2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe review:

2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe

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Cadillac rightly labels the suspension's non-Sport mode as Touring, since Comfort would have been a complete misnomer. The suspension never achieves a soft, luxurious ride, merely doing an adequate job of damping road imperfections when it is set in Touring mode.

Familiar electronics
Cabin tech in the CTS-V Coupe is essentially the same as in the standard CTS. Cadillac should have added some CTS-V-specific features--maybe a performance screen on the pop-up LCD showing a g-meter and a lap timer. A head-up display would also have been nice.

The navigation system includes some 3D-rendered buildings in perspective view.

The cabin tech available is generally good, though it doesn't push many boundaries. The hard-drive-based navigation system shows high-resolution and easy-to-read maps in both 2D and perspective views. The interface for address entry is aesthetically pleasing and very usable. Cadillac combines a touch screen with buttons and a dial on the console, letting the driver use whichever input method makes the most sense.

The car brings in traffic and weather data over its satellite radio feed. One particularly nice feature is that the CTS-V Coupe will proactively warn of traffic congestion on the road ahead, even when the navigation system doesn't have a current destination.

The onscreen audio interface is another stand-out feature. It takes any storage media containing MP3 files--such as a CD or USB drive--and indexes the music based on the ID3 tags. It constructs a library interface similar to that of an iPod, letting you browse music by artist, album, genre, and track. And not only can you rip standard audio CDs to the car's hard drive, you can also copy MP3 tracks off of a CD to the hard drive, something not many other cars support.

Where most cars merely show folders and files, this stereo builds a music library for MP3 CDs from ID3 tags.

Music plays through a Bose audio system with 5.1 surround sound. That audio processing probably isn't really necessary for music, although you can watch DVDs on the car's entertainment system when parked. With 10 speakers, the audio system is robust, with full-sounding bass and detailed high frequencies. It is an above-average system, although drivers of the CTS-V Coupe will be more interested in listening to the engine.

As the CTS-V Coupe is a GM car, OnStar comes standard. Along with the traditional concierge and safety services, OnStar now includes a mobile application that works with the CTS-V. This app lets you do things like remotely lock and unlock the doors and start the car.

OnStar includes a hands-free phone service, yet most people will want to use the car's Bluetooth phone system paired with their own phones. The CTS-V's Bluetooth phone system is mediocre compared with other carmakers' systems. It is purely voice command-based, and doesn't import the phone's contact list. It is primarily good for receiving calls while driving; dialing out is a hassle.

In sum
With such massive power combined with excellent handling, the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe earns a good score for performance. Cadillac did an excellent job fitting it with a supercharged engine and giving it the magnetic suspension technology. Too bad about the fuel economy, though.

The car also incorporates some ground-breaking design, not only in its radical concept car styling, but also in the cabin tech interface. The screens on the LCD look good and it is very easy to operate navigation and stereo.

When the newest version of the CTS first came out, it sported some of the best cabin tech available, but in the intervening years the navigation system has been surpassed by competitors, pushing it closer to average. The stereo remains good, with many audio sources, but the Bluetooth phone system is a poor effort. The new OnStar app gives the CTS-V Coupe a boost in the cabin tech department.

Tech specs
Model 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
Trim n/a
Power train Supercharged 6.2-liter V-8, 6-speed manual transmission
EPA fuel economy 14 mpg city/19 mpg highway
Observed fuel economy 14.9 mpg
Navigation Hard-drive-based with traffic
Bluetooth phone support Standard
Disc player MP3-compatible single-CD/DVD player
MP3 player support iPod integration
Other digital audio Hard-drive storage, USB drive, auxiliary input, satellite radio
Audio system Bose 10 speaker 5.1 surround-sound system
Driver aids Backup camera
Base price $62,165
Price as tested $69,440

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