By Alex Taylor III
May 1, 2009

For those of you following the shrinking of General Motors (GM) as it tries to devise a survival plan that could allow a takeover by the federal government, Cadillac has been designated one of its core brands. Its previous association with Saab and Hummer has been dissolved, and the historic old Cadillac brand — which, at 106, is older than GM itself — is looking toward the future.

A question for GM’s prospective government owners: How will you feel about the 556 horsepower CTS-V?

You don’t hear much about maxi-cars from Washington these days. The Obama Administration is one that talks about restraint and sacrifice when it is not inveighing against global warming and climate change.

So where does the CTS-V fit into that picture with its 6.2 liter V-8 engine, Brembo brakes, 19-inch aluminum wheels, magnetic ride control, and – oh, yes – 12 miles per gallon estimated city mileage, and a $57,920 base price. (The as-tested price for my crystal red number, with special seats, a navi system, and gas guzzler tax was $68,135.)

The CTS-V is a limited volume vehicle, with about 1,000 sold in the first four months of this year. And while the big-engine, reasonable-price concept bears the fingerprints of the renowned Bob Lutz, the former head of product development is easing off to retirement, leaving nobody of comparable stature to argue for the CTS-V’s survival.

I’ve never been a huge fan of the CTS – it always feels assembled to me from parts that aren’t fully integrated with each other. But if you are looking for Corvette performance with a nicer interior and four doors, this is the car to get.

Being respectful of my driver’s license, wildlife well-being, roadside joggers, and fuel consumption, I didn’t come near to accessing the car’s full performance capability. But Edmunds reports that a six-speed manual version raced to 60 miles per hour in 4.3 seconds.

That makes the CTS-V one of the best performance-for-money cars on the planet.

What I liked about the car was its tractability around town. Some high-horsepower cars feel like they are fighting to restrain themselves at low speed, but the CTS-V was comfortable in any situation.

So, if you are so inclined, run, don’t walk past the Saab and Hummer stores to get to your Cadillac dealer. V-series models like the CTS-V will be hard to come by if General Motors becomes Obama Motors.

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