Previously on Oppositelock, it was a Wednesday, so I was wearing pink and telling you losers to get in, we're going shopping. I can assure you that will be the last of my Mean Girls references because now it's time to talk Cadillac, and Cadillac is serious business.
TL;DR? If you walk away from this car whining about lack of a spare tire..... you're not worthy.
(Full disclosure: GM wanted me to drive this car so badly, they gave it to me for a week. Yea, I'm just as surprised as you are.)
(Full disclosure pt.2: I'm an engineer who has never owned a car less than 10 years old and daily drives either a Yamaha or a shitty old XJ depending on the weather. I've had the opportunity to drive some cool shit, from FiSTs to BMWs. This is far and away the best car I've ever driven, but I'll try to be critical. With this Cadillac, it's hard, so I've incorporated the relevant opinions of my lucky friends (including Travis of the Why Your Car Sucks series fame) and family members who were allowed behind the wheel. All views and opinions are that of myself and the aforementioned lucky few.)
Exterior - 9.5/10
This is by far the most divisive aspect of this Cadillac but I, for one, am madly in love with the coupe's styling. The front grilles and splitter mean business, and oh, fat-bottomed car, you make my rockin' world go round. The exterior lighting, in accordance with Cadillac family styling, hearkens to the fins of their golden age without smacking you in the face with VINTAGE a la Challenger or Mustang. For you picky luxury fans out there, all the fancy sensors are as well-hidden as you can get on a modern vehicle. There are just enough V-specific features and badges to let those in the know realize what a discerning customer you are, while it still comes across as a head-turner-yet-sleeper to the uninitiated. It's mature and aggressive without being obnoxious.
I also have no need or desire for four doors and as Travis said, "it shows off what kind of toys you can buy when you don't have to worry about paying for daycare." To preempt the whines, I know there are plenty of parents out there who can afford one and it has the required anchors for car seats, but as Tom says, you people should just save yourselves the misery and get the damn minivan.
However, some friends flat-out hated the appearance of the coupe's rear specifically, and would greatly prefer the sedan for both styling and convenience. For 2015, the Cadillac badges will be updated to the sans-wreath look, which could be a factor if you think it the 2014's emblem will show its age in an unflattering manner. To acknowledge the coupe ain't everyone's cup of tea (stupid whiners), I docked one-half a point. Otherwise, the CTS-V coupe represents a damn fine job by Cadillac's design and engineers, and I vastly prefer it over the relative tameness of its German competitors.
Interior - 9/10
It's gorgeous. It's leather. It makes you feel fancy by association. Travis bitched about shiny black plastic trim, even though Cadillac is considerate enough to provide the lucky buyer with a microfiber cloth just to keep everything shiny.
First World Problems Travis also says: "Seats are too adjustable." He has a point: the 14-way adjustable Recaros, though a dream to nestle one's butt into, may take you a while to find the sweet spot. Luckily, you can preset the driver's seat to two settings once you get it figured out.
Also, to be blunt, this is obviously not the car you want if you're routinely carting around any more than yourself and one lucky friend on a routine basis. The back seats are just not for adults, even little 5'3" me. It is, however, hilarious watching a grown man try to get in or out of one of the two back seats. Travis and other guys almost fell. I laughed.
To answer nermal and jkm's inquiries about the trunk: It's more spacious than I anticipated, and there is a cargo net provided for keeping your groceries from flinging wildly when you just can't help but get the tail out on your way home from the market.
Visibility was what you'd expect from such a dramatic coupe. The blind spot sensors, park assist, and backup camera are useful tools, although the backup camera lacked the fancy lines to tell you where your butt is pointing. Even so, I'll have you all know that I didn't bump a single thing so far, and I'm used to driving a lifted glass box.
Acceleration - 10/10
"It's like being shot out of a really gentle cannon," said our lawyer, by far the least "car guy" of anyone to drive the CTS-V this week. "It's magic," he would go on to say, "I didn't know it was possible to teleport forward like that."
Being an engineer, I could go on, but that really sums it up in layman's terms right there. The 50-to-70 passing speeds are breathtaking. You will want the Recaros when your head is snapped back upon quickly punching the throttle, drawing audible reactions from your passengers. They'll be even more impressed when you tell them that you only gave it mayyybe 1/4 throttle. The boost gauge on the cluster gives you Fast and Furious points, but it's almost useless in my opinion: any time it kicks in, your eyes should be firmly planted on the road to save your dumb ass from everything rushing toward you as you move TO PLAID.
Braking - 9/10
Even on summer tires in the Michigan winter, the Brembos did their job shockingly fast. Also, with optional red or yellow calipers and 2-piece rotors, even the plebes will know what's up. Anything we could say in this category is limited by the snowy conditions.
Ride - 10/10
Here in Michigan, we believe that gas taxes are for suckers, just like road maintenance! Even though Canada and surrounding states are shining examples of how to keep road surfaces intact despite nasty winters, Michigan says "EFF THAT, THIS IS THE MOTOR CITY, WE GOTS OIL TA BURN!" And thus, potholes. Potholes everywhere. My family back in New York whines about their potholes, but no, shut up, ours will swallow already-endangered road repair vehicles.
With that said, our car was equipped with two-mode Magnetic Ride Control. Touring mode will float you over most everything that doesn't need to be avoided for fear of destroying the 19" high-polished wheels. Even in sport mode, it will not break your spine. The ride never approaches brutal as some "track-focused" cars do on public (read: shitty) roads and stays smooth even while cruising the streets of Detroit and Metro Detroit. After all, it's a Caddy.
Handling - 8.5*/10
OMG FUN. If I knew I was getting the V (I just knew I'd be getting a CTS coupe), I would've made reservations and driven down south for a track day to really push this Cadillac as far as it can handle. Here in flat and snowy Michigan, Stabilitrak kept things safe and manageable (impressive considering you're sending 556HP to the rear) while still enjoyable when pushed. The summer tires did far better than anyone could have anticipated in snow, for what it's worth.
At speed, the steering tightens noticeably, but not painfully. One friend is a power steering engineer who prefers a bit more feel, but grudgingly agrees that this EPAS system provides sufficient response.
*due to road conditions, no one was able to get optimal hookup to adequately judge the CTS-V's true handling capabilities and we didn't have many complaints about what we saw. Expect to see more points in this category from any lucky SOBs who got to take one out in a more hospitable environment.
Gearbox - 8/10
You know you're getting old when you start to realize just how wise your parents really are about some things, and this transmission is one of them. Almost all the young folks who looked at this CTS-V initially wrote off the lack of third pedal as a fatal flaw, called it "autotragic," rended their garments, gnashed their teeth. Then, they drove it, and all criticisms flew out the window.
If you, internet-readin' schlub, care about going fast, you want the automatic. Don't even putz around with the autostick. Time to eat some humble pie and admit that whoever calibrated this six-speed automatic knows better than you, and perhaps go find them and shake their hand for somehow programming a transmission that can read your mind. Downshifts weren't as quick or brutal as one could do while rowing your own, but still noticeable, so I deducted points.
Of course the two old guys loved it from the get-go, because they know what they're talking about. Or they just have shitty knees, same thing.
Toys - 8/10
I know this is 60-year-old technology, but I'll be damned if everyone didn't love that the Cadillac's headlights followed the road. Preston Tucker would have been proud. Travis had some complaints about the infotainment system, mainly that some buttons should be touchscreen options and vice versa. Always complaining. I'm used to only getting 3 radio stations, get off my lawn! This came with OnStar, XM, and all the speakers work, which is more than I can say for any car I've owned.
There is a g-meter buried among the menu options for the cluster screen, but as we were trying to keep ourselves and the car in one piece, we didn't try to hit the previous max of 0.77g.
Seat warmers were swift and effective! I did love the button that would move the seat and wheel for optimal exit, since I have to scoot so far up to get my feet on the pedals.
In my opinion, this is the area where cars will show their age first, and this is a 2014. Navigation was ok, but I've never seen an OEM system that would make me stop using native Google Maps on my phone.
Audio - 8.5/10
The whine of this supercharger inspired a friend to actually go out and buy one for his current project car. That good. Even at idle, it sounds angry yet refined. When you're on it, you just want to hear that beautiful sound that can only come from a supercharged V8 for as long as physically possible. Unfortunately for your wallet and driving record, repeated and sustained use of the loud pedal puts you into triple digits faster than you could imagine.
Value - 10/10
And not just because this is a 2014 model, which Cadillac is currently offering with $3000 cash back (almost enough to cover the optional Recaros!) according to their website. This car is in a strange class right now. When the CTS first launched, it was a 3-series competitor. The second generation saw it grow a little more into a space found between the 3- and 5- series. It's hard to compare this car to the M4 or RS5 and it is a little heavier and a little more grand tour-y than the more track-focused M3 or M4. However, to live (and commute) with day in and day out, I'm not sure there is a better value in a 556 horsepower, 12-second 1/4 mile coupe. It's more DB9 or AMG 63 Coupe than it is M3 or GT350, yet the CTS-V will outperform and outstyle the 2015 AMG 63 starting at nearly the same price. As much as GM's fanbase loves the Camaro Z/28 and its balls-to-the-wall performance in this price range... if you had to go with one car to get around and have fun, in my opinion you should consider getting yourself into the comfortable, well-equipped, and more versatile Cadillac.
Grand Total - 90.5/100
"HEY YOU UNSOPHISTICATED HILLBILLY MICHIGANDER, THAT IS WAY HIGHER THAN A 14 CADILLAC SHOULD BE!!"
Whatever jerkface, the Cadillac CTS-V is that good and I'm that impressed. I'm no fancy journalist jaded by whale interiors and rare supercars, but if you're in the market, do yourself a favor and schedule a test drive. I'd keep an eye on the used market as well, with the arrival of the 2015 you could snag a nice deal and the envy of those around you.
Also, that's hillbilly New Yorker to you.
Engine: 6.2-liter supercharged LSA V8
Power: 556 HP, 551ft-lb torque
Transmission: Six-Speed Automatic
0-60 Time: 4.0 seconds claimed, though I'm sure my dad was trying his damnedest to beat it.
Top Speed: 185mph claimed, did not attempt. Look, I know policing in Michigan is lax, but not that lax.
Drivetrain: Rear-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight: 4145 Pounds
Seating: 4 people, but who are we kidding? Only 2 adult humans will be comfortable.
MPG: 14 city/19 hwy (but don't count on getting those numbers the way any Jalop worth their salt will drive...)
MSRP: $64,900 base/$71,920 as tested (Recaros, red Brembos, 19" high-polished wheels)
The looks you get driving this bad boy around town as a 24-year-old? Priceless.
Bonus footage: Travis's dad drives a Cadillac, is inspired to sing.
Photos courtesy of myself and Cadillac.com