CTS-V Coupe

A Cadillac that rips from standstill to 60 mph in four seconds?

Sure, there have been powerful Caddys before: the 16-cylinder-equipped superstars of the early ‘30s; those dual four-barrel big blocks of the ‘50s; the 500-cubic inch monster Eldorados of the 1970s.

But the 2011 CTS-V Coupe — Cadillac’s first two-door since the 2002 Eldo — goes where those vehicles had not gone before. The new 2 + 2 centerpiece of the GM’s top marque will attract the next generation of enthusiasts to the company, known as much during its 108 years for innovation as for uncompromising luxury.

The super-coupe uses the same engine as the fastest GM on the road, the potent ZR-1 Corvette, and this Caddy has proved its mettle on world-famous racing tracks as well as against some of the finest luxury cars on Earth — many priced significantly higher.

Essentially unchanged from the concept car debuted two years ago in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show, the CTS-V Coupe combines stylishness with swiftness, beauty with beastly performance.

“The CTS-V Coupe is a luxury sports coupe aimed at driving enthusiasts. It is the ultimate expression of Cadillac’s Art and Science philosophy,” says Brian Corbett, Cadillac spokesman. “The objective with the V-Series is to make the car one of the best and highest performing luxury sports cars in the world.”

Making this so is a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8, with aluminum-alloy cylinder heads, which produces 556 horsepower and 551 pound-feet of torque. The intercooled Eaton supercharger system has a four-lobe rotor design that quietly manufactures many of these horses.

Standard is a Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual with a dual-disc clutch, and you can order a six-speed Hydra-Matic 6L90 six-speed automatic with paddle-shift control, explains Andrew Lucas, sales manager at Legends Cadillac Hummer Saab, 7901 E. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. in Scottsdale. Compare the well-powered basic CTS, with its 3.6-liter direct-injected V-6 rated at 304 horsepower.

“The paddle shift control requires no shift lever movement,” Andrew explains. “Steering wheel thumb controls allow you to tap up or down for gear selection.”

Sharing the same wheelbase as the CTS Sport Sedan, the CTS-V Coupe is rakishly lower by two inches, with an overall length that is also two inches shorter. So, too, the rear track is almost an inch wider than the CTS-V Sport Sedan, increasing handling capability. This car is meant to be driven; give the chauffeur the night off or even suggest career restructuring.

So, too, although sharing inspiration and some features with the CTS-V Sedan, the CTS Coupe delivers significant design differences, explains Jim Seawards, Legends sales director.

For one, this is classic hardtop styling, without a B-pillar to mar body flow. You’ll have touch-pad operation for the doors, so door handles are eliminated, adding to that cleanliness of line. Furthering the aerodynamic design are a faster-angled windshield and a nearly horizontal backglass.

The front grille doubles the car’s air intake volume, and, on the lower front fascia are brake-cooling vents. A raised center section of the hood provides clearance for the supercharger and quietly announces that this is a special vehicle.

Center-outlet twin dihedral-shaped tips pass through the rear fascia. The rear spoiler is integrated into the high-mounted stop lamp, and a roof-mounted antenna delivers XM Satellite Radio and OnStar 9.0, with Flexible Speech Recognition as well as signature services such as Automatic Crash Response and Turn-by-Turn Navigation.

Stabilizing this rocket coupe is an independent short/long arm front suspension system, fitted with hydraulic control arm front bushings. Similarly, on the rear is a multi-link suspension mounted to an isolated subframe.

The Coupe includes a front stabilizer bar (slightly thinner than that in the Sedan,) while the rear bar is slightly larger — both adjustments made with performance and driver enjoyment in mind. Shocks are firmer, helping the CTS-V Coupe reach 0.90g peak lateral acceleration.

Also standard are four-wheel disc performance brakes from Brembo, with six-piston calipers in the front and four-piston calipers in the rear. The rotors are slotted and vented, increasing heat resistance and eliminating fade. They combine cast iron and aluminum, optimizing performance and reducing weight. An electric parking brake increases legroom for the driver — important for performance driving.

Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires are fitted on 19-inch cast-aluminum wheels, providing grip and outstanding everyday performance. The wheels are available in either painted or polished finishes.

Also enhancing acceleration is the Coupe’s limited-slip differential with a 3.73:1 final drive ratio — lower than the 3.42:1 ratio of other CTS body styles.

Power is mated with innovation and driver-centric engineering: “In terms of delivering a performance-oriented, or comfort-oriented, ride are GM’s amazing Magnetic Ride Control shocks, which monitor the road every millisecond and adjust shock pressure,” Jim says.

Cadillac calls this the world’s fastest-reacting suspension technology — employing sensors at all four wheels to continually adjust the shocks for almost immediate control.

“First used on Corvettes, this technology is now used by the likes of Ferrari,” he adds, noting that Cadillac offers the shocks with two pre-sets, Tour and Sport, so you can set the car for preferred driving mode.

Inside, luxury matches performance. The steering wheel, seat inserts and shifter are covered in microfiber, and interior accents are on the door, center storage console and instrument panel trim.

Standard electronics include keyless access and Smart Remote start; Bose 5.1 Cabin Surround™ audio system; integrated iPod/MP3 capability; 40-gig hard drive, with music storage capacity and pause-and-replay live radio; a pop-up navigation system; Bluetooth connectivity; and rear vision camera system.

Safety features are extensive, including a dual-stage driver front air bag; dual-depth front passenger air bag; driver and front passenger side seat-mounted pelvic/thorax side air bags; and roof-rail side curtain air bags that cover front and rear seating rows.

Optional in the CTS-V Coupe are heated and ventilated seats as well as 14-way adjustable Recaro sport seats with pneumatic bolster controls in the seat cushions and backrests. A sunroof can also be requested.

In addition, a heated wood steering wheel is available, and you can also order a sueded steering wheel rim and shift knob. Add, too, a wood Trim Package and tri-coat paints. A saffron interior trim color is also new.

For your warranty and other service, Legends service department hours are Mon.–Fri., 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m.–1 p.m. All Legends technicians are fully certified in General Motors cars as well as ASE certified, Andrew points out.

MSRP for the CTS-V coupe starts at $62,990. When ordering, allow about six–eight weeks for delivery.

Legends does get a few of these special vehicles for inventory, but don’t depend on that if you want to own one now, he notes: “They usually get sold before the vehicle shows up on the lot.”