Finding exactly the right Cadillac, (Or maybe the other ones!)

I am still settled on the vehicle I am shopping for — a 2010 Cadillac CTS Sport Sedan Premium RWD model with under 15K miles in Crystal Red Tintcoat, preferably Cadillac Certified Pre-Owned.  Or occasionally any used Cadillac V-Series model.  But mostly — no, definitely — the 2010 CTS Sedan RWD Premium.    Would love the XLR, but it has limited luggage space.  Would love the STS-V, but after 2008 when the HUD was available, and low miles in-warranty, so choices are even rarer than the CTS.

Would love a 2009 CTS-V with the supercharged 556hp LSA, but they are still more than I care to spend.  This is a real shame, because when I describe the car I am shopping for to “Civilians” (non-Cadillac enthusiasts), they instantly ask, “Cool!  Are you getting the one that is the fastest sedan in the world?”  Um, no.

2010 Cadillac CTS

Yes, very specific.  To get this exact, one probably needs to order a new car.  However, I want the luxury of a new car selection while paying the lower price of a used car value.  So I have to wait and find the ‘right’ car.

When shopping for a car I try to settle in on the specifications for the exact car I want.  Then I watch for cars that exactly FIT the criteria, or are one feature off.  For example, this week there were 2 cars in the area that were 2010 CTS Sport Sedan RWD Premium models, both under 15K miles, but both were Black.   So they fit all of my criteria except for color, and were ‘one’ feature off my target.  Actually, neither was at my favorite Cadillac Dealer or certified pre-owned, so 2 features off.

There are still “new” 2010 CTS models available.  Cadillac also offers a significant cash back savings on these models, since the 2011 models are on the floor now and the 2012 models will arrive in a few months.  However, the used car value of $30-33K is even less than the with-cash-back GM supplier discount new car price of ~$40K .  Although this is still much less than the original retail price of $49K, it is the lowest number in the discussion that I want to budget of course.

So I will keep shopping until the ‘right’ Cadillac comes along.  Or I find a V-Series model I can’t resist.  Or maybe a nice XLR, or split the difference and find a great XLR-V? No, when the ‘right’ one comes along.  Definitely.  Sort of.



Shopping for a Cadillac STS-V

Cadillac created the V-Series Concept in 2004, with the release of the 2004 Cadillac CTS-V.  V stands for Velocity.  V-Series Cadillacs are luxury vehicles, as are all Cadillacs.  But they are also Gentleman Racers.  The V-Series features more than adequate  power plants, high performance track-tuned suspensions, high performance braking systems, additional engine and transmission cooling, and generally heavy-duty, series gear for enthusiasts who want to have serious fun with their Cadillac.

The Cadillac STS-V was produced from 2006 through 2009.  It featured the Sigma platform, Sachs tuned suspension, 4-piston Brembo Brakes front and rear, a 469 hp Supercharged (MP122) 4.4L DOHC VVT V8, and all the luxury features and accommodations available on the Cadillac STS.

Performance: the performance of the STS-V should be similar across the various production years, because the weight and power did not vary.  0-60 mph time was measured in around 4.8-5.1 sec depending on the magazine and the day.  Quartermile time is 13.1-13.3 sec at around 106 mph.   Skidpad performance was measured as high as 0.90g and as low as 0.83g.  Knowing the hardware I feel that 0.87g – 0.90g is probably representative.  Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.

The STS-V uses a Magnusson MP122 supercharger, putting out 12 psi.   So for argument sake, knowing that atmospheric pressure at sea level is 14.7 psi, and knowing that a supercharger adds approximately 4% power per psi, we can calculate that the supercharger adds 48% power.  Max efficiency is 7%/psi, but 4%/psi with real-world efficiencies and pumping losses. So the base 4.4L DOHC VVT V8 unblown might make 316 hp.  And we can recognize that the tuning that this hand-built gem of an engine received at the Tech Center allows the lower-displacement 4.4L Northstar without the supercharger would make similar power to the normally aspirated 4.6L DOHC VVT Northstar, which makes 320 hp.

One example of the detail work on the STS-V is that the exhaust ports and head of the engine are extrude honed.  This is a process that forces an abrasive material through the heads.  Typically used in racing applications, this increases horsepower by increasing the airflow through the engine.

The STS-V’s 469 horses arrive at 6400 rpm, but at least 395 of the 439 peak pound-feet of torque are available between 2200 and 6000 rpm.  The idle quality of the STS-V is even more stable than the already exemplary STS, due to the increased rolling inertia of the Supercharger.

All Superchargers generate heat; it is a by-product of compression.  The STS-V uses an air to liquid intercooler to help reduce the heat of the incoming air charge, with a separate cooling system for the intercooler.

Pricing: is a great resource for used vehicle pricing.  Currently they suggest the following STS-V pricing for a used example with 30K miles:

2006: $24-26K Private Sale; $29K Retail

2007: $28k-30K Private Sale; $33K Retail

2008: $30-32K Private Sale; $36k Retail

2009: $43-46K Private Sale; $50k Retail

Newer models will continue to be under Warranty.  Also, in 2008 the STS-V gained a Heads-Up-Display (HUD), which is a desirable feature.  I hope to continue to monitor STS-V pricing, and pick up a 2008 Model once they are available around $25K for a very good example with under 30K miles.

Lightly used V-Series

I am constantly car shopping, but here are my current thoughts on narrowing the search for my next Cadillac.

I am excited about the 2006/2007 CTS-V with 400 hp LS2 V8, or the 2007/2008 STS-V with the 469 hp LC3 Supercharged 4.4L V8.  The CTS-V’s tend to be somewhat less expensive due to the year model and original pricing.

Advantages of the 06/07 CTS-V:

  • Easier to modify for more power — throw in a cam and heads
  • Lighter vehicle – 3850 lbs for the Gen 1 CTS-V vs 4233 lbs for the STS-V
  • More visceral / sporty

Advantages of the 07/08 STS-V:

  • More features / Higher standard luxury
  • More room / backseat space
  • More power ‘out of the box’

Both cars are low production and high performance.  Both are ranging near $25-30K based on condition and mileage.

I will be shopping for a model with around 25K miles.  I drive 15K miles a year, so over 5 years I drive 75K miles.  If I purchase at 25K miles, then I can drive a vehicle 5 years and still just be at 100K miles, which is in my experience a bit before higher maintenance/repairs kick in.

Ideal at this point would be a low-mileage 2007 CTS-V with some performance mods already professionally done at a great price.  As the new CTS Coupe and CTS-V Coupe arrives this summer there may be a lot of V Sedans on the market — here’s hoping.