Track Tested: 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe vs. 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe

2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe vs. 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe

During our first drive of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe we said, "Blindingly fast in a straight line, the C63 AMG Coupe is even more impressive when the road truns twisty. A legitimate M3 competitor if there ever was one."

But what fun is that? The M3 is on its way out and its 414 horsepower V8 is nearly outgunned by a stock Ford Mustang GT. The Merc's big 6.2-liter V8 cranks out nearly 70 hp more with its $6,050 AMG Development package. Even with "only" the stock 451 hp, it would be a bloodbath.

Thankfully, Cadillac offers a coupe much more in line with the spirit of "more is better" embodied by the C63 AMG Coupe. The CTS-V Coupe also uses a 6.2-liter V8, but ups the ante with a supercharger that blows horsepower to 556 and torque to 551. It's a monster.

556 vs 481. Six-speed manual vs. seven-speed automated manual. 4,200 pounds vs 3,990. CTS-V Coupe vs Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe: Who takes it?

  Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
0-30 (sec.): 1.9 1.9
0-45 (sec.): 3.0 2.9
0-60 (sec.): 4.2 4.2
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec.): 3.9 3.9
0-75 (sec.): 6.0 5.8
1/4-mile (sec @ mph): 12.3 @ 116.3 12.2 @ 117.5
30-0 (ft): 29 27
60-0 (ft): 112 107
Skid pad lateral accel (g): 0.89 0.90
Slalom: 68.5 69.3

Vehicle: 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe (with AMG Development package)

Odometer: 3,798
Date: 11-01-2011
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $81,715

Drive Type: Rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Seven-speed auto clutch manual
Engine Type: Longitudinal, Naturally aspirated V8
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 6,208/379
Redline (rpm): 7,200
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 481 @ 6,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 443
Brake Type (front):14.2-inch ventilated discs with six-piston fixed Brembo calipers
Brake Type (rear): 13-inch ventilated discs with four-piston fixed calipers
Suspension Type(front): Independent MacPherson struts, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 235/40ZR18 (95Y)
Tire Size (rear): 255/35ZR18 (94Y)
Tire Brand: Continental
Tire Model: ContiSportContact SP
Tire Type: Summer performance
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,990

Test Results:

0-30 (sec): 1.9 (2.2 w/TC on)
0-45 (sec): 3.0 (3.3 w/TC on)
0-60 (sec): 4.2 (4.5 w/TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 3.9 (4.1 w/TC on)
0-75 (sec): 6.0 (6.2 w/TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 12.3 @ 116.3 (12.5 @ 115.9 w/TC on)

30-0 (ft): 29
60-0 (ft): 112

Slalom (mph): 68.5 ( 64.8 w/TC on, 67.2 w/TC in dynamic)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.89 ( 0.88 w/TC in dynamic )

Db @ Idle: 48.1
Db @ Full Throttle: 80.5
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 67

Acceleration: "Race start" requires some wheelspin to determine appropriate traction control / throttle application, and so while it is consistent, a Trac off, no-wheelspin, progressive throttle launch was quicker (in "sport+ and "drive"). Shockingly smooth and rapid upshifts and still pulling HARD across 1/4-mile mark. And what a noise this 6.2 makes!

Braking: I get the distinct feeling the brake hardware is more capable/robust than the tires because it sort of skipped/lurched with each ABS cycle -- not what I'd call a smooth, seamless stop. Otherwise, excellent brake feel and modulation, zero fade and straight.


Skid pad: "Dyn" is a wider envelope (ESC Sport Handling) than default "On," and it is very lenient with understeer, hence nearly identical off/dyn numbers. Excellent steering feel/weight but expected more grip than this -- could use better/wider tires. Understeer at the limit.

Slalom: Supremely neutral (almost to a fault) that causes oversteer when I entered fast and bled throttle, and understeer entering slowly and adding throttle. Maintenance throttle had to be "just right" to balance between understeer and oversteer. Felt under-tired and far more capable than the numbers suggest. Probably a freaking blast on a racetrack. Hard to determine if this has a true LSD or a brake diff, but it worked very well on slalom exit.

Vehicle: 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
Odometer: 855
Date: 7/6/2010
Driver: Josh Jacquot
Price: $69,285

Drive Type: Rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed manual
Engine Type: Longitudinal, Supercharged, port-injected V8
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 6,162/376
Redline (rpm): 6,200
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 556 hp @ 6,100 rpm
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 551 @ 3,800 rpm
Brake Type (front): 15.0-inch ventilated discs with six-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): 14.7-inch ventilated rotors with four-piston fixed calipers
Suspension Type (front): Independent double wishbones, coil springs, driver-adjustable two-mode magnetorheological dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent double-wishbone, coil springs, driver-adjustable two-mode magnetorheological dampers, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 255/40ZR19 (96Y)
Tire Size (rear): 285/35ZR19 (99Y)
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Pilot Sport PS2
Tire Type: Summer Performance
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,200

Test Results:
0-30 (sec): 1.9 (2.0 with TC on)
0-45 (sec): 2.9 (3.0 with TC on)
0-60 (sec): 4.2 (4.4 with TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 3.9 (4.1 with TC on)
0-75 (sec): 5.8 (6.0 with TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 12.2 @ 117.5

30-0 (ft): 27
60-0 (ft): 107

Slalom (mph): 69.3 (67.9 with TC in competition mode)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.90g

Db @ Idle: 58.1
Db @ Full Throttle: 80.9
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 72.1

Acceleration: Wow! As usual, GM's supercharged 6.2-liter V8 amazes: No whine, no surge, no drama, just propulsion. Difficult to launch well, but still quite consistent with no apparent heat-soak. The Coupe scratches rubber on both the 1-2 and 2-3 shifts. No programmed launch control available -- seems an odd choice.

Braking: Amazing power and fade resistance from firm pedal with shallow jump-in. No dive, no wander, just dead consistent.


Skid pad: Competitive driving mode works quite well in managing slip angles during rapid transitions. Still, CTS-V is easy to control and communicates well with all aids off. Best run using "sport" suspension setting.

Slalom: Competitive mode helps the big coupe rotate off throttle more effectively than with everything off. Moderate understeer is easily balanced away with throttle. Fun and remarkably nimble for a 4,200-pound car.

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