I recently interviewed a pair of top advisors who admit that they feel like their automobiles serve as their second office, one driving approximately 1,000 miles a week between appointments in his state, and the other racking up nearly 30,000 miles a year as he heads off to meet with clients and conduct seminars.
Both agreed that if you’re going to be spending that amount of time on the road, equipping yourself with a comfortable automobile is absolutely important.
And as advisors who deal exclusively with high-net-worth clients, they also recognize the importance of making the right impression. A $200,000 Bentley might be saying the wrong thing, but a vehicle like the very impressive Cadillac CTS-V coupe might be the right kind of approach.
The $69,890 (as tested) CTS-V is pricey by Cadillac standards, considering that the basic CTS starts at $45,000, but the differences are quite stunning, perhaps even borderline outrageous.
While the CTS has been popular in its own right, the V models (including a four-door sedan, the coupe and a new Sport Wagon version) offer a mix of super-tuned engine and steering and ride enhancements that put the domestic autos right in the range of some very expensive European imports.
The V editions all share a 556-horsepower, supercharged V-8 engine that’s a variation of the motor found in the top-of-the-line Corvette ZR1.
That’s the kind of power once associated with an exotic like a Ferrari, but this particular, American machine blends that astounding boost with a user-adjustable magnetic ride suspension system that can be brutally sporty when required, or electronically scaled back for more civil, day-to-day use.
There’s also massive Brembo brakes, high-performance 19-inch tires and even optional Recaro race seats that are as stiff and supportive as those found in a jet fighter.
The result is an automobile that looks as wicked as the Batmobile – especially in the sexily angular coupe version – and can be pushed to 190 mph on the track, with handling to match the best that BMW and Mercedes have to offer.
It’s two inches wider in the rear than the CTS-V sedan, as well, just to add flex and grip, and two inches lower, with a more dramatic front windshield angle and super-futuristic bits such as center-mounted twin exhaust tips and unique rear brakelamps.
On the inside, the CTS-V coupe isn’t all that different from the standard CTS (which offers a healthy 304 horsepower of its own). It’s a pleasant mix of leather and high-tech, terrifically stylized components, ranging from an optional navigation system featuring a touchscreen that pops up from the dash like a toaster, to the individual driver and passenger temperature controls.
Optional suede-like microfiber surfacing on the steering wheel and shifter (and in the sticky parts of the seats) helps to add grip when the G-forces start to kick in. Your transmission choices include a buttery smooth but rocket-fast six-speed automatic system with wheel-mounted paddles, or a six-speed manual for true gearheads.
And the standard tools and options are all there, from a push-button starter to heated and cooled seats, plus a 10-speaker Bose audio system that can absolutely deafen you, with a 40 Gb recordable hard drive for uploading your favorite driving tunes.
Doors borrow the touchpad opening devices seen on the Corvette (there are no standard door handles on the inside).
Flat-out acceleration is endlessly thrilling, as the big engine’s basso rumble at idle turns as loud and stock car gutsy and screaming when you bury the accelerator.
Passing power is never lacking, as you might guess, and the biggest chore is remembering to reserve all that energy for safe opportunities, rather than driving like Dale Earnhardt all day long.
The slight trade-off for the engine’s momentous output is mileage that’s only 12 in the city and 18 on the highway, but … did we mention 556 horsepower?
2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
Price: $69,890 (including options such as Recaro race seats, wood trim, suede grip package and $2,500 gas-guzzler tax)
EPA figures: 12 mpg city, 18 mpg highway