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2007 Cadillac STS-V

Almost A Sports Sedan

    Ah yes, finally something to whet the enthusiast spirit. The winter was a long and cold one, as it always is here in Michigan. Especially because those of us living in the Great Lakes State have to put our toys away for the winter. So early this spring the GM boys dropped off a Cadillac STS-V for me to exercise my aching right foot. Sadly, our story ends with me asking “Is that it?” But rest assured, it is mostly my high-octane fueled blood that is to blame.
     While the 4.6-liter Northstar V8 is a honey of a motor, it just wasn’t going to cut the mustard when it came to tuning up the STS for V-series duty. So GM powertrain specialists stripped it down and started over. The block is a sand cast aluminum unit instead of die cast to guarantee tighter tolerances. The displacement is down two-tenths to 4.4 liters for increased block strength and improved fuel efficiency, accomplished by reducing the cylinder bore diameter to 91 mm versus 93. The stroke is still shared with the naturally aspirated version. The compression ratio was lowered to 9.0:1 verses the 10.5:1 for the 4.6-liter to compensate for the added boost pressure from the supercharger.
     The supercharger is a Roots-type unit that forces air into the intake via four water-to-air intercoolers. Specific spark timing, an improved water jacket, polished exhaust ports and multilayer steel gaskets are just a few more of the differences between the two engines. Best of all, this high-performance mill is hand-built right here in Michigan at GM’s Performance Build Center in Wixom.
     All that hand-assembled sweetness translates to 469 hp at 6,400 rpm and 439 lb-ft of torque at 3,800 rpm. Channeling that tire abusing power to the rear axle is the new Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission. From there the power is either directed to reduce the tires into black strips on the asphalt, or to propel the car to 60 mph in under five seconds. We can’t confirm the latter because we didn’t get a chance to strap on our test gear, but the former is easy. To haul the STS-V down from light speed Cadillac fitted each corner with Brembo 4-piston brake calipers and vented 14” front and 14.3” rear discs.
     The hardware is present and accounted for, but what the STS-V lacks is an engaging driving experience. Throw me a bone here! The driver’s experience is so disconnected I might better be reading a Consumer Reports column about dishwashers. While I loathe them compared to a good ole clutch pedal, steering wheel shift paddles should at least be included if you are going to have an automatic as the only transmission choice in a performance machine. At least let me feel like I am somewhat involved with making this thing go. As it is now, I get in the car, and I mash my foot to the floor. There is no reassuring growl from under the hood, no V8 thunder emanating from the tailpipes, not even the aggressive shove back in your seat to tell you that you are picking up speed. There is only a slight whoosh of mechanical things whirring from somewhere behind the firewall.
     Exterior cosmetic tweaks are typical V-fashion. Enlarge the air inlet openings and cover them with polished woven wire and your pretty well set. The headlight cluster is still gorgeous even after several years of market weathering. Pirelli performance tires wrap the 18” front and 19” rear 10-spoke aluminum wheels. And the rear decklid sports a unique brakelight integrated rear spoiler.
     The interior is a mixed bag. The dark smoked wood trim is a nice touch, as is the leather wrapped console and instrument panel. But the steering wheel is a bit big for a sports sedan, the headliner material screams 1987 and the seats (Couches -Ed.) have next to nothing resembling lateral support. All in all, we like the interior, but now that we know Cadillac can do better with the ’08 CTS they showed us, we are anxious for the STS’s eventual total makeover.
     “Is that it?” Like I said, our story ends on sort of a sad note. Not because the car couldn’t deliver, but because the purist in me was asking for more. I was looking for that hard-edged sports sedan that required a little effort to crank the wheel and made some noise as I thundered through the neighborhood. Perhaps it is the wild, young spirit in me. At $78,710 the most powerful Cadillac ever offered is right in the same ballpark with competitors like the V10-powered Audi S6. Which, by quick comparison has a much better exhaust note and seats. The STS-V will keep pace with the best of them, but won’t beat up on your kidneys in the process. Lose 30 pounds of sound deadening material up front. Trust me; not even my neighbors will mind!

The Good:
Plenty O’ power! Plenty O’ looks! Engine hand built in Michigan.
The Bad:
Ho-hum exhaust note and driving experience.
The Verdict:
An almost sports sedan with good ‘ole Detroit muscle under the hood.


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