In around-town driving in crowded West Los Angeles, the six-speed manual shifter helped liven up the drudgery of the morning commute, though the super-stiff clutch led to a leg-aching workout in stretches of stop-and-go traffic that lasted more than 20 minutes. In low-speed jams, the V-8 calmly lugged in 1st gear without complaint or stalling as it crept along at several miles per hour. Almost every shift of the six-speed was short and precise except the 5th-6th upshift, which sometimes proved a bit tricky finding the notch for 6th.
Getting on the freeway was a blast. It was nearly impossible not to want to punch the CTS-V down the ramp and onto the highway in a show of speed, to hear the rumble of its V-8 and quickly row through its gears.