The Cadillac CTS-V Luxury Sport Wagon is a car that nobody expected to make production, and yet it delights everyone by being available today on the showroom floor. “Everyone,” naturally means enthusiasts for whom a “station wagon” packing a supercharged 556-hp V8, a Tremec 6060 six-speed manual transmission or Hydra-Matic 6L90 six-speed automatic, and Cadillac Magnetic Ride, the world’s fastest-reacting suspension technology, is a wheeled grail.
This is the most powerful production vehicle Cadillac has ever built, and the reason people are so pleased with the CTS-V Wagon (MSRP $64,515) is that they don’t have to compromise between utility and performance; this car has both.
The exterior is possibly the most distinctive Cadillac model, taking the crisp-edged design theme and applying it to a two-box wagon form. The distinctive Cadillac grille is larger to feed air to the cooling system and engine intake. The hood has a raised area to make room for the supercharger lying beneath, and the CTS-V Wagon carries unique front and rear fascias and 19-inch wheels.
The exclusively trimmed interior of the CTS-V features standard performance seats with perforated microfiber upholstery to hold you in place when exercising the high-performance chassis. Optional Recaro performance seats are even more supportive with 14-way power adjustment. LED lighting and cut-and-sewn accents are touches that play to the luxury side of the CTS-V Wagon’s character, and other niceties include a Bose® 5.1 Cabin Surround audio system with 10 speakers, standard dual-zone climate control, remote start, rear-view camera system and keyless entry and starting.
A thick steering wheel is a performance touch, along with gauges that include easy-to-read indications and an LED “tracer” in the tachometer that blinks when the engine speed approaches redline. There’s a boost gauge and lateral acceleration readout incorporated into the instrument cluster as well. Suede covering for the steering wheel and shifter are available to keep your hands dry when wringing out this formidable machine.
The chassis features an independent short/long arm (SLA) front suspension rendered in low-weight aluminum. The rear axle is a multi-link design attached to the rigid body structure by a rubber-isolated subframe to enhance refinement by reducing noise and vibration being transmitted to the cabin. The power is put down by a limited-slip differential with a 3.73:1 ratio for manual transmission models and 3.23:1 for automatics.
The Magnetic Ride Control system gives the CTS-V the ability to perform to its fullest without pounding occupants into powder. Electronic sensors are fitted to all four wheels, reading road conditions back to a central computer that adjusts the damping in real-time response to conditions. Brembo brakes employ six-piston front calipers and four-piston rears to clamp large, vented brake rotors. The brake rotors are constructed with “dual-cast” technology that uses iron for friction surfaces and aluminum for the hubs to deliver superior performance while saving weight. At the business end of all the power and handling are Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires engineered exclusively for the CTS-V wagon. These are supercar tires, and the numbers the CTS-V Wagon can put up are deserving of that moniker.
Practically, the CTS-V Wagon is still a member of the CTS family. That means an easily maneuvered size that has comfortable space without being too big to fit in a garage or parking spot. The cargo area of the wagon almost doubles the cargo capacity of the sedan, providing 25 cubic feet behind the rear seats. When the seats are folded, there’s 53.4 cubic feet of room that you can fill with items to haul around rapidly.
The CTS-V Wagon is the most unique automobile available on the market today. It has a lot of utterly practical interior space and it’s easy to drive, yet it’s also a formidable opponent for any other ultra-performance car. The most amazing thing is the way the CTS-V Wagon straddles both of those disciplines without doing anything to turn anyone off. It’s a civilized barbarian that will carry your bags. Who doesn’t want a companion like that?