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Comparison Test: BMW M5 vs. Cadillac CTS-V vs. Mercedes C63 AMG


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Insideline

Super Sedan Showdown

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.

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Priceless, Oldsmoboi; F'ing priceless.

This has been some time coming, but boy it sure is sweet.

OhDOHZ! : 7 gears doesn't mean 'better' than a mere 6 - say it isn't so !!!!!!!!

>>"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."<<

Maybe the testers forgot the "Speaker Count' category - surely that would've put the car-&-a-half length behind beemer ahead overall, no ??

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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.

GIVE ME A BREAK!

Stop dancing around the damn conclusion for the sake of you're favorite MB hookers...

The freakin' CTS-V had more first place finishes than any other vehicle, that ALONE makes it the winner. Just call it and STFU already.

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I'm confused, have you and SMK been involved in some sort of bitter and protracted rivarly that's devolved into cesspool of misery and despair?

I'm still not quite sure what is more pathetic...SMK's comments and arguments based upon illogical notions, or Oldsmoboi's incessant urge to instigate and call him out at every possible moment. :rolleyes:

On the topic of the comparo...

Congrats to the CTS-V! I wouldn't have it any other way.

Edited by Nick
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Eat it SMK.

But will anyone pay $87,000 for a CTS-V? GM could use the profit if people would. I have never aspired to own an M5, but I recognize it as the car that started this segment and has forever been the standard. The CTS-V has great performance for value, but doesn't have all the luxury features that the STS-V has. The XF-R will crush all these cars anyway.

The new M5 is going to change the direction of the segment because they are going back to a V8, and making the car lighter. They could beat the V, AMG and RS6 by 300-500 pounds, which is going to make M5 the steering, handling, braking king.

My original criticism of the CTS being not quite good enough still stands. CTS sales were down 48% in November, to only 3,000 cars. 1 car doesn't make a brand, Cadillac needs a lot more than the CTS, and the CTS is going to have to get better too to keep up with the competition. New E-class, 5-series and A6 next year, and I know the geriatric duo of STS/DTS won't compete with them.

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But will anyone pay $87,000 for a CTS-V? GM could use the profit if people would. I have never aspired to own an M5, but I recognize it as the car that started this segment and has forever been the standard. The CTS-V has great performance for value, but doesn't have all the luxury features that the STS-V has. The XF-R will crush all these cars anyway.

The new M5 is going to change the direction of the segment because they are going back to a V8, and making the car lighter. They could beat the V, AMG and RS6 by 300-500 pounds, which is going to make M5 the steering, handling, braking king.

My original criticism of the CTS being not quite good enough still stands. CTS sales were down 48% in November, to only 3,000 cars. 1 car doesn't make a brand, Cadillac needs a lot more than the CTS, and the CTS is going to have to get better too to keep up with the competition. New E-class, 5-series and A6 next year, and I know the geriatric duo of STS/DTS won't compete with them.

EVERYONE was down in November!

A wise man predicted to me that in this thread you'd say "Just wait till the 2010 M5 comes out!"

Well guess what, the 2010 M5 will still be down a lot of power compared to the CTS-V and GM hasn't even dialed up the boost yet.

Edit: And Cadillac proves that you don't need to spend $87k to have the best. BMW puts a LOT of money into making super high tech engines.... well guess what.. they still came up short. The CTS-V is simpler AND faster.

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But will anyone pay $87,000 for a CTS-V? GM could use the profit if people would. I have never aspired to own an M5, but I recognize it as the car that started this segment and has forever been the standard. The CTS-V has great performance for value, but doesn't have all the luxury features that the STS-V has. The XF-R will crush all these cars anyway.

The new M5 is going to change the direction of the segment because they are going back to a V8, and making the car lighter. They could beat the V, AMG and RS6 by 300-500 pounds, which is going to make M5 the steering, handling, braking king.

My original criticism of the CTS being not quite good enough still stands. CTS sales were down 48% in November, to only 3,000 cars. 1 car doesn't make a brand, Cadillac needs a lot more than the CTS, and the CTS is going to have to get better too to keep up with the competition. New E-class, 5-series and A6 next year, and I know the geriatric duo of STS/DTS won't compete with them.

The STS is bigger an more expensive, I don't know what features it may have that the CTS lacks but the reviews never seem to criticize the CTS for lack of features. Try again. The only real criticism is the seats, which is easily fixed by ordering the Recaros.

How do you know the XF-R will "crush" them? Have you seen a review stating 0-60 times?

How is it changing the direction of the segment by going back to a V8 when the car that beat it is a V8? That makes no sense.

Have you looked at BMW sales lately, or the industry as a whole?

Ignorance is bliss but seriously, you're abusing the privilege.

Edited by Dodgefan
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BMW outsells Cadillac, Buick, Pontiac, or Saturn, and operates at a higher price point. Their sales are down, but not as bad as most, and they have Mini to help stop the bleeding.

The STS-V has the blind spot warning, lane departure warning, 4 color head up display and better stereo, although both lack sun shades and heated steering wheel. STS has blue tooth which the 08 CTS didn't, but I think the CTS is getting it.

The XF-R will be awesome, because the XF has won every comparison test it has been in and with another 100 hp it is going to be as fast as what anyone else has. None of these cars can touch the XF's interior.

The M5 is going to change the segment because Audi, Cadillac, and Mercedes all use huge turbo or super charged engines in heavy cars. CTS and E63 are 4300 pounds, the RS6 with the V10 is near 4500 pounds. The new M5 is 500 hp, 516 lb-ft but with aluminum and carbon fiber and a smaller engine, it is going to drop in weight. It will be hard for Mercedes, Cadillac and Audi to shed weight and match the M5 in handling, braking, steering or fuel economy (even though no one buying these cars cares about that).

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BMW outsells Cadillac, Buick, Pontiac, or Saturn, and operates at a higher price point. Their sales are down, but not as bad as most, and they have Mini to help stop the bleeding.

The STS-V has the blind spot warning, lane departure warning, 4 color head up display and better stereo, although both lack sun shades and heated steering wheel. STS has blue tooth which the 08 CTS didn't, but I think the CTS is getting it.

The XF-R will be awesome, because the XF has won every comparison test it has been in and with another 100 hp it is going to be as fast as what anyone else has. None of these cars can touch the XF's interior.

All pointless to the discussion at hand.

The M5 is going to change the segment because Audi, Cadillac, and Mercedes all use huge turbo or super charged engines in heavy cars. CTS and E63 are 4300 pounds, the RS6 with the V10 is near 4500 pounds. The new M5 is 500 hp, 516 lb-ft but with aluminum and carbon fiber and a smaller engine, it is going to drop in weight. It will be hard for Mercedes, Cadillac and Audi to shed weight and match the M5 in handling, braking, steering or fuel economy (even though no one buying these cars cares about that).

The current M5's numbers are 500 HP, 383 lb-ft. Where have you seen these numbers for the new M5?

BTW, you know the next M5 is dropping the V10 in favor of a "huge-turbo V8," right?

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All pointless to the discussion at hand.

The current M5's numbers are 500 HP, 383 lb-ft. Where have you seen these numbers for the new M5?

BTW, you know the next M5 is dropping the V10 in favor of a "huge-turbo V8," right?

The M5's V8 is likely 4.4 liters, possibly 4.8, but not 6.2 or 6.3. Same 500 hp, but torque up to 516. We'll find out on the X6 M next year for sure. What will make or brake the next M5 is weight, which isn't a bad strategy. The E36 M3 was never the horsepower king, but it was lightweight and regarded as one of the best handling cars of all time.

They didn't put the E63 in here because it is over $90,000 and because of weight, no faster than a C63.

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The M5's V8 is likely 4.4 liters, possibly 4.8, but not 6.2 or 6.3. Same 500 hp, but torque up to 516. We'll find out on the X6 M next year for sure. What will make or brake the next M5 is weight, which isn't a bad strategy. The E36 M3 was never the horsepower king, but it was lightweight and regarded as one of the best handling cars of all time.

They didn't put the E63 in here because it is over $90,000 and because of weight, no faster than a C63.

Horsepower per litre debate again? :banghead: :banghead: Don't even go there.

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The M5's V8 is likely 4.4 liters, possibly 4.8, but not 6.2 or 6.3. Same 500 hp, but torque up to 516. We'll find out on the X6 M next year for sure. What will make or brake the next M5 is weight, which isn't a bad strategy. The E36 M3 was never the horsepower king, but it was lightweight and regarded as one of the best handling cars of all time.

That would make sense about the V8TT... I just hadn't seen anything confirmed or official yet. (BTW, that would be the 7-Series engine... chipped.)

They didn't put the E63 in here because it is over $90,000 and because of weight, no faster than a C63.

The E63 bases at $88K, not that much more than the M5 @ $85K. Not a good enough reason... unless they were comparing the CTS-V to the M5 on performance and to the C63 on price.

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That would make sense about the V8TT... I just hadn't seen anything confirmed or official yet. (BTW, that would be the 7-Series engine... chipped.)

The E63 bases at $88K, not that much more than the M5 @ $85K. Not a good enough reason... unless they were comparing the CTS-V to the M5 on performance and to the C63 on price.

The 7-series and X6 TT V8 with 400 hp the 5-series gets also. The M5 is likely just a higher boost version to get 500 hp. 113 hp per liter is doable. That engine will save costs which will let them use carbon fiber and aluminum and lower emissions to keep the EU off their back.

I believe that is what Edmunds was going for, although kind of dumb.

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The 7-series and X6 TT V8 with 400 hp the 5-series gets also. The M5 is likely just a higher boost version to get 500 hp. 113 hp per liter is doable. That engine will save costs which will let them use carbon fiber and aluminum and lower emissions to keep the EU off their back.

I believe that is what Edmunds was going for, although kind of dumb.

113hp per liter is IRRELEVANT!

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The STS-V has the blind spot warning, lane departure warning, 4 color head up display and better stereo, although both lack sun shades and heated steering wheel. STS has blue tooth which the 08 CTS didn't, but I think the CTS is getting it.

The XF-R will be awesome, because the XF has won every comparison test it has been in and with another 100 hp it is going to be as fast as what anyone else has. None of these cars can touch the XF's interior.

'08 CTS had bluetooth if you ordered the leather seats/seating package. '09 CTS has bluetooth standard.

As far as the XF interior, that's a subjective viewpoint. I happen to find the XF interior bland and unimaginative......and find the rotating vents and shifter to be nothing but gimmickery.

IMHO, I think the CTS interior (even non-V) far outclasses the new XF interior.

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'08 CTS had bluetooth if you ordered the leather seats/seating package. '09 CTS has bluetooth standard.

As far as the XF interior, that's a subjective viewpoint. I happen to find the XF interior bland and unimaginative......and find the rotating vents and shifter to be nothing but gimmickery.

IMHO, I think the CTS interior (even non-V) far outclasses the new XF interior.

You?! Defending a GM product against an import?! faint.gif

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hp/liter absolutely is irrelevant... but I cannot resist pointing out:

>>"113 hp per liter is doable."<<

BMW should be able to figure it out : Pontiac already builds a 130 hp per liter engine.

Yes, in the Solstice IIRC...my fav. GM car!

Chris

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IMHO, I think the CTS interior (even non-V) far outclasses the new XF interior.

The XF has real leather wrapped on the dash, not leatherette, and real brushed aluminum, not gray plastic meant to look like aluminum. XF has better materials throughout the cabin.

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The XF has real leather wrapped on the dash, not leatherette, and real brushed aluminum, not gray plastic meant to look like aluminum. XF has better materials throughout the cabin.

pity all of that material doesn't end up in a more attractive than the CTS package.

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The XF has real leather wrapped on the dash, not leatherette, and real brushed aluminum, not gray plastic meant to look like aluminum. XF has better materials throughout the cabin.

I disagree.

It may be real brushed aluminum, I don't know....but to me it seems like cheap plastic. In fact, it reminds me of all the silver plastic trim Lincoln was putting in their recent products like the Navigator, Aviator, etc.

I don't like the switchgear either inside the Jaguar.

Plus, the car is damn tight inside.....seems like a bigger car than the CTS, but I find the CTS far more accommodating.

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.....oh bite me....

8)

.... only if you ask nicely!

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It has to, since they've usually got less than 2 liters to work with.

:lol:

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The XF has real leather wrapped on the dash, not leatherette, and real brushed aluminum, not gray plastic meant to look like aluminum. XF has better materials throughout the cabin.

It's not too shabby for being platform shared with a Ford though.....

XF.jpg

mks.jpg

Taurus.jpg

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I think you must be saying the XF shares platforms with those cars, but it has nothing in common with them. it rides on the XJ alluminum platform, 95% sure. definitely not a FWD based platform though, check those dash to axle proportions.

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K, how about this. I layered the MKS over the XF

merged.jpg

Edit: Wiki thinks that the XF is on an updated S-type platform, but that can't be right.

There is something fishy going on with the XF and what it rides on.

Well, of course we all know the XF and MKS aren't on the same platform.

But I think 'Boi's point is made very clear.....it's shocking how much they resemble each other.

Finally, yes, the XF is on an updated S-Type (Lincoln LS) platform.

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Well, of course we all know the XF and MKS aren't on the same platform.

But I think 'Boi's point is made very clear.....it's shocking how much they resemble each other.

Finally, yes, the XF is on an updated S-Type (Lincoln LS) platform.

I wonder how they managed that FWD overhang then.

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The C-class has really grown on me also. A friend of mine sometimes picks me up to head into downtown for work has one. Love the exterior look and the interior is conservative but attractive. It was only on closer inspection that I was surprise at how a bunch of the seams didn't line up when it was clear that's what was intended.

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The XF is 195 inches long, the MKS is 204. 9 inch difference. MKS is on the D3 platform shared with the Taurus and S80.

The XF is on an updated version of the S-type platform, the suspension is aluminum and from the XK. XK and XJ have aluminum unibody structures.

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I really like the C-class until you get to the rear...and I've never really cared for C-class interiors...the new one really doesn't say entry level lux to me.

Agreed, Mercedes has been dropping the ball on interiors lately.

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The XF is 195 inches long, the MKS is 204. 9 inch difference. MKS is on the D3 platform shared with the Taurus and S80.

The XF is on an updated version of the S-type platform, the suspension is aluminum and from the XK. XK and XJ have aluminum unibody structures.

All of that is invisible when you have an overlap like this

merged.jpg

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If I were to buy one of these three, it would be the Mercedes. Nothing against the CTS, I just love the looks of the new C-class.

+1 - although I would still need to test drive both of them before a final decision.

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+1 - although I would still need to test drive both of them before a final decision.

I'd compare the C, IS, 3-series, CTS, and G35/37, but I'd probably go with the CTS or the 3 w/ a manual... those are my favorites. I love the midsize and larger Mercs, but the small ones don't really appeal to me.

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both amg c63 and the regular c has one of the best sedan designs inside and out, for me. i love it. inspected a mid or low level interior closely, the materials were first rate, sadly much better than CTS, everything had a strong substantial immovable feeling, more than can be said for some of the materials inside CTS. i like both, but I think the C is the most well rounded small sedan in looks alone.

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both amg c63 and the regular c has one of the best sedan designs inside and out, for me. i love it. inspected a mid or low level interior closely, the materials were first rate, sadly much better than CTS, everything had a strong substantial immovable feeling, more than can be said for some of the materials inside CTS. i like both, but I think the C is the most well rounded small sedan in looks alone.

I agree that the materials are first rate and solid. Pity they just didn't line up right.

My sample size is 1, however.

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I suppose I should have actually checked out a C-Class at the auto show buts kipped over Mercedes entirely.

I did get a chance to spend time in a CTS and even better, a black CTS-V. The interior to me is excellent, and everything was put together flawlessly. The V got lots of looks and compliments.

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to yet again defend my position as if i'm some boogeyman out to get GM as a whole, CTS has controls on the center stack in particular that feel dated and cheaper than the standards, BMW Audi MB...they are stylized as a whole on a level not yet seen within GM, which is a great thing. but there are still some tolerance levels and complacency within the CTS interior, last I checked. I'll assume nothing has changed. the controls on the center stack, the door panels, the dash panel quality all were not as good as an Audi, and now the new C-class.

I thought they were good enough to be in a luxury class. honestly, just barely good enough when compared with how far the competition sets the bar. the problem is the competition keeps setting the tone, and I have a great memory. other less discerning consumers, the average buyers Cadillac goes after anyways, won't care or know any better.

Edited by turbo200
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to yet again defend my position as if i'm some boogeyman out to get GM as a whole, CTS has controls on the center stack in particular that feel dated and cheaper than the standards, BMW Audi MB...they are stylized as a whole on a level not yet seen within GM, which is a great thing. but there are still some tolerance levels and complacency within the CTS interior, last I checked. I'll assume nothing has changed. the controls on the center stack, the door panels, the dash panel quality all were not as good as an Audi, and now the new C-class.

I thought they were good enough to be in a luxury class. honestly, just barely good enough when compared with how far the competition sets the bar. the problem is the competition keeps setting the tone, and I have a great memory. other less discerning consumers, the average buyers Cadillac goes after anyways, won't care or know any better.

Now, I'm not button anal retentive about how smoothly the dial turns or whatever. However certainly I know the difference between a button that when pushed is silent and feels well damped and one that makes a loud click, has no damping, and is wobbly. The CTS falls into the former category.

I sat in an Audi A5 and a 3 Series and certainly the buttons didn't feel 400,000,000,000,000 times better than the CTS's. In fact if they were any better it was by the narrowest of margins, certainly not enough for me to care about.

As far as the rest of the materials, again, I poked around every car I sat in, and none of them stood leaps and bounds over the other in terms of materials. My favorites for design was the CTS and XF.

But that's just my :twocents:

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I have no problem with the CTS interior. Whatever miniscule deficiencies the buttons may have in tactile feel (never felt less-then-perfect to me), the CTS' ergonomics more than make up for it. M-B interiors are very user-unfriendly with button size and placement, and the CTS is very user-friendly.

I'll take a good layout and convenience any day over better-pushing buttons. They're all going to feel the same anyway after I've gotten In-N-Out grease all over them.

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to yet again defend my position as if i'm some boogeyman out to get GM as a whole, CTS has controls on the center stack in particular that feel dated and cheaper than the standards, BMW Audi MB...they are stylized as a whole on a level not yet seen within GM, which is a great thing. but there are still some tolerance levels and complacency within the CTS interior, last I checked. I'll assume nothing has changed. the controls on the center stack, the door panels, the dash panel quality all were not as good as an Audi, and now the new C-class.

I thought they were good enough to be in a luxury class. honestly, just barely good enough when compared with how far the competition sets the bar. the problem is the competition keeps setting the tone, and I have a great memory. other less discerning consumers, the average buyers Cadillac goes after anyways, won't care or know any better.

But that's assuming you like that Teutonic look. I don't. Never have. GM and Ford are better to steer their own course than trying to out-do the Germans. I've driven many BMWs and I am not impressed. The interior of the new CTS - now that impresses me, especially with the UltraView roof! Look at GM's pinnacle in the '60s - they weren't afraid to try different things in the interior. Some worked, some didn't - but they led, not followed. The '66 Pontiac dash is a good example, so is the Riviera and Toronado of the day.

The CTS is a good looking interior, but it's time to get rid of the hood over steering wheel look and forge their own course!

Edited by CARBIZ
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But that's assuming you like that Teutonic look. I don't. Never have. GM and Ford are better to steer their own course than trying to out-do the Germans. I've driven many BMWs and I am not impressed. The interior of the new CTS - now that impresses me, especially with the UltraView roof! Look at GM's pinnacle in the '60s - they weren't afraid to try different things in the interior. Some worked, some didn't - but they led, not followed. The '66 Pontiac dash is a good example, so is the Riviera and Toronado of the day.

The CTS is a good looking interior, but it's time to get rid of the hood over steering wheel look and forge their own course!

apparently you didn't read my post. i complimented the CTS' stylized interior. i dissed them on quality and focus, and emphasis on the little parts where excellence really shows its face or lack thereof.

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I have no problem with the CTS interior. Whatever miniscule deficiencies the buttons may have in tactile feel (never felt less-then-perfect to me), the CTS' ergonomics more than make up for it. M-B interiors are very user-unfriendly with button size and placement, and the CTS is very user-friendly.

I'll take a good layout and convenience any day over better-pushing buttons. They're all going to feel the same anyway after I've gotten In-N-Out grease all over them.

i thought my reply had come in earlier but i guess my faulty internet connection is to blame. my primary question to you was have you compared the cars I talked about, C-class and CTS. the C, along with S, GL, CL and GLK are the newest gen MBs....new design theme in and out. these have a classical arrangement, and the button design is cleaned up less cluttered less complex. they are beautiful interiors. i prefer elegant solutions like those to GM's one-way-works-for-all ergonomics that are simple, but so simple they are basic. i know most people here trumpet GM's controls and layouts, but i find them generally tacky and unappealing. i find them to be so simplistic as if lacking any flavor at all. i consider that we're in the age of the Iphone, and yet GM has not progressed from the traditional HVAC, radio, etc layout. they need to make the designs more interesting, and at least in the high end models, give their consumers more credit and make the layouts more elegant, and yes complex.

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i thought my reply had come in earlier but i guess my faulty internet connection is to blame. my primary question to you was have you compared the cars I talked about, C-class and CTS. the C, along with S, GL, CL and GLK are the newest gen MBs....new design theme in and out. these have a classical arrangement, and the button design is cleaned up less cluttered less complex. they are beautiful interiors.

I have poured over the interiors of all the latest MBs and BMWs. I'm honestly not impressed. They might be better than my 2001 M-Class, but they still suffer from many of the same shortcomings IMO.

i prefer elegant solutions like those to GM's one-way-works-for-all ergonomics that are simple, but so simple they are basic. i know most people here trumpet GM's controls and layouts, but i find them generally tacky and unappealing. i find them to be so simplistic as if lacking any flavor at all. i consider that we're in the age of the Iphone, and yet GM has not progressed from the traditional HVAC, radio, etc layout. they need to make the designs more interesting, and at least in the high end models, give their consumers more credit and make the layouts more elegant, and yes complex.

I don't agree with this characterization at all. GM has several different radio designs, and yes, a couple of those are "premium." I still don't understand why you want complexity and consider it a virtue in high-end models--you are the only reviewer I've seen who extols this. Yes, I want complex functions...but radios can be capable of complex operations with a simple, user-friendly interface.

CTS

WKA2008060937283_pv.jpg

C-Class

2009.mercedes-benz.c-class.20238360-E.jp2009.mercedes-benz.c-class.20249732-E.jp

Sorry, but I find the C-Class interior to look very cheesy, and not particularly luxurious, and certainly not more so than the CTS interior.

Functionally, it seems Mercedes still has the same fetish with a sea of identically-sized and -spaced tiny buttons across the radio faceplate. Just like in my 2001 M-Class. The Cadillac's are sized differently, and some are more recessed than others so it's easier to find them.

I also see the M-B doesn't have automatic climate control yet, so I hope it works a lot better than the unit in my 2001. Defog was never its strong suit. CTS has a pretty straight-forward auto climate control. Nice, pretty much what a vehicle of this class should come with. And dual-zoned to boot!

Edited by Croc
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i thought my reply had come in earlier but i guess my faulty internet connection is to blame. my primary question to you was have you compared the cars I talked about, C-class and CTS. the C, along with S, GL, CL and GLK are the newest gen MBs....new design theme in and out. these have a classical arrangement, and the button design is cleaned up less cluttered less complex. they are beautiful interiors. i prefer elegant solutions like those to GM's one-way-works-for-all ergonomics that are simple, but so simple they are basic. i know most people here trumpet GM's controls and layouts, but i find them generally tacky and unappealing. i find them to be so simplistic as if lacking any flavor at all. i consider that we're in the age of the Iphone, and yet GM has not progressed from the traditional HVAC, radio, etc layout. they need to make the designs more interesting, and at least in the high end models, give their consumers more credit and make the layouts more elegant, and yes complex.

Having actually sat in a 3 Series, G35/37, CTS and IS I will again say their button layouts aren't any better IMHO. They're all good, and they all have a quality feel to them as well as the entire interior, although the IS was a bit of a disappointment, it's still pretty good. In addition, I found nothing basic or unappealing about the CTS' controls. They were easy to use and logical, but they were also laid out nicely.

I have not sat in the C-Class but it's interior looks stark and boring. I'm sure it's good quality and all, however I do recall more than one comparison of the C-lass and CTS favoring the quality of the CTS' interior.

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Having actually sat in a 3 Series, G35/37, CTS and IS I will again say their button layouts aren't any better IMHO. They're all good, and they all have a quality feel to them as well as the entire interior, although the IS was a bit of a disappointment, it's still pretty good. In addition, I found nothing basic or unappealing about the CTS' controls. They were easy to use and logical, but they were also laid out nicely.

I have not sat in the C-Class but it's interior looks stark and boring. I'm sure it's good quality and all, however I do recall more than one comparison of the C-lass and CTS favoring the quality of the CTS' interior.

If I were to rank these cars on overall satisfaction with the interior (design, fit-and-finish, material quality, tactile quality of controls)....the whole she-bang....I'd probably rate them as:

BMW 3-Series/Audi A4 (tie)

CTS

C-Class

Infiniti G

To me, I'll admit the 3-series interior is a pretty bland design.....but bland can be good. For me, the BMW has a solidity about everything in the interior that truly makes it feel luxurious to me....regardless of the lack of flash in the interior styling. Really little for me to complain about.

Always have been an Audi interior fan.

CTS is right up there. Unfortunately there are small fit-and-finish woes seen in just about every CTS that bug me....and it just doesn't feel as solid as the Germans (you can move the flexy IP cluster with your hand pretty easily.) However, it's stylish design and attention to things such as the dash stitching and comfortable seats put it ahead of the C-Class and G for me. I find most of the controls to have a solid, weighty precision.....most....

C-Class interior screams "cheap" to me....even if upon closer inspection it's almost as solidly put-together as the BMW and Audi. I really don't like their pick of materials, or the design of the center stack.

Infiniti has always seemed like the bargain-basement interior. I know it's not......but when a Honda or Acura interior (not to mention Lexus) seems to have a more upmarket feel....that spells "bad" for Infiniti. When I think of the G, all I can remember is the cheesy moveable IP/steering column, downmarket "orange" backlighting, and cheesy Japanese "paper" metallic trim.

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