Hennessey's 1,226 horsepower Cadillac CTS-VR


September 23, 2012

Hennessey's 1,226 horsepower CTS-VR1200 - a performance-tuned Cadillac CTS-V.

Hennessey's 1,226 horsepower CTS-VR1200 - a performance-tuned Cadillac CTS-V.

Image Gallery (35 images)

Talk about American muscle … Thumbing its nose at hippie ideals like fuel efficiency, the 6.2-litre Cadillac CTS-V is a monster muscle car in stock form, putting out 556 horsepower and 551 foot-pounds of torque straight out of the crate. But for those for whom too much is never enough, aftermarket tuner Hennessey Performance has released details of a souped-up "CTS-VR 1200" that brings together every performance upgrade in the Hennessey catalogue to produce an eye-watering 1,226 horsepower and 1,109 foot-pounds of torque. Handy if you need to tow a trailer … Just watch this thing light up on the dyno rollers.

Headquartered outside Houston, Texas, Hennessey Performance is a high-end performance tuning company that deals with all the major American brands, as well as a selection of European and Japanese models. It seems Hennessey's 2013 flagship model will be the VR1200, a 1,226 horsepower beast that's built out from the Cadillac CTS-V. In stock form, the Cadillac looks like this:

After the Hennessey treatment, it hits 60 mph (96 km/h) in 2.9 seconds, handles the quarter mile (0.4 km) in a shade over 10 seconds, sprints to around 242 mph (389 km/h), and looks like this:

Here's some of the upgrades involved:

Engine upgrades

  • 427 CID (7.0L) Aluminum V8 Engine
  • Forged Aluminum Pistons
  • Forged Steel Connecting Rods
  • Forged Steel Crankshaft
  • Balanced and Blueprinted Rotating Assembly
  • ARP Main Studs & Head Bolts
  • High Flow Cylinder Heads
  • Hennessey VR1200 Camshaft
  • Upgraded Fuel Injectors
  • Upgraded Fuel System (Includes Lines, Rails, Regulator & Pump)
  • Twin Ball Bearing, Billet Wheel Precision Turbochargers
  • Dual Wastegates
  • Adjustable Boost Controller (800, 1000 & 1226 HP power settings)
  • Stainless Steel Turbo Downpipes and Exhaust System
  • Air-to-Water Intercooler
  • High-Flow Air Induction System
  • Professional Installation
  • HPE Engine Management Calibration
  • Dyno Tuning & Road Testing
  • Hennessey Exterior Badging
  • Serial-Numbered Dash & Engine Plaques
  • 3 Year / 36,000 (57,936 km) Mile Limited Warranty

Transmission & Drivetrain Upgrades:

  • Manual: Centerforce Dual Friction Clutch Upgrade
  • Automatic: Performance Build & Torque Converter Upgrade (Add US$20,000)
  • Extreme Duty CV-Shaft Upgrade

Brembo Brake System Upgrades:

  • 15.1 inch Carbon Ceramic Rotors (Front & Rear)
  • Calipers: 8-Piston (Front); 6-Piston (Rear)

Wheels & Tire Upgrades:

  • Hennessey Wheels: 20x10 inch (Front); 20x13 inch (Rear)
  • Michelin Pilot Super Sport Tires: 275/30YR-20 (Front); 345/30YR-20 (Rear)

Suspension Upgrades:

  • Lowered 1" (Front & Rear)
  • Upgraded Front and Rear Swaybars
  • Factory Magnetic Ride Control Tuned by John Heinricy

CarbonAero Widebody Body:

  • Carbon Fiber Front Splitter
  • Carbon Fiber Rear Diffuser
  • Carbon Fiber Front Fenders
  • Carbon Fiber Extractor Hood
  • Carbon Fiber Rear Fender Flares

Interior Upgrades:

  • Alcantara Headliner
  • Carbon Fiber Door Sills
  • Upgraded Leather & Stitching
  • Hennessey Embroidered Heardrests
  • Hennessey Premium Floormats

It sounds ever so slightly angry in this dyno video:

Only 12 will be built, so if you like big biceps on your Caddie, you'll have to be quick. Get into the gallery to check out a boatload of pictures, or head over to the Hennessey site for more information.

About the Author
Loz Blain Loz has been one of Gizmag's most versatile contributors since 2007. Joining the team as a motorcycle specialist, he has since covered everything from medical and military technology to aeronautics, music gear and historical artefacts. Since 2010 he's branched out into photography, video and audio production, and he remains the only Gizmag contributor willing to put his name to a sex toy review. A singer by night, he's often on the road with his a cappella band Suade. All articles by Loz Blain

"Hippie ideals like fuel efficiency" is a wild eyed ignorance as to the day and age we live in. With no stats or video it must handle like a VW bug in the corners.

The Hoff

Almost makes me want to have a GM car again just to have this done to it? Love American muscle! :-)


@Hoff. You know when I read comments like yours it makes me appreciate muscle cars even more. Its quite "likely" they didn't make this car with fuel efficiency in mind.

Rocky Stefano

Considering the CTS-V goes 0-60 in 3.9 seconds stock I don't think i would ever bother spending the money for an upgrade like this. Not only is it extra power you could never use, but it doesn't look nearly as elegant as the original. And @Hoff, the CTS-V was tuned to perform like a true sports car; it's gotten pretty high marks for its handling.


Have you ever seen the body builder who is so ridiculously over muscled that he walks like a an uncomfortable ape and looks like a freaky alien? That's what a muscle call looks like to me when it's trying to corner. I appreciate what the car maker is trying to say but it's a car that can't drive right. Ridiculous

The Hoff

They are only going to make twelve, so we will never see a proper test of this beast. More specs might have given a better indication of how the car might handle. Weight and distribution of same come to mind. Clearly, the car is not meant to be driven; it is a statement: A fun project that shows the amount of excess you can place in one spot if you provide enough time, money and technical expertise. Besides all that, if you, yes you, were to have the opportunity to drive it...well, let's just say that if you survived, you still would have to live with the embarrassment of explaining what went wrong and how you turned the machine to rubble. This not the car for you; think: Ford Focus.


That's a lot of power, but the performance isn't that great considering how much of it there is. I wonder how much it weighs? It's also mind-numbingly ugly; it can't seem to decide if it wants to be curvy or angular, so has random bits of both. I'd guess it probably can go round the odd corner - Hennessy know what they're doing, and it doesn't appear to follow the rocket-powered-sofa model of older muscle cars. Their Venom GT looks much prettier.


re; The Hoff

When a kid soups up his parents previous car he tends to get a car that is capable of going straight very fast. But there has always been muscle cars that handle well. When you see one of these going around corners you decide that it is not a muscle car because it does not conform to your idea of what a muscle car is.


lol An engine like that would work pretty well in a WWII PT boat! I wonder if it'd get better 'economy' than the old Packard engine...?

Larry Hooten

GM, good luck meeting the new CAFE standards with this pig in your fleet. Are we headed towards another bailout? Will you ever get it?


@ The Hoff

Here is a link to the STOCK CTS-V setting the Nurburging lap record!

Few corners on that track.


finally, a real car for Batman ! Six point harness and enough umph to burn rubber (and rim!) in the streets og GFotham, I mean Detroit...or is it New York or ...LA perhaps. This is the machine for those straights on I-5 fwy between Santa Nella and Grapevine.Oooh...hoooo! Watch out, those CHP officers are out in swarms to collect revenue for cities.....


I was convinced that Cadillac had turned the corner and that someone over there knew what they were doing when I learned that Cadillac was going back into racing at Le Mans. Little did I expect something as extreme as this.

He didn't mention a price, but it can't be anywhere near as expensive as a Veyron whose hp and torque it matches. Yes, it would have been nice if the author had said something about handling. I for one would never buy a car (if I could afford one which I can't) that can obviously go like hell in a straight line (assuming it doesn't get airborne) if it can't also handle. A Nordschleife lap time is what this car and review need badly, say, under 7 secs.


When caught speeding the owner of this testosterone pig should simply have it confiscated, crushed and a $1M fine for being as stupid as it was to produce this monstrosity!

Max Kennedy

Is this car capable of any world records?

Anthony Collett

And vehicles of this sort are relevant how exactly?

As yet another demonstration of more dosh than mental capacity...

Want to make a statement, build an Auto Union, the V-16 version.


Not that I would ever have the money to buy one, but I can't help but wonder what it would feel like to drive one. I also wonder (I KNOW IT'S A STUPID THOUGHT - "If you can afford one, you can afford the gas..."), but I wonder too what the mileahge would be while cruising down a flat highway at 78 MPH? JUST CURIOUS.... 5, 10, 20?????


Definitely follows the Texan philosophy of

"If some is good, more is better and too much is just right"

Will this become the new Hertz rent a racer?


it's drivable on a dyno. but is it drivable on the street?

Thom Delahunt

As an experiment into how many ponies you can cram under a bonnet it's more than a little cool. As a practical means of day to day transport it's a 'normous fail. Zero rear vision and the front aint much better. I have no doubt that in a typical urban environment I could get there faster on my commuter bicycle.

Not to mention that it's as ugly as three bags full of a#$eholes.

Bill Mulger

There is no reason to think that this car handles any worse than the production CTS-V.

In the end all this car will do is transfer wealth from some rich person to workers.

re; Max Kennedy

Destroying things of value makes everybody poorer.


Hush now, let's have one of these wrapped & packed & dropped off at Dunsfold. Clarkson & co can then unwrap both the Stig and a spare Veyron (there must be one lurking there somewhere...), before booting 'em both out on the track for a quick comparison. After that - and after they've had their tyres, brakes & clutch replaced - let 'em loose on le continent - culminating in a decider around the Nurburgring...Powerrr!

Nick Herbert

Looks like the aftermarket retail value of all the stuff taken OUT of the factory car would approach the factory sticker price if sold as parts on ebay. Wonder if the customer gets all that back in a doggie-bag? Don't think so, pure profit. And for those naysayers regarding handling performance after tuning, can they point to specifically the upgrade feature(s) that would make it handle WORSE than the factory version?


This car will not really affect Cadillac's Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE). They state only 12 will be built. Even if the fuel usage is 1 mpg, with only 12, it will make a ding probably at the .001% - .01% level.

If the original CTS-V was designed as a sports car, there is NO reason to suspect this will be any different. The biggest question is if the tires can hold the road when you peel out. Even at high speed, I can tell you handling on a dry road is GREAT even at high speeds. If the tires can handle, it should corner like on rails (I love that phrase from "Pretty Woman".

I do not consider it ugly. I admit it looks more like a muscle car than a "sports car" and the Venom looks much more like a "sports car".

Depending on the viewer a sports car has 4 basic definitions. A. Insurance companies define any 2 door car as a sports car (yes an old VW Beetle, Ford Pinto, 2 door Toyota Tercel, and Smart Fortwo are sports cars according to them). B. Most common definition a high performance two seat car with exceptional/nimble handling. C. The same as B but with "sleek" aerodynamic body styling. D. Many sports car associations add weigh distribution (no worse than 49-51, with best 50-50 front to rear and left to right, theoretically you could make a "X" and at the intersection lift the vehicle with a pole 1" in diameter).

This vehicle is 2 door matching insurance company standards (I doubt this is being done with the 4 door version CTS-V). The high performance is definitely there. I will trust the handling is there as the original CTS-V had it and Hennessey is not about to destroy that. The body styling appears aerodynamic but is definitely not sleek. I cannot tell if the interior was changed to make it a 2 seater but the CTS-V is driver and 4 passengers. I do not know the weight distribution but that can easily be achieved.

Overall I would call this a muscle car but if it has the handling and weight distribution, I see no reason not to claim sports car status. NatalieEGH

A reminder that we buy our vehicles more as fashion statements than practical equipment. Every show pony that infests our roads will want one of these.


@Pikeman Your right, however calling this a thing of value is an abomination of the phrase.

Max Kennedy

I'd like to see this car built shorter from roof to seat, It's honestly very tall. I like Corvette..anyway....

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