You see, for a kid growing up on Chevys and Buicks the opportunity to even sit in a Cadillac let alone ride in one was equivalent to getting every Star Wars action figure . . . the day they came out. Looking back on the parade of Caddy’s she owned, there was nothing particularly great about these cars. The engines made a Hummer H1 look like the poster child of Greenpeace. The ride was clearly conceived in the pre-Viagra days. And the styling. Let’s just say I have seen more design restraint in homes by famed Spanish Architect, Antoni Gaudi. All that aside, I loved each and every one of them. It was the little things that added up. The smell of the leather. The stand up hood ornament. The endless array of buttons that moved the seats, raised the antenna and even closed the trunk! Actually, my mother’s Buick had the latter feature, just in the form of a nine-year-old indentured servant named George. Then my Aunt got divorced and the Cadillacs - along with my guilty pleasure - were traded in for a Honda. It was about the same time that Cadillac was going through a divorce of it’s own. GM had split Cadillac from its true identity. In trying to keep up with the changing times GM desperately tried to make the once great Cadillac Motor Division all things to all people. They attempted to blend luxury with the dreaded “e” word - economy. Sounded great after the first time OPEC fixed oil prices but the problem is nobody wanted luxury econo-boxes and poor old Cadillac was lost. There were some fits and starts along the way and then a cigar smoking, half Swiss, ex BMW guy got his hands on the division and something wonderful started to happen. Cadillac made a great car. The CTS. The first one was a great college try but fell flat on the details. Tiny things like build quality and a stigma associated with owning a Cadillac bigger than Tony Soprano’s list of Gumars. Then act two came to being and turned all that on its ear. How many times have you heard some guy from New Jersey or The Valley rationalizing his import purchase saying “I am waiting for Detroit to build a car I want to buy????” Well my friends the great state of Michigan has called and your car is waiting. That car is the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V. It is the American car that any self-respecting child of the 80s would sell his mother to the Ruskies for!
The 2009 CTS-V is a connected car. Yes, it has a hard drive based Navigation system and iPod integration but that is not the connected of which I speak. It is connected to the road. Even more importantly it is connected to your soul. In Cadillac’s recent ads, they ask “When you turn your car on, does it return the favor”. After my all too short time with an 09 CTS-V, my answer is that this car is missing only one thing: Tissues. Gone is that numb domestic car feel. The car feels both alive and carved out of one block of steel at the same time. Unlike my Aunt’s series of pre-divorce Cadillacs that were not designed to change direction, this car seeks out twisty roads. You actually feel the road through either a chunky leather or suede wrapped steering wheel. The fancy Bose stereo system is a waste of time because you will be listening to the throaty exhaust note, as any proper American Muscle car should have. Unfortunately, the one I had the pleasure of driving was equipped with the automatic transmission. Now don’t get me wrong, as far as Automatics go it is a great transmission. Does all the requisite throttle blips on up and down shift and is very quick but it is still a “put your skirt on” slushbox. The reality is that when one is buying a 556 horsepower - let that roll around in your brain a bit before reading on - a 556 horsepower car, one needs to shift his own gears.