September 22, 2020 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Isabel N. Delos Reyes

2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon

Flight to Fantasy

If you are not aware, General Motor’s premium brand Cadillac has been producing particularly very high-performance vehicles since 2002. This test conducted back in 2011 is an incredible example of just one of these exemplary vehicles!

If the Nissan Skyline GT-R was Japan’s answer to the Porsche 911 Turbo, then the Cadillac CTS-V cars are America’s answer to both! The 638 bhp Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is certainly America’s current supercar king but that not only costs over $110 grand, it has way too many compromises and is also a very limited production model. That is the thing about the Corvette, even the blistering 430 bhp base model is a hoot to drive, but unless you’re tearing around in a race track or trying to find out how quick it takes to get the highway patrol to throw you into the slammer; they seriously lack refinement and the overall sense of occasion. The interiors are outdated, they are not very comfortable, and their extroverted design will have you frequently explaining yourself to your friends and neighbors. Having said that I will admit that the current Corvette range is at its very best inside and out. They are genuine sports cars and I do acknowledge and respect their abilities but I do not desire to own one. And that is the fundamental problem of the Corvette’s. You would certainly have a fantastic weekend in one if you either rented it, borrowed it from a friend/relative, or in our case got a manufacturer test unit. But there is a solution to this passing conundrum. Cadillac.

Cadillac has made an incredible comeback in the past few years and we have been fortunate enough to drive their entire model ranges during this magnificent resurrection. What we like about Cadillac is that they take the engineering gifts from Chevrolet then wrap it in a vastly more desirable package. The Corvette is a cult favorite catering to a niche group of rabid performance-focused fans, but the Cadillac relative appeals to a much wider audience who chose to buy the cars for more than their performance.

We already universally like the new Cadillac CTS model range; they are very good looking, well-appointed, distinctive, and entertaining. Now the “V” top variants take that solid base and add its unique alchemy of performance and luxury. Our 2011 V-wagon test unit adds yet another important facet to this excellent menagerie, versatility. I never thought I would find myself comparing a Cadillac to the German establishment on equal footing. What we have here is a proper sports wagon that is astonishingly quicker, faster, and more alive than a Mercedes Benz E63 AMG Touring and BMW M5 Wagon yet is significantly cheaper too! The Cadillac may not have the dynamic pedigree and the default desirability of the Germans but it certainly can stand proudly next to them with confidence.

The CTS-V wagon is as opulent as the Germans and even boasts more standard equipment. Our test unit had the fabulous front Recaro sport seats, the dashboard was covered in double-stitched cowhide, a 10-speaker Dolby Digital 5.1 Bose audio system, retractable navigational system, generous Alcantara everywhere including the excellent steering wheel, Brembo™ 6-piston front and 4-piston rear brakes, massive mixed-rubber at the corners, HID’s and so much more!

Our only real issue with the car was with the TREMEC 6-speed manual transmission which was a touch clumsy to operate smoothly especially with 556 bhp on tap. I would recommend opting for the paddleshift controlled 6-speed automatic transmission instead which I think is more practical and consistent with the Cadillac’s cossetting demeanor despite the gloriously outrageous power. The quick-acting Magnetic Ride Control suspension worked brilliantly. The CTS-V wagon always felt like a fine luxury car that didn’t wallow and pitch like the old land yachts from yesteryear. It had that sophisticatedly taut handling ability of the Germans. I would place the Cadillac’s handling capability, with its powerful brakes, right in between the Mercedes and the BMW, an outstanding compromise of sportiness and opulence. Popping the hood of the Cadillac, you would be presented with one of the most purposeful looking aluminum tower strut bars ever, this and the extra bracing in the rear towers contribute to the CTS-V’s excellent ride and precise handling capability. Cadillac plans a limited production of the wagon with the manual transmission.

The CTS-V had truly tenacious grip in the corners and had so much epic power all over the powerband. It felt almost as nimble as a BMW M3 (E90) sedan. The CTS-V was eager to please and had a lot of character. With so much power always available and the cacophony that accompanies it, I was so deeply frustrated that I couldn’t drive it on the track to fully explore its capabilities. If you ever wanted a very different car that offered supercar pace combined with a unique design, luxury, and space but did not want to get a car from either Audi, BMW, or Mercedes Benz, look no further than the Cadillac CTS-V Wagon. Oh yes, I would also take this car any day over its supercar brothers the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and Z06 too.

Specifications

Engine

Engine V8
Displacement 6161 cc
Cylinder Head ohv 16V
Fuel Injector Sequential Multi-Port Injection, Intercooled Supercharger
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 556 bhp @ 6100 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 551 lb-ft @ 3800 rpm
Transmission 6-speed MT

Performance

Top Speed 307 km/h (192 mph)
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 4.2 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 14 mpg City / 19 mpg Highway

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) (2011) US$ 70,185.00
What's Great Fabulously opulent and distinctive, very dynamic, bursting with character and personality.
What's Not So Limited availability
C! Editors Rating 10/10
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