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Cars Worth Noting — 2004 Cadillac CTS-V

2004 Cadillac CTS-V

Cadillac has engineered an astounding turn-around of its competitiveness and image, beginning with the risky BMW-battler CTS sedan and continuing through the stealthfighter XLR roadster, the SRX sport crossover and the new-for- ’05 STS sedan. Those who have driven them or read their reviews will attest that these are seriously good cars in every way. Even the Escalade SUV has evolved into a cult classic among A-list athletes and celebrities.

For 2004, the CTS got better still with a new 255-hp V-6. Now comes the 400-hp Corvette-powered CTS-V. Imagine, if you will, a defiantly American ultra-performance sport sedan that goes, corners, steers and stops like a Corvette. And rides like, well, a slightly stiff-legged Cadillac.

First of Cadillac’s high-performance V-Series and one of the first products of GM’s two-yearold Performance Division, CTS-V wears stainless steel mesh grilles, a new aero rocker flowing into a new rear fascia, distinctive V-Series badging and dual oval exhausts proclaiming its seriousness to drivers it just blew by. Development engineers tuned its chassis on Germany’s legendary Nurburgring. Like Corvette, its 5.7L V-8 pumps 395 lb.ft. of tarmac-tearing torque through a 6-speed manual transmission and can leap from zero to 60 mph in 4.6 sec. Unlike Corvette, it seats four adults in comfort, five in a pinch, and packs six air bags for their safety and a 12.5-cu.ft. trunk for their stuff.

If I could improve this luxo-rocket Caddy, I would fix its rear suspension’s unfortunate tendency to tramp like an old spagettispringed solid-axle Camaro during clutchpopping drag-type launches. I know that Cadillac owners are unlikely to do that … at least not more than once. But magazine testers do, and that’s where reputations begin.

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