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Issue Fifteen
January 26, 2005
2005 Detroit Auto Show
2005 Detroit Auto Show Photo Gallery
2005 Detroit Auto Show Awards
Best of Show: Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Best Buy: Toyota Avalon
Best Concept: Ford Shelby GR-1
Best New Vehicle for 2005: Ford Mustang GT
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2005 CES Show From Las Vegas
2005 LA Auto Show
Fall 2004 SEMA Show from Vegas
BMW 760
Cadillac CTS-V
Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited
Coming Next Issue
Chip Foose
VW Phaeton W12
Long Term Storage
Ultimate Ears

2004 Cadillac CTS-V Road Test & Review
V is for Victory
By Steve Litscher
Editor-in-Chief


(November 29, 2004)

2004 Cadillac CTS-V feels right at home on the track

2004 Cadillac CTS-V features strong body lines

We liked the steering wheel, instrument cluster and shifter

Subtle aluminum accents look great on the CTS-V


Go to
Cadillac CTS-V
Photo Gallery
Official Web site:
Cadillac
Our hats are off to GM and Cadillac. To the best of our knowledge, no other car company has been so successful at rebuilding its brand identity so quickly and with as much success as Cadillac has. Gone are the pasty-white old timers from Boca Raton with chest-high Sans-a-Belt plaid pants and white golf shoes dominating focus group studies. They've been replaced by sharp new hipsters who enjoy the driving experience, and have visions of beating the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz at their own game, on their own turf.

By now it's no secret that the Cadillac CTS-V spent its fair share of time at Germany's infamous Nurburgring (or simply "the Ring") test track, undergoing rigorous chassis development and tuning. The Ring is responsible for so many of the great European driving machines that we Americans so readily lust after. So it's no surprise that Cadillac scheduled development time at the Ring - they had big fish in their sights, and after driving the CTS-V, we can say they caught them, dead to rights.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Before any testing or refining could take place, Cadillac had to build a suitable platform, fit it with the appropriate parts and wrap it in something appealing. The engineers chose GM's Sigma chassis as the foundation for its building block, primarily for its inherent rigidity and rear drive configuration. The Sigma chassis is shared with two other Cadillac marques: The SRX and the soon to be released Cadillac Seville.



Suspension was the next order of business, and for road holding duties Caddy fit springs that are 27% more stiff than stock, along with larger, more robust shock absorbers. The control arms are cast from aluminum, and stuffed with stiffer bushings that mate to reinforced, hydroformed front and rear cradles. Larger-diameter anti-roll bars round out the package and ensure the body doesn't wallow when the cornering gets tricky and abrupt.

GM's StabiliTrak yaw control system and traction control help to keep things in check, but both can be disabled with the flick of their respective switches. On the track, we took advantage of the "Competitive Driving" function that disables StabiliTrak until it's absolutely needed to save the day. We only managed to activate it once, in a ridiculous hairpin just before the front stretch at Pocono Raceway's road course. A g-meter is built-in to the "Driver Information Center" so that you can compare notes with your friends after a particularly hot and heavy track session. The Driver Information Center also displays such useful information as individual tire pressures for all four wheels, oil temperature, coolant temperature, transmission temperature and fuel economy related info.

And despite all of the incredible engineering that went into the chassis, the suspension and the electronic controls, it's what's under the hood that will excite most CTS-V drivers while striking fear in the hearts of other drivers: Corvette's Z06 LS6 small block engine.

Why the Z06 motor? Why not a hot-rodded Northstar V8? The answer is simple - Cadillac knew that it was going to need some serious horsepower if it wanted to compete with the likes of the AMGs and M-cars from Germany. The track-proven, 400-horsepower Z06 motor would surely be up to the task by delivering gobs of torque and plenty of power in a package that easily fit the Sigma chassis.



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