The Cadillac CTS-V wagon is the sort of vehicle enthusiasts dream about and automakers rarely have the courage to build. With a fire-breathing 556 horsepower V8, an available manual transmission and a capacious wagon configuration, this a machine that certainly won't appeal to everyone but will strike some as the perhaps the finest mix of power, practicality and luxury currently on the market.
Mechanically identical to the CTS-V sedan and coupe, the Sport Wagon offers a little extra utility to go with its Eaton Twin-Series supercharged 6.2-liter V8. Pumping out the same 556 horsepower and 551 lb-ft. of torque as other CTS-Vs, the Sport Wagon offers both a six-speed Tremec manual transmission and a six-speed automatic. Currently, Cadillac does not offer a manual transmission in the standard CTS Wagon.
Both transmissions channel the power to the rear wheels, which take advantage of a limited-slip rear differential with a cast iron housing. Fuel economy, one of the car's few weaknesses, is rated at 14 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway with the stick and 12/18 mpg with the automatic.
The CTS-V Sport Wagon is fitted with Cadillac's Magnetic Ride Control, which uses magnetorheologically controlled shock absorbers to respond quickly and precisely to changing road conditions. Brembo brakes - six-piston calipers in front, four-piston calipers out back - help bring things to a stop.
Inside, the CTS-V Sport Wagon is mostly a standard CTS-V affair, though it is distinguished by Obsidian Black accents on the dashboard and doors and optional Alcantara covering for the gear lever and steering wheel.
Naturally, the CTS-V wagon looks the part on the outside. Sharing the same basic body kit seen on the coupe and sedan, the Sport Wagon rides on 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Michellin Pilot Sport PS2 tires.
The coupe's Brembo brakes feature six pistons per caliper up front and four per caliper at the back. The front brakes were redesigned for the latest model year and feature a new two-piece that saves weight, offers greater resistance to warping and lengthens rotor life.
Standard equipment includes leather upholstery, heated seats, navigation, HID headlamps, Magnetic Ride Control and Brembo brakes.
Several options are available, namely a package with Recaro heated and ventilated front seats, polished 19-inch alloy wheels, "midnight Sapele wood" and a suede steering wheel/shift lever package.
All CTS models come standard with dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
As BMW has elected not to bring its M5 wagon stateside, the CTS-V Wagon's only competition is the similarly powerful, special order only Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon.