2008 BMW M5 vs. 2009 Cadillac CTS-V vs. 2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 Comparison Test

2009 Cadillac CTS-V Sedan

(6.2L V8 Supercharger 6-speed Manual)
  • 2008 BMW M5 Track Video

    Watch the 2009 BMW M5 Track Video on Edmunds' Inside Line | October 14, 2009

5 Videos , 62 Photos

  • Comparison Test
  • Top 10 Features
  • Second Opinion
  • Data and Charts
  • Editors' Evaluations
  • Final Rankings and Scoring Explanation
  • 2009 Cadillac CTS-V Specs and Performance
  • 2009 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Specs and Performance
  • 2008 BMW M5 Specs and Performance

Once you get your hands on a supercharged 556-horsepower 2009 Cadillac CTS-V, you know that you need a 500-hp 2008 BMW M5 with which to measure it. It's a matter of practical science.

Of course, there's a sizable price difference between the $59,995 CTS-V and the $86,675 M5, and we don't want to get our comparison results skewed by mere money. Maybe we should add the 507-hp 2009 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG to our science project. Trouble is, this Merc's $86,875 price tag still doesn't put the CTS-V under any pressure.

We had a better idea. We opted for the more nimble 2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. This compact sedan cranks out only 451 hp, but it weighs almost 400 pounds less than the E63, and its base price of $58,075 rings up about $2,000 cheaper than the CTS-V.

Is the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V a true benchmark in the super sedan category? Measured against the pure performance of the 2008 BMW M5 and the value of the 2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, we knew the truth would come out.

The Fast-Moving Blue-and-White Target
Cadillac frankly admits that the target for the new CTS-V is the BMW M5, as the blue-and-white roundel has been the bull's eye in this super sedan category since the E60 version of the M5 was introduced in 2004. Say what you will about its SMG automated manual transmission and its iDrive cockpit controller, but there's nothing like the warble of its 500-hp V10 or the athleticism of its chassis. This M5 always manages to perform better than the sum of its parts would suggest.

The M5 has also changed the way car owners in this category think. One of us learned this recently while stopped in a left-turn lane with the M5. A friendly horn toot drew his attention to a brand-new, black-on-black 2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. Our man expected some kind of fraternal salute from the AMG, as a meeting of two such cars is pretty special, even in Los Angeles. You know, that cool little lift of the chin that rich guys affect.

Instead, the Merc driver casually flipped off our man with a smile and then proceeded to lay down the biggest smoky burnout with his C63 ever seen on a crowded public boulevard in the middle of the day.

So there's that, and you gotta hand it to that C63 driver. He knows that it's all about humiliating the M5 in any way you can. Either that, or our man Magrath just rubbed him the wrong way. (Magrath is like that sometimes.)

Enter the Challengers
We've already tested both the six-speed automatic and six-speed manual versions of the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V and those preliminary tests showed the V-spec's supercharged 6.2-liter V8 has plenty of straight-line performance to challenge the M5's 5.0-liter V10. The Nürburgring-tested brakes and suspension are also first-rate.

Our test car has an automatic transmission, just like the car that set a lap record at the Nürburgring, and it also has a bottom line of approximately $64,160 (official pricing is still forthcoming) thanks to the hard-drive-based navigation system, suede-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, plus high-performance brake rotors.

We've also seen a Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG a time or two prior to seeing one etch a giant number 11 in rubber on Venice Boulevard recently. We love its snarling, AMG-designed 6.2-liter V8 and the telepathic abilities of its seven-speed automatic transmission, but have found the suspension setup that's part of the AMG Performance package too harsh for daily use.

Our C63 test car with the standard suspension has had its price pumped up with metallic silver paint, an iPod integration kit, TeleAid, the P02 Premium Package, the 318 Leather Pack and the 320 Multimedia Package for a total of $66,880.

Power
Power is wasted if you can't wield it with precision or are burdened by weight. Our calculations show that the 4,315-pound, 556-hp CTS-V with 7.8 pounds per horsepower should be the quickest car here, and so it proves to be. The M5's weight-to-power ratio is 8.3 pounds/hp and the C63 checks in with 8.9 pounds/hp in fighting trim.

The CTS-V outpaced its competitors in the sprint to 60 mph with a dominant 4.3-second performance (4.0 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip) supplemented by a scorching quarter-mile performance of 12.4 seconds at 114.7 mph. The next quickest to 60 mph proved to be the Mercedes with a 4.5-second tear (4.2 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip), while the BMW stopped the clock in 4.8 seconds (4.5 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip).

The three different transmissions couldn't have behaved more differently, and they definitely influenced the outcome. The M5's seven-speed single-clutch automated manual required perfect throttle/shift coordination for a decent launch, not to mention constant vigilance against redline excess while shifting as well as forgiveness for harsh upshifts. In comparison, the Mercedes' seven-speed automatic obliged consistent launches and seamless shift action, while the Cadillac's six-speed automatic makes the task as easy as the Mercedes, yet it shifts nearly as hard as the BMW.

The quarter-mile finishing order was CTS-V, C63 and M5 just as it was to 60 mph, and 0.2 second separated each car (12.4, 12.6 and 12.8 seconds, respectively). At the end of the quarter-mile, however, the M5 began to reel the others in with a stout trap speed of 115 mph compared to the CTS-V's 114.7 mph and the C63's 112.3 mph.

Poise
Getting a 2-ton car to go fast in a straight line is easy; all it takes is horsepower plus big shoes. Making it dance like a sports car is another thing entirely. Both the BMW and Cadillac come standard with driver-adjustable multimode shocks, and the M5 utilizes multivalve dampers with three distinct levels of suspension firmness.

Cadillac uses dampers with specially formulated oil that can vary viscosity within the shock absorber like a $105,000 Corvette ZR1 or $300K Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano to cope with the demands of high-speed driving. The Cadillac's two-mode active system constantly monitors wheel motion and fluctuates between compliance and firmness in milliseconds. It works miraculously well.

The BMW has three-mode adjustment for its suspension. Only in Europe is the C63 available with driver-adjustable dampers. Even so, the taut-riding U.S.-spec C63 (without the spine-jarring $3,990 AMG Performance package) can be driven comfortably every day.

Truth be told, however, both the BMW and Cadillac performed better in their "Normal" settings, especially on the racetrack where chassis control and suspension compliance rule over brutal stiffness. Put to use on our slalom, all three cars were tantalizingly close to the magic 70-mph barrier and equally close to 0.90g on the skid pad. On paper, it was a virtual tie, but the tiebreaker would be found at the Streets of Willow road course.

Track Day for the Roundel
We strapped our VBox satellite-based data-acquisition equipment to each of the three super sedans and let the manmade stars tell us which one was quickest around the 1.8-mile Streets of Willow on a perfect day in the high desert.

With the M5's M-menu selections on maximum performance, we turned our first hot lap in the BMW with its suspension in the firmest setting, but found the car skittish through a couple of the track's undulating, high-speed corners. Knocking down the suspension firmness a notch earned a few tenths of a second. The SMG transmission functioned brilliantly on the kind of road course for which it was designed, ripping upshifts and matched-rev downshifts.

The M5 chassis behaved manageably during the four hot laps our testing protocol called for, but understeer and brakes held it back. As the notes from our logbook record, performance testing on the drag strip had turned up the tendency of the car to lose a little bit of grip as the tires heated up, while the skid pad revealed stubborn understeer at the limit.

To compensate, we reverted to one of the oldest mantras in the racer's rulebook: slow in, fast out. The problem is, this driving technique negated the M5's potential advantage in one crucial part of the track, a high-speed straightaway followed by hard, hard braking and a 90-degree corner. The VBox recorded a top speed of 104.8 mph for the M5 in this section, while the car recorded a best lap of 1:30.36, just 1 second behind the time set by the 2008 Porsche 911 — a remarkable performance for a 4,100-pound sedan.

AMG: All Mighty Goodness
Next, the C63 AMG headed out for its session.

The 4,001-pound car was noticeably more capable in the tight turns and rotated its nose adroitly not only under hard braking but also while powering out of corners. The C63 could've been driven sideways through almost any corner, but a little restraint led to a quicker lap time. The brakes were never an issue, and neither was the seven-speed automatic transmission, which earned near-identical lap times in both full-manual and sport-automatic modes.

We were able to stand on the V8's loud pedal longer in the high-speed section, reaching 104.2 mph before jumping on the unflappable brakes. What the C63 apparently lacked in horsepower, it made up for in braking and control. The result proved to be a lap time of 1:29.53, beating the mighty M5 by almost a full second.

Cadillac? Are You Serious?
Finally, it was the Cadillac's turn. Could it put it all together, or would the CTS-V prove to be a paper tiger?

As with the M5, the CTS-V's first hot lap was timed with the suspension in its firmest setting, but subsequent quicker laps were turned in the softer mode. And though the six-speed automatic has a manual mode, we found both up- and downshifts too slow to arrive and too upsetting to the chassis when they did. As former GM test-driver John Heinricy has advocated, the car's best performance came in automatic mode.

The CTS-V felt almost as if it was loafing around the track. (Not because we felt comfortable — to the contrary, the driver seat was about as supportive as a beach chair.) The supercharged V8 never sounded like it was working hard, the suspension was so good at soaking up bumps that the track felt smoother, and the transmission did all the thinking so we only had to gas-brake-turn, gas-brake-turn, and so on.

And because the maximum-strength CTS has the brakes to match its power, the Caddy flew through the speed trap at a crushing 107.5 mph and stopped on a dime for the approaching corner. Initially we weren't persuaded we had cut a very quick lap, but the downloaded data proved that the Cadillac had recorded a best of 1:29.24, some 0.29 second quicker than the Mercedes and 1.1 seconds quicker than the BMW.

Uh-oh. This is so embarrassing for the Europeans.

It's Academic
If you're looking for the short answer, here it is; the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V is undeniably faster, more nimble and between $27,000 and $32,000 less expensive than the BMW M5 it was designed to beat. The M5's price/performance ratio really penalizes it in this comparison.

Is the CTS-V really better than the C63 AMG? Well, once you look at the score cards, you'll find one 1st-place score in the M5's column (earned in our evaluation category), three 1sts for the CTS-V (features, performance and price), and two for the C63 (editors' personal and recommended picks). The winner would seem a forgone conclusion then. But have a look at the 2nd- and 3rd-place scores.

The C63 snatched four 2nd-place scores to the CTS-V's three 3rds. Because of the way we weight the final scores, the Cadillac ekes out a 1.6-point margin over the Mercedes-Benz. We've declared such close scores an effective tie in the past, but the Cadillac's dominance in measured performance tests plus its uncommon comfort, comprehensive list of features and even best observed fuel economy of this trio combine to earn it our fullest endorsement as the winner of this comparison.

"Sport Sedan Standard of the World" now wears a Cadillac wreath and crest.

The manufacturers provided Edmunds these vehicles for the purposes of evaluation.

These three super sedans inhabit a unique region of the sport-lux spectrum, and as such, the features we've chosen reflect an array of must-have sporting equipment as well as must-have tech and functionality. Here are 10 features we thought would help distinguish one from another. Keep in mind that all three cars were equipped with the following features which wouldn't have affected their relative scores:

  • Multimode transmission
  • Shift paddles on steering wheel
  • Performance summer tires
  • Navigation system
  • Bluetooth capability
  • Analog and digital speedometers

Features

Features
2008 BMW M5 2009 Cadillac CTS-V 2009 Mercedes-Benz C63
DVD audio/video player N/A O O
Folding rear seats O* N/A S
Hard drive navi/music storage N/A O O
Head-up display O N/A N/A
iPod compatibility O* S O
Limited-slip differential S S O*
Multimode dampers S S N/A
Spare tire N/A O* S
Sport seats O O* O
"Three-pedal" manual transmission O* O* N/A

Key:
S: Standard
O: Optional and Equipped
O*: Optional but not Equipped
N/A: Not Available

DVD audio/video player: If you thought CDs sound amazing on a car audio system, you must hear DVD audio. Oh, and when either the Cadillac or Mercedes is parked, you can watch a DVD on the dash, too. Again, not (yet) available in the BMW; optional for both the CTS-V and C63.

Folding rear seats: Sometimes a trunk — even a large one like in the BMW (14 cubic feet) and Cadillac (13.6 cubic feet) — isn't large enough for a surfboard. While the plain CTS is available with a folding rear seat, the CTS-V sacrifices them for the improved structural rigidity of a fixed seatback. A folding rear seat is optional on the M5 and standard on the C63 (perhaps because of its small 12.4-cubic-foot trunk).

Hard drive navigation/music storage: DVD-based navigation is so last millennium, and besides that, you can rip a bunch of CDs to a car's hard-drive-based navi, and in the case of the Cadillac, pause/rewind/play live radio like you can with your TV's DVR. Not (yet) available in the BMW; optional for both the Caddy and M-B.

Head-up display: While our staff is divided on the usefulness of the head-up display, everybody agrees that fighter pilots find them extremely important. Maybe we should, too. The M5 offers one for $1,200.

iPod compatibility: More than a 2.5mm mini-jack, true iPod compatibility includes special software and displays that work with the device. Standard on the CTS-V; optional on the other two.

Limited-slip differential: While it is available within the C63's Performance Package, our test car did not have this option. A mechanical (our preference) LSD is standard on both the M5 and CTS-V. The one in the M5 is better, though.

Multimode dampers: Both the BMW and Cadillac allow the driver to select from various levels of damping; the M5 offers three distinct settings and the CTS-V offers two. (By the way, the European-market C63 does offer multidamping.)

Spare tire: Not available on the M5 (check the size of the battery in the trunk, though). A spare is standard for the C63 and available only as a dealer-installed option for the CTS-V. We think the importance of a spare tire is particularly important in cars like this, as the chances of acquiring replacement tires for such exotic brands and sizes can be remote in some regions of the country. Extra point for Mercedes here. We'd still rather have a compact spare over a can of goo and a mini compressor.

Sport seats: Besides looking cool, a sport seat increases driver control and reduces driver fatigue — especially when turning hot laps on a racetrack. Optional on all three cars, but only the CTS-V arrived with standard seats (too bad, because we've experienced the optional Recaro seats and they're great).

"Three-pedal" manual transmission: One day in the not too distant future, young car enthusiasts will peer aghast into the footwell of a "classic" pre-2010 car to find three pedals. Despite the unrelenting assault on the conventional three-pedal manual transmission by various automated manual transmissions, the skilled driver will find reward by actually operating clutches and gears of his own choosing at his discretion, using pedals and console-mounted levers. It's encouraging to know such a transmission is still available for both the CTS-V and the M5 with one caveat, as the M5 with a manual transmission is compromised by a stability control system that cannot be shut off entirely. Meanwhile, AMG refuses to develop a manual transmission for any of its cars.

Editor in Chief Scott Oldham says:
If it were me, spending my hard-earned bucks, I wouldn't own any of these three caffeinated sedans. As great as they all are, none is exactly right for me and my large billfold.

The Cadillac is close to my liking, but it still feels a bit ghetto on the inside, and the standard seats are, as the Brits say, rubbish. Same goes for the plasticky C63, which is also just too rough to be driven every day. Its racecarlike ride and racecarlike seats get old on the morning commute. Not to mention, the ladies think you're driving just a C-Class, and that doesn't get you very much on L.A.'s Westside, home of the hand-me-down Bentley.

Then there's the M5, which drives like a car in this price point should; it's relaxed when you want it to be and vicious on command. Its seats are perfect, and its interior never has a crude moment. It's a great car, sabotaged by its own complexity.

As much as I like driving the BMW, I don't have much desire to own one. Between iDrive and the too-many settings for its ride, transmission, engine output and differential, the M5 complicates a simple run to the Del Taco. Yeah, I know, there's the custom programmable M button, but I like a car that's set up the way I like it when I push the start button. And the M5 never is.

Then there's the BMW's styling, which has never grown on me.

If it were me and my lottery winnings, I'd run out and buy a Mercedes E63 AMG. It packs the attitude of its little brother without the harsh ride, delivers the dual personality of the M5 without 47 buttons to get you there and it's nearly as fast as the Cadillac, with a much nicer interior. Plus, I think it looks the best.

So there you have it. My favorite wasn't even in this test.

Dimensions
Engine & Transmission Specifications
Warranty Information
Performance Information

Dimensions

Exterior Dimensions & Capacities
2008 BMW M5 2009 Cadillac CTS-V 2009 Mercedes-Benz C63
Length, in. 191.5 191.6 186.1
Width, in. 72.7 72.5 70.7
Height, in. 57.8 58.0 56.6
Wheelbase, in. 113.7 113.4 108.7
As-tested Curb Weight, lb. 4,140 4,315 4,001
Turning Circle, ft. 40.7 37.9 38.5
Interior Dimensions
2008 BMW M5 2009 Cadillac CTS-V 2009 Mercedes-Benz C63
Front headroom, in. 37.7 38.8 37.1
Rear headroom, in. 37.8 37.2 36.9
Front shoulder room, in. 57.3 56.7 54.7
Rear shoulder room, in. 57.2 57.4 55.0
Front legroom, in. 41.5 42.4 41.7
Rear legroom, in. 36.0 35.9 33.4

Engine & Transmission Specifications

Engine & Transmission
2008 BMW M5 2009 Cadillac CTS-V 2009 Mercedes-Benz C63
Displacement
(cc / cu-in):
5000 (305) 6200 (378) 6200 (378)
Engine Type 90-degree V10 Supercharged 90-degree V8 90-degree V8
Horsepower (SAE) @ rpm 500 @ 7,750 556 @ 6,100 451 @ 6,800
Max. Torque, lb-ft @ rpm 383 @ 6100 551 @ 3,800 443 @ 5,000
Transmission 7-speed auto-clutch manual 6-speed automatic 7-speed automatic
EPA Fuel Economy City, mpg 11.0 12.0 (est.) 12.0
EPA Fuel Economy Hwy, mpg 17.0 19.0 (est.) 19.0
Observed Fuel Economy combined, mpg 12.0 13.0 12.0

Warranty

Warranty Information
2008 BMW M5 2009 Cadillac CTS-V 2009 Mercedes-Benz C63
Basic Warranty 4 years/50,000 miles 4 years/50,000 miles 4 years/50,000 miles
Powertrain 4 years/50,000 miles 5 years/100,000 miles 4 years/50,000 miles
Roadside Assistance 4 years/Unlimited miles 5 years/100,000 miles Unlimited
Corrosion Protection 12 years/Unlimited miles 6 years/Unlimited miles 4 years/50,000 miles

Performance

Performance Information
2008 BMW M5 2009 Cadillac CTS-V 2009 Mercedes-Benz C63
0-60 mph acceleration, sec. 4.8 4.3 4.5
Quarter-mile acceleration, sec. 12.8 12.4 12.6
Quarter-mile speed, mph 115.1 114.7 112.3
60-0-mph braking, feet 110 104 111
Lateral Acceleration, g 0.88 0.89 0.89
600-ft slalom, mph 68.9 69.2 69.0
1.8-mile road course Lap, min:sec 01:30.4 01:29.2 01:29.5
Road course top speed, mph 104.8 107.5 104.2

Evaluation - Drive
Evaluation - Ride
Evaluation - Design
Evaluation - Function

Evaluation - Drive

Overall Dynamics
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 7.7 3
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 8.5 2
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 8.9 1
Engine Performance
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 8.5 3
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 8.8 2
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 9.3 1
Transmission Performance
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 6.8 3
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 8.0 2
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 9.0 1
Brake Performance
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 7.5 3
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 9.3 1
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 8.7 2
Steering Performance
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 7.7 3
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 8.7 2
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 9.0 1
Handling
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 7.7 3
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 8.0 2
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 8.3 1
Fun to Drive
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 8.3 3
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 8.3 2
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 9.0 1

Evaluation - Ride

Overall Comfort
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 8.7 1
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 7.8 3
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 7.8 2
Ride Comfort
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 8.3 1
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 8.0 2
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 6.7 3
Wind Noise
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 8.5 1
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 8.5 1
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 8.5 1
Road Noise
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 8.5 1
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 8.3 2
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 7.8 3
Front Seat Comfort/Space/Access
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 9.5 1
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 7.3 2
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 7.3 2
Rear Seat Comfort/Space/Access
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 9.0 1
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 7.5 2
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 7.0 3
Driving Position
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 8.3 2
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 6.8 3
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 9.3 1

Evaluation - Design

Overall Design & Build Quality
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 8.7 1
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 7.6 3
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 8.0 2
Exterior Design
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 8.2 1
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 7.5 3
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 7.7 2
Interior Design
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 8.0 1
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 7.8 2
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 7.3 3
Interior Materials
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 9.2 1
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 7.2 3
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 8.2 2
Interior Control Tactile Feel
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 9.3 1
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 7.0 3
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 8.0 2
Squeaks & Rattles
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 8.7 1
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 8.3 3
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 8.7 1
Panel Fitment & Gaps
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 8.7 1
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 8.0 2
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 8.0 2

Evaluation - Function

Overall Function
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 7.7 2
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 7.5 3
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 7.8 1
Headlamp Illumination
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 8.3 3
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 8.7 2
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 9.0 1
Visibility
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 8.3 1
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 7.3 3
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 7.7 2
Instrument Panel (IP) Layout
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 7.7 1
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 7.7 1
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 7.3 3
Climate Control Layout
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 8.5 2
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 7.0 3
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 9.0 1
Audio System Layout
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 6.5 3
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 8.2 1
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 8.0 2
Secondary Control Layout
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 7.8 1
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 7.2 3
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 7.3 2
Interior Storage
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 7.5 1
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 6.5 3
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 7.0 2
Cupholders
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 7.0 3
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 7.5 1
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 7.5 1
Standard Cargo / Trunk Space
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 8.7 1
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 7.7 2
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 7.3 3
Maximum Cargo Space
Vehicle Score Rank
2008 BMW M5 7.0 2
2009 Cadillac CTS-V 7.0 2
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 8.0 1

Final Rankings

Final Rankings and Scoring Explanation
Final Rankings
Item Weight 2009 Cadillac CTS-V 2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 2008 BMW M5
Personal Rating 2.5% 44.4 88.9 66.7
Recommended Rating 2.5% 55.6 77.8 66.7
Evaluation Score 20% 78.5 81.1 82.0
Feature Content 25% 53.3 50.0 43.3
Performance 30% 99.7 92.5 90.8
Price 20% 100.0 95.8 50.3
Total Score 100.0% 81.4 79.8 67.9
Final Ranking 1 2 3

Personal Rating (2.5%): Purely subjective. After the test, each participating editor was asked to rank the vehicles in order of preference based on which he or she would buy if money were no object.

Recommended Rating (2.5%): After the test, each participating editor was asked to rank the vehicles in order of preference based on which he or she thought would be best for the average consumer shopping in this segment, including that car-savvy relative or family friend who has our number on speed dial. We get this all the time.

28-Point Evaluation (20%): Each participating editor ranked every vehicle based on a comprehensive 28-point evaluation. The evaluation covered everything from exterior design to transmission performance to button wobble/stability. Scoring was calculated on a point system, and the scores listed are averages based on all test participants' evaluations.

Feature Content (25%): Modern cars, even super sedans, have a list of must-haves. For this category, the editors picked the top 10 features they thought would be most beneficial to the consumer shopping in this segment. For each vehicle, the score was based on the amount of actual features it had versus the total possible (10). Standard and optional equipment were taken into consideration.

Performance Testing (30%): For this particular comparison, we've weighted the vehicles' track performances greater than one for, say minivans. Flat-out acceleration, braking and handling tests were performed in a controlled environment by the same driver on the same day. Same goes for our Streets of Willow lap times.

Price (20%): People shopping in this segment care a little less about the price than performance and features. The numbers listed were the result of a simple percentage calculation based on the least expensive vehicle in the comparison test. Using the "as tested" prices of the actual evaluation vehicles, the least expensive vehicle received a score of 100, with the remaining vehicles receiving lesser scores based on how much each one costs.

Vehicle
Model year2009
MakeCadillac
ModelCTS-V
Style4dr Sedan (6.2L 8cyl S/C 6M)
Base MSRP$59,995
Options on test vehicle6-speed Automatic Transmission (no charge); Hard Drive-Based Navigation System and Music Server ($2,145); Premium Paint ($995); Microfiber Suede Accents ($300); Performance Brake Rotors ($325); Differential Cooler ($400 dealer installed).
As-tested MSRP$64,160
Drivetrain
Drive typeRear-wheel drive
Engine typeSupercharged 90-degree V8
Displacement (cc/cu-in)6,162 cc (376 cu-in)
Block/head materialAluminum/Aluminum
ValvetrainOHV 2 valves/cylinder
Compression ratio (x:1)9.0:1
Redline (rpm)6,200
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)556 @ 6,100
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)551 @ 3,800
Transmission type6-speed automatic
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)I = 4.02; II = 2.36; III = 1.53; IV = 1.15; V = 0.85; VI = 0.67; FD = 3.73; R= 3.06
Chassis
Suspension, frontIndependent, double wishbones, coil springs, electromagnetic dampers and stabilizer bar
Suspension, rearIndependent, double wishbones, coil springs, electromagnetic dampers and stabilizer bar
Steering typeSpeed-proportional hydraulic-assist two-mode rack-and-pinion power steering
Steering ratio (x:1)Variable, 16.1:1 mean
Tire brandMichelin
Tire modelPilot Sport PS2
Tire typeSummer performance
Tire size, front255/40ZR19 96Y
Tire size, rear285/35ZR19 99Y
Wheel size19-by-9 inches front -- 19-by-9.5 inches rear
Wheel materialForged aluminum alloy
Brakes, front15-inch ventilated disc with 6-piston fixed aluminum caliper
Brakes, rear14.7-inch ventilated disc with 4-piston fixed aluminum caliper
Track Test Results
0-45 mph (sec.)3
0-60 mph (sec.)4.3
0-75 mph (sec.)6.1
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)12.4 @ 114.7
0-60 with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)4
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)27
60-0 mph (ft.)104
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)69.2
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)0.89
Sound level @ idle (dB)53.2
@ Full throttle (dB)73.9
@ 70 mph cruise (dB)67.5
Test Driver Ratings & Comments
Acceleration commentsIt required four practiced runs with the traction control shut off to beat the first run with TC on, proving the highly tuned system's effectiveness. Sport Auto upshifts were rather harsh and slow-reacting hard-to-predict manual upshifts didn't work here.
Braking ratingExcellent
Braking commentsTremendous brakes with huge thermal capacity. Best stop was on run 7 of 10 when the distance grew by only 4 inches. Pedal feel could be better; otherwise, these are fantastic brakes.
Handling ratingExcellent
Handling commentsSkid pad: Understeer on the limit, but the front tires were pretty beat from lapping Streets the day before. Steering doesn't offer much info, even in more firm mode which seems to add only resistance. Slalom: I can really feel the size of the vehicle here, making it difficult to sense the corners of the car -- lots of cone strikes. There's plenty of grip and a very neutral attitude weaving through the cones, but I'm not convinced the limited slip is doing its job properly for the exit. The car tends to snap back too abruptly during opposite lock. Used Touring setting on the dampers for the best run.
Testing Conditions
Elevation (ft.)1,121
Temperature (F)82.6
Wind (mph, direction)1.8NE
Fuel Consumption
EPA fuel economy (mpg)13 city/19 highway/15 combined (est.)
Edmunds observed (mpg)8.3 worst/18.6 best/13.3 average
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)18
Dimensions & Capacities
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)4,200
Curb weight, as tested (lbs.)4,315
Weight distribution, as tested, f/r (%)54/46
Length (in.)191.6
Width (in.)72.5
Height (in.)58
Wheelbase (in.)113.4
Track, front (in.)61.8
Track, rear (in.)62
Turning circle (ft.)37.9
Legroom, front (in.)42.4
Legroom, rear (in.)35.9
Headroom, front (in.)38.8
Headroom, rear (in.)37.2
Shoulder room, front (in.)56.7
Shoulder room, rear (in.)57.4
Seating capacity5
Cargo volume (cu-ft)13.6
Max. cargo volume, seats folded (cu-ft)13.6
Warranty
Bumper-to-bumper4 years/50,000 miles
Powertrain5 years/100,000 miles
Corrosion6 years/Unlimited miles
Roadside assistance5 years/100,000 miles
Free scheduled maintenanceNot available
Safety
Front airbagsStandard
Side airbagsStandard front
Head airbagsStandard front and rear
Knee airbagsNot available
Antilock brakes4-wheel ABS
Electronic brake enhancementsElectronic brakeforce distribution
Traction controlStandard
Stability controlStandard, multi-threshold
Rollover protectionNot available
Tire-pressure monitoring systemNot available
Emergency assistance systemNot available
NHTSA crash test, driverNot available
NHTSA crash test, passengerNot available
NHTSA crash test, side frontNot available
NHTSA crash test, side rearNot available
NHTSA rollover resistanceNot available
Vehicle
Model year2009
MakeMercedes-Benz
ModelC-Class
StyleC63 AMG 4dr Sedan (6.2L 8cyl 7A)
Base MSRP$58,075
Options on test vehicleMetallic Paint, iPod Integration Kit, AMG Seating Package, Multimedia Package, TeleAid, Premium 2 Package.
As-tested MSRP$66,880
Drivetrain
Drive typeRear-wheel drive
Engine type90-degree V8
Displacement (cc/cu-in)6,208cc (379 cu-in)
Block/head materialAluminum/Aluminum
ValvetrainDOHC 4 valves per cylinder with variable valve timing
Compression ratio (x:1)11.3:1
Redline (rpm)7,200
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)451 @ 6,800
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)443 @ 5,000
Transmission type7-speed automatic
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)I = 4.38; II = 2.86; III = 1.92; IV = 1.37; V = 1.00; VI = 0.82; VII = 0.73; FD = 2.85; R = 3.42
Chassis
Suspension, frontIndependent, MacPherson struts, coil springs and stabilizer bar
Suspension, rearIndependent, multilink, coil springs and stabilizer bar
Steering typeSpeed-proportional hydraulic-assist rack-and-pinion power steering
Steering ratio (x:1)13.5:1
Tire brandPirelli
Tire modelP Zero
Tire typeSummer performance
Tire size, front235/40ZR18 95Y
Tire size, rear255/35ZR18 94Y
Wheel size18-by-8 inches front -- 18-by-9 inches rear
Wheel materialForged aluminum alloy
Brakes, front14.2-in ventilated/drilled disc with aluminum six-piston fixed caliper
Brakes, rear13-in ventilated disc/drilled disc with aluminum four-piston fixed caliper
Track Test Results
0-45 mph (sec.)3.1
0-60 mph (sec.)4.5
0-75 mph (sec.)6.4
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)12.6 @ 112.3
0-60 with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)4.2
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)29
60-0 mph (ft.)111
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)69
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)0.89
Sound level @ idle (dB)48.1
@ Full throttle (dB)80.2
@ 70 mph cruise (dB)67
Test Driver Ratings & Comments
Acceleration commentsIn default mode, there's a pretty well-sorted traction control system that allows some tire chatter and a short stumble before it launches with gusto. Still, all systems off was quicker and pretty simple to do with virtually zero tire spin being the best technique. It did require some delicacy to keep the rear tires from boiling, however, with anything more than 1,200 rpm on the launch. Utterly seamless upshifts at redline were remarkably quick. AMG manual mode worked OK (with its flashing red LCD display), but sport auto was still quicker.
Braking ratingExcellent
Braking commentsThough not a record-breaking performance, the C63's brakes are dead reliable and very, very consistent with zero fade, straight and solid stops from first to last of seven runs.
Handling ratingExcellent
Handling commentsSkid pad: Even on feathered rubber from lapping Streets of Willow, the C63 has tenacious grip. Best steering feel of the CTS-V and M5 competitors (did I just say that about a M-B?), and also the best seat by far for holding a driver in place. Some slight oversteer helps on the skid pad, but overall it's very neutral. Slalom: While I'd prefer a wider plateau for the tires' breakaway characteristics, there's still a large degree of trust in this car. Steering is very precise and loaded with information. I'm wondering if a slightly softer suspension setting might've helped slalom, though.
Testing Conditions
Elevation (ft.)1,121
Temperature (F)88.7
Wind (mph, direction)1.5SE
Fuel Consumption
EPA fuel economy (mpg)12 city/19 highway/15 combined
Edmunds observed (mpg)10.2 worst/14.9 best/12.1 average
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)17.4
Dimensions & Capacities
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)3,649
Curb weight, as tested (lbs.)4,001
Weight distribution, as tested, f/r (%)54/46
Length (in.)186.1
Width (in.)70.7
Height (in.)56.6
Wheelbase (in.)108.7
Track, front (in.)61.8
Track, rear (in.)60
Turning circle (ft.)38.5
Legroom, front (in.)41.7
Legroom, rear (in.)33.4
Headroom, front (in.)37.1
Headroom, rear (in.)36.9
Shoulder room, front (in.)54.7
Shoulder room, rear (in.)55
Seating capacity5
Cargo volume (cu-ft)12.4
Max. cargo volume, seats folded (cu-ft)12.4
Warranty
Bumper-to-bumper4 years/50,000 miles
Powertrain4 years/50,000 miles
Corrosion4 years/50,000 miles
Roadside assistanceUnlimited
Free scheduled maintenanceNot available
Safety
Front airbagsStandard
Side airbagsStandard dual front
Head airbagsStandard front and rear
Knee airbagsNot available
Antilock brakes4-wheel ABS
Electronic brake enhancementsBraking assist, electronic brakeforce distribution
Traction controlStandard
Stability controlStandard
Rollover protectionStandard
Tire-pressure monitoring systemStandard tire-pressure monitoring
Emergency assistance systemOptional
NHTSA crash test, driverNot tested
NHTSA crash test, passengerNot tested
NHTSA crash test, side frontNot tested
NHTSA crash test, side rearNot tested
NHTSA rollover resistanceNot tested
Vehicle
Model year2008
MakeBMW
ModelM5
Style4dr Sedan (5.0L 10cyl 7ACM)
Base MSRP$86,675
Options on test vehicleFront Ventilated Seats, Heated Rear Seats, M Multifunction Seats With Lumbar Support, Head-Up Display, Sirius Satellite Radio, Perforated Merino Leather, Comfort Access.
As-tested MSRP$96,020
Drivetrain
Drive typeRear-wheel drive
Engine type90-degree V10
Displacement (cc/cu-in)4,999cc (305 cu-in)
Block/head materialAluminum/aluminum
ValvetrainDOHC 4 valves per cylinder with variable valve timing
Compression ratio (x:1)12.0:1
Redline (rpm)8,250
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)500 @ 7,750
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)383 @ 6,100
Transmission type7-speed auto-clutch manual
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)I = 3.99; II = 2.65; III = 1.81; IV = 1.39; V = 1.16; VI = 1.00; VII = 0.83; FD = 3.62; R = 3.99
Chassis
Suspension, frontIndependent, MacPherson struts, three-mode dampers, coil springs and stabilizer bar
Suspension, rearIndependent, multilink, three-mode dampers, coil springs and stabilizer bar
Steering typeSpeed-proportional hydraulic-assist two-mode rack-and-pinion power steering
Steering ratio (x:1)Variable, 12.4:1 mean
Tire brandMichelin
Tire modelPilot Sport PS2
Tire typeSummer performance
Tire size, front255/40ZR19
Tire size, rear285/35ZR19
Wheel size19-by-8.5 inches front and rear
Wheel materialCast aluminum alloy
Brakes, front14.7-inch ventilated/drilled disc with 2-piston fixed aluminum caliper
Brakes, rear14.6-inch ventilated/drilled disc with 1-piston fixed iron caliper
Track Test Results
0-45 mph (sec.)3.6
0-60 mph (sec.)4.8
0-75 mph (sec.)6.6
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)12.8 @ 115.1
0-60 with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)4.5
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)29
60-0 mph (ft.)110
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)68.9
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)0.88
Sound level @ idle (dB)50
@ Full throttle (dB)80.6
@ 70 mph cruise (dB)66.2
Test Driver Ratings & Comments
Acceleration commentsIn default mode (P400, D3) this car is "slow" off the line, shifts lazily, and reaches 60 mph 1.5 seconds later compared to max-attack (P500S, M6) mode. With these M settings, the launch is an unpredictable orchestra of mash-throttle/rev/clutch-drop/tire-spin/lift/mash-again that's very difficult to replicate more than a couple times at best. One run of six felt correct and representative of the M5's true ability. Very harsh upshifts are quick enough to break the tires free, and the shifts are quick enough to keep up with the tachometer -- never missed a shift.
Braking ratingVery Good
Braking commentsFirst stop with cool brakes was the best, with each successive stop about 3-6 feet longer. Pedal effort remained high throughout, but the stopping distances were not very consistent. Brake fade was not evident, but trustworthiness was tarnished.
Handling ratingExcellent
Handling commentsExtremely consistent in both directions, but there isn't much info coming from the steering itself. Moderate load characteristics, and stubborn understeer ensues at the limit. A little vague on turn-in, but plenty of grip with flat cornering. This car feels big in the slalom, and it's tough not to strike cones. Used "normal" EDC setting to keep the car settled better for best run. I love the wide-range power band and as a result, wide range of throttle positions available. This limited-slip differential does everything a good one is supposed to do, making the slideways exit a joy.
Testing Conditions
Elevation (ft.)1,121
Temperature (F)87.6
Wind (mph, direction)1.3NE
Fuel Consumption
EPA fuel economy (mpg)11 city/17 highway/13 combined
Edmunds observed (mpg)10 worst/16 best/12 average
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)18.5
Dimensions & Capacities
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)4,012
Curb weight, as tested (lbs.)4,140
Weight distribution, as tested, f/r (%)52/48
Length (in.)191.5
Width (in.)72.7
Height (in.)57.8
Wheelbase (in.)113.7
Track, front (in.)62.2
Track, rear (in.)61.7
Turning circle (ft.)40.7
Legroom, front (in.)41.5
Legroom, rear (in.)36
Headroom, front (in.)37.7
Headroom, rear (in.)37.8
Shoulder room, front (in.)57.3
Shoulder room, rear (in.)57.2
Seating capacity5
Cargo volume (cu-ft)14
Max. cargo volume, seats folded (cu-ft)14
Warranty
Bumper-to-bumper4 years/50,000 miles
Powertrain4 years/50,000 miles
Corrosion12 years/Unlimited miles
Roadside assistance4 years/Unlimited miles
Free scheduled maintenance4 years/50,000 miles
Safety
Front airbagsStandard
Side airbagsStandard dual front
Head airbagsStandard front and rear
Knee airbagsNot available
Antilock brakes4-wheel ABS
Electronic brake enhancementsBraking assist, electronic brakeforce distribution, brake drying, start-off assist
Traction controlStandard
Stability controlStandard with multi-threshold
Rollover protectionNot available
Tire-pressure monitoring systemStandard global tire pressure monitoring
Emergency assistance systemStandard - subscription required
NHTSA crash test, driverNot tested
NHTSA crash test, passengerNot tested
NHTSA crash test, side frontNot tested
NHTSA crash test, side rearNot tested
NHTSA rollover resistanceNot tested
Leave a Comment

Research Models

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2009 Cadillac CTS-V in VA is:

$151 per month*
* Explanation
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat*
Chat online with us
Email
Email us at help@edmunds.com
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific
Phone*
Call us at 855-782-4711
SMS*
Text us at ED411