The CTS-V is a great performer, but is it a great Cadillac?

The Cadillac stand at last month’s North American International Auto Show neatly summed up the predicament of Cadillac’s current product, which exceeds the number of SUV crossovers it sells.

For 15 years, Cadillac had hoped its V-Performance cars would join the ranks of the M-Class from BMW and Mercedes-Benz AMG. It succeeded admirably, producing cars that equaled or beat the competition in performance, only to be shunned by consumers as Cadillac’s sales and reputation continued to slide painfully long into irrelevance, despite producing cars that outperformed the Germans.

Perhaps herein lies the problem.

A thought crossed my mind after sampling the 2019 Cadillac CTS-V, the high-performance, high-performance version of Cadillac’s mid-size luxury sedan.

It’s not that the Cadillac CTS-V isn’t a great performer; that it. With a solid rear-wheel drive chassis and a 6.2-liter V8 with 640 hp, it takes 3.7 seconds to hit 60 mph, compared to its Stuttgart competitors. The transmission shifts intelligently, the tires communicate their intentions, the brakes grip hard and the seats hold you firmly in place. In other words, this car is an absolute blast.

Even better, the car is connected to a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, wireless charging, and the required infotainment system.

For Recaro bucket seats, you're foregoing the front seat ventilation.

Do I like this car? Certainly, despite his minor annoyances. For example, when you order the Recaro front seats, you forego the front seat ventilation, a luxury you can get in a car for half the price. The cabin is noisy at speed, with a lot of tire noise. This is a Cadillac, not a Chevrolet. Trunk space is pathetically meager.

However, this is a wonderfully fun car, just like the CTS-V models that came before it. But the problem with the CTS-V is the same that has plagued new Cadillacs for 15 years or more, one that affects nearly every new model from GM’s flagship brand: These are great cars, but they aren’t great Cadillacs.

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