Future Curbside Classic: 2006-09 Cadillac STS-V – Gazing Longingly

Cadillac STS-V

Looking at this photo, I feel a mix of both frustration and envy. Frustrated because I failed to take more snaps of this rare Cadillac STS-V, one of only 2440 produced. And envious because the owner of this car is living my dream. They own an STS-V, a car I have been lusting after for a decade. They also live in Harlem, a neighborhood I adore and one that’s very close to my old apartment in Washington Heights. But living in Harlem and owning an STS-V both have their downsides.

Living in Harlem

Harlem is becoming an increasingly desirable place to live. Its location is extremely convenient, full of amazing restaurants and bars, steeped in history, and has a wonderful vibe. However, everyone else is realizing that too, including landlords and developers, which means rents continue to rise. Gentrification has its downsides too, with low-income residents and small businesses being forced out. But let’s not get into the complexities of that conversation in just a few sentences.

The NYC Subway and Car Enthusiasts

Although my friends in NYC may disagree, considering the city has a good subway system, there’s little need for a car. Off-street parking is expensive, and street parking can be risky. The number of cars with dents and scratches shows the danger faced when street parking. Would you want to street park a rare beast like an STS-V? Probably not.

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Changing Perception of Harlem and Cadillac

To those outside of New York, the name ‘Harlem’ may evoke an image of a frightening neighborhood, as if nothing has changed between “Across 110th Street” and today. The same goes for the Cadillac nameplate, with many associating it with lumbering land yachts purchased by retired grandparents in Florida. However, those who are enlightened know that today’s Harlem and today’s Cadillac are very different from their 1970s counterparts. The STS-V and its Sigma platform cohort were the first significant signs of Cadillac’s transformation.

Design and Performance

The STS-V, although wearing a more sedate interpretation of Cadillac’s new Art & Science design language compared to the first CTS, still made a statement with its sharp lines, creases, bulging hood, and mesh grille. Cadillac advertised that all three V-Series models hit 0-60 in under 5 seconds. The STS-V and XLR-V employed a Roots-type supercharged version of the 32-valve, DOHC Northstar engine, resulting in an impressive 469 hp and 439 ft-lbs of torque.

Cadillac STS-V Engine

The STS-V Experience

The STS-V came with a 6-speed GM 6L80 automatic transmission with a manual shift mode and Cadillac’s Performance Algorithm Shifting for more aggressive shifts. The ride quality of the STS-V was impressive, with its compliant suspension, Brembo brakes, and enhanced interior featuring leather-wrapped dash and center console, wood trim, and suede seat inserts. However, as a daily driver, the STS-V has its drawbacks, including its heavy fuel consumption, rarity of parts, and potential expense of repairs.

The Rise of the CTS-V and the Fall of the STS-V

The STS-V always seemed to live in the shadows. It launched at the same time as the Chrysler 300C SRT-8, a more dramatically-styled American sedan with a lower price tag. Then, just as Cadillac finally entered the super sedan party, Mercedes and BMW upped the stakes with their even more powerful E63 AMG and V10 M5. The final blow came from within Cadillac’s own lineup with the second-generation CTS-V, which offered more power, a beautiful interior, and an exciting interpretation of Art & Science.

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The Future of the STS-V

With its exclusivity, the STS-V hasn’t seen strong resale values. The cars are worth little more than the contemporary first-generation CTS-V. The STS-V overlapped with the new CTS-V for only one year before being retired. Owning an STS-V as a daily driver might not be the most practical choice, but as a weekend car, it could still bring joy to any car enthusiast.

Cadillac STS-V Interior

I often daydream about where I’d like to live and what cars I’d like to own. Give me a brownstone in Harlem with some off-street parking for a daily driver CTS. And although the STS-V isn’t perfect, owning one as a weekend car would be a dream come true. Then, I wouldn’t need to be envious anymore.


Q: How many Cadillac STS-V cars were produced?
A: Only 2440 Cadillac STS-V cars were produced.

Q: What is the horsepower and torque of the STS-V?
A: The STS-V had 469 hp at 6400 rpm and 439 ft-lbs of torque at 3800 rpm.

Q: How did the STS-V compare to its competitors?
A: The STS-V outperformed the Jaguar S-Type R, matched the Mercedes E55 and CLS55 in horsepower (but not torque), and surpassed the V10 M5 in torque (but not horsepower).

Q: Why did the STS-V fall out of favor?
A: The second-generation CTS-V offered more power, a lower price tag, and a more exciting design, making the STS-V less appealing.


The Cadillac STS-V may not have achieved the same level of fame as its competitors, but it still holds a special place in the hearts of car enthusiasts. Its rarity, design, and performance make it an appealing choice for those seeking a unique and powerful weekend car. The STS-V may have lived in the shadows, but its legacy lives on as a future curbside classic.

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