2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon

The thing about the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon: This is what the kids would call “stupid.” They don’t mean “stupid” in the sense of dumb or idiotic, per se.

The thing about the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon: This is what the kids would call “stupid.”

They don’t mean “stupid” in the sense of dumb or idiotic, per se. Rather, the meaning has more to do with something being completely over the top. Sometimes awesome. Sometimes simply exaggerated to an extreme.

Thus, the Cadillac CTS-V wagon.

And this can be summed up in one number: 556.

That’s the number of horses produced by the 6.2-liter supercharged V8.

556-hp. That’s just stupid.

And realize that this is in a station wagon! A station wagon! Did I mention station wagon!?

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And while many people think of station wagons in the context of taking the family on a vacation or rolling up to Kroger for some groceries, the CTS-V Wagon has a six-speed manual transmission and a clutch that will make your left leg resemble one of Popeye’s arms.

Not that you couldn’t take the car on vacation or go to Kroger. It is, after all, a wagon, and so it has 25.4 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and if you leave the kids at home and fold it down, there’s 58 cubic feet, or enough for a mission to Costco.

But did I mention the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that produces 556-hp and 551 lb-ft of torque? That in a shopping center parking lot is sort of like trying to maneuver the Millennium Falcon through the center of an asteroid-filled planetary space.

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Don’t get me wrong.

I think the CTS Wagon is great. And I’ve certainly nothing against horsepower. But it is the combination that is a bit, dare I say, stupid. Wa-a-a-a-y over the top.

According to Don Bulter, vp for Cadillac Marketing, “The CTS-V Wagon is a natural extension of the V-Series and the CTS lineup, offering an uncompromising performance car to enthusiasts who want the extra room of a wagon.”

Which could, I assume, be the basis of some rather tricky rationalization. . .

[Scene: Suburban kitchen. Enter husband, who speaks first]

“Honey, we need a new car.”

“Yes, dear. Something a bit larger than the Corvette. After all, Timmy is getting too big for the space in the center console.”

“I’m thinking about getting a station wagon.”

“What about a minivan?”

“General Motors doesn’t make them anymore, and you know I only go with the General.”

“How about one of those Buick Enclaves—nice, powerful, roomy.”

“Naw, I think we need to get something higher up on Sloan’s now-truncated chain. We need to roll Cadillac style.”

“That would be nice, dear.”

[Husband exits. Smirking.]

So for the gearheads that are interested in this car, it is worth pointing out that the engine in question is the most powerful in Cadillac history. It features an intercooled Eaton Twin Vortices Series (TVS) supercharger that employs twin four-lobe rotors that are twisted 160 degrees, rather than the three-lobe, 60-degree design that are more common to superchargers. The TVS design means that there is better airflow and efficiency, better noise and vibration characteristics. It also helps the vehicle go really fast. Stupid fast.

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The car as driven had the Tremec TR6060 six-speed with a dual-disc clutch. (There is an available Hydra-Matic 6L90 six speed automatic, which would probably make the aforementioned shopping trips somewhat more practical.) There is a limited-slip rear diff in a cast iron housing (you can imagine that with all of that torque things get hot) and alternately sized half-shafts that help balance torque without

Daily commutes, in around this area, are on roads that can no longer remember being smooth. Which makes the use of the Magnetic Ride Control (there is a series of sensors that check the suspension travel and constantly adjust the shocks—which contain a fluid that is electrically responsive (it is known as “magneto-rheological” fluid)--such that potholes almost seem to be paved when you drive over them, a definite plus.

The optional Recaro performance driving seat (14-way adjustable, for those counting) is simply the most comfortable I’ve ever had the pleasure of sitting in; I wish I could have one in cars without 415-kW (the horsepower was getting a little redundant).

The car Driven also had Alcantara coverings on the steering wheel and shift knob. Certainly this suede-like material supplies sufficient friction for performance driving, but given that a station wagon is likely to be a family car, and given the existence of substances like ice cream and Gummy Bears, I wonder about the long-term viability.

The guy who works at my local gas station (he takes the money: I pump the gas) thought the CTS-V wagon was “absolutely bitchin’.” The woman who works the drive-in window at the bank didn’t like the way the car looks, especially the wheels (which, unlike those in the pictures here, are painted black, which gives the car sort of a not-so-little red wagon appearance).

You need to visit the bank before the gas station because (1) the car takes premium and (2) it is stickered at 14/19 mpg (it comes with a $1,300 gas guzzler tax).

But do you know what: If you take it out where you can open it up, it really doesn’t matter.

It’s that stupid.

Selected specs

Engine: 6.2-liter V8

Material: Cast aluminum block; roto-cast aluminum heads

Horsepower: 556 @ 6,100 rpm

Torque: 551 lb-ft @ 3,800 rpm

Transmission: Six-speed manual

Wheelbase: 113.4 in.

Length: 191.3 in.

Width: 72.6 in.

Height: 59.1 in.

Base curb weight: 4,390 lb.

EPA Estimates: 14/19 mpg city/hwy

Standard vehicle price: $62,165