Auto Review: The ultimate sports wagon

By Bill Heald - ReminderNews
Feature Article - posted Thu., Jul. 14, 2011
- Contributed Photo

One of the big advantages of building a very special car is you can take the basic design and expand on it, and spread the best attributes around into a larger family of vehicles.

The Cadillac CTS-V is an ultra-high-performance version of the sporty CTS line, and is powered by an incredibly powerful Supercharged V-8 engine. The V family started with the CTS-V sedan, but has now expanded to a very sharp two-door coupe and this week we’ll look at the latest member of this exclusive club: the CTS-V Sport Wagon. This is an unexpected (and welcome) version of the car, for it has the same extensive, high-performance engineering as the other two V-machines, but has an added dose of real-world versatility thanks to its five-door hatchback architecture. It manages to provide more cargo and passenger flexibility, while compromising nothing in terms of the athletic performance found in the other two versions.

The soul of the CTS-V line is, of course, found under the hood, and it really is one of the most impressive engines on the market ,regardless of the vehicle it powers. A true delight to all the senses, the mill is a 6.2 Supercharged V8 engine that has an output of 556 horsepower. Suffice it to say, this is the most powerful production engine in Cadillac history, and it channels the power to the rear wheels via either a six-speed Tremec manual transmission or a six-speed Hydra-Matic automatic (with shifter buttons on the back of the steering wheel for manual shifting).

As incredible as this drivetrain is, without the right fortifications (technical and otherwise) on the chassis, it would be difficult to control and very sloppy on the road as a result. But this is a very meticulously-engineered car, and it incorporates Cadillac’s Magic Ride Control System that the company describes as “the world’s fastest-reacting suspension technology. It uses shocks controlled by advanced magneto-rheological technology, rather than mechanical valves, to greatly accelerate response time and precision.” It also has Sport and Touring modes, and all this works to not only maintain control at speed during bumpy cornering, but also deliver a smooth, comfortable ride for all the occupants. High-Performance Brembo brakes and Michelin Sport P S2 tires round out a rock-sold handling package, and the latest StabiliTrak stability control software is on board, as well.

Our Black Diamond Edition wagon outfitted the already first-class interior with Recaro High-Performance seats, Midnight Sapele wood trim and a suede steering wheel and shifter. The wagon versatility means you have 25 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats (accessed via a power liftgate) that swells to 53.4 cubic feet when the rear seatbacks are folded. Incidentally, this premium equipment package also includes stunning special-edition Black Diamond paint, which really has to be seen in direct sunlight to be truly appreciated.

The 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon Black Diamond Edition is EPA-rated 12 MPG city/18 highway and has an as-equipped price of $70,790.

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