10 Things You Should Know Before Buying a Used First Generation Cadillac CTS-V

Cadillac was never known for making sport sedans as they were quite famous for the ultra-luxury American ships that can cruise the highways. However, with changing demographic interests and the name tags associated with older people, the CTS-V was the Cadillacs answer to this problem. The Cadillac CTS-V entered the US market in 2004 and rivaled the mighty E60 BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG.


When it first came out, its $49,995 base price tag and impressive LS6 V8 made it an instant success. It was one of the fastest mid-sized saloons of its time, and the suspension and braking added greatly to the driving pleasure. The long list of standard features and the masculine looks also impressed many. With the average price of a used CTS-V hovering around $19,000, is it the right choice for the segment? Here are 10 things you should know before buying a used Cadillac CTS-V.

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10/10 Cadillac CTS-V came with a powerful V8 engine

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The first generation of the Cadillac CTS-V came with the legendary 5.7-liter LS6 naturally aspirated V8 engine rated at 400 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque. This is an overhead valve engine and the power only goes through the rear wheels.

Cadillac CTS-V from 2004
Mecum Auctions

Mated to a six-speed manual transmission, the Cadillac CTS-V could achieve a 0-60 mph time of 5.2 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 13 seconds. This made it a pretty fast sports saloon, even if it wasn’t quite as fast as the E60 BMW M5. The Chevrolet Corvette C5 Z06 with the same powertrain was also slightly faster than the CTS-V.

9/10 Cadillac CTS-V was pretty fun to drive

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The well-designed suspension combined with the rigid chassis ensured that the Cadillac CTS-V was the best Cadillac of its time. Built on the same GM Sigma platform that underpins the Cadillac SRX and Cadillac STS, the CTS-V performed solidly in the corners.

Black Cadillac CTS-V from 2004
Via Bring-a-Trailer

The suspension got an upgrade with bigger sway bars and shocks that are stiffer. The increased spring rate, stronger rear differential and half axle, and the Z-rated Goodyear Eagle F1 run-flat tires offered made it far superior to the regular CTS in terms of front-end driving dynamics. The brakes were bigger and came from Brembo.

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8/10 Cadillac CTS-V is quite cheap in the used car market

Silver Cadillac CTS-V from 2004
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Coming in 2004 for a base MSRP of $49,995, the Cadillac CTS-V was one of the cheapest luxury sedans you could buy with a V8 engine and impressive handling. Nearly two decades later, it’s still a perfect choice for petrolheads who want both luxury and performance on a budget.

Silver 2007 Cadillac CTS-V
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The average selling price of the Cadillac CTS-V over the past five years is $19,707 according to classic.com. The lowest price of a used CTS-V was $8,200 and the most expensive sold for $29,000. In comparison, rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG and the BMW E60 M5 are much more expensive to purchase.

7/10 Cadillac CTS-V is a fairly spacious four-door sedan

Silver 2007 Cadillac CTS-V
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At 191.5″ long and with a wheelbase of 113.4″, the Cadillac CTS-V was the same size as the much more expensive E60 M5. As a result, the interior of the CTS-V is as spacious as its segment rivals. The interior also has plenty of pockets, bottle holders and cup holders, all of which add to the usability.

2004 CTS-V
Via: Cadillac

The front row of the Cadillac CTS-V comes with 38.9 inches of headroom and 42.4 inches of legroom. Shoulder room was also above average. The doors open wide and getting in and out of this sedan will not be a difficult affair. The back seats three passengers in decent comfort. The cargo capacity of 12.5 cubic feet is also plenty.

6/10 Cadillac CTS-V came with a cheap interior

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Via: Netcar show

While the interior of the Cadillac CTS-V is quite spacious for the segment, the quality of the interior is comparable to any other GM product from the late 1990s and early 2000s. The dashboard and door cards are covered in scratchy plastic. The rattling of the interior and the brittle plastic that breaks off are also common complaints from buyers.

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Via: Netcar show

The cabin’s dull black and silver color combination fails to elevate the design. The interior also includes many parts from other less expensive cars from the GM stable, which you wouldn’t expect from a car costing nearly $50,000. However, the seats are upholstered in leather. The steering wheel is also covered with leather.

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5/10 Fuel efficiency of the Cadillac CTS-V was on par with its rivals of the time

2014 CTS-V sedan
Via: Cadillac

With the powerful LS6 V8 engine, six-speed manual transmission and a pretty heavy curb weight of 3,850 lbs, many would expect it to offer terrible gas mileage. However, the fuel economy figures proved comparable to those of more expensive sports sedans of the era.

Cadillac CTS-V - Back Quarter
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The Cadillac CTS-V can achieve 14 MPG in the city and 23 MPG on the highways. The combined gas mileage of 17 MPG was also decent. It has a 17-gallon fuel tank capacity, and that helps it get 391 miles of highway range. By comparison, the E60 M5 produced 12 MPG in the city and 18 MPG on the highways.

4/10 Cadillac CTS-V has endless customization options

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Via: Netcar show

The Cadillac CTS-V is easy to modify as the mechanics came from the Chevrolet Corvette C5 Z06. The LS6 V8 engine is known for putting in quite a bit of horsepower and torque without major internal modifications, and there’s endless support from many aftermarket performance parts manufacturers.

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Via: Netcar show

The usual performance modifications for the CTS-V include a stainless steel exhaust, upgraded headers and air intakes, lighter wheels, decal tires, performance tunes and chips, and larger rotors. Many buyers choose the forced induction route. However, the CTS-V’s support for external modifications is not as broad as that of the E60 M5 and E55 AMG.

3/10 Reliability of the Cadillac CTS-V will not be a deal breaker

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Via: Netcar show

The sorted mechanics in the Cadillac CTS-V mean it spends less time off the roads. The LS6 V8 is a bulletproof engine from General Motors and many vehicles came with the same engine. The impressive parts support and cheap cost of spare parts also work in the CTS-V’s favour.

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Via: Netcar show

The same is also the case with Tremec’s six-speed manual transmission, as it can take quite a lot of power without any adjustment. The suspension components were a problem area, however, as they wore out faster due to the high curb weight. Other common problems include differential failure and interior quality issues.RELATED: 10 Times Cadillac Made Downright Disappointing Cars

2/10 Cadillac CTS-V was quite feature packed for its time

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Via: Netcar show

Launched in 2004, the Cadillac CTS-V won’t blow you away with the features and technology it comes with. However, you will not be disappointed with it. For its time, the CTS-V had many exterior features such as 18-inch alloy wheels, projector headlamps, upgraded upper and lower grille, and heated and power mirrors.

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Via: Netcar show

The interior of the CTS-V was packed with standard features such as dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated and power seats, a Bose premium audio system and a leather steering wheel. There were also many safety and driver assistance systems on board.

1/10 Six-speed manual transmission was standard with the Cadillac CTS-V

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Via: Netcar show

One thing that made the Cadillac CTS-V a favorite among petrolheads was that it came exclusively with a manual transmission. The six-speed Tremec T-56 manual transmission offered short throws, sharp shifts and perfect gears, all of which make it even more fun to drive.

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Via: Netcar show

It had the skip-shift function and that added a lot to the fuel economy. The built-in dual-mass flywheel meant it could take quite a bit of abuse. The CTS-V came with a Getrag limited slip differential with a ratio of 3.73:1.

Sources: Edmunds, Classic.com, Tuning pro

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