Cadillac's CTS-V is a mild-mannered monster, a Clark Kent car that transforms instantly from milquetoast sedan to high-horsepower track master.
The CTS-V represents Cadillac's ambition to build the perfect all-around performance car -- or what the company calls "the ultimate sports sedan."
"This is a car for someone who wants a car that can do everything," said Tony Roma, chief engineer for Cadillac's ATS, CTS and V-series family. "They don't want a fleet full of sports cars and luxury cars."
Cadillac has stuffed the CTS-V with sports car and luxury car appointments.
The four-door, five-passenger sedan is propelled by a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine, jointly designed by engineers from Cadillac and its GM sibling Corvette, that makes 640 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque.
The CTS-V engineers said they were trying for the throttle response of a Ferrari 458 and an engine growl that "barked with a special signature," helped in part by the quad exhaust system.
Check off that box. The rear-wheel-drive CTS-V is a rubber-burning, tail-wagging hooligan car.
The eight-speed transmission comes with a track mode and a launch control function. (The daily driver modes are Touring and Sport.) The 19-inch wheels are clad in performance tires. A front splitter and rear spoiler come standard.
Together, those elements allow this refined rocket to jet from zero to 60 mph in a claimed 3.7 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 200 mph.
Brembo brake calipers bring the vehicle back to earth. A magnetic ride control suspension system keeps it stable. A head-up display keeps the driver's eyes on the road, and the magnesium paddle shifters allow for a pleasantly engaged drive experience.