The 2011 Cadillac CTS-V is more than a little intimidating from a performance perspective. Planted underhood is a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 with 556 horsepower and 551 pound-feet of torque. That kind of gumption rivals anything from Bavaria and rockets the CTS-V up to 60 mph in under 4 seconds when equipped with the 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic. The top speed is 191 mph. Not that the CTS-V Coupe is a hard car to drive. The engine is smooth and unobtrusive—Ireson called it "docile"—until it's unleashed. And it feels firmly planted at all times.
The amount of torque can be alarming and intoxicating; it pushes driver and passengers further back into their seats in a good way. With judicious use of the pedal, smoother takeoffs are possible—although much less fun. A 6-speed manual is standard, and has a light clutch, while the 6-speed automatic operates well with the paddle shifters, provided you tip the gear into manual mode first.
The power is put down to the pavement thanks to GM's Magnetic Ride Control system that uses adjustable dampers to firm or soften the suspension. It can cover up blemished roads on bad days, keep the CTS-V taut and ready on good days. We've found Sport mode to be a willing participant in track drives, with a Competitive Driving Mode feature available to put the balanced chassis, powerful engine, sticky Z-rated tires, and firm brakes into zen for a harmonious, and savagely fast, ride.
The all-new CTS-V Coupe is only about 5 pounds lighter than the sedan due to the extra bracing needed for side impact safety because of the longer doors, and its shape creates a bit more lift at high speeds than the sedan, so it may have a slightly lower top speed—though at 191 mph for the sedan, the bar is insanely high to begin with. Under the skin, the wider rear track is accomplished with wider wheels rather than relocated suspension pickup points and a widened chassis.