An all-new model in 2005, the 2006 Cadillac STS gets even better with the addition of the 469 hp STS-V.

Changes for 2006 on regular STS models include all-wheel-drive as an available option on V6 models; a Bose 5.1 Studio Surround Sound system with Navigation becomes standard on the V8’s 1SE package; 18-inch wheels are available on the V6 and V8 rear-wheel-drive models; and there are four new exterior colours, Stealth Grey, Radiant Bronze, Blackberry and Infrared.

Engine choices on the STS are a 3.6-litre V6 and a longitudinally-mounted 4.6-litre Northstar V8. Both hook up to their own versions of a five-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. The STS also comes with Magnetic Ride Control and StabiliTrak stability program.

The STS-V features a 4.4-litre supercharged Northstar V8 engine with variable valve timing, also found in the XLR-V, which produces 469hp and 439 lb-ft of torque. The engine delivers 90 per cent of its peak torque between 2200 and 6000 rpm, and redlines at 6700 rpm. It’s mated to an all-new Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission, in its first use in a GM vehicle. The STS-V is capable of zero to 100 km/h in less than five seconds.

Both STS models contain all the expected luxuries: the V6 includes fog lights, dual projector beam headlights, heated power mirrors with driver’s side auto-dimming and passenger side parking tilt-down, 17-inch painted aluminum wheels with V-rated tires, automatic dual-zone electronic climate control, cruise control, auto-dimming rearview mirror with three-button OnStar, leather-wrapped wheel, power tilt and telescopic wheel, front and rear express up/down windows, heated leather seats with eight-way power driver’s seat and four-way power passenger seat, rear-seat pass-through, CD/MP3 player with eight speakers, wiper-activated headlights and rear parking assist. A starter button, dropped by Cadillac for 1951 in favour of the “modern” key ignition, is back in vogue and standard on the STS.

The V8 contains the same features, while adding 17-inch S-rated tires, air filtration system, rear air conditioning controls, three-channel garage door opener, luggage net, memory seating, heated steering wheel, wood accents, front and rear heated seats, and six-disc CD/MP3 system.

Available STS options include power sunroof, polished aluminum wheels, adaptive cruise control, premium Tuscany leather seats and a performance brake package.

The STS-V features exclusive styling features. On the outside there is a larger, polished stainless steel wire mesh front grille, lower front fascia grille, brake cooling ducts, lower rocker panels, V-specific hood, ten-spoke painted aluminum alloy wheels, rear spoiler, and V-specific badging with “Supercharged” on the doors. Inside, the STS-V adds leather-wrapped surfaces, Olive Ash Burl wood appointments, kinetic-finished aluminum accents, sueded fabric seat inserts, V-specific badging and Tango Red colour accents.

The STS marked a turning point in Cadillac’s car line, and it continues in the right direction. The angular styling introduced on the CTS works well on this vehicle, and the interior is very well done. The seats are long-haul comfortable, although rear seat room is tighter than expected in a vehicle of this size. Cornering and handling are superb, while the Magnetic Ride Control soaks up road imperfections immediately for a luxury ride that has just the right degree of firmness. If the budget allows, though, the STS-V is an enthusiast’s dream, offering the kind of acceleration and performance formerly exclusive only to offshore manufacturers.

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