2013 Cadillac CTS-V Expert Review

3.9 Overall Score
Performance 3.7 Comfort 3.6 Styling 3.9 Value 3.6

Editor's Overview

The 2013 CTS embodies Cadillac’s determination to reclaim its place as the world’s standard of luxury. Smart styling, lots of high-tech features, a refined driving experience and impressive powertrains take the fight straight to its European and Japanese competitors. The line’s variety is unmatched, with sedan, coupe and wagon models, high-performance CTS-V versions for each and available all-wheel drive.

You'll Like The 2013 Cadillac CTS-V If...

Whether you're looking for a premium American car that stands out in the crowd or a luxurious ultra-high-performance vehicle, the CTS series will deliver.

You May Not Like The 2013 Cadillac CTS-V If...

If nothing but a prestigious import luxury brand will do it for you, there are many fine alternatives from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.

What's New

The 6-speed manual gearbox is gone from all but the CTS-V models. There are some minor finish tweaks on the grille, a couple new metallic paint colors, standard remote starting across the range and some new equipment for the Base, Luxury, Performance and Premium trim packages.

Interior Features

Befitting a world-class luxury vehicle, the CTS' cabin is awash in high-quality materials – upholstered in faux leather or the real thing depending on the trim level – and state-of-the-art technology. The dash is wrapped in elegant, French-stitched soft-touch material accompanied by warm wood accents and metallic trim. The available navigation display retreats into the dash, but leaves about an inch of exposed screen that serves as the audio system interface. Despite its elegant and neatly-appointed layout, the CTS' interior ergonomics could use some fine-tuning. The center console's swept design can fight the driver for knee space and the sloping rear rooflines of the coupe and wagon impinge on rear-seat headroom.

Exterior Features

The 2013 CTS' athletic design is characterized by a refined version of Cadillac's distinctive shield-shaped grille, signature vertical headlights and taillights and deeply-sculpted fenders emphasizing its wide, aggressive stance. Coupe models feature center-mounted exhaust outlets and a clever electronic touch-pad for the doors, which eliminates the need for conventional door handles. CTS-V models feature a unique front end with a satin-finished mesh grille, hood bulge and unique 19-inch aluminum wheels with Michelin PS2 high-performance tires.

Driving Impressions

Through twisty two-lanes, fast freeways, urban congestion and mixed-speed suburban sprawl, we greatly appreciate the 2013 Cadillac CTS' responsive steering, world-class roadholding and powerful brakes. Given its performance-focused engineering, one might expect a correspondingly firm ride, but we find the suspension surprisingly supple even on badly deteriorated pavement. We love the quiet cabin's luxurious design, and the multi-adjustable seats are uncommonly comfortable for long hauls. For a serious performance car – the CTS-V Sedan can deliver blistering acceleration from zero to 60 mph of just 3.9 seconds – the driving experience is surprisingly calm and quiet. The CTS-V's Magnetic Ride Control suspension system offers an impressive balance between race-inspired handling for the track and a pleasantly compliant ride for daily driving.

Pricing Notes

Cadillac's midsize 2012 CTS is a legitimate BMW 5-Series competitor at a 3-Series price. The starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the sedan, coupe and wagon is right around $40,000 for base RWD versions and reaches just over $61,000 for Premium AWD models. The high-performance CTS-V series starts just over $65,000 for all body styles. To see what others in your area paid for the CTS, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price on kbb.com. On the resale side, the CTS is expected to retain lower residual values than the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3-Series and the Lexus ES 350, but maintain a healthy lead over the Lincoln MKZ. CTS-V models will retain residual values that are above those of the BMW M5 and just slightly below those of the Audi S6.

Notable Equipment

Inside the CTS cabin, you will find dual-zone climate control, an 8-way power driver's seat, Bluetooth hands-free phone capability, a rear-seat/trunk pass-through for long objects and an 8-speaker Bose audio system with SiriusXM Satellite Radio and MP3 capability. Standard safety and security equipment includes six airbags, Stabilitrak stability and traction control, automatic on/off headlights, programmable power door locks, a theft-deterrent system and one year of OnStar security and convenience service with audible turn-by-turn navigation.

Notable Options

Live in a chilly climate? All CTS trims (except CTS-Vs) offer all-wheel drive as well as an engine-block heater for those cold startups. Additional available equipment includes sport-tuned suspension, High-Intensity Discharge headlamps with adaptive lighting to illuminate the side of the road when cornering and a 10-speaker Bose premium audio system with iPod integration, a 40-gig hard drive and live radio pause and rewind. The navigation system uses an 8-inch pop-up display. The CTS-V versions offer 14-way power-adjustable Recaro sport seats.

Favorite Features

This sound system boasts surrealistic sound with 40-gig hard drive and iPod integration. It will download and store your CD collection and operate your iPod or other MP3 device via the concealed USB port.

The 2012 CTS lineup's available navigation system offers real-time traffic and weather alerts, advanced voice recognition, 3-D imaging of major landmarks and an 8-inch touch-screen that pops up on demand.

Under the Hood

The 2013 Cadillac CTS offers two levels of 24-valve direct-injection V6 power. The standard 3.0-liter V6 is good for 270 horsepower, while the optional 3.6-liter engine makes an impressive 318 horsepower with no fuel-consumption penalty. Both the V6s use a 6-speed automatic transmission (no more manual) and can be paired with all-wheel drive. Buyers who spring for the high-performance CTS-V are treated to a stomping 556-horsepower supercharged V8, matched to either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic (no-cost option) with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

3.0-liter V6
270 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm
223 lb-ft of torque @ 5,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 mpg (rear-wheel drive), 18/26 mpg (all-wheel drive)

3.6-liter V6
318 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
275 lb-ft of torque @ 4,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 mpg (rear-wheel drive), 18/27 mpg (sedan/coupe, all-wheel drive), 18/26 mpg (wagon, all-wheel drive)

6.2-liter supercharged V8
556 horsepower @ 6,100 rpm
551 lb-ft of torque @ 3,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/19 mpg (manual), 12/18 mpg (automatic)

Editors' Notes

Cadillac is determined to reclaim its place as the world's standard of luxury, and the 2013 CTS brings the fight directly to its European and Japanese competitors. Smart styling, lots of high-tech features, a refined driving experience and impressive powertrains give the broad model lineup strong appeal. With sedan, coupe and wagon models, high-performance CTS-V versions for each body style and available all-wheel drive (AWD), the Cadillac CTS is likely the most diverse nameplate in the luxury segment. If anything will move young, successful consumers to aspire to own a Cadillac, this is the car to do it.

Road Test Video Reviews

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  • 2013 Cadillac CTS-V Sedan 556hp

Owner Reviews


4 Reviews

75% 4 star 0% 25% 2 star 0% 1 star 0%

Owner reviews are verified by our team and cannot be altered or removed.

Great performing car for normal people.

It needs lot of maintenance but it drives smoothly in any weather. My wife likes it. Nearby dealership that takes care of it. We extended the warranty at a reasonable cost just to be sure. Ok Usage, not to crazy. We have had worse cars and brands to drive around in.

- Jasper D

556 hp 5xx torque, corvette engine, supercharged, all American.

Problems are high cost maintenance. Rear differential need servicing a lot. Need better maintenance plan. Performance is the best. Inside is luxury and modern, outside is beautiful design. Engine power is great. I love American cars, super charger is beast.

- Michael M

2013 CTS-V amazing sports sedan for the family man who likes speed.

Very fast and responsive car. It rides very smooth and you don't feel the road unless it's really bumpy. No issues other than normal tire and oil change. The navigation system has been updated in the newer models but it's still okay.

- Stephen T