Live from the launch: Cadillac CTS-V
If you think Cadillacs are all about blinged rappers' Escalade SUVs, stretch limos and big saloons that float more queasily than a beach lilo in a swell, think again. There's one Cadillac that's spent much of its development life being hammered around the Nurburgring, and has a startling amount of power to go with it.
The CTS-V, available either as a four-door saloon or a rather startling wedge-shaped coupe, puts no less than 564bhp, a fat 464lb ft pulse of supercharged torque and explodes to 62mph in 4.4 memorable seconds.
That makes this Cadillac more potent than a BMW M6 and what's even more surprising, as Autoblog UK is discovering on Luxembourg's rather beautiful country roads, is that the CTS-V has the suspension to handle it.
Or it does in the dry. In the wet, which is how it's been during most of our drive, the Caddy is rather reliant on an excellent ESP system that intervenes well before you fling this £68,957 beast into the scenery, but in a way that doesn't totally demolish your attempts to fast-forward your way down the road.
Drive the CTS-V with a bit of delicacy, and it spears down the road with the kind of composure that American manufacturers could once only dream of. In the dry its fat, 19-inch wheels should provide plenty of grip and the chance to wind the V8 towards its smooth 6,000rpm red-line.
You sit in a darkly purposeful, neatly made cabin stocked with deep-sided Recaro seats and a steering wheel and gearlever stick wrapped in suede, a finish that's usually the preserve of racing cars. And Cadillac or not, this coupe earns the right to flaunt this material, its handling, steering and performance are polished enough to satisfy plenty of the keenest drivers.
Is it as polished as the M6? No, although we prefer its stoutly-shifting, manual transmission. Is it as accomplished as Nissan's GT-R? No again, though there's something deeply tempting about the CTS-V's straightforward, Nurburgring-polished rear-drive, tail-out handling.
So what's the drawback? There are a couple, it's true, and that's leaving aside the rather lofty price. The first is that it's left-hand drive only – though you can buy a V6 CTS saloon and estate in right-hand drive, the CTS-V's big engine has made the conversion prohibitively expensive – and the second is that only one dealer (Bauer Millett, in Manchester) will officially distribute this car in the UK. That follows GM's bankruptcy earlier this year and resizing (read shrinking) of the American giant's ambitions for its flagship brand in Europe.
But this will be an ultra-rare car – according to Bauer Millett, there's only one example of its sister CTC-V saloon currently in the UK – and more important than that, it makes for a mighty entertaining drive. If you want something different that you can live with, fuel bills aside, this beast is worth an inspection.