Before every high speed driving experience at media test drive events, a representative of the automaker or a professional driver chosen by the company stands up before the wannabe racers who write car reviews and tells them about what to expect that day. It’s SOP across the business.
If you’d have been on the scene in Munich a few days ago before one particular driver briefing, you’d have seen this lummox reporter on his feet during the talk and edging constantly and steadily toward the door. Such a briefing was necessary this morning as the assembled media were about to take $86,000, 640 horsepower machines onto a public roadway that forgot to set a speed limit. Still, every second setting all the rules and warnings was a heartbeat spent not driving Euro-fast in the 2017 Cadillac CTS-V Sedan.
Unleashing the top of the food chain for Cadillac onto the Autobahn is a bold move for the American luxury automaker — especially out of Munich and the shadow of BMW’s massive HQ complex. But, Cadillac wants to make a move into Germany to provide a sort of reverse American cache. In a realm where everyone with enough money reflexively grabs a Mercedes-Benz, BMW or Porsche, the site of the color-spangled Caddy badge turns some intrigued heads.
So, during the celebration of the Cadillac-sponsored Letters to Andy Warhol art and history exhibit in the seat of Oktoberfest, reporters got to enjoy a day north of 200 KPH with the CTS-V. First glance reveals its styling boldly stepping out ahead of its German competition. It’s very American and flashy, forgoing any notion of European “understatedness” to hide its power and refinement. It announces itself with gaping grilles, hood vents and a barking exhaust note.
The 6.2 liter V8 engine, its 630 lb-ft. of torque and the rear-wheel drive they link to are also very American. The power is immediate and unapologetic with just enough play in the backend to misbehave, even with the traction control in full effect. The car is beautifully balanced, with a Brembo bake system surrounding the driver to bring all of that power to a stop. It’s a car a driver can drive at speed in comfort and confidence.
While Cadillac left behind the big, floating, cruising sedan game many years ago in favor of performance luxury rides, this is still a Cadillac. Its buyers demand a complete collection of comfort, technical and infotainment features in the cockpit. In keeping, the CTS-V includes a 20-way adjustable driver’s seat, Bose 13-speaker Centerpoint Surround Sound System, the CUE infotainment system and a 12.3-inch reconfigurable high-def in-dash screen.
There’s something unapologetic and deliberately un-metropolitan about the CTS-V (to coin a phrase). Yes, it provides the luxury and build quality you’d expect for $85K+, but there’s nothing shy, retiring or uptight about the car. It’s too growly, too aggressive and flashy. It’s the loud American at the fancy Continental tea party, and it’s perfectly comfortable with that.