This winter, the big daddy Caddy hits dealers, a super-powered variant of the station wagon variant of its CTS. Sound like a niche vehicle? It is. You’ll probably spot Matthew McConaughey with his shirt on in public before you see a CTS-V Sport Wagon driving around. But if you are an American dude and like things on wheels, you should be stoked on the fact that this car even exists. At a recent drive in Monterey, CA, I found out why.
1. It’s a station wagon. With a 556-horsepower engine.
…and that should do. To get this nearly 4,400-lb beast to 60 in a mere 4 seconds, Cadillac transplanted the same supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 that powers the current CTS-V coupe and sedan. It’s the most powerful engine in Cadillac history, and gets paired with your choice of tranny—automatic or Tremec 6060 6-speed manual. Yep, a stick-shift station wagon. Gnarly.
2. You can put junk in the trunk. And get it home fast.
While the coastal cliffs (and traffic) on Route 1 near Big Sur keep myself and a co-driver at legal speeds (with plenty of torque ready at the low end, even stops and starts are fun,) discussion turns to “how much crap could fit in back.” With the backseat folded flat, the V Wagon can swallow up to 58 cubic feet of cargo. In case of a domestic emergency (significant other on toilet, no TP in the house,) I imagine myself volunteering for a lightning quick run to Sam’s Club for some Cottonelle. 288 rolls of it.
3. It can hang on one of the toughest tracks in the world.
The Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca is an 11-turn, 2.238 mile track with an insane 900 feet of elevation change, including the famed “corkscrew,” a two-turn drop midway through. The V Wagon handles the curves nearly as well as its sedan counterpart, thanks to some additional bracing that stiffens the chassis while still maintaining the car’s magnetic ride control suspension. On corners, the electronic nannies let you have just a little bit of fun before straightening out the front end. Big Brembos provide the stopping power, and after a few hot laps, I leave ‘em smoking. A station wagon on a racetrack should by no means be this fun.
4. It almost didn’t get made.
GM’s woes forced Cadillac engineers to shelve the project twice before ex-Vice Chairman Bob Lutz finally won approval. (Apparently, in the face of bankruptcy, a sick superwagon wasn’t the highest priority? Who knew?) Less than 12 months after getting a green light, it’s hitting the assembly line.
5. It’s a gearhead secret.
Detroit-born actor Dax Shepard (of Punk’d and Parenthood fame) has a mean obsession with cars, and could probably afford to trash a Lamborghini or two. For our December issue, we asked him what gift he wants to unwrap this holiday. His response: “The CTS-V Sport Wagon. It has 556 horsepower, something I believe every family needs.”
6. It’s totally American.
Caddy’s cut and angled Art and Science design language gives this Lansing, Michigan built ride a subtly audacious look, and the “power bulge” on its hood (and the beast underneath) provide the swagger. European and Asian manufacturers don’t have anything that directly competes in the U.S. market.
7. It’s completely unnecessary.
And that might be why I want one so bad.
2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon
Price: from $62,990
Engine: 6.2-liter supercharged V-8
Torque: 551 lb.-ft @ 3,800rpm
0-60mph: 4 seconds