Cadillac CTS-V

If you categorized the Cadillac CTS-V (www.cadillac.com) by its performance figures alone, you could place it among the exotics. With 556 hp and 551 ft lbs of torque, the rear-wheel-drive sport sedan can reach 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and hit a top speed of 191 mph. Those are Ferrari-like figures.

Developed by GM’s High Performance Vehicle Operations (HPVO) unit—a group of engineers who recently disbanded because of the company’s financial woes—the $60,700 CTS-V has a 6.2-liter, supercharged Corvette V-8 engine. HPVO fine-tuned the suspension, steering, and shifting of the previous iteration of the CTS-V, and used the world’s most extreme road, Germany’s Nürburgring Nordschleife, to test its alterations. During the testing, the CTS-V established the track record for the fastest lap by a production sedan: 7 minutes and 59 seconds.

While its performance is ferocious, the CTS-V remains refined. The interior leather and dash trim are on a par with the fit and finish of any German competitor, and the smooth automatic gearshifts (a 6-speed manual transmission is also available) are ideal for daily commutes and weekend jaunts.