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Cadillac CTS-V

What do you get if you merge a Cadillac with a Corvette? The mighty V8-powered super-saloon that is the CTS-V. Taking on the German giants, the high-performance version of Caddy's mid-range four-door has a tough task ahead of it, but will the US dream car tempt UK buyers?

Adding the Corvette's gutsy V8 to the CTS has turned it into a convincing performance saloon. Along with awesome acceleration and a thrill-ing engine note, the Cadillac offers decent handling and a supple ride. The lack of right-hand drive will put many buyers off, but the CTS-V undercuts its rivals on price and is sure to stand out from the crowd.

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What do you get if you merge a Cadillac with a Corvette? The mighty V8-powered super-saloon that is the CTS-V. Taking on the German giants, the high-performance version of Caddy's mid-range four-door has a tough task ahead of it, but will the US dream car tempt UK buyers?

The CTS is similar in size to BMW's 5-Series, but its styling could only have come from America. Add the 18-inch alloy wheels and low-slung front and rear bumpers of the V model, and the Cadillac looks truly aggressive.

Entry-level versions of the CTS come with either 215bhp 2.8 or 257bhp 3.6-litre V6 engines, but it is the V that gets the most potent unit in the GM stable. Taken from the hot previous-generation Corvette ZO6, the 5.7-litre V8 produces 400bhp and 533Nm of torque.

Power is fed through a clunky six-speed manual gearbox to the rear wheels. Yet despite struggling for grip, the Cadillac still manages to sprint from 0-60mph in only 5.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 149mph.

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Road tests

All that acceleration is accompanied by a thrilling V8 howl which engineers have amplified by removing some of the CTS's sound-deadening material. Naturally, the range-topper has the stiffest possible suspension set-up, and benefits from well balanced handling which is only hampered by a lack of feedback through the steering.

To keep all that power in check, the hot Caddy comes with a modified version of the firm's stability control system. This has four settings, offering different levels of technical intervention should the CTS-V start to slide. How-ever, even in its safest mode, the traction control struggles to keep the saloon in check and the driver needs to be alert when cornering hard.

With much of the slack taken out of the spring and damper settings, it is no surprise that the four-door gets unsettled on bumpy roads, but it is far from uncomfortable. In fact, engineers have done an excellent job of providing a reasonable ride for motorways.

Right-hand-drive V6 versions of the CTS will go on sale in the UK in May, but bosses are still deliberating over whether to bring the hot V8 flagship model here. Insiders have hinted that it will get the green light in left-hand-drive form and cost around £45,000. That will undercut many rivals, and the prospect of a 'Vette-engined saloon could prove hard for fans to resist.

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