Just took delivery of my '06 V last night, so haven't had A LOT of time to drive it, but so far, here are my personal thoughts.
Now, keep in mind, my other car is a '98 Lexus GS400. If you're not familiar w/that car, it has a 4.0 liter V8 w/300HP and 300 ft/lbs. I average 22 MPG
Pros of the V:
- Aesthetically, this car is just cool! I can't pick out anything I don't like about the car, visually.
- Interior is pretty cool w/the suede/alcantra seat inserts
- THE SOUND is AWESOME! I love the rumble. The Lexus is...well, it's a Lexus, so the exhaust sound is very subdued, to say the least.
- The skip shift on the V doesn't bother me at all. Actually, I can shift into 2nd whenever I want. It will guide me to 4th, but with VERY slight guidance from myself, it lets me go right to second w/no problems. As far as I know, my V is stock.
- The V doesn't seem too much quicker than my GS400. Of course, I haven't driven a manual for about 3.5 - 4 years, so much of that is almost surely my lack of ability so far.
- Torque of the V is noticeably better than the GS400, of course
- 6 speed of the V makes hitting the rev limiter unexpectedly quick.
- I am fairly disappointed in the overall quality of materials of the V's interior. My GS400 has 149,000 miles on it and not a single squeak or rattle. The V, on the other hand, seems to have pretty cheap plastics throughout the interior (door panels, handles, dash, arm rest, etc.). When I touch the "arm rest", it squeaks; when I rest my left arm on the door sill, the V squeaks, and there seems to be little "groans" of the plastics used in the interior of the V, while driving, due to the stiffer suspension probably.
I'll probably keep the V, mostly because I really LOVE the aesthetics, the stiffer suspension, and the increased torque, but can't help being somewhat disappointed in the quality of interior materials and fit & finish (my V's hood shakes @ highway speeds). In my own very humble opinion, if Cadillac wants to have wide-spread acceptance of a $60k (or more, when the '09 comes out) performance sedan, they'll need to use better quality interior materials and tighten up the fit and finish a bit. They are close, very close, but when comparing my 29k mile '06 V to my 149k mile '98 GS, the GS kills the V in those two areas, despite the extra miles.
No question that the V's interior is loaded with plastic and ill fitting pieces. I have an Audi A4 that has the best interior in a car I've ever owned, but you know what? I paid almosy 40K for that Audi which has a manual transmission, a 4cylinder 170 HP engine and only a power seat on the driver side. It also weighs more than my V Caddy. My point is, the cars that the V compete with, the E63AMG or the M5 or the S4/6 are a minimum of 20K more than a V. Imagine what the V could be if it were a 75,000 car like it's competitors are. You can build a better car than everyone else if you spend the money, like Mercedes and BMW do, but how many Eurpeans are enjoying 400HP sports sedans compared to Americans. It really boils down to value. Americans are probably not ready to spend 20k or more for those nice touches. We love cars, but we change them every 4-5 years.
To a large extent, I agree w/what you say about the price difference between the V and it's main competitors, but small improvements to "button it up" a little wouldn't add much to the cost to build it. This car is, in fact, a $50k+ car, and most likely be pushing $55k-$60k when the '09 comes out, I'd bet.
Despite its shortcomings (well, they're only shortcomings in my opinion of course), I think I'm going to keep it for a while. The things I like about the car are, so far, inching out the things I don't.
I've been taking it easy on the gas, so we'll see what sort of MPG I get w/it too. Usually, I've been starting out in 2nd, then 4th, etc. It definitely has the torque to do it smoothly!
Again, the aesthetics, engine, exhaust sound, manual trans, and suspension are all things I've been enjoying. I'm just picky about my cars, despite my budget!