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Cadillac Sleeper Wagon: 2012 CTS-V With 750HP

Image and reputation can be hard to change. Take the Cadillac brand for instance. Initially, they made top-of-the-line luxury cars, and driving one meant you'd made it because the Cadillac name was synonymous with success. Then came the late ‘70s and all of the '80s. There weren’t many good American cars at the time and Cadillacs were no exceptions. Through those two decades and into the '90s Cadillacs became known as slow, gas hogging dinosaurs that were designed to be driven by the elderly.

2012 Cadillac Logo on front grille of CTS-V

Changing Public Perception

For more than 20 years, Cadillac has put a lot of effort into changing the public association of their brand with sluggish, inefficient land-yachts. Fortunately for car enthusiasts, their push to change public perception is more than just a marketing scheme. They’ve introduced a number of exciting vehicle platforms since the turn of the century, but one that stands out is the CTS-V Wagon. It was only built from 2011-14 and productions hovered around 1767 total cars, so it’s kind of rare.

2012 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon front end low

What does the C T S V stand for? The CTS means Catera Touring Sedan, which makes sense because the CTS line is the successor to the Catera mid-size sedan produced from 1997-2001. The V series is their line of high-performance vehicles that were designed by the GM Performance Division for Cadillac.

It’s What’s Under the Hood that Counts

The angularity of the exterior makes for a good-looking vehicle, but what makes this car really exciting is what’s under the sheetmetal. Starting with the engine and trans, it came with a supercharged 6.2L that produced 556hp and 551 lb-ft of torque attached to a six-speed automatic transmission. Electro-magnetic suspension adjusts to changing driving conditions and tried and true Brembo brakes bring the car to a stop, and both are standard equipment. Original equipment Recaro Seats grace the interior, which isn’t surprising when you consider it clocked the quarter mile at 12.5 seconds with a four-second 0-60 mph time.

2012 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon Rear end

Aaron Burnell appreciated all the exciting aspects of the CTS-V, but what he truly valued was how it can haul the family around town in a way that sedans can't. He has a kid, which was the main reason why he didn’t get a sporty two-seater. While the stock 556hp is plenty for most, it wasn't enough for him, so he looked into how to get more power without sacrificing the family-hauling benefits.

Upgrades by LS Experts

He took the wagon to Revolution Street Cars (RSC) in Las Vegas, conveniently located across the street from the Las Vegas Speedway, for a healthy number of upgrades. Revolution is best known for their late model GM performance and parts knowledge and have an in-house dyno for tuning. Obviously, this was a good place for Aaron to take the car for upgrades.

2012 Cadillac CTS-V LSA in Engine Bay

RSC started by opening up the breathing, with a ported supercharger snout and ported throttle body. Different diameter pulleys were used to speed up the supercharger and larger injectors from Injector Dynamics increased the fuel squirting into the engine. A custom ground Revolution Street Car’s cam spec’d for this car was installed between the heads. Exhaust duties are handled by Stainless Works long tube headers and an X-pipe crossover helps with scavenging spent fuel. After all the upgrades were properly installed, RSC threw the car on their dyno where the Cadillac now made 750hp. The already fast car now had an extra 200hp to play with while still using regular pump gas.

2012 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon Driver Side

Wheels and Tires

After all the speed enhancements were tried and tested, Aaron wanted to get a nice set of wheels and sticky tires to apply all that wonderful power to the ground. He only had one wheel company in mind, Forgeline Wheels, and contacted them directly. “Designed for the high-performance modern supercar,” Forgeline wheels are custom made to order for each customer and vehicle application, and are made to withstand the extreme demands of racing. He chose a dark gold color for the center of the wheel with a polished aluminum lip that adds a flare of color to each corner of the Caddy. The perfect tire for the high-end wheel and high horsepower motor was Nitto’s NT05 tire—the ideal combination of street legal and excellent softer rubber compound grip the car needed. He had a pair of 305/35ZR19 installed in the rear and a pair of 255/40ZR19 for the front.

2012 Cadillac CTS-V with Nitto NT05 Tires and Forgeline wheels

There were no surprises for Aaron while building this car up to fit his needs. He knew what parts he wanted and went to a reputable shop from the start. His Cadillac is supercar fast with an abundance of room for a growing family—and to top it off he added a Recaro baby seat to match the factory Recaro seats in the front.

2012 Cadillac CTS-V Specs

Engine Mods Revolution Street Cars modified supercharger snout, ported LSA heads and milled supercharger lid, Installed Lingenfelter 2.55 upper pulley, LSA idler relocation bracket, Innovators West harmonic balancer, Metco 9.1 lower pulley, New Era ice box and cold air intake, KDI low mount heat exchanger Mike Norris catch can, Injector Dynamics ID850 Injectors, RSC camshaft, BTR pushrods and valve springs, MSD sprk plug wires and NGK spark plugs
Exterior Mods Black Moon splitter and side blades
Suspension Eibach 1-inch lowering springs
Wheels Forgeline AL304 
Tires Nitto NT05 305/35ZR19 rear and 255/40ZR19 front
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