What makes a supercar? It has to be blindingly fast, for one. It’s got to have amazing handling to harness all that power (don’t end up starring in the next “Idiot in a supercar” crash video on Youtube). It must turn girls’ and guys’ heads whenever it rolls by. And it should cost, well, most likely north of $100K.

If it weren’t for that last “requirement,” the Cadillac CTS-V coupe would most certainly qualify as a supercar. Cadillac’s most exhilarating offering will only set you back around $75K fully loaded, well below the monetary threshold for the pantheon of supercars.

But when it comes to looks, speed and handling, the CTS-V coupe has it all. Introduced last year, the two-door version of Cadillac’s superior CTS-V sedan is arguably the most strikingly original, eye-catching U.S. automaker design in the last decade. While other carmakers have dipped into the nostalgia bin and brought out retro-styled Mustangs, Challengers and Camaros, Cadillac has quietly reinvented its look from its tired old-man rep of decades past to an angular, elegant vision. These days, Cadillac is a viable contender to the most beautiful Audis, BMWs and Mercedes for the affections of young, well-heeled driving thrill-seekers. With its bullet-shaped profile, beautifully geometric sheet metal and brawny elegance from any angle, the CTS-V coupe is undoubtedly the most gorgeous Caddy on the road. Put it in a lineup with an M3, an E63 AMG or an RS5, and the Caddy no longer stands out like Gilbert Gottfried in a Victoria’s Secret fashion show. In fact, it looks like the hottest Brazilian on the runway.

In terms of performance, the CTS-V coupe can run with anything European. The Corvette ZR1-derived 6.2-liter V8 engine has a twin-rotor supercharger for more efficient airflow and packs a whopping 556 horsepower that propels the driver from 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds with a top speed of over 170 miles per hour. The engine seems to be able to tap into the 551 lb.-ft. of torque at any speed, and spinning the tires at highway speeds is a simple matter of stepping on the gas pedal. As Cadillac boasts in its ad campaign for the CTS-V line, the car’s handling benefits from cutting-edge dual-mode Magnetic Ride Control that (they claim) Ferrari has since adapted for some of their vehicles. The system reads the road and adjusts damping up to 1000 times a second, and Cadillac touts the suspension as the world’s fastest-reacting. With that handling and power, in 2009, the CTS-V sedan notched the then-fastest time ever for a production sedan at Germany’s 13-mile-long, 70-plus-turn Nurburgring. The coupe comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission — another nod to its sports car DNA — as well as a six-speed automatic with steering wheel–mounted shifts. The CTS-V coupe is a track-day hero that will leave you grinning ear-to-ear after every corner, straight and lap. But given its luxury clientele, it also has the refined ride for day-to-day commuting to the job that allows its owner to buy a $70,000 2x2.

While the interior of the CTS-V coupe doesn’t quite live up to industry standard-bearers such as Audi, it’s certainly no letdown to jump in behind the wheel. The coupe’s cabin accommodates aggressive drivers with optional bolstered Recaro seats and readouts on real-time driving dynamics, while the interior is draped with enough suede and leather to live up to Cadillac’s luxury pretensions. Not surprisingly, the backseats are barely big enough for a golf bag; they’re essentially as vestigial as Tim Tebow’s throwing arm. No matter: this is still the ultimate American car on the road today. And the only seat in this car that really matters is the driver’s.

Check out www.cadillac.com for more information as it becomes available.