Madam, I’m Batman: The inconceivable Cadillac CTS-V Wagon
Summit Daily Auto Writer
In the grand list of American inventions which make absolutely no sense whatsoever but are fantastic beyond belief, I think we have a new chart-topper: the fastest and most ridiculous domestic station wagon ever assembled.
“Who, exactly, is going to buy this thing?” It was a question I got a lot when I rolled around in the new Cadillac CTS-V Wagon, with the shoulder-height, Bruce Wayne-approved brakelamps, the curb-scratching front lip and that generally ominous and alarming exhaust gurgle.
It only took the true doubters about three seconds to change their mind (or become physically ill) as I demonstrated all of the automobile’s unruly juxtaposition of power, performance and, dare I say, utility.
For CTS-V, the Wagon, still rolls with the thunderstruck calamity that is the 556-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter V8, an engine so over the top that it’s starting to show up in variations from the new Camaro to … hell, maybe they’ll also throw it in the new Aveo, just for giggles.
A few more seconds at full throttle, the car is making noises like Regan in “The Exorcist,” the numbers on the digital speedometer are starting to read like Mensa scores and your doubting Thomas passengers are becoming chemically bonded with those rock-hard Recaro seats.
All the while, lurking behind the second row is a 25 cubic foot storage area, expandable to 58 cubic feet if you drop the second row seatbacks, complete with a tiedown rail system. Making it, as a result, capable of the fastest Costco runs ever performed by an American automobile.
It’s all quite the high-speed bag of mysterious, rear-wheel-drive intentions. And probably better suited for those oddball Europeans, who love “estate cars” with more horsepower than sense, though I suspect more than a few crazy American parents will buy the V wagon, and … never, ever, ever be able to loan it out to their teenaged drivers for a weekend romp.
Design-wise, it’s not quite as insane as it sounds. While the coupe version of the V is definitely stretching the cutting edge of design, this four-door (plus liftback) machine is nicely rounded out by the extra sheet metal that makes up the wagon addition.
And those floor-to-ceiling rear brakelamps will frighten the bejeezus out of anyone who happens to follow you at night, especially as you roll away and disappear over the horizon.
That extra space and an added 168 pounds over the sedan version does little to diminish the V’s overall performance. The Brembo brakes are still there and my tester was equipped with a rock-solid Tremec six-speed manual transmission, all the better for wailing, tire-burning takeoffs and the kind of drag-strip acceleration so closely associated with station wagons.
Run it up to 6,000 RPM and the rev limiter kicks in (and a blast of red lights go off) to prevent you from blowing up the engine; wheel spin in even the higher gears is not impossible to produce, with a mere 551 lb.-ft. of torque at the ready.
Clutch weight is a little heavy but operation is seamless and … if you had 556 horsepower to play with, you’d definitely want to have full control, as well. A coating of fuzzy suede on the shift knob and the wheel also contributes to that.
Finally, mix in the Cadillac’s magnetic ride control (a switch puts you into performance mode, hardening up the chassis even more) and you have a miraculously quick and agile machine, all loud and crazy when it wants to be. Or perfectly sedate, with room for kiddie car seats and all that extra space for the groceries.
Purists will still wail about the cheese factor found in the cabin-for a starting price of $63 large, something more than brittle, shiny plastic surrounds on the center console would be nice-though controls are nicely illuminated, the pop-up toaster-style navigation system is excellent and there’s plenty of blast from the Bose Surround Sound audio setup.
Long-term, those Recaro seats might be a bit of a problem for casual drivers, all rock-hard and race oriented, but … I’m not suspecting there’s going to be a lot of accidental CTS-V Wagon purchases. You very clearly know what kind of trouble you’re getting into with this machine, and you are the kind of person who relishes that. Godspeed, you madman.
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