The Cadillac CTS-V sedan has been around for over a dozen years and once started at just $49,300. The next generation debuted in 2009 and the MSRP got a bit higher, now reaching close to $60,000. The latest generation, including this 2017 that I just spent a week with, starts at almost $86,000. Add in $16,270 in options and there is a $103,260 car that Cadillac just parked outside my house. Is this really a six figure car, or did the CTS-V double in price and lose its manual transmission option over the last decade for no discernible reason? Let’s find out!
OK, let’s talk numbers. In today’s money the original CTS-V would cost $62,546.49 and the second generation would run you $76,121.49, which are both still a far cry from the $85,995 that General Motors wants for the latest car. So there is more than just inflation at work here.
The first V-series car was a revelation, a proper 400hp V8 super sedan it hit 60 in 4.6 seconds, ran low 13s in the quarter mile, and pulled an 7:59 on the Nürburgring Nordschleife. That’s all still fairly quick in today’s world. The first generation V car was built on the Sigma platform, which was a Cadillac-specific midsize RWD layout that GM used for a decade to carry most of their lineup. The CTS-V was much beefier, with larger roll bars, better springs, and big Brembo brakes. The star of the show was the LS V8 from the C5 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 as well as the same Tremec 6-speed gearing found in the 2-seat Chevy. It was a hell of a start.
The second CTS-V was a an evolution of a good thing using the Sigma II platform which was a larger, wider version of the original Sigma. Technically it only ever hosted the 2nd generation CTS, but in reality it was quite similar to the Zeta platform used in the re-introduced Camaro and a built off of a decade of use down under at Holden. The LS9 from the Corvette C6 ZR1 gave the V 556 hp and 551 ft. lbs. of torque and still had a manual transmission option. Plus, Cadillac would now sell you a coupe and wagon version of the mighty CTS-V as well, marking the start of a golden age of fast RWD V8 luxury cars. You could get to 60 MPH in under 4 seconds and now hit high 11’s in the quarter. That’s fast.
Weight continued to increase though, generation one weighed in at 3,850 lbs and gen two at 4,250 lbs. So progress came at a price, although it’s hard to argue with the performance numbers.
Which brings us to today, the latest Cadillac CTS-V seen here has a 6.2L supercharged LT4 putting out 640 hp and 630 ft. lbs. of torque and technically weighs less than the second generation at 4,145 lbs. But those are just numbers, the car I’ve been driving feels supercar fast while remaining incredibly comfortable. Even if you don’t opt for all the options my loaner car came equipped with, you still get a beast of a car with a multi-mode exhaust that makes all the right noises. Seriously, this thing is addicting, I found myself downshifting almost every time I came to a stop. With the exhaust, I mean “engine sound management”, set on “race” it pops and burbles like the Pratt and Miller SCCA World Challenge CTS-V.
In the twisty bits, the big V show’s its size, it’s not exactly light on its feet. I know it’s a cliche, but this is more of a GT bomber than track attack car. And that’s OK, the average buyer is more likely to take it to a valet than VIR. If they do, there’s a setting for that too, so that no unapproved burnouts happen while you’re having appetizers.
But at $103,260, is the Cadillac worth it? Competition is stiff, but actually put the Cadillac’s price in context. A new E63 AMG sedan will cost you $104,400 and only has 603 hp. The long time king of the segment, the M5 is coming back in 2018 with AWD and 600 hp from a 4.4L twin-turbo V8. Expect a dynamic drive and a similarly dynamic starting price over $100,000.
So the CTS-V MSRP doesn’t seem quite that insane in comparison. Fully option a new one with literally every package and option box checked and you max out at $107,985, which is just $3,585 more than the AMG car starts. Sure, you won’t have a German super sedan, but you’ll have an incredibly super American sedan and I think the price is completely justified. Watch the video for more, if for no other reason to hear that sweet, sweet, exhaust note. I already miss it.