Fun Stuff

Depreciation Appreciation: Cadillac CTS-V, 2009-2015

Welcome to Depreciation Appreciation! Every month, your pals at dig up an example of how depreciation can make for an extra-fantastic used-car deal.

Do you like going fast? Do you like being comfortable? Do you relish the signature whine of an Eaton supercharger cramming intercooled air into a great big V8 engine at full throttle as your rear tires go up in smoke faster than a certain flagship smartphone? If so, the last-generation Cadillac CTS-V might be the car for you.

The last full generation of Cadillac’s segment-smashing posh-rocket launched for model-year 2009 – the CTS-V’s initial pricing landed somewhere in the ballpark of $70,000. Today, after a few years, numerous units are available for as little as half of that amount. Depreciation aside, the CTS-V, in any variant from this generation, makes a hell of a deal in the used marketplace. Why? Because you’ll find 556 horsepower for under $40,000 all day long. Plus, unlike some fussy European competitors, this one looks like a solid performer that’ll be relatively cheap to keep ticking.

The Sticky

2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon. X11CA_CT031 (03/29/2010)  (United States)

Look for coupe, sedan or even station wagon model variants. Know who drives CTS-V wagons? Serious dads and total bosses, that’s who.

All units run a supercharged 6.2L V8 engine driving the rear wheels. Track-validated brakes, suspension and chassis modifications were fitted to enhance the full spectrum of CTS-V performance. The Magnetic Ride Control suspension makes continuous, real-time changes to the way the CTS-V rides and handles, optimizing comfort or performance with respect to the currently engaged drive mode.

Transmission choices included a Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual with a dual-disc clutch for a light effort and plenty of power-holding, or a Hydra-Matic 6L90 six-speed automatic with steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. Whether you’d prefer to row your own gears, or let the performance-programmed automatic transmission handle it for you, the CTS-V has you covered.

Owners raved about comfort-oriented feature content that lived peacefully inside of this hot-rod luxury car, including a Bose audio system, suede-trimmed seats, navigation, full multimedia connectivity, automatic climate control, and plenty more. Owners also gush about immense power output, and the relative ease of daily driving – though some wish for a more refined driveline and interior, as well as better fuel mileage.

Approximate New Value

CTS-V features a cabin with Obsidian black trim and microfiber accents. X09CA_CT019  (United States)

When new, a Cadillac CTS-V from this generation, depending on the year and body style in question, carried a base price anywhere between $69,000 and $76,000, before any add-on options.

Approximate Used Value

Today, with reasonable mileage and at no more than seven years old, the CTS-V can be had for under $40,000. Here’s a great example of an affordable used CTS-V, a 2010 sedan with manual transmission, 43,000 km and an asking price of $37,500. You could spend more on a Toyota Camry. Here’s another example, a 2011 with under 94,000 km of use and a price under $36,000. Or this CTS-V Coupe, with under 50,000 km for a tick over $40,000.

Note that pricing varies wildly even on models with similar mileage, depending on the transmission, body style and options fitted. At writing, the CTS-V Sedan was the most popular used CTS-V model on, followed by the CTS-V Coupe, and distantly, by the rarer CTS-V Wagon. If you can part with a little more cash, numerous even-lower-mileage units, perhaps only four-years-old, can be had from the mid-to-high forties.

Test Drive Tips

Obtain the VIN number of the vehicle in question, and check with the seller and your local GM dealer, to see if the model has ever been in for a replacement supercharger, or if it qualifies for one. Well-documented issues with the supercharger on certain CTS-V models saw dealers replacing defective blowers suffering from a bad internal bearing. A rattling sound at idle with the hood open is a telltale sign of trouble – so be sure to listen for it. If you’re buying a few-year-old unit, chances are that this problem would have already surfaced and been addressed.

Because of this supercharger issue, the warranty for the supercharger was extended for all cars. So, if buying a CTS-V that’s still under its supercharger warranty and has never had any supercharger work done, listen regularly for signs of trouble and have your local dealer service department document any that you notice, to support a warranty claim if and when required.

Here’s some more reading on the extended supercharger warranty.

Have a GM technician inspect the condition of the CTS-V’s magnetic shock absorbers, remembering that some owners have reported less-than-expected durability from this component. Loud banging or popping sounds from beneath the car on a rougher road, or shocks that are visibly leaking, are trouble signs.

Check for proper operation of the trunk and liftgate releases, and double-check that the trunk or liftgate opens and closes as expected. If it doesn’t, you’ll probably need a new trunk latch release. Check all door handles (especially the touch-pad-activated handles in the CTS-V Coupe) and all door locks for proper operation, too.

Two final notes. First, approach any used CTS-V you’re considering assuming it needs new brakes, tires and a new clutch, until you or a mechanic confirms otherwise. Second? Note that the average shopper should avoid a used model with modified engine management software or modified suspension. On that note, if the CTS-V you’re considering has aftermarket wheels (as many do), confirm that the wheels are from a reputable quality brand and are free of damage.


A healthy used CTS-V with a mechanical thumbs-up should provide cost-effective access to giggle-worthy power output and relatively trouble-free operation for years to come. Best of all, your M3-driving buddies will be secretly jealous of your extra 142 horsepower, which is fantastic.