Is The Cadillac CTS-V A Muscle Car? Let’s Find Out

Last Updated on December 17, 2023 by Leepu Da Maxim

A muscle car is loosely defined as an American automobile with a V8 engine and rear-wheel drive. Going by this definition, the Cadillac CTS-V is a muscle car because it’s American, has a 6.2L supercharged V8 engine, and comes with a 6-speed manual and rear-wheel drive as standard.

Key Takeaways

  • The term muscle car came to use in 1966 to define a group of two-door sports coupes with powerful gas-powered engines for high-performance driving made in America
  • The CTS-V is powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine that produces 640 horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque
  • The Cadillac CTS-V can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 200 mph
  • The Cadillac CTS-V weighs 4,100 pounds and it is heavier than most classic muscle cars

Does the Cadillac CTS-V fit as a muscle car?

 Various factors determine whether a vehicle is a muscle car. To determine whether the Cadillac CTS-V is a muscle car, we need to look at the definition of a muscle car, and the characteristics that a muscle car needs to have, and then determine if the Cadillac CTS-V qualifies as one. Let’s get right into it:

What makes a muscle car?

The definition of a muscle car is debatable and subjective. They can be defined as small cars with large displacement engines to increase straight-line speed. Muscles cars have the following characteristics:

  • They have a large V8 engine that comes in the most powerful configuration offered for any model
  • They have rear-wheel drive
  • They are American-made
  • Muscle cars are relatively lightweight two-door or four-door body
  • They are affordable
  • Muscle cars deliver performance on the street and could be used for drag racing.

To determine whether the Cadillac CTS-V is a muscle car, we need to decide whether it has all the characteristics to qualify it as a muscle car. Let’s look at the engine specifications, weight, and drivetrain system.

Engine and performance

The Cadillac CTS-V is powered by a 6.2L supercharged V8 engine that produces 551 pound-feet of torque and 556 hp. It comes with a standard six-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive, but you can choose a six-speed automatic transmission at no cost. The model is high performance with an estimated 0-60 mph of 4.3 seconds.

The Cadillac CTS-V has always had a powerful engine that qualifies it as a muscle car throughout its generations. Below is a summary of engine specifications for various Cadillac CTS-V generations.

Engine specifications of various Cadillac CTS-V generations

GenerationProduction yearsEngine specs
First generation2004-2007 June  5.7L LS6 V-8 engine producing 400 hp at 6,000 rpm and 395 lb-ft at 4,800 rpm) 6.0L LS2 V-8 producing 400 hp at 6,000 rpm and 395 lb-ft at 4,400 rpm) 6.0 L OHV LS2 engine produced 400 hp at 6,000 rpm with 395 lb. ft at 4,400 rpm.
Second generation2009-2014Supercharged 6.2L LSA V8 that produced 556 hp and 551lb. ft of torque
Third generation2016- 20192.0L turbocharged L4 3.6L V6 producing 420Hp and 430 lb. ft of torque 6.2L LT4 supercharged v8 engine that produces 640bhp at 6400 rpm and 630 lb. ft of torque at 3600 rpm

Going by the engine and performance of the third-generation CTS-V (2016-2019), it is safe to say the model is a muscle car. It is one of the most powerful Cadillacs ever made. The model is sometimes referred to as a four-door corvette because of its supercharged V8 engine. The engine is drawn from the Corvette C7 Z06 and has a top speed of 200 mph. It weighs 4,145 lb. and is equipped with 8-speed automatic transmission. It has a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds, making it incredibly fast.

Although the Cadillac CTS-V was not marketed as a muscle car, the third generation came with the engine and performance of a muscle car; it had exceptional handling and acceleration and a V8 engine which qualified it as one.


Automakers employ different weight ranges for different categories of vehicles, although weight isn’t a strict categorization. Muscle cars are often heavy and oversized to make them accelerate quickly in a straight line. Most muscle cars weigh well over 3800 pounds, and the Cadillac CTS-V weighs 4145 lb. making it qualify to be categorized as a muscle car.


The design of a vehicle can be used to determine whether it’s a pony car, a sports car, or a muscle car. Classic muscle cars have two doors as standard, and they all feature a v8 engine inside the two-door coupe.

Their design is characterized by a massive trunk with a wide trance and sweeping fenders. The design has evolved throughout time, and modern muscle cars do not feature large front grilles that allow sufficient air circulation to cool the engine.

The design of the Cadillac CTS-V has changed through its generation. The third generation looks like a real muscle car, while others only resemble or come close to looking like one, but the engine qualifies it as a muscle car. It has large front grilles that give it the appearance of a muscle vehicle.

Drivetrain system

The vehicle’s propulsion system is a major factor in determining whether the CTS-V is a muscle car. All muscle cars are rear-wheel drive vehicles, while sports cars have rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive for better traction.

Muscle cars have rear-wheel drive because they have better performance and traction, which equals faster acceleration. The Cadillac CTS-V has a rear-wheel drive for all generations, qualifying it as a muscle car.

Frequently asked questions

Is the Cadillac CTS-V a good car?

Yes, the Cadillac CTS-V is an excellent automobile with a powerful engine and incredible performance. It has a comfortable and functional interior and ample head and legroom. This great sedan has dual-zone automatic climate control, manual thigh extenders, and classic leather upholstery. It also has a mean infotainment system that features a 13-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system with an android auto and Apple car play.

The model is also very affordable compared to its rivals and has impressive performance and fuel efficiency.

Does the CTS-V have a Corvette engine?

The third-generation CTS-V was powered by a supercharged C7 version of the Corvette, a 6.2-liter LT4 V8 engine found on the Z06. This engine generated 640 horsepower, only ten horsepower less than the 06. This model was the most powerful Cadillac ever produced.

What does V mean in Cadillac?

The V in CTS-V stands for victory, which denotes the brand’s high-performance division.


Most motor enthusiasts classify Cadillac CTS-V as a sports car, while others refer to the model as a muscle car but from the point of ignorance. The vehicle has proven to be a real muscle car because it exhibits all the traits and characteristics of a muscle car. The CTS-V could become a collectible car very soon because it shows features of a muscle car that other manufacturers have difficulty matching up to. We hope you are now better positioned to understand why the Cadillac CTS-V is classified as a muscle car.