2011 CTS-V Coupe - We're in Love
...the Caddy Edge drives a CTS-V Coupe to the top of the world*
Lucky us, Cadillac brought their flagship, the CTS-V Coupe to an event put on by the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Journalists spent the better part of a day trying to break the car during hot laps at the High Plains Raceway in eastern Colorado. On day two, we attacked the Mt Evans Parkway to the summit reaching an altitude of 14000 ft (the last couple hundred feet to the summit of Mt Evans require getting out of your car and hiking) on the highest paved road in the lower 48 states. So, what can we glean from a couple days with Cadillac's flagship coupe? One of the first things that strike you about the CTS-V in coupe form is that this is certainly _THE_ CTS-V you want. The sleek styling of the coupe combined with the aggressive V-series bodywork is easily the sexiest thing Cadillac has done in decades. The only negative you could add is that you would have to limit the number of passengers to take along on this roller-coaster ride...and the back seat couple had better be short to clear the steeply raked back glass (but that's true of all the coupes). Our test car came packing the 6-speed manual. This makes this the first manual equipped V (and admittedly the first manual Cadillac) we've driven. We did notice that this particular example seemed to be have a vague clutch take-up point and it made a car with 556hp pretty easy to stall. Whether this had to do with adjustments made by GM to prep the car for the track day is hard to say if this is indicative of clutch operation of all the new V's, Cadillac needs to go work on the calibration. Owners likely will adjust their technique to compensate, though. Once underway, however, this is one of the most amazing cars being taken on one of the most amazing drives in the lower-48. Our loop took us up and back down the Mount Evans Scenic Byway. As a heavily traveled road up the side of a mountain, it is expectedly uneven, narrow, and wildly rough in patches. It also has deliciously twisty bits that encourage giving it the stick even if the official speed limit is aimed squarely at the tourists in their campers. Combine this road with the devil on your shoulder that is a supercharged V-8 and you thank your lucky stars more than once up the hill for Brembo supplied brakes to scrub off excess speed and the magical magnetic ride suspension that can go from sportscar firm and flat to absorbing unexpected whoopty-doos (watch yourself near Summit lake where things go from simply rough to 'oh my god!' in the blink of an eye) without crashing against bump stops. This is a car that can get you into real trouble but is fully capable of getting you back out of said trouble almost as quickly. The climb up to the summit is over 15 miles and takes you through forest to the tree-line (above which trees simply do not grow) through alpine tundra passing a few picturesqe mountain lakes along the way. Once the road ends, you will find yourself in a parking lot a few hundred feet short of the actual summit. At these altitudes, those accustomed to the oxygen they get at sea level or even at the relatively low altitudes of a city like Denver will be gasping for breath at any more than a walk. If you feel up to it, you can scurry up the rocks to the actual summit where you will be the highest thing for miles around at the top of one of Colorado's famous 14-ers. In our merry band of auto writers, some did encounter the tell-tale symptoms of altitude sickness and had to get back down to lower elevations pretty quickly. Getting down in the V would be one of the quickest methods at our disposal as, when the road condition permitted, it could easily touch triple digits (if asked, not that you should do such a thing on a public road...that's what the previous day's track time was for). Our trip down showed the brakes easily as capable at controlling our decent as the 6.2l V-8 was at getting us to the top. Once back out of the wilderness area and on the relatively flat twisty CO-103 back down to Idaho Springs, we were able to confirm that the magnetic ride shocks that are standard in the V-series were as capable in the cornering department as they were earlier in taming the bumps. As we've said before, the V-series is way more car than most people could/should ever use on the public road, but on a track or using it on a deserted twisty road - it is probably one of the best cars currently on sale. Just be careful where you point it.
* - Highest Paved Road in North America
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