I think I may have found the chink in the CTS-V’s performance armour — it’s the eight-speed gearbox. It just isn’t quick enough to keep up with that mighty 640-horsepower V8. In manual mode, which is the best way to extract maximum go from a forced induction motor, the changes aren’t as immediate or crisp as say, BMW’s or Mercedes’ seven-speed double clutch jobbie. You pull the paddle and there is a discernible pause between ask and receive.
However, once you get used to its operation and modify your driving style accordingly, the CTS-V is head-spinningly, eye-wideningly rapid. Floor the throttle in the right gear and the right revs and the car next to you is almost instantaneously reduced to a speck in you rear-view mirror.
On the flip side, the advantage of having a normal slush ’box is that the CTS-V is smooth and refined at low speeds; no embarrassing lurches or leaps here. I must confess I’m really beginning to like this car.