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Fox News take: CTS Sport Wagon & CTS-V


Bruce Nunnally

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Oh, Cadillac, why did you have to do it do it? Just when you finally managed to shake off your wiseguy reputation with the world-class CTS sedan, you went and turned the darn thing into a hearse.

Lucky for us it's a pretty cool hearse, with the potential to be even cooler.

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

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My 1964 Chevrolet with the tricked-out engine, suspension and brakes was an Impala Station Wagon. It was aerodynamically stable to 120++ mph, but, sadly not to its 150++ mph top end, so I put a lower numerical final drive ratio in it eventually. It was much more than a match for the 396-powered Chevelles of its time as well as exotics like the top-end Porsche 911's etc. And, it got good gas mileage and never attracted any attention on the street, even driven in the daytime, other than a menacing exhaust note and some shaking at stoplights.

My 1969 Chevrolet 427 was also a station wagon. I never did anything along the lines of performance with it, other than Holley double-pumper, all 2 1/2" exhaust system with four resonators and no mufflers, bigger wheels and tires, new springs with nylon suspension bushings and premium shock absorbers and such, but with 400 hp and a THM 400 it really didn't need much for daily driving. It could out-pull most hot motorcycles in 2nd gear (70 mph up, when most of them were already in 3rd gear). With the inch-tall chrome "427" on both front fenders, it rarely attracted dissing or molestation, but that was easily handled on the rare occasion when anyone decided to molest "the Great White Whale." I was so gentle on the throttle that it rarely got over 2200 rpm (according to a day of observation when I kept a tune-up tach laying on the car floor) and the downshift solenoid was nearly always stuck (I unstuck it once a year, when I tuned the car up) so it wouldn't downshift with the throttle; when challenged I usually just bogged it in second gear to handle the situation without attracting too much attention. The engine "woke up" about 35 mph in low gear, as did the exhaust note -- and the nose of that enormous car would come up several inches -- so in the most demanding situations that required a manual downshift, everything usually went cold by 40 mph. And, the gas mileage was great, around 18 mpg overall with 19-20 mpg at 75 mph with gas and rest stops averaged in.

A station wagon doesn't necessarily need to be heavier than a four-door sedan that is also structurally well designed. Rigidity, strength and safety in body structure are easier with a wagon than with a sedan that must have good visibility out a rear window that overlooks a large trunk space. Give this Cadillac a chance. It might surprise all of us.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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Car and Driver has a short test of the Sport Wagon in this month's issue; they measured 0-60 mph in 7 sec with the 3.6L DI V6. Certainly no slouch, but not class leading. I think it is great that they are offering the Sport Wagon for those who love wagons or need the space. No reason to miss out on the Cadillac life style just because you need more room.

I would like to see the 3.6L DI putting out 340-360 hp instead of 304hp. Part of the charm of the current engine is the tuning for torque across a wide band. Also easy to note that in tests D3 Cadillac showed that with a cat-back exhaust and a air intake the DI 3.6L makes an additional 30 rwhp (at the wheels). So after a good cat-back is available for the Sport Wagon adding another 30 hp at the wheels could put it under 6.5s 0-60 mph.

Also good to keep in mind the mighty LLT DI 3.6L does all this on regular gas.

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

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Apparently the cat-back puts the V8 in the same class as the Northstar. I wonder why Cadillac didn't pick that low-hanging fruit -- perhaps something easy for next year?

The wide powerband is good with an automatic, and you need some low-end torque to avoid a high stall rate torque converter that would kill your in-town EPA mileage ratings and perhaps your highway EPA too. With a manual transmission, you can entertain a much more interesting tuning approach. I always preferred a manual transmission myself, having learned with one and not owning a car with an automatic until I got a deal on a 1965 Plymouth in 1970 or so. After that, manual transmissions got harder and harder to get, although I get them when I can. When Cadillac sent around a survey about what they could do to improve my Eldorado, I suggested 500 pounds less weight and a manual transmission. They did come out with the XLR but it wasn't in the same price range at all.

GM has a fantastic integrated supercharger/intercooler with DFI that they are using with the Northstar and the LS engines. Perhaps it will find its way to the V6. With the racing STS-Vs we have fine examples of what they can do with the CTS suspensions.

Let the good times roll.

POSTNOTE:

I just looked on the Cadillac web site and compared the Sport Wagon to the CTS. The Sport wagon is higher and longer than the CTS, and its weight isn't listed. Apparently there is still a lot of crossover thinking there. What is needed is a semi-clean slate approach, like a hardtop or convertible that shares some underpinnings. They should take advantage of the body contour to enhance rigidity and safety in the structure without adding weight, and I'm not sure what good making the thing longer does, unless they were way short of leg room in a third row of seats, had problems with length of cargo area with the rear seats down, or whether they just needed the shape to put in the structure. Without the weight number I can't tell. And, the web site will not tell me things like the roll center for the rear suspension, modifications in anti-dive in the front suspension, etc. We need a test drive report from a sporty-car type.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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Apparently the Sport Wagon is just over 200 lbs heavier, but the CTS is not a lightweight to start with. The Sigma II architecture has a lot of aluminum components to save weight, but the CTS also has is bigger than people think of it, and lots of the hardware used is the sturdy variety.

The manual used in the CTS has been panned in the magazine reports for years. Not sure what the issue really is, but the auto is almost always as quick if not quicker in tests.

My impression is the CTS DI 3.6L hit the target of 300hp so "no need" to add more from a meet the spec point of view. On the bright side, easy enough for an enthusiast to pick up some nice improvements before making the leap to a CTS-V.

I think with the 3.6L LLT DI V6 used as a base engine in the Camaro we will see a lot more aftermarket for this engine. Once the custom tuners get a bead on it, you will see superchargers for the Camaro and other easy power adders we can mod for the CTS or Sport Wagon.

Cadillac is threatening to put out a V-version of the Sport Wagon also, so 556 hp.

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

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Also C&D noted that the Sport Wagon they tested had the FE2 suspension and 19" wheels, which Cadillac figures adds 0.3 sec to 0-60 acceleration times over 18" wheels in this application.

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

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If the "true" 0-60 mph time of the sport wagon with the 3.6 DI V6 then it's already in the same ballpark as the Northstar. If they are thinking of putting the 6.2 supercharged engine in the station wagon, can the coupe V-series be far behind? The challenges in handling and braking are about the same between the two platform changes from the CTS-V configuration.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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I would guess the engine compartment on the CTS Sedan, Coupe, and Sport Wagon all have the same structure. The main difference would be the exhaust plumbing for the Sport Wagon, but you could make that the same back to the resonator if you were careful also. Then it is easy to put any shared power train in any of the 3 configs.

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

Follow me on: Twitter Instagram Youtube

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