Cadillac CTS V8

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Description: Everything you need to know about the wild, all-new 640-hp Cadillac CTS-V. Get all the details and see photos at Car and Driver.

BMW's M division is floundering. Cadillac's CTS is sharper than ever. Could the 640-hp CTS-V be the car that makes people forget the M5?

A 640-hp Nürburgring-eating CTS-V isn’t a natural descendant of the house of Cadillac. The king of cush and the caesar of geezers was once none too concerned with steering fidelity, roll gradients, lateral grip, and the like. These were figuratively and literally foreign concepts, as the modern luxury car—as sharp at clipping an apex as it is comfortable on the highway—is largely a European conceit.

Cadillac finally turned a corner (without hideous squealing) in 2003 with its first CTS. Ever since then, the brand has been hellbent on topping its German rivals. The 2016 CTS-V, which made its debut at this year’s Detroit auto show, is Cadillac’s best chance yet to do so.

We’ve already witnessed the third-generation CTS top the Mercedes-Benz E-class and the BMW 5-series (albeit while taking second place to the Audi A6 ). Starting from the same cornerstone, the new CTS-V should have Germany’s three big gunslingers—Audi RS, BMW M, and Mercedes-AMG—reaching nervously for their lederhosen.

The CTS-V has always been a kind of four-door Chevy Corvette. The new V ties the Vette connection even tighter with an engine lifted from the ballistic Corvette Z06. The engine is so lightly altered for Cadillac duty that the company could have called this car the CTS-V06.

The 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 retains the LT4 moniker and packs the Z06’s forged aluminum pistons, powder-metal forged connecting rods, titanium intake valves, and an Eaton blower pushing 1.7 liters of air per rotation. Aside from the intake and exhaust arrangements, the major difference between the Corvette and CTS-V engines is the lubrication system. In the Corvette, the low hood and the height of the supercharger dictate a dry sump and remote oil reservoir. The relatively tall Cadillac doesn’t have the same hood-height issues, so oil starvation is kept at bay in high-g corners by a deep sump, reducing complexity and weight.

The V’s top speed stands to be even more impressive. CTS chief engineer Tony Roma was coy at first, saying only that his team aims for “a big number,” but he eventually let on that they’re hoping the car will exceed 200 mph. At our interview, the closest we got to a CTS-V in motion was firing the small-block V-8 engine. Its eight cylinders came to life with a rabid bark that ricocheted off the coved walls of our photo studio before the 6.2-liter settled into a gravelly idle, fast and loud. The sound is as awesome as it is assertive, though your neighbors may think otherwise when you leave the driveway at 6 a.m. For those occasions, you’ll want to start the car in tour mode, which keeps the muffler-bypass valves closed to quiet the snarl.

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