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2013 Cadillac CTS-V is a Muscle Car Wrapped in Luxury Car Clothes (Review)

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We take the keys to a 556-hp 2013 Cadillac CTS-V for a week!

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With all of the focus on electric cars, hybrids and new CAFE rules in the news everyday, you might think that the days of the muscle car are long gone, but are they? While it’s no longer common to see a large V8 stuffed under the hood of an everyday car, there are a few models that are still around to satisfy buyers that value horsepower over fuel economy. Enter the 2013 Cadillac CTS-V. It packs a supercharged 6.2L V8 with a whopping 556 horsepower that propels the CTS-V from 0-60 mph in an insane 3.9 seconds!
The CTS-V is the high-performance version of the Cadillac CTS and is basically Cadillac’s BMW M5 or Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG fighter. It’s available in sedan, coupe and wagon versions, so even if you have two kids and a dog you can still enjoy everything that the CTS-V has to offer. The same 6.2L supercharged V-8 engine powers all three models, which means no matter which body style you choose you will get an engine that generates 556 horsepower and 551 lb-ft. of torque. The V8 engine features an intercooled Eaton supercharger and is mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. All that power is sent to the rear wheels where its sent to the ground via the standard 19-inch wheels. Cadillac also added Brembo brakes and a cool Magnetic Ride Control system that is firm but never too harsh when the pavement turns nasty.

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Throughout our week with the CTS-V its 556 horsepower made it a complete monster on the road. Slam the gas pedal to the floor and the CTS-V takes off with a rush that feels almost like the same feeling you get when a plane is taking off. It’s power delivery definitely made more than one passenger gasp. Even better the CTS-V’s suspension kept the car planted on the road when the road turned twisty with the only set back being a slightly vague steering feel.

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Inside the CTS-V has more than enough room for four passengers, although the legroom in the rear may be a bit tight for those that are lucky enough to stand over six-feet tall. Our tester’s Recaro sport front seats also were well bolstered and comfortable. While the CTS-V’s engine and driving dynamics managed to put a smile on almost everyone that had a chance to experience it, the interior was a bit of a let down, especially for a car costing in the $70k range. It’s switchgear felt a bit cheap and not up to par with the latest from the CTS-V’s German competitors. Obviously the current generation CTS is on its way out, since a new one is scheduled to arrive by the end of the year, which explains why the interior felt old. Turning a knob to start the car and a navigation screen that rises from the dash all felt like something that you wouldn’t really expect in a car in this price range.

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But back to how it drives, since that is the most obvious reason why anyone would be willing to plop down $70k for the CTS-V, especially the fact that it doesn’t really look that much different than the lesser powered CTS models. Yes it has bigger wheels, a bump in the hood and a few other tweaks, but most people probably wouldn’t even notice the difference. The CTS-V’s 6.2L V8 is like that guy at the gym that can do anything that’s thrown at him. It’s power delivery is so effortless and the rumble from the exhaust is incredible. Everyone knows when you’re coming down the street. It’s suspension was never harsh with the only tricky part being the fact that all that power is only going to the rear wheels. Push it too hard in a corner and the tail may let loose a bit, but put it all together and this thing is one fun car to drive! Unfortunately the CTS-V is willing to give you an immense amount of power and fun whenever you want it, but keep a close eye on your gas tank. We only averaged 12 mpg in our six-speed automatic tester.

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At the end of the day the CTS-V brought back so many memories of American muscle cars from the past. It’s supercharged V8 will easily embarrass many cars costing thousands more and one of the best parts is that you can get the package in three body styles that make it any easy decision. Even though it recalled memories of the loud powerful muscle cars from the past, the one thing that those cars could never do was deliver the power with the same level of precision and refinement that BMWs and Mercedes-Benz offered. The CTS-V has what it takes to battle the best from Germany.

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2013 Cadillac CTS-V
Base Price: $64,515
Price as Tested: $72,660