AMERICAN EAGLE

AMERICAN EAGLE

Lets just cut to the chase here: At 640 horsepower and 630 pound-feet of torque, the 2017 CTS-V sedan is the most powerful Cadillac ever produced. Having said that, its got all the grace, character and poise you could expect from this luxury marque. Take it to the Ritz, or track it at the BIC... its Trump's soul in Obama's body! 

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Our opening statement for this car is going to break convention because this car is packing a 6.2L all American, supercharged and direct-injected LT4 V-8 under its bonnet! The same as you'd find in a Corvette Stingray Z06, and if that isn't a statement worth opening our review with, then we don't know what is?

The American's have always been notorious for building massive engines that produce crazy HP and torque. And at one point of time they were also known for providing the world with luxury cars that were unparalleled in terms of quality, design or craftsmanship. All that changed when the world's economy tanked sometime in the mid 70s and things starting getting down-sized. Firstly cars became less grander, parts manufacturing got outsourced and quality instantly tipped. As a result American cars until recently were accredited as being too plasticky and constructed for a 4-5 year shelf life.

But lately things seem to be back on the 'Up' again in Detroit, with Cadillac leading the charge both in terms of product, design and quality. Comfort, class and luxury are the key words and Caddie has proven its mantle with the simply superb Escalade, CTS, ATS and now the resurgent V-Series!

Reverting back to the engine of this monster, to add more might CTS-V's engine is force-fed air by a 1.7-liter Eaton supercharger; and you can hear its high-pitched whine while under acceleration. Fun fact: it takes 55 horsepower just to spin the compressor, but it adds a net 220 ponies to the cast aluminum block's performance, so it's worth the small hit.

The force flows through an eight-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission that features sport and manual shift programs and can be controlled via paddle shifters on the steering wheel. The last stop before the rubber meets the road is an electronically controlled rear differential that directs the power to the rear wheels.

This bad boy will hit 60mph from a standing start in just 3.7 seconds, and it does so in one of the most terrifyingly abrupt ways we’ve ever experienced. Where other large sport sedans build up to an eventual surge, the CTS-V unleashes a torrent of power all in one go! It's like being shot out of a cannon - and nearly as loud. Give the V a long enough run-up and it will hit a top track speed of 200mph.

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The exterior

Just at first glance, the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V is something special with its signature mesh grille, vented hood and fenders and the massive rear spoiler, and this particular car looked downright sinister with its Black Raven paint job. But the color is only the beginning as this car had the massive19-inch wheels that help better expose the red-painted Brembo brake callipers not to mention the exquisitely different, front splitter, rear diffuser and rear spoiler - which set the car apart from its regular sibling. The dark colors hide what remains of the tires and brakes, and the standard curbview camera helps keep that low front splitter from getting damaged on parking curbs… it does not look cheap to replace!

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INTERIOR

The interior of the third-generation CTS was already one of the nicest that Cadillac has ever produced and the 2017 Cadillac CTS-V takes it up a notch with unique materials and trim. This starts with metallic trim on the dash and a suede microfiber headliner, but this car got even better with the beautiful Recaro sport bucket seats and Performance Data Recorder. We saw it as a sign of intent, that this Caddi is more than just a quick passenger carrier.

In terms of tech, the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V has all you really need, like the 12.3-inch configurable gauge cluster, OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, head-up display and wireless inductive charging for smartphones hidden behind the infotainment screen. It would be a shame to drown out the CTS-V’s V-8, but if you really want to, the 13-speaker Bose audio system is up to the task. The Cadillac CUE infotainment system is also standard and recently been through a 2016 upgrade allowing for faster operation and compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Even though it is designed to tear around tracks, the 2017 Cadillac CTS-V offers plenty of room for five passengers to ride in style, giving a bucket-seat-like feeling to the outboard passengers. The trim and quality of materials used is second to non and the cockpit feels bullet-proof. One can only assume that the competition was firmly studied before pen was laid to paper!

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PERFORMANCE

It starts with the chassis, which is 20 percent stiffer than the standard CTS sedan's body thanks to a variety of braces, sheer panels and reinforcements added to the underbody, suspension mounting points, engine bay, bulkhead and more. Many of the spongy, rubber bushings in the CTS' suspension have been replaced with zero-play ball joints, which allows the components to move more accurately. The standard third-generation Magnetic Ride Control adaptive dampers respond to handling demands 40pc faster than before. What does this equate to? Handling and poise that feels track bred and we are not talking "drag-strip'!

According to Cadillac, at 60mph, the CTS-V's Magnetic Ride Control active suspension optimises each corner's damping force for every inch of the road travelled. The real world result is that the Cadillac CTS-V waltzes around bends and over winding roads with so much more agility than a car of this size should process. Sure, Caddy's made efforts to keep the V's weight down -- including fitting it with a standard carbon-fiber hood -- but at the end of the day, this 4,100 pound beast is as swift as bird.

Backing up the magnificent ride dynamics and engine is an eight-speed transmission that is good enough to make most pros forget about their lack of a manual transmission option. Shifts are quick and precise, but if that’s not enough for drivers, there is also a manual shift mode that makes use of the steering wheel-mounted magnesium shift paddles. Like the drivetrain, every aspect of the 2017 Cadillac CTS-V has been optimised for performance. The six-piston Brembo brake system is good enough to stop a bullet-train in seconds. And obviously you need those to cope with the phenomenal acceleration -  after all you've got a Z06 power plant under that hood.

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The Verdict

So what does this all mean for the Cadillac CTS-V? It may still be considered the new boy in class, but it can easily match on road and potentially better on the track, anything that the established stalwarts have to throw at it. And the starting price makes it easier on the wallet as well.

What I loved about it was that it could be driven comfortably around town in a very civil way provided you can control your right foot. Lets face it, the Cadillac CTS-V is an American take on the super sports sedan. It's not just a shot fired at the competition, it's a full on targeted drone strike, an overwhelming show of strength and fortitude.

© COPYRIGHT ARABIA MOTORS February 2017

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