We are going to do something a little different that you probably haven’t seen in many reviews. Most articles give you a bunch of facts and details leading you up to their conclusion at the end. We wanted to start this review with our conclusion. This car is simply amazing. In any form, the CTS-V is a great car and a great step forward for Cadillac and American cars, but the V-Wagon is where it’s at for us at txGarage.
Cadillac and the CTS
If you think about what GM has done wrong in the past, then think about what they really need to do to compete with the European and Germans in the luxury class, the CTS has all the answers. It’s brought Cadillac back with a rear-wheel drive platform and sporty potential. Cadillac used the CTS to bring its “Art Design” philosophy into its production models that now span its line-up. Bringing the V series to the CTS must have been a no brainier and gained Cadillac some respect points in the enthusiast crowd.
Why a wagon?
The looks of the CTS turned wagon split us here at txGarage. Some on our team say the looks are horrendous and they wouldn’t be caught dead buying a wagon, 556 horsepower or not. Others think that the wagon speaks to the European enthusiast, conjuring up images of sporty estate cars from overseas. In Europe, these wagons are a huge hit. Every manufacture has a slew of models in wagon trim. BMW, Mercedes Benz, and even the new electric Audi car all have them, and they sell like hot-cakes. Cadillac knows that American’s have traditionally stayed away from hatchbacks and wagons, and have already said that the Sport Wagon will be offered by special order only. Do not expect to find these on the showroom floor at your local Cadillac dealership.
Is it practical?
Should you spend $70k on a wagon that can run with a Porsche 911 turbo? Well, if you are getting up into that price range, it’s all about what you want and what you like. If you need something a little bigger than a two-seater sports car, but want all the fun and power of a sports car, this is a great option. The wagon has a maximum cargo capacity of 53.4 cubic feet with the seats folded down. That’s about 4 times that of the sedan CTS! It’s not quite SUV size, but it does have lots of space and the positives of the sporty profile greatly outweigh the negatives.
Is it sporty?
When you first jump into the CTS-V Sport Wagon and cruise around town, you notice that the steering feels a little light and the suspension is nice and soft like a Cadillac should be, but it doesn’t feel “sporty.” It doesn’t feel pointed or direct enough to instill you with confidence that this big wagon will take corners well.
The magic buttons, then, are the Sport Suspension and the Traction Control buttons. The suspension only has two options, touring and sport. Pushing this tells Delphi’s effective Magnetic Ride Controls what you’re looking for in your suspension. This isn’t just a button for button sake; you can immediately feel the difference as the suspension firms up, reducing body roll and allowing you to feel those bumps.
The traction control button is a little trickier. Push it once and you get an icon telling you the traction control is turned off, but it isn’t. Push that button again and you get what Cadillac calls “Competitive Mode.” This tightens the steering making it much heavier and direct, now you feel as if you are in a sports car. The Racaro bolstered seats with suede inserts keep you planted in your seat no matter what G’s you pull cornering in this thing. You’ll know exactly how many G’s you pull because the CTS-V Sport Wagon is equipped with a G-meter as well as a stop-watch timer. To turn the traction control off completely, you’ll need to hold that button down for a while, eventually the V will let you know that you’ve just switched into defcon 3.
Breaking the tires loose, thankfully, isn’t an easy task. The V wagon comes with 19-inch rims wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport PS2s, 9 inches wide in the front and 9.5 inches in the rear. These are some beefy, grippy tires. Under these 19” wheels are some 15 inch rotors and with Brembo stopping power. These brakes do a fantastic job stopping this 4400 pound wagon.
Is it really powerful?
Simply put, yes! As you might imagine, we’ve been in some pretty quick cars over the years and every one of the txGarage staff, and people we gave rides to, came back with the same conclusion. “I can’t believe that station wagon is that fast.”
We are talking about a 556 hp 6.2 liter supercharged V8 – 0-60 in 4.1 seconds. The supercharger is an intercooled Eaton Twin Vortices Series with a unique design that employs twin four-lobe rotors, twisted at 160 degrees. Not sure what all that means, but it translates into speed quite well.
The transmission in our test vehicle is a 6-speed manual Tremec TR-6060. This same gearbox can be found in cars like the Camaro SS, Pontiac G8 GXP, and even the Shelby GT500 – in other words, it’s just about bullet proof. The feel of the suede wrapped shifter is direct and comfortable. The clutch is heavy, but not too heavy, making quick shifting easy and enjoyable.
What all this means is that no matter what, if you need to be somewhere other than where you are now, take that right foot and plant it. Once you plant that foot you get a bellowing from the exhaust and a slight whine from the supercharger, getting louder as you climb in rpm’s. It’s a great feeling that you want to repeat over and over again, forgetting about the 14.1 mpg you’re averaging. The engine and power is always there to entice you. Even sitting at a stoplight, you can feel the engine rocking and doing it’s best to contain the fury,just waiting for you to lay into the accelerator.
Would we buy it?
The practical space, intoxicating power, and polarizing design are all great reasons to jump on this car. Left to a vote, our answer as a whole would be no, don’t buy it. Go for the sedan or coupe. But this car is a beautiful car, and is sure to be a collector at some point seeing as they won’t be making many for the American roads. Forget about the fuel economy; forget about the looks you’ll get from your neighbor. The nod from the car guy at the gas station or the heads turning as you head down the street make up for all that.
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