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The Good

The 2009 Cadillac CTS-V packs great performance, handling, ride quality, and looks, tons of features, a plush cabin, and an almost unbeatable price.

The Bad

The ’09 CTS-V’s supercharger whine outshouts its V8 growl, there’s little support with the standard seats, rear seating is a tad cramped, and the automatic transmission has some minor issues.

The CarGurus View

The 2009 Cadillac CTS-V renews faith that America can, indeed, build a quality automobile. From its supercharged engine to its state-of-the-art suspension and elegant cabin, the CTS-V oozes quality, performance, and value. Euro-sedans, beware!

At a Glance

The all-new, second-generation Cadillac CTS-V for 2009 is giving European luxury sedan manufacturers some sleepless nights. Designed to compete with the likes of the BMW M5, Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, and Audi RS6, the CTS-V more than holds its own against these traditional powerhouses. The ’09 CTS-V has been described by MotorTrend Magazine as “the fastest, most powerful Cadillac ever built” – high praise, indeed, from those wondering if a domestic luxury sports sedan could ever hold its head high again. Powerful, aggressively stylish, and luxuriously appointed, this Cadillac certainly does its bit to help GM in its climb back to respectability.

Available in only one trim level, the ’09 CTS-V is a five-passenger, four-door, rear-wheel-drive-only luxury midsize sedan offering one engine (and what an engine!) and two transmissions.

Basically a CTS with serious attitude, the ’09 Cadillac CTS-V is touted by GM as well as virtually every professional reviewer out there as the fastest luxury sedan on the planet. One tester claims the CTS-V had a time of 4.3 seconds from 0 – 60, another claims 3.9 seconds. Either number indicates mighty good acceleration.

All this power is styled to impress with exterior panache and an impressive chrome mesh grille. Inside, drivers and passengers are wrapped in leather and luxury, with enough standard comfort and convenience features to satisfy every yearning.


The ’09 Cadillac CTS-V gets its awe-inspiring power from a ZR1-inspired, supercharged, variable-valve-timed, OHC, 16-valve, 6.2-liter V8 that produces an asphalt-burning 556 hp at 6,100 rpm and 551 lb-ft of torque at 3,800 rpm. All this power is harnessed to a six-speed, fully synchronized manual transmission with two overdrive gears - or an optional Hydra-Matic six-speed electronically controlled auto-manual transmission with a torque converter clutch.

Acceleration from this monster powerplant has been aptly described as “ferocious,” with none of the glitches and noises that characterized previous CTS-Vs. Shifting, both up and down, with the standard six-speed manual transmission is flawless, while some reviewers note that the six-speed auto-manual could use some further adjustments, noting ragged upshifts in both full auto and auto-manual mode.

The EPA estimates 13/19 mpg with the six-speed manual transmission, and 12/19 with the available six-speed Hydra-Matic tranny. Cadillac recommends using premium gasoline in the ’09 CTS-V.

Ride & Handling

With its front and rear performance-tuned suspension, front and rear stabilizer bars, and Magnetic Ride Control electromagnetically controlled shocks, the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V is as well mannered as a British butler, if a bit high strung. Though overall very impressed with the ride characteristics of the '09 CTS-V, a few reviewers do note a bit of bounciness over uneven pavement surfaces. There is, as well, a marginal difference in ride quality between the two Magnetic Ride Control modes, “Sport” and “Tour.”

The ’09 CTS-V rolls on 19-inch alloy wheels mounted with sport tires, which give a superb grip on the road and allow the powerful Brembo four-wheel disc brakes to bring this two-ton behemoth to a smooth, sure halt in a hurry when necessary. Steering is described as tremendously responsive, and cornering presents virtually no appreciable lean or noseplow. Drivers can expect a comfortable cruise, even on the longest of journeys, with the CTS-V.

A few professional reviewers, while finding the ride and handling characteristics of the ‘09 CTS-V admirable, note that Cadillac lags just a little behind many of the European luxury sedans in overall driving refinement.

Cabin & Comfort

With an interior that’s been redesigned practically from the ground up, the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V shows most impressively against Europe’s finest luxury automobiles, and for a whole lot less money. Reviewers find the gauges and controls on the ’09 CTS-V to be large, well located, and easily read, though one or two note that the stacked arrangement makes for a somewhat cramped button arrangement for the audio and navigation system controls.

Standard comfort, convenience, and appearance features for the ’09 CTS-V include a tachometer and trip computer, painted alloy wheels, a signature chrome grille, eight-way power-adjustable front seats with power lumbar supports for both driver and passenger, height-adjustable multi-heated front seats, remote power door locks, four one-touch power windows, heated outside power mirrors, cruise control, steering-wheel-mounted cruise and audio controls, telescoping tilt-wheel steering, a universal garage door opener, a leather-trimmed front storage console, fold-down rear seatback, dual-zone front climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather-trimmed dash and shifter knob, leather and suede door trim, an electrochromatic rear-view mirror, memory settings for the driver’s seat, steering wheel and outside mirrors, a single-CD player with ten premium Bose speakers, iPod integration, and 300 watts of power, Sirius/XM satellite radio, a built-in hard drive, radio data system, voice activated OnStar navigation, Bluetooth hands-free communication technology with a hands-free phone set, and a USB connection.

Options for the ’09 CTS-V include Recaro heated, 14-way adjustable power sports seats, an Ultraview double-size power sunroof, an audio system with integrated 8-inch navigation screen, and XM NavTraffic/RealTime Weather, polished aluminum wheels, and a suede-trimmed heated steering wheel.


In addition to its other attributes, the 2009 CTS-V doesn’t skimp on standard safety features. Such features include four-wheel disc ABS, all-speed traction control, the StabiliTrak stability enhancement system, front and rear head airbags, dual front side-mounted airbags, with the Passenger Sensing System, a remote anti-theft alarm, front fog/driving lights, adaptive Xenon high-intensity-discharge dusk-sensing headlights, rear parking sensors, and the OnStar post-collision-alert safety system.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) did not test the ’09 CTS-V, however they did give its sibling, the ‘09 CTS, four and five stars in front and side impact tests, and a four-star rollover rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also did not test the CTS-V, instead opting for the CTS, which, in all aspects, they rated as Good, their highest rating.

What Owners Think

The 2009 Cadillac CTS-V has owners all but dancing in the streets – possibly because they just don’t want to get out of their new Caddy. Superlatives start flying when owners talk about this car.

Of course, one or two minor negatives are noted by owners, with gas mileage being one, though most owners grin and bear it. Many owners also feel the ’09 CTS-V is miscast as a sedan and would prefer to see it as a coupe. There were, as well, a few glitches with the cramped dashboard arrangement, Bluetooth operation, and the steering wheel in certain seat settings. Several owners complain that Cadillac doesn’t offer a backup camera with the CTS-V, and a few bemoan its limited availability.

Positives vastly outnumber negatives for the ’09 CTS-V. Virtually all owners are overwhelmed by the sheer power this sedan puts out, with both the manual and the Hydra-Matic transmissions. From there, the superlatives include the CTS-V’s looks, handling, comfort, features, braking, and quality workmanship, inside and out. The available Recaro seats, navigation system, and responsiveness of the manual transmission came in for some individualized praise.

Then there’s the value of the ’09 CTS-V. Nearly every owner wonders how Cadillac can price the CTS-V so far below its European competitors, yet give them so much more automobile.


Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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