2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe, fastback on the race track

2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe on the track at Monticello Motorsports Club

2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe on the track at Monticello Motorsports Club © GM Corp.

Is the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe just a four-door version of the CTS-V sedan. Nope. It isn’t. The CTS-V Coupe has a roofline two inches lower, its windshield has a steeper rake and the rear track is almost an inch wider. Because of the lower roof, the front seats are set lower. It has a fastback roof and the center high-mounted stop light, which forms a small spoiler on the sedans, is taller on the Coupe to improve stability at high speeds. And of course, the coupe has only two doors.

But we weren’t thinking about those things when we were at 130 mph on the back straight of the Monticello Motorsports Club’s “long course” road course. We thought about how quickly the Cadillac CTS-V Coupe reached redline, and how  quickly we ran up against the rev limiter. We were thinking about how smooth the CTS-V Coupe was through the corners, how stable on its suspension. We were thinking how we didn’t have the sport seat quite attuned to our bum, though with more time to fiddle with the adjustments…

We were among a group of journalists invited to sample the new 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe at Monticello. We weren’t exactly turned loose but we were on our own and left our own devices and Cadillac’s device on Monticello’s 3.5-mile track.

2011 Cadillac CTS-V engine

The 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe shares its 556-horsepower V-8 with the other CTS-V models.

It was our first time on the new facility so we approached the pavement with appropriate circumspection but with enough track time to get a feel for what Cadillac calls “the most dramatic expression” of its Art and Science design and engineering concepts. Cadillac says the CTS Coupe is focused on “fun to drive” (but everyone says that). But the CTS-V Coupe doubles down on that. The standard 3.6-liter DI (direct injection) V-6 used in the garden variety Cadillac is rated at a healthy 304 horsepower, but the 201 CTS-V Coupe is supercharged for almost twice that, at 556-horsepower.

The Cadillac CTS-V Coupe, like the CTS-V sedan, comes with either a six-speed manual or six-speed manually-shiftable automatic. The latter is a true manumatic. Take it to redline and it will not shift up but rather allow the engine bounce off the rev limiter. Which it will do, because it did it for us. It’s easy to do.

Let’s say it again: the engine arrives at max revs very quickly, and although the tach has a ring of red lights that follow the needle around the dial, flashing when redline is approached, the tachometer is smaller than the speedometer, which is larger and centered on the instrument panel while the tach is set off to the left, half out of the line of sight. Swap the tach and speedometer, Cadillac. Not only would it be better when the CTS-V is driven at speed, it would look cool, too. Expensive? Probably, but Cadillac isn’t exactly giving the CTS-V away, and anyway, supercharged V-6 engines aren’t cheap either.