HOTROD CADILLAC THE CTS-V

Back in the fifties a hot rod Cadillac was the way to go,as time when on it slowly became a pimp mobile. Starting around 2002 all that changed,meet the Cadillac CTS-V.

The Cadillac CTS has been extraordinary since its debut in 2002, a superb replacement to the very forgettable Catera. It was far superior in design and performance.

Then came the CTS-V sedan which could just be the best-performing four-door on the planet.

Now comes the supercharged, 556-hp CTS-V Coupe, screaming with the kind of power and performance that lurks only in the deepest depths of your fantasies.

The V coupe has a stiffer body, is 3 inches shorter, 1.6 inches wider and 2.1 inches lower. And don't get me going on the 6.2-liter, 556-hp supercharged powerplant.

Topping 100 mph, there is no evidence of any strain. Are you kidding me? A guy who had it up to 125 mph in Germany says even that didn't faze the V-8.

This handsome beast just keeps getting better. If $62,100 (starting price) is out of your range, this is the kind of car you work a second job to acquire.

It sports the same mesh grille as the sedan but this one draws in twice the air. But the bulging hood is the first clue that there's something more going on here.

In the rear are round dual exhausts, centered in an unusual design touch. Something to admire by the many who will be left behind by the V-Coupe.

It also has a high-mounted rear brake light that is integrated into the rear spoiler.

Step on the accelerator, and 551 pound-feet of torque thrusts you forward. With a six-speed manual, the rear wheels grab hold of the road and send you to 60 mph in only 4.2 seconds.

The shifter moves through the gears with ease, and the clutch was docile enough that even my wife didn't complain. And that's saying something: She can drive a clutch but says many of them are too much strain on the knee or hip. A six-speed automatic is available.

With all the power, it still does not feel like the two-ton muscle car it is. Along a twisty road it is sinfully nimble and fun to drive, thanks to an adaptive suspension system that keeps body roll to a minimum.

Wrapping your fingers around the sweet Alcantara steering wheel is a pleasure. Steering is on the light side, but responsive enough to fulfill your every need. And its hefty Brembo brakes bring it back to a stop from 60 mph in just over a hundred feet, according to track testers. That's the kind of braking even a lightweight would be proud of.

The ride is quiet, as one expects from a Caddy - in fact, it ranks up there with the DTS that the older folks are driving.

As expected, mileage figures will not impress anyone at 12 mpg around town, 18 on the highway. And you'd be better be a dang conservative driver to get 18.

A back-up camera and parking sensors assist in backing out on a crowded street, and you'll be glad you have them; visibility is less than optimal with the V's raised rear and thick C pillars.

The optional, well-bolstered Recaro seats are comfortable and snug enough for the twisty roads. They're not confining, like some sport seats, and are fine even for trips. And they can be adjusted 14 ways. But they don't come cheap either, at $3,400 for the pair.

Rear seats are comfortable, but head room back there may be an issue for taller folks.

Interior surfaces are rich-looking and soft to the touch. Fit and finish of the panels are clean and precise.

Gauges are easy to see and read, with a special nod to the climate controls, which are well-positioned for both the driver and front-seat passenger. Hand-stitched accents accent the center console.

Driving the V Coupe is a blast, but loading it might not be quite as much fun. Its trunk offers 10.5 cubic feet that is compromised by wide trunk hinges.

Traction and stability control aid the rear-wheel-drive Coupe in gripping the road. It also has dual front air bags and side curtain bags in the front and rear. All-wheel-drive is optional.

Eighteen-inch wheels are standard, as is 8-speaker Bose audio system with MP3 capability. Or opt for the 10-speaker Digital Surround system. Sunroof, nav system with rear-vision camera and remote start are also available.

Caddy has made another stride toward perfection here, the perfect sport machine. Sure, there are a couple of sacrifices in trunk and rear-seat space. But if you dig its angular looks and out-of-this-world performance, you'll learn to pack light - and offer your apologies to your guests in the back.

2011 CADILLAC CTS-V COUPE:

-Base Price: $62,165

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