Jeremy Clarkson Loves the CTS-V
Of course, in a manner that is consistent with his nature...
"And that brings me, briefly, to the BMW M5. It’s a little bit complicated perhaps, with all its various settings, but provided you have the time to set it up properly, it goes, stops and steers with a panache and a zest that’s extremely rare among four-door saloons. Lovely, except it costs £65,890, and these days you could buy an island for less.
So now we arrive at the Cadillac CTS-V, which you can buy, in the UK, for about £47,000. That’s a saving of roughly £19,000. And that equates to approximately 3,800 gallons of fuel. You could drive an M5 as though it were made from bits of your children from now to the end of time and you’d never make up the difference.
So what, then, are the drawbacks to the Cadillac? Well, first of all, it’s a Cadillac, so everyone will think you are a Wilmslow pimp. And second, this hot version will be available with only left-hand drive.
Depreciation? Yes, a Cadillac will plummet as though it’s being fuelled by melted-down Bradford & Bingley executives. But the M5 is not exactly a 10-year government bond, is it?
So make no mistake: financially, the Cadillac smashes the M5, completely and utterly. And here’s the next part. Round the Nürburgring, it smashes it again. With an ordinary part-time racing driver at the wheel, an automatic version of the hottest ever Caddy went round in 7min 59sec — a record for any four-door saloon.
Part of the reason is its 6.2 litre supercharged V8, which develops a dizzying 556bhp. That’s 49 more than you get from an M5. The Cadillac is mind-bogglingly fast. The manual version I drove will hit 191mph. And it accelerates with a verve that truly leaves you breathless. It also makes an utterly irresistible growl. Like an AMG Mercedes but more refined. More muted.
And now you are expecting the “but”. But there isn’t one. Maybe the steering is a bit too light, but other than this it handles beautifully when you have the Ferrari-style magnetic dampers in “sport”, and rides soothingly when you switch the knob to “comfort”. This is unusual for an American car, which usually can do neither thing properly.
Even more surprising is the interior. Trimmed by the people who do the Bugatti Veyron, it is — and you won’t believe this — a nice place to be. The seats are by Recaro, the leather is hand-stitched and the graphics don’t appear to have come from Amstrad circa 1984. You would swear you were sitting in something European.
Of course, you’d expect the illusion to be gone when you look at the exterior. It isn’t. There are no badges written in the typeface used on northern wedding invitations. There’s no onyx. Maybe the chicken-wire radiator grille is a bit sudden, but then again, have you seen the front of a Bentley recently? No. I’m sorry but it’s a good-looking car, this.
As you may have gathered, then, I like it. I believe that ultimately an M5 would be more satisfying, a touch more crisp. But if you had an M5 you’d have to drive it carefully, to save fuel. With the Cadillac, you can blast through the recession at 191mph, knowing you made the savings when you bought it."