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Category:

$75,000 to $85,000 High performance sports sedan

Who should buy this car:

A person who wants a blazingly fast luxury sedan with character and exclusivity.

Comparable models in this class:

BMW M5, Jaguar XJR, Mercedes Benz E55

2006 Cadillac STS-V Road Test

Newsflash: The 2006 Cadillac STS-V isnt an automobile. Yes, it has four wheels, seats and an engine. An engine and a half, actually. And it will take you from here to there, and very quickly, as a matter of fact. But its not an automobile.

At least thats not the primary purpose of the Cadillac STS-V. Its number one objective is to toss the gauntlet, to challenge all comers as it were, about this whole Standard of the World thing that Cadillac once had and could still say about itself with a straight face.

2000 Happy People
2006 Cadillac STS-V Front SeatsThe other number one objective is, of course, to make about 2,000 people very happy, because thats the number of Cadillac STS-Vs that will be built.

The 2006 Cadillac STS-V is, of course, an automobile in non-metaphorical sense, and as its name suggests, the STS-V is a V-Series version of Cadillacs STS sedan, the divisions rear-drive midsize sedan between the larger luxury DTS and the smaller CTS. The latter, you might know, started all this V-Series ado back in 2003.

The V, to our way of thinking, stands for Velocity, and the V for the STS-V starts with a 4.4-liter supercharged version of Cadillacs Northstar V-8. Its the first supercharged production engine for Cadillac and it is the most powerful Cadillac engine ever, rated at 469 horsepower and 439 lb-ft of torque (the same engine in two-seat XLR-V is rated slightly less due to packaging considerations).

Gearhead's Delight
The engine is a gearheads delight. More than just a supercharger grafted onto a slightly smaller (to 4.4 from 4.6 liters) naturally-aspirated version of the variable-valve-timimg Northstar V-8, but Cadillac engineers chose a Roots-type supercharger to pump more air into the engine than by atmospheric pressure, powered directly by engine rather than by exhaust pressure of a turbocharger. The belt-driven mechanical supercharger provides a constant boost to the engine and a ready supply of torque without the turbo lag that would be so unbecoming of a Cadillac.

The intercooled supercharger nestles into the vee of the V-8 thats new down to the precision cast all aluminum block, specially ribbed and with a slightly smaller bore for extra strength. The cylinder heads are also new, strengthened and revised, as are the pistons and connecting rods. A forged crankshaft was new on the regular Northstar engines in 2004 and is carried over mostly unchanged.

Bits, RAM and riding the CAM bus
Indicative of the age were in, Cadillac touts the electronic engine management system as having 32-bit 2006 Cadillac STS-V Dashprocessing with 36k of internal RAM and 128k of external RAM, plus two megabytes of burst flash memory and a high-speed CAN bus for optical networking capability. Were not sure whether the Cadillac STS-V engine has internet access (although it can phone home over OnStar).

The 2006 Cadillac STS-V debuts GMs new six-speed automatic transmission, this particular variant dubbed 6L80, for those who are keeping scorecards. The transmission has PAS, or Performance Algorithm Shifting that will downshift the transmission in closed throttle cornering maneuvers so it will be in the right gear when the throttle is reopened. The transmission can also be tip-shifted manually with the center console mounted shifter.

The STS-V suspension is firmed up from the standard STS with stiffer springs and anti-rollbars. Big Brembo high performance disc brakes give the STS-V track-worthy stopping ability. The STS-V not only has different width tires front and rear, but wheel diameter is larger at the rear as well. Pirelli Extended mobility (run flat) P255/45R18 tires are mounted on 18 x 8.5 inch six-lug alloy wheels up front and P275/40R19 on 19 x 9.5 inch six-lug alloys in back.

Authentic bulges
Cadillac enhanced the chiseled look of the regular STS with aerodynamic trim including a deeper splitter below the front bumper. (By reducing airflow under the vehicle, lift and drag are reduced). Functional ducts below the front turn signals direct cooling air to the front brakes. Rocker panels are 27 mm closer to the ground, and the rear fascia is also lowered by 50 millimeters and incorporates a wire mesh grille as part of an airflow management design, or so says Cadillac. The wire mesh, however, is an echo of the wire mesh radiator grilles which, incidentally, are really wire mesh and not a plastic imitation. The STS-V hood has an authentic power bulge, raised to clear the engines supercharger.

Inside, the Cadillac STS-V differs from the lesser STS with leather on the upper and lower dash, with real olive ash burl wood trim. The steering wheel is fully leather wrapped. Cadillac wont install the slippery wood-and-leather wheel in the STS-V, though there are hub mounted switches to control the driver information center and cruise control. The seats have suede-feel fabric inserts to bum-Velcro driver and passenger in place.

2006 Cadillac STS-V DashThe seats arent heavily bolstered in the manner of a high performance sports car, in recognition of the fact that a Cadillac STS-V will be driven less, uh, enthusiastically more of the time. The STS-V was tuned on the famous 14-mile Nurburgring race track in Germany and although our test drive was limited to the public road and therefore necessarily more circumspect; we can confirm that the STS-V is capable of prodigious asphalt gymnastics. Our notes read very confidence inspiring in corners, off camber, easy to drive fast.

Smoke over Paris
Easy to go fast, too. Did we mention that the STS-V is the most powerful Cadillac ever? We did. Did we mention that turning off the traction control is an excellent way to make tire smoke? Lots of tire smoke? Tire smoke that will settle over Paris several weeks later? Discretion is advised. Good traction and good sense rewards one with easily sub-5 second 0-60 mph times.

So if the STS-V is a statement for GM, its also one for the driver. And we wouldnt mind letting the 2006 Cadillac STS-V do the talking for us. Its one helluva automobile.

Philbert J Thrombockle comments:
The Cadillac STS-V may be holding a symposium on horsepower, but one wonders whether its talking fast enough.  Five hundred seems to be the magic number for over-the-top attention grabbing ability. Can Cadillac engineers find a way to squeeze out another 31 ponies? Certainly theres no practical reason to do so, but one could argue that theres no practical reason for anything more than the V-6. Sez our notes on driving at 2005 Cadillac STS V-6: V-6 has some solid kick. No reason to regret not getting the V-8. Most buyers will be very satisfied with the V-6. Very satisfying growl from under the hood.

So the real reason for buying the STS-V is because size matters. The 469 horsepower is mainly for bragging rights and contra AMG and M, it would do well for V to have the Roman numeral D.* If that means a price higher than the STS-Vs already heady $77,090, consider that the 500 horsepower BMW M5 lists for $81,200. On the other hand, the Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG lists for $82,575, and it has the same, to the pony, 469 horsepower. Does it matter? Well, you cant be just as good as the other guy if you want to steal his business. How much does that matter to Cadillac? Good enough never is.

2005 John Matras Media LLC

*D = 500

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Specifications 

Engine Type 4.4L Supercharged DOHC 32 valve V8 with variable cam timing
Horsepower 469 @ 6,400 RPM
Torque 439 @ 3,900 RPM
Fuel Recommended Premium Unleaded.
Transmission 6-speed shiftable automatic
Drive Type Rear wheel drive
Tires Front - P255/45R18 99W Performance Tires
Rear - P275/40R19 101W Performance Tires
Overall Length 197.6"
Wheelbase 116.4"
Width 72.6"
Turning Diameter 38.8 ft Curb to Curb
Curb Weight 4,295 lbs.
Fuel Tank 17.5 Gals.
Miles Per Gallon EPA city 14 , highway 20
Base Price $74,270 plus $720 Destination Charge and $2,100 Gas Guzzler Tax

2006 Cadillac STS-V

Standard Equipment
(partial List)

  • Superharged 4.4 liter, 469 horsepower V8 engine

  • 6-speed shiftable transmission

  • Limited slip rear differential

  • 18 inch alloy wheels, front and 19 inch rear with performance tires

  • Active, self leveling suspension

  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers

  • Power glass sunroof

  • 4-wheel ventilated disc brakes with ABS

  • Traction control

  • Stability control

  • Dual front side-mounted airbags

  • Front and rear head curtain airbags

  • Xenon high intensity discharge headlamps

  • Tire pressure monitoring

  • Rear parking sensors

  • Leather and suede upholstery

  • 8-way power front seats

  • Memory seat for driver

  • heated front and rear seats

  • Tilt and telescopic steering wheel

  • Dual zone front climate control

  • Bose premium AM/FM in-dash 6 CD/DVD stereo with 15 speakers

  • XM satellite radio

  • DVD navigation system

  • OnStar telecommunications service

  • Bluetooth wireless data link for hands-free phone

Major Available Options

  • Engine block heater

  • Sunroof Delete

  • Thunder Gray Premium Paint (2007 models only)

For more information on the Cadillac STS-V, visit Cadillac.com

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