We’re no stranger to this brutally fast, sublimely luxurious sedan. But it’s with a heavy heart that we must report that 2019 Cadillac CTS-V will be the final model year for the CTS-V and ATS-V, two of our very favorite performance sedans. Cadillac is dedicated to, and even vowing to expand the V performance line, but we’re sad to see them go. Coinciding with their departure will be the CT6-V, with a brand new twin-turbo V8. For now, we still get to enjoy the rowdy 6.2-liter, supercharged V8 in the CTS-V, and enjoy it we did.
From the first press of the start button you know you’re in for a treat. While sitting in leather trimmed luxury, the snarl of the V8 roaring to life doesn’t quite match up with what you’re expecting. The engine is raw and visceral in a way that really gives the car some personality, and some character. I’m sure the new 4.2-liter twin-turbo is going to be more refined, and that’s great… but my advice is get one of these outgoing ones while you still can.
Pulling out onto the road is your next indication that you’re about to have some real fun. The light but direct steering feels more like you’re giving inputs to a lightweight sports sedan and not a big Cadillac sedan. The power is simply stunning, with 640 HP and 630 ft-lb of torque, it’s just crazy fast. The 8-speed automatic transmission is calibrated for performance, especially in track mode – pulling all of that prodigious power right to the rear wheels.
There’s never a lag or hesitation from the transmission, and shifting with the paddles is an instantaneous affair. When you combine the lively handling with the rocketship power plant, you get one of the most pleasing driving experiences money can buy these days.
Unfortunately, it does take a lot of money to buy – starting at $88k, and topping out at nearly $100k fully optioned. But when you compare that to the big German performance sedans, it’s nearly half the cost. While it lacks the refinement of it’s German cousins, what it delivers in performance and soul more than make up for.
On the inside, there’s excellent materials, and clear design language. It’s cool enough, and highlights the ‘V’ shape throughout, but ultimately it’s not a timeless interior design. Again, it’s a refinement thing, where some of its competitors outshine it. Once you slip into the well supported driver’s seat, however, those concerns all melt away.
That’s why we’re so sad to see this car go, honestly. There are lots of cars that are clinically good at what they do. What the CTS-V adds is just a fun factor that you can’t put into words very easily. It just feels right, and while the interior design leaves a little to be desired, the exterior is both muscular and bold. It exudes luxury and performance, with the long, lean, angular body underpinned by four massive Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.
Previous generations of CTS-V have all been a little more obvious about their performance, and that’s another thing that makes this car great. There’s a subtlety to the exterior that makes the performance feel that much more pronounced.
With the upcoming CT6-V being a bit larger and losing almost 100 HP, it’s hard to get excited about. Who knows what future offerings will hold, Cadillac has a history of delivering with the V-brand, but for now I’ll just say – grab one of these while you still can. It’s going to take a lot for Cadillac to be able to top this one.