A superb Total Car Score is awarded to the 2012 Cadillac CTS-V. Reviewers already love the non-V CTS for its quality and driving experience, considering it the best car Cadillac has made to date. This high-performance version, with its sophisticated chassis hardware and powerful engine, is seen as a genuinely strong contender among the usual German suspects in the premium sport sedan segment.
There are also coupe and wagon versions. The coupe gets the most rakish looks, while the wagon offers better access to the rear seats than the sedan (wider doors) and 53.4 cubic feet of cargo space. They all use an active suspension called Magnetic Ride Control. Shock absorbers filled with magnetic fluid can respond to rough surfaces and deal with differing loads within fractions of a second.
Acceleration is deemed faster when using the automatic transmission (a no-cost option) over the manual: zero to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds. But having to shift the lever into position to then use the steering wheel-mounted paddles seems like an unnecessary step.
Nor do critics like the unsupportive standard front seats much; they recommend going for the Recaro sport seat option. Steering feel is also considered somewhat lacking and switch layout is less than elegant.
The sedan is a "Top Safety Pick" of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The only change for 2012 is the addition of rain-sensing wipers to a comprehensive inventory of standard equipment, while the coupe gets a blind-spot alert system. A new generation of CTS is expected in 2014.
The 2012 Cadillac CTS-V premium midsize sport sedan, coupe and wagon are high-performance flagships of a wider CTS range. The coupe is a two-plus-two, the others accommodate five.
Powering each version is a 6.2-liter V8 with a supercharger. It develops 556 horsepower and 551 pound-feet of torque, driving the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission.
Most luxury features are standard, including adaptive headlights, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, push-button ignition, climate control, heated front seats, odor filtration system, navigation, Bluetooth, a Bose sound system, satellite radio, an iPod interface, a limited-slip differential, adaptive suspension and 19-inch wheels.
On a short options list are heated/ventilated Recaro sport seats and a panoramic sunroof.
Standard safety equipment includes front side and side curtain airbags, plus traction and stability controls.
EPA estimates for the 2012 Cadillac CTS-V sedan with the auto transmission are 12 mpg city, 18 mpg highway and 14 mpg highway; manual versions return 14/19/16 mpg. Those same figures apply to the wagon and coupe.
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