Jun 29,2007 00:00
I think the devil drives an STS-V.
He used to drive a Coupe DeVille, as he did in the song by country crooner Joe Nichols. But Cadillac doesn't sell that big two-door anymore.
Loud and just a little on the trashy side, this swaggering rear-drive sedan is a General Motors muscle car at its best. And, at its best, it is still crude but effective when compared with the European "speed sedans," including the BMW M5, Mercedes-Benz AMG and Audi S6.
The base price of the STS-V is a bargain at $77,090 when compared with those cars. It also includes a V-8 engine hand-built by one technician, a higher hood to cover the supercharger, huge Brembo brakes and a hand-cut, sewn and leather-wrapped interior. The price includes a $2,100 gas-guzzler tax.
The Euro speed sedans are more refined in how they go fast. Peak power is in the higher rpm bands, around 6,000 and above. For example, the V-10, 500-horsepower M5 has peak horsepower at 7,750 rpm and 383 foot-pounds of peak torque at 6,100 rpm.
Cadillac bunches STV-V power at low rpms, so at every press of the throttle you can get a neck snap and tire chirp. The 439 foot-pounds of torque tops out at 3,800 rpm, but has 90 percent of that power from 2,000 to 6,000 rpm. Yee-haw.
Stick a pitchfork in the flank of this hot rod and there's a rush of supercharger whine and thundering horsepower. It'll do 0 to 60 mph in less than five seconds, GM says, but not how much less. The M5 will do 0-60 in 4.5.
Power to the rear wheels is transferred by GM's new six-speed automatic with Driver Shift Control. The transmission allows manual shifts, but the algorithm isn't particularly energetic nor are there calibrations to blip the throttle on downshifts. That's a little disappointing when it's time to play.
The suspension is tweaked with bigger springs and stabilizer bars to handle the big power. A faster steering gear and high-capacity steering cooler are also added. But I felt the steering overreacted and wasn't as smooth as it should be.
Same with the suspension. There could be more engineering attention to anti-dive when braking. And I was surprised to get so much tire squeal and body lean in cornering that was less than intense.
But the car has devilish good looks sitting at the curb and rumbling by in traffic. It gets noticed with its stainless steel wire mesh grille, aero body kit and handsome 19-inch Pirelli tires at the rear and 18-inchers at the front.
This car has great potential for American V-8 muscle car enthusiasts who like this kind of thing. Sure, these guys would like a Corvette, but the STS-V has 39 more horsepower than the '08 Vette, the cabin is large with great girth to the seats, thigh-supporting seat bottoms and plenty of shoulder room.
And they can bring friends along for the ride. The more the merrier when offering souls to the devil.Copley News Service