"Fastest Cadillac ever" sounds like a superlative in search of an audience; are there that many people concerned with the top speed of Detroit's oldest luxury brand? Yet that crowd should start growing now with the first picture and facts on this car, the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V, a luxury sedan with the 640-hp heart of a Corvette Z06, and a mission to take the fight to the German performance sedans.
The supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 has been taken down a slight notch for duty as a luxury performer, off 10 hp and 20 lb-ft of torque (to 630) from its levels in the Z06. When yoked to the eight-speed automatic, also as seen in the Vette, Cadillac says the CTS-V can hurdle to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and touch a top speed of 200 mph. Hence the new superlative.
While the exterior may look only somewhat different from a regular CTS save the massive hood vent, most of the CTS-V's body panels are unique. That hood is carbon fiber for lightness; the rest of the CTS-V can be similarly optioned with things more suited to track use than luxury sedan work, like Recaro seats. Of course there's the Magnetic Ride suspension, Brembo brakes and now de rigueur Michelin Pilot Super Sports — 9.5 inches wide in front and 10 inches in the rear — along with the Vette's performance data recorder system that can video any excursion on the track or off.
As for luxury touches, there's a couple, namely suede and carbon-fiber accents in the cabin, a self-parking system (both parallel and perpendicular) and a camera devoted to ensuring you don't rip the low front splitter off the first time you pull into a parking spot.
How does this compare to the Germans? Cadillac is quick to point out that the 6.2-liter V-8 has more power than either Mercedes-Benz' 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-8 from AMG or BMW's 4.4-liter dual-turbo M-series engine. Which is true, sort of: German automakers often understate their power numbers, and the current editions of the Mercedes-AMG E63 and BMW M5 will likely run splitter-to-splitter with the CTS-V. Yet after more than a decade of trying to rebuild its lineup as a globally competitive purveyor of luxury cars, Cadillac has shown that the V-Series isn't to be taken lightly in any such comparison. We'll see the full CTS-V in Detroit; we'll put that whole "fastest Cadillac ever" claim to the test soon thereafter.