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2006 Cadillac STS-V First Drive

“The highest horsepower Cadillac ever built.” ‘Nuf said.  by Thom Blackett

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TO THE POINT What’s New? The 2006 Cadillac STS-V is an all-new performance version of the STS luxury sedan, adding up to 214 horsepower over the base model, aggressive exterior tweaks, a hand-crafted interior, and sport-tuned steering, brakes, and suspension.
Selling Points: It’s fast, aggressive, solid, and one of the few unapologetically domestic sedans buyers can be proud to own.
Deal Breakers: Cadillac still has an upward climb with convincing affluent buyers to sway from their cherished European sleds. Also, the steering could use some added heft at speed.
Our Advice: If a high-powered, luxury performance sedan is in your future, make sure to test drive the STS-V. You might be surprised by this new breed of Cadillac.

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2006 Cadillac STS-V

SAN DIEGO – Airport shuttles. Old people. Premium rental cars. Ask someone about Cadillac, and those are just a few thoughts that may come to mind. To say that company officials are tired of having their once brilliant brand lie tarnished, battered and bruised in the recesses of car buyers’ minds would be such an understatement as to be an abuse to the English language.

Enter the “Cadillac Renaissance” plan, which has been created to set this domestic luxury marque apart from the pack with a new lineup of dramatic designs, a monumental jump in attention to detail, and the simultaneous infusion of more luxury and performance. Critics have often faulted Cadillac’s parent, General Motors, for using rebates and incentives to sell mediocre cars, rather than simply offering superior products. However, during the media drive of the 2006 STS-V in San Diego, we got a distinct feeling that the message has been heard, and that the Cadillac brand is leading the charge. It’s all in an effort to change the perception of GM’s former “standard of the world.” According to Jon Brancheau, director of Cadillac’s marketing and retail integration, “Folks who have been observing Cadillac over the past few years are now adding it to their shopping lists.” He goes on to suggest that V-series cars, including the CTS-V, STS-V, and XLR-V, bring performance back into the fold. This is a significant mindset, for it shows that the right people inside GM recognize the power of enthusiasts – deliver a vehicle, like the 469-horsepower STS-V, that impresses this car-crazy crowd, and the friends and family members reliant on them for buying advice may follow.

As part of this so-called renaissance plan, new taglines are emerging, like “fully-integrated performance luxury sedan” and “the highest horsepower Cadillac ever built.” The latter is accurate, the former a perfect example of marketing bull. So, feel free to ignore some of the cow pies in the brochures and keep a few, more tangible thoughts in mind when toying with the idea of owning a 2006 Cadillac STS-V: 469 horsepower, 439 lb.-ft. of torque, hand-stitched leather interior with terrific attention to detail, a long list of standard features (a sunroof delete is the only option), a somewhat stiff but comfortable ride, and the same cornering ability as a BMW M5 for thousands less.

No one says you have to buy it, but you’d be smart to at least consider it.

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