Track Tested: 2010 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG vs. 2009 Cadillac CTS-V

Track Tested: 2010 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG vs. 2009 Cadillac CTS-V

2010 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG vs. 2009 Cadillac CTS-V tests hundreds of vehicles a year, but not every vehicle gets a full write-up. The numbers still tell a story, though, so we present "Track Tested." It's a quick rundown of all the data we collected at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

The biggest of the V8s are on their way out. Mercedes has announced that the 6.2-liter V8, as seen in this 2010 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, will be dropped in late 2010. In its place will be a twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8. The same thing's happening to the BMW M5, which is slated to lose its 5.0-liter V10 also in favor of a twin-turbo V8.

So 2010 is a special year for performance sedans, and especially so for the E63 AMG, which is hot off a redesign and destined to become collectible. It's also hugely expensive in Benz tradition, with an MSRP of $86,625 that balloons to six figures with shocking ease. But you get what you pay for, right?

Then again, you could get into a Cadillac CTS-V for thousands of dollars less. You'd still get a 6.2-liter V8, albeit with pushrods and a supercharger, and you'd come away with even more horsepower and torque in a rear-drive midsize sedan of similar weight. No, you wouldn't enjoy the prestige and out-and-out refinement of a Mercedes, but this is Track Tested so we aren't smelling the leather or measuring the gap tolerances. Happy holidays.

Note: We tested both automatic- and manual-transmission versions of the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V. The quicker automatic-equipped CTS-V is the basis for comparison here, but you can see numbers for the manual car in the original full test.

0 - 30 (sec): 2.1 1.9
0 - 45 (sec): 3.2 3.0
0 - 60 (sec): 4.6 4.3
0 - 75 (sec): 6.5 6.0
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 12.7 @ 112.4 12.4 @ 115.0
0-60 With 1 Foot of Rollout (sec): 4.3 4.0
30 - 0 (ft): 31 27
60 - 0 (ft): 114 109
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.90 0.92
Slalom (mph): 68.8 71.1

Vehicle: 2010 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG
Odometer: 3,024
Date: 11/24/09
Driver: Josh Jacquot
Price: $102,245
Options on vehicle: Carbon fiber trim ($2,800), Panorama sunroof ($1,070), 19-inch AMG forged wheels, ($2,250), P02 Premium package ($4,900), 997 Driver Assist package ($2,900), Gas guzzler tax ($1,700).

Drive Type: Rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: 7-speed automatic
Engine Type: 90-degree V8
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 6,208/379
Valvetrain: DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, variable valve timing
Redline (rpm): 7,200
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 518 @ 6800
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 465 @ 5200
Brake Type (front): 14.2-by-1.4-inch ventilated disc with 6-piston fixed caliper
Brake Type (rear): 14.2-by-1.0-inch ventilated disc with 4-piston fixed caliper
Steering System: Speed-proportional hydraulic-assist rack-and-pinion power steering
Steering Ratio: 14:1
Suspension Type (front) Independent, MacPherson strut, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent, multilink, air springs, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 255/40R18 96Y
Tire Size (rear): 285/35R18 98Y
Tire Brand: Pirelli
Tire Model: P Zero
Tire Type: Summer
Wheel Size: 18-by-9 inches front, 18-by-9.5 inches rear
Wheel Material (front/rear): Forged aluminum
Curb Weight As Tested (lb): 4,341

Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec): 2.1
0 - 45 (sec): 3.2
0 - 60 (sec): 4.6
0 - 75 (sec): 6.5
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 12.7 @ 112.4
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 4.3
30 - 0 (ft): 31
60 - 0 (ft): 114
Braking Rating: Very Good
Slalom (mph): 68.8 stability off, 65.8 stability on
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.90g stability off, 0.88g stability on
Handling Rating: Excellent
Db @ Idle: 42.1
Db @ Full Throttle: 75.7
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 56.3

Acceleration Comments: Remarkably, launch control doesn't make a huge difference. Simply wooding the throttle in start-up default mode produces the same quarter-mile time. Manual shifting doesn't help. "Race Start" is cumbersome to access.

Braking Comments: No signs of fade. Hardly any brake stench. Fun -- even when stopping.

Handling Comments: Stunning balance for a car this big and heavy. Easy and fun to balance on the limit with the throttle. Shrinks around driver through the slalom and behaves like a car one class smaller. Truly communicative and fun at 4,300 pounds.

Vehicle: 2009 Cadillac CTS-V
Odometer: 5,578
Date: 10/28/08
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $65,940
Drive Type: Rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: 6-speed automatic
Engine Type: Supercharged 90-degree V8
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 5,980/365
Valvetrain: OHV, 2 valves per cylinder
Redline (rpm): 6,200
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 556 @ 6,100
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 551 @ 3,800
Brakes, front: 15.0-by-1.2-inch ventilated disc with 6-piston fixed caliper
Brakes, rear: 14.7-by-1.2-inch ventilated disc with 4-piston fixed caliper
Steering type: Speed-proportional hydraulic-assist rack-and-pinion power steering
Steering ratio: 16.1:1
Suspension, front: Independent, double-wishbone, coil springs, driver-adjustable dampers and stabilizer bar
Suspension, rear: Independent, multilink, coil springs, driver-adjustable dampers and stabilizer bar
Tire size, front: 255/40ZR19 Z
Tire size, rear: 285/35ZR19 Z
Tire brand: Michelin
Tire model: Pilot Sport PS2
Tire type: Summer performance
Wheel size: 19-by-9.0 inches front -- 19-by-9.5 inches rear
Wheel material: Forged aluminum alloy
Curb weight, as-tested (lb): 4,281

Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec): 1.9
0 - 45 (sec): 3.0
0 - 60 (sec): 4.3
0 - 75 (sec): 6.0
1/4 mile (sec. @ mph): 12.4 @ 115.0
0-60 with 1-ft rollout (sec.): 4.0
30 - 0 (ft): 27
60 - 0 (ft): 109
Braking rating: Excellent
Slalom (mph): 71.1
Skid pad lateral acceleration (g): 0.92
Handling rating: Excellent

Acceleration Comments: Settings -- transmission in Sport, suspension in Tour. Best launch technique was to use mild brake torque to about 1,200 rpm, then squeeze the throttle at a rate that produced about 10 feet of wheelspin. Too much wheelspin results in an early upshift. Too little is slow. There's plenty of power here and it's easier (and quicker) to put it down with a torque converter. Shifts are aggressive without being obnoxious like BMW's SMG is on full blast. Wheelspin on 1-2 shift is cool and rare with an automatic transmission.

Braking Comments: Pedal lacks the immediate effectiveness we expected of a brake system this big and capable. However, it's possible that pedal feel has diminished since we're the third or fourth testers in this car in two days. Still, performance is excellent and distances only improved with heat.

Handling Comments: Massive grip on the skid pad, but a distinct difference in handling numbers clockwise to counterclockwise (0.89g vs. 0.95g for a 0.92g average). Steering weight is good and there's plenty of information coming through the wheel about what the front tires are doing. In the slalom, the CTS-V's transitions aren't as intuitive as smaller cars this focused, and the Caddy's weight is more obvious here than in any other test. Still, careful suspension tuning and very sticky tires make an incredible number for a sedan this size. Best run in Tour mode. Sport mode was simply too tail-happy in transitions this fast.

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