2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe review: 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.2
  • Cabin tech: 6.0
  • Performance tech: 7.0
  • Design: 8.0

Average User Rating

3 stars 2 user reviews
Review Date:
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The Good A tremendously powerful supercharged engine accelerates the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe into near-supercar territory, while a magnetic suspension keeps it firmly grounded. The OnStar app offers remote unlocking and car start, along with other features.

The Bad As expected with such a big engine, fuel economy earns a gas guzzler tax. The Bluetooth phone system lacks a modern feature set.

The Bottom Line If it weren't for the poor fuel economy, the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe would work well as both a weekend racer and a daily commute car, combining exceptional sport performance with practical cabin tech.

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With its car-from-the-future design, you would expect the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe to be powered by a Mr. Fusion reactor. The CTS-V Coupe may not fly or run on banana peels, but its supercharged V-8 can surely get it to 88 mph faster than Doc Brown's DeLorean in "Back to the Future."

The CTS-V Coupe has dramatic features, taking Cadillac's angular styling language to an extreme degree. The fenders run forward with a bold, sharp crease, and are capped by vertical headlights. The roofline covers side window graphics so sharp you could slice tomatoes with them.

Rear pillars continue the CTS-V Coupe's geometry lesson, with flat strips bracketing the rear window and ending in the taillights, which fold up over the rear fenders. The design of the CTS-V Coupe suggests it could benefit from an anger management seminar.


The CTS-V Coupe's radical styling includes center-positioned dual exhaust pipes.

The additional V appended to the model designation notes that this is the performance version of the standard CTS Coupe . The V expresses itself with a wire grille and lower intake, along with colorful V badges around the car. CNET's car also came equipped with optional 19-inch wheels in black, revealing yellow brake calipers on the discs.

Supercar acceleration
The standard CTS Coupe runs off a 3.6-liter V-6, which only barely does justice to the no-nonsense look of the car. With the CTS-V power train, it really earns its dramatic styling. With this sharp-edged design, you would expect the car to leave all others in clouds of its dust.

Similar to the CTS-V sedan and wagon, the CTS-V Coupe uses a supercharged 6.2-liter engine, producing so much torque that the car wants to slip and twist when powering off the line. It takes a gentler touch on the gas to achieve the best 60 mph acceleration time, as it is too easy to waste precious tenths while the wheels look for traction.


This engine comes from GM's LS line, and the addition of a supercharger gives it ridiculous power.

By the numbers, this engine produces 556 horsepower and 551 pound-feet of torque. GM says it takes the CTS-V Coupe to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds, pushing into supercar territory. Under acceleration, the engine's roar is muted by Cadillac's luxury sound deadening in the cabin, but the whine of the supercharger comes through clearly.

Other numbers for the CTS-V Coupe are not as pleasing. Try 14 mpg city and 19 mpg highway, according to EPA testing. CNET's car turned in an average of 14.9 mpg over the course of mixed driving on freeways, city traffic, and on roads more appropriate for testing out the acceleration and handling.

The CTS-V Coupe can be had with a six-speed automatic transmission, but the six-speed manual is the only sane choice for a car with this kind of performance. Shifting feels a little rough, the linkage delivering a messy, mechanical feel, rather than the soft precision of a typical European manual transmission.

But the transmission is well geared for the tremendous power of the engine, making it possible to moderately accelerate from a city traffic light without attracting the attention of the local constabulary. Of course, 556 horsepower lets you choose just about any gear you want--fifth gear at 30 mph is perfectly reasonable in this car.


An $800 package adds 19-inch wheels to the car, in this black finish with yellow calipers.

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About The Author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.