Twelve Days of Pre-Recession GM Christmas: The Cadillac STS-V

What do you mean ‘Pre-Recession’?

After the year 2000, but before the economic recession of 2008, GM was making some weird cars. Retro styled cars, cars with high performance trims (for seemingly no reason), cars with LS motors mounted sideways, and of course, Saabs.

Why these cars came about is complex. If somebody is willing to offer a theory, I’m all ears. However, I’m not here to explore the roots of this issue, only what fruit it ended up bearing. While many of these cars may have continued production after the recession of 2008-2010, most if not all were born of the white heat of stupidity that lost GM $82 billion before this time. I say stupidity of course, because most of the following vehicles I would like to own one day.

The Cadillac STS-V

There’s really only a few times when I was researching cars for this series that I was really surprised. I knew GM’s pre-bailout reputation was strange, I knew they made quirky cars. I did not know that any of them were as refined, advanced, or expensive as the STS-V. 

The STS-V is a Cadillac’s Cadillac. What I mean is, it’s heavy, it’s powerful, and I’m more than certain all the leather on the inside could completely upholster the outside. Let me give you a few features this car had when it was released, in 2006.

  • A six-speed automatic transmission, adjustable for ferocity (two positions)
  • Brembo Brakes
  • Adjustable traction and stability control (four positions)
  • Standard rear differential cooler
  • Heated seats and steering wheel
  • A heads-up display
  • Automatic high-beams
  • Keyless entry
  • Voice command for the HVAC, windows, locks, audio, and navigation
  • Backup sensors
  • Lane departure warning
  • Blindspot monitors
  • A leather and suede interior contracted by the same people who did the first gen Maybach Mercedes

That’s an impressive list of features, especially for 2006. It continues to leave an impression under the hood.

The STS-V is equipped with–as far as I can tell–the most well-spoken-of Northstar made; the LC3. It seems like the most reliable, most advanced, and most powerful. I’m gonna spend some time on the engine because honestly, it has some cool features.

The LC3 is one of the newer Northstars (starting in 2003) that received a forged steel crankshaft. The LC3 displaced 4.4 liters instead of the standard 4.6, due to a smaller bore. The compression ratio was also reduced down to 9.0:1, to accommodate forced induction.

The LC3 is a partially closed deck block vs the typical open deck, for greater strength. The head issues were supposedly resolved as well. The motor got new head gaskets and new head bolts–the latter being from the LS6. They replaced the previous bolts which were too short and had threads that were too fine. The pistons and connecting rods are both cast, however they are stronger than those found the standard 4.6 liter Northstar. 

Most of the magic happens up at the intake manifold, which also houses the supercharger (a 2.0 liter roots type), and the intercooler (a water-air unit). It’s all one piece, with the supercharger and intake manifold being cast together. This assembly provides 10-12psi of boost.

Image result for northstar lc3 supercharger

All of this adds up to a nearly eighty-thousand dollar car weighing in at 4300 pounds. It makes 469 horsepower, 439 lb/ft of torque, will do zero-to-sixty in 4.6 seconds, and the quarter mile in 12.9 seconds. That isn’t a typo. This 4300 pound behemoth ran high twelves, bone stock, in 2006.

On the outside, the STS-V got more aggressive bumpers and fascias as compared to the standard car. It also got a bulge in the hood so you knew it meant business. It was lower, stiffer, got 19 inch wheels in the back, and 18 inch wheels in the front. This was to enhance the appearance of an aggressive rake angle.

Image result for cadillac STS-V

As seen here. 

However, as is typical with GM, this car was a collection of features that just ended up being not that gr- Wait.

One moment…

I have just received news this car was actually… pretty good. 


In 2006, Car and Driver compared the STS-V, the brand new M5 (the V10 variant), and the Mercedes CLS 55 AMG. The Cadillac couldn’t top the M5 (I would argue not many cars can even today), but it did top the Mercedes. Even at eighty thousand dollars, the STS-V was a boatload of car. So you should go buy one right?

Probably not.

Here’s the bad news; if you haven’t guessed already, owners of this car report all of this great tech has the tendency to fly south for the winter. By, ‘for the winter’, I mean forever. Also, a lot of them seem to have a host of mechanical issues (many not related to the engine, surprisingly).

It’s pretty hard to find super clean ones as well, because they only made 2,503. None of them are above $20k, and I cannot find any with less than 40k miles on them. You can buy–what I will safely assume is a rolling nightmare–for about $7k. Don’t do this.

So why did I write this? It’s a big used ‘Caddy you shouldn’t buy. 

Well, it’s still cool.

It’s still cool, and It’s undoubtedly a Cadillac.

Cadillac ‘being Cadillac’ is something we, our fathers, and our grandfathers have been taking completely for granted for more than a century.

At the time this is being written, ‘big sedan with a V8 Cadillac’ is going to die. In fact, it has a few weeks to live. When the CT6 is discontinued in January, that may be it.

Cadillac–the brand that invented the cross-plane V8–will not be making a V8 sedan for the first time since 1915.

This holiday season, when you’re celebrating New Years, you’ll probably have a drink– maybe a few drinks. If you’re like me, it will probably be closer to nine. 

Pour a little out for Cadillac.

I’ll end this post with a video of an absolutely furious sounding modded STS-V.

Happy Holidays, see you tomorrow.








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