Long-Term 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon Update 3
The do-it-all Sport Wagon
Mini-Helicopter Support Vehicle
Problem: You've rented the services of a remote control helicopter that's equipped with an R/C video camera so as to film your epic, game-changing 11-car drag race. Now, said helicopter only has an effective range of about 500 feet before the operator loses control. Trouble is, these 11 cars have over 5000 horsepower between them, meaning that by the end of the runway they are all moving way faster than 100 mph. The helicopter guys needed to be seated in a vehicle that can not only keep up with/stay in front of some of the world's fastest supercars, but it would help greatly if it had some sort of rear end that opened up so they could keep an eye on their mini-chopper.
Solution: A hero car, and one stepped forward. The CTS-V's quarter-mile time was elite enough to stay out in front of the really fast cars (our Caddy does 12.5 seconds at 115 mph whereas the bracket-king Nissan GT-R eats 1320-feet in 11.2 seconds at 122 mph). More importantly, I discovered that the Cadillac had no trouble whatsoever running around at triple digit speeds with its tailgate up. Since we took delivery of the V-Wagon, I've been curious as to why the tailgate has an option to only open three-quarters of the way up. Now I know -- for aero reasons! Well, that and the fact that in tight parking garages you could bash the rear windshield wiper with the hatch all the way open. But hey, it's got a rear-wiper and runs mid 12s in the quarter. Not too shabby.
But the CTS-V Wagon is not just straight line fast. She's a dancer, too, as I learned when we used the evil black Caddy to lay down a route for the Targa Trophy. What's the Targa Trophy? It's a lifestyle driving event where fabulous people in hot cars descend on a location to do some fast grand touring and canyon carving before partying their well-tanned butts off at a posh hotel. Think of it as a one-day version of the Gumball Rally and you get the basic idea. One key difference aside from the duration is that event organizer Jason Overell asked yours truly to plan the 2011 Experience Event #3 Los Angeles route. Not only was I honored, but I chose the Caddy wagon for the task. I've said it before, but allow me to repeat: there are cars that ride better than the CTS-V. There are cars that handle better. But none ride and handle as well. Planning the Targa Trophy's "advanced route" (Overell's words, not mine) did nothing to dissuade me of that notion. The car rocks.
A couple weeks later it was time for the actual event. The plan was to show up and instead of actually participating, me and Mike Shaffer would use the CTS-V Wagon as a sort of photo car. We'd boogie from location to location and snagging pictures of the various competitors. After all, a Veyron was running. But it was a bad plan from the start. Long story short, the last time I ran a Targa Trophy, my team managed to get 6th place in a Hyundai Genesis Coupe. And we ran down Gallardos, F430s and plenty of fast Germans to place so high. As soon as we got onto the good part of the route, I simply had to hammer down.
Planning the route was one thing. But actually running it was something else. I mean, look, I was in a station wagon. These other dudes had hyper exotic two-doors with engines mounted behind the driver. I had to embarrass at least a few of them fancy 1 percenters, right? And we did. True, I had some unfair advantages (route knowledge, the Cadillac, a day job that requires me to spend time bombing through canyons) but even still, family trucksters should have more trouble with M3s and 911s. Lest there be any doubt, the CTS-V is a true drivers car, especially on the good roads. And then we met the ZR1.
I don't want to toot my own horn too much, as plenty of folks reading this could out drive me without trouble. However, a 3200-pound Corvette with 638 hp and 604 lb-ft of torque should be able to walk away from a 4200 pound Cadillac with "only" 556 ponies and 551 lb-ft of torque. Not the case on this particular Saturday. The Caddy and I were playing proctologist to this particular supercharged Corvette. The annoying part? He wouldn't let me pass. Sure, I could have blown around him but I promised myself that I wouldn't cross any double yellows. It just wasn't worth it. So, I sat on the ZR1's butt, complaining to young Shaffer for miles. I finally got sick of it and we pulled over so Shaffer could snap some photos.
Thirty minutes later after some freeway running we're back on an even twisty section of the route. The Cadillac is feeling better than ever and I'm driving my heart out. Curve after curve, uphill and downhill, the CTS-V is simply swimming though all of it, happier than a clam at home in its natural environment. The left corner of my peripheral vision catches a black shape going around a distant corner. Could it be? Is it? It couldn't be? Well, yes it is. We've caught the dang ZR1 again. Within a few moments we're back on the Vette's bumper and I'm again indignantly complaining to Shaffer about how the driver won't get out of my fracking way. This goes on for eleven miles, until we catch another, slower non-competitor car that the ZR1 happily blows around across a double yellow. Not only did the CTS-V Sport Wagon outdrive the Corvette, but the black Caddy outclassed it, too.
|Months/miles in service||10/29,035|
|Avg econ/CO2||15.1 mpg/1.28 lb/mi|
|Energy cons||223 kW-hr/100 mi|
|Maintenance cost||$293.64 (3- oil change, inspection, rotate tires, 1-fuel injection service, air filter)|