for wheels up...
These hard chargers from the world’s premier automotive masters are fast, furious, and the future…
Unconstrained by convention, today’s top builders produce motorcycles that set new benchmarks…
Photo by James Lipman
Bentley proves that luxurious amenities and raw speed make fine bedfellows…
The Range Rover Sport SVR is the first in Land Rover’s new ultrapowerful lineup…
Robb Report Spain named the 2015 GTA Spano supercar to 2015's Best of the Best...
Though its power is electronically limited, the bike still puts its road-going competitors to shame…
Vintage formula 5000 cars will make their debut at this year’s Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion...
The new specification for the Flying Spur V8 includes 20-inch alloy wheels for a sportier stance…
All images copyright and courtesy of Mathieu Heurtault
The storied racer will be the main attraction at Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auctions…