The coupe may be the sharply-angled looker of the crew, and it’s the wagon that draws the greatest sensation of “I have to have that” wonder. It’s the sedan, however, that started all of this off, and remains the 556-horsepower bastion of near-supercar performance doled out under the guise of a simple sedan. I’m talking about the V-badged Cadillacs, and I recently spent a few days with the 2012 CTS-V sedan.
Is the four door with the wreath on the grille just as fun as its two and five door family members? No need to jump to the end, because you already know that the answer is yes. Keep reading though, because I’ll tell you why…
See that engine cover? Normally an engine hides beneath the piece of plastic that designers use to cover up the “ugly” bits that don’t work with their special design language. Such is not the case here. Yes, the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 is underneath the shroud, but it’s not hiding. No, like Cthulhu slumbers in the dark abyss, this eight-cylinder wonder motor remains dormant until it’s ready to be roused for another round of Operation Tire Destruction. This mission is easily accomplished too thanks to the available 556 horsepower and 551 pound-feet of torque.
The engine works together with the six-speed manual gearbox much in the same way a dominatrix beats the shit out of her favorite client. Tremendous power is applied through the transmission, and every cog receives a serious stroke of the whip. The screaming I hear are the tires begging for mercy, and it’s not coming anytime soon.
I can, however, drive the CTS-V Sedan in a civilized manner. The clutch is easy to work while providing just enough feel for the catch point. The shifter slots in to each gear with subtle authority and the throws aren’t joystick short but rather comfortable. Step on the brakes, and I’m greeted with progressive stopping power that can bring the action to a smooth halt or put my texting passengers face into the glass. The 2012 Cadillac CTS-V Sedan manages to blend Q-Ship comfort with world-class performance, and it does so better than both the wagon and the coupe.
You expect the coupe to be outrageous thanks to its sharp shape. The wagon is equally exciting because it’s a wagon, with 556 horses sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual. The sedan, on the other hand, looks more reserved because it’s a sedan. It’s not though… it’s just as bonkers as the rest of the lineup, and that’s a very good thing. You can pull into the office parking lot and attract minimal attention from everyone except for the few folks who understand what the V on the back means. Once the quitting time whistle blows, you can hit the back roads on the way home and promptly proceed to embarrass nearly everything you pass.
It’s not a perfect machine though.
Some might complain about the optional Recaro seats. I’m not one in this camp though, because I find them to be wonderful. The only problem is fine tuning the settings to find the perfect seating arrangement. It takes longer than any other seat out there, but once you’re locked in you are secure and comfortable.
The rising/falling nav screen seems like a good idea in that you can hide it when you don’t want to look at it. I’d rather see a touchscreen integrated more cleanly into the center stack, and I expect the next generation car to implement the CUE unit found in the new XTS. I sense that after a few years of ownership there would be a day when the lifting mechanism decides to go on break and the result is a screen that’s halfway between up and down.
Finally, the other issue is fuel economy. Now, if you can afford the $71,485 as-tested price ($63,215 base) that the 2012 CTS-V Sedan commands, than you can also afford to keep it topped off with premium fuel. Still, all of the fun starts to wear a bit thin when you realize you’re getting 11 miles per gallon. I’ll be honest though… the smile comes right back when you slam your right foot to the floor.
This is one hell of a machine.
[Disclaimer: Cadillac flipped us the keys to the 2012 CTS-V Sedan for a few days, and included a full tank of gas. Said fuel didn’t last very long…]
Images copyright 2012 Hooniverse/Jeff Glucker