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What do you get when you combine a Corvette with a Cadillac? You get a first-generation Cadillac CTS-V. Of course, the later generations were more powerful and agile, however, they are also more expensive. But if you want a bonafide beastly sedan that can currently be found for a bargain, then look no further than a 2005 Cadillac CTS-V.

The “four-door Z06”

First-generation Cadillac CTS-V
First-generation Cadillac CTS-V | Wikimedia Commons

The first generation of the Cadillac CTS-V was in production from 2004 to 2007. It was a performance version of the CTS sedan which, according to Autotrader, hasn’t aged particularly well. However, the CTS-V has aged much better thanks to its more aggressive styling cues and potent powertrain.

Speaking of the powertrain, the 2004 to 2005 CTS-V was powered by a 5.7-liter V8 engine that produced 400 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque, which was very impressive at the time. Especially considering it was a luxury sedan. What’s even better is that the massive V8 engine was mated to a Tremec T-56 six-speed manual transmission. In case that setup sounds familiar, it’s the same one found in the C5 Corvette Z06 at the time. No wonder the CTS-V was eventually dubbed the “four-door Z06.”

The 2006 and later model is the better buy

If you ever find yourself looking at the classifieds for a first-generation Cadillac CTS-V, then Autoguide suggests avoiding the first two model years. That powerful 5.7-liter V8 was upgraded to a 6.0-liter LS2 engine the produced the same power but had a wider powerband. The car’s rear end was upgraded as well to better handle the power being sent to the rear wheels, however, it was still an Achilles Heel for the car.

Autoguide also noted that despite the upgraded rear end, all of that power was still too much for the differential. As such, many first-generation CTS-Vs suffer from severe wheel hop and subsequently ruin the rear ends. However, retrofitting the 2008 model’s rear end or even a stronger aftermarket one is possible and maybe even necessary if you plan on any spirited driving or track events.

Try finding a Cadillac CTS-V with lower mileage

 A General Motors worker assembles a new Cadillac on the assembly line at the GM Lansing Grand River Plant.
A General Motors worker assembles a new Cadillac on the assembly line at the GM Lansing Grand River Plant. | Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

While on the hunt for a first-generation Cadillac CTS-V, try finding one with lower mileage. While that might sound like a no-brainer, the main point is that it’s hard not to drive a CTS-V hard when you’re behind the wheel. Considering it can get from 0 to 60 mph in less than five seconds, according to GM Authority, you’ll likely be launching it hard from stoplights and on freeway entrances, so reliability is key.

You can currently find 2005 to 2007 Cadillac CTS-V models priced anywhere from $12,000 to $20,000 nationwide depending on the car’s location and mileage. While that vintage of Cadillac might seem old nowadays, consider that you’re getting a stylish and comfortable luxury sedan that can get you on the freeway as quickly as a Corvette and for the price of a Honda Civic. Now that’s one bargain beast!


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