It's not that GM didn't trust us to drive its new CTS-V, it just isn't completely finished with it yet. So for this day, I was a passenger. The car's performance figures have been finalized. Power for the supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 is rated at a staggering SAE-certified 556 bhp at 6100 rpm and 551 lb.-ft. of torque at 3800 rpm.
From the passenger seat, I could tell immediately the engineers had killed the previous CTS-V's dreaded rear-wheel hop. Get the launch right and the V goes like it's built for drag racing. Get it wrong and it smokes the rear tires. Regardless, it feels like it's built to take the abuse. The monstrous power either pushes the car down the road — quickly — or tears up the asphalt. Never once did I see the manual transmission lever twitch.
The instruments have a neat feature referred to as "tracers." Red LED lights follow the needles as they sweep. As the tachometer nears redline, they flash progressively to indicate a needed shift.
The Magnetic Ride Control and different-diameter halfshafts help absorb oscillation energy at launch. The MRC system also softens the shocks for full compression and stiffens them on rebound. Sub 4-second 0–60 runs are expected, and I believe it. On a ride and handling loop, the V showed off its ability to absorb bumps and keep itself steady, feeling better damped and significantly more purposeful than its predecessor. Can't wait to push the pedal on my own.