The lusty 6.2-liter, supercharged V-8 engine in the 2010 CTS-V makes an impressive 556 horsepower and 551 pound-feet of torque—enough to outgun other top sports sedans from Germany. Performance times have come in at just under four seconds to 60 mph either with the standard six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic, with a top speed of 191 mph.
Jalopnik explains that while the engine in the Cadillac CTS-V is borrowed from the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, it makes a bit less power in the CTS-V: “a not-quite-as-ridiculous 551 lb-ft and 556 hp." These numbers are still groundbreaking for a sedan, and enough for Motor Trend to declare the Cadillac CTS-V "the fastest, most powerful American sedan in history." Jalopnik calls it "the fastest production sedan in the world."
In real-world driving, the tremendous torque of this engine can shift drivers and passengers further back into their seats with a deep stab at the throttle, yet a well-calibrated throttle makes it easy to take off smoothly and gently. The six-speed manual gearbox is precise, with a light clutch, while the automatic comes with paddle shifters that allow manual selection if you shift to a separate gate. All this power is made enjoyable through great handling, aided by adjustable suspension settings made possible by magnetic fluid in the shocks that can firm or soften the ride depending on setting and situations. It allows a supple ride on rough roads and crisp body control when it's needed. The system has a Sport mode, and when combined with a big engine, solid brakes, and sticky Z-rated Michelin performance tires, the adept chassis shines through in Competitive Driving mode.
Cars.com found plenty of pull everywhere in the torque range and a hushed interior made it relatively easy to "crash into the rather hard rev limiter" without much effort. Easy, available torque doesn't make for a lazy car, Consumer Guide wrote, noting that with either manual or automatic transmission the CTS-V sprints up to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds. Road & Track took it a step further and wrote that the speedometer should be optional&—a sticker saying "You're speeding" is all that's needed.
Whether you choose the six-speed manual transmission or six-speed automatic, you really can't go wrong in the 2010 Cadillac CTS-V; editors for the The Car Connection appreciated both, especially the manual. Consumer Guide wrote that the manual shifter worked well with a "precise but meaty feel." Cars.com praised the short throw and said the ratios perfectly matched the engine's "hearty grunt." Road & Track sampled the automatic and said that the autobox was an "enjoyable experience" thanks to quick upshifts and rev-matched downshifts with the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Reviewers at The Car Connection noted that to use the paddle shifters first required tipping the gear shifter into manual mode, which can be annoying for some.
While the 2010 Cadillac CTS-V has the acceleration times to meet or beat most of the world's fastest sport sedans, not everyone is completely enthused about the way the CTS-V steers. Starting with the criticisms, Cars.com says "the one line that could use strengthening is the steering, which doesn't have the feedback of the best track cars"—an opinion shared in several reviews read by TheCarConnection.com.
Although the steering could use some work by some accounts, comments about the CTS-V's handling are universally positive, with most reviewers pointing to how well the suspension soaks up bumps, too. Autoblog finds "it's a nice balance that lets you know you're driving a serious automobile with very serious sporting pretensions, but that it doesn't mind getting up and going to work each morning," and Automobile Magazine reports that Cadillac CTS-V's "ability to provide a civilized ride along with blistering track performance is largely a credit of the latest-generation Magnetic Ride Control," which features "variable dampers" in the shock-absorption system capable of "adjusting their firmness level every millisecond." ConsumerGuide concludes that the CTS-V provides "tenacious grip in turns, and tremendously powerful brakes."
With its huge, supercharged V-8, the CTS-V has, as you might expect, quite unimpressive fuel economy figures. With the automatic, it's rated at 12 mpg city, 19 highway, while the manual comes in at 14/19 mpg.