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Motor Trend: Cadillac CTS-V vs. Jaguar XFR

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[source: Motor Trend]

Comparison: 2009 Cadillac CTS-V vs. 2010 Jaguar XFR

Cadillac's CTS-V Proved it Can Beat the BMW M5 but How About the New 510 Horsepower Jaguar XFR?

112_0910_38z%20cadillac_CTS-V_jaguar_XFR

First Place: Cadillac CTS-V

Dances like a butterfly, stings like a 556-hp bee. Lacks the flair of the XFR but exquisite ride and handling balance make it the superior driver's car.

Second Place: Jaguar XFR

Superior style and brilliant power delivery hide chassis limitations. Tail happiness at the limit discourages go-for-broke driving. Like Tyson, this one will bite you.

The last time we did this (Mirror, Mirror, July 2009) the American vanquished the mighty Bavarian with a brutal 1-2 combo of power and balance. But that was something of a hollow victory; merely a warm up bout between a surly young whippersnapper and an aging fighter past his prime. Sure, the BMW M5 once stood uncontested atop the luxury sports sedan field, but that was years ago. In the interim, fitter more ferocious combatants have stepped into the 'Ring.

Like the new challenger from Britain, the 2010 Jaguar XFR. Coventry's younger and more powerful bruiser outpoints the SMG equipped M5 in nearly every one of our instrumented tests. On numbers alone, the XFR is clearly a more formidable opponent to the Cadillac's CTS-V.

In physical and historical context, the new Jaguar also measures up better against the Cadillac. Both draw strength from large displacement V-8s enhanced by Roots type superchargers. Both send power rearward via six-speed automatics and stalk about on magnetic fluid-filled dampers. Both were mentored by some of the best corner men in the business, Jaguar chief engineer Mike Cross and former GM Performance Division director and test ace, John Heinricy. Most notably, both are struggling to wrest the luxury performance mantle from Germany and return glory to their storied, resurgent marques. But so far, only one has succeeded in dispatching a heavyweight German rival. Can Coventry's battle cat take the belt away from our American hero?

The Jaguar doesn't skip to battle like an English dandy to a duel -- all top hat, gloves and stretchy tights. There is high style and menace to the way it swaggers down country lanes, like a footy hooligan stuffed into a Saville Row three piece. This is a classic British sports saloon -- thoughtfully designed, elegantly executed, with one hell of a right cross -- the automotive equivalent of Lennox Lewis.

If there is anything to criticize the XFR on visually, it is that there isn't enough distinction between it and the lesser XFs in the range. Badging aside, XFR upgrades amount to a front bumper with larger inlets (to feed the twin intercoolers), more deeply drawn rocker panels, quad exhaust pipes and the slightest of rear spoilers. The most braggadocio is left for the twin XFR-specific hood vents and wheel centers whereupon 'supercharged' is engraved. Perhaps too subtle, but very British.

In comparison, the CTS-V has gone too far the other way. In an attempt to give their sedan some extra edge, Cadillac stylists have succeeded only in making it appear slab sided and overwrought. No doubt extending the lower leading edges of the bumpers and side skirts provides visual drama and perhaps improves aerodynamics, but these changes also add more angles -- too many -- to the already sharp looking CTS. The chiseled hood bulge adds even more creases to a shape that could seriously use some softening.

If the Cadillac looks a bit dated on outside, then that criticism can be lobbed about aspects of the Jaguar's interior. XF-R surfaces are generally more handsome and expensive feeling than those found in the CTS-V. There is less shiny plastic and chromed bits, and the exterior performance mesh theme carries on in an elegant manner, but the metallic tone, blue backlit controls are aging quickly. This is the problem with chasing the designs of our modern age, as XF interior designers did when they aped Motorola's best selling Razr cellphone. When most of your customers have moved on to the latest iPhone, who wants to be reminded of a five year old flip phone? Thankfully there is some touchscreen slickness in both sedans, and in terms of presentation and utility, both sedans recoup points -- but still trail the Germans. Driving position is a toss up: the XFR delivers smoother paddle shifts and more initial seating comfort, but the Cadillac has better outward visibility, quicker steering, and racier Recaros.

While these two warriors feature similar powertrains and suspensions, the tale of the tape reveals that they are not the dimensional equals of the first round. While the M5 and CTS-V were mirror images of each other, the Jaguar is 3.7 inches longer, 1.4 inches wider and half an inch lower than the Cadillac. Significantly, the Jaguar is not nearly as powerful for all of its size and heft.

With a mere 510 horsepower, the Jaguar's 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 gives up 46 horsepower to the Cadillac's similarly blown 6.2-liter V-8. A 90 pound-feet gap in torque (551 vs 461) separate the two, which is considerable given the XFR's 4378 pound fighting weight. Pound for pound, the Caddy weighs less, and hits harder.

Yet at the track, the two are but an eye blink apart through the quarter-mile. At launch they are even through 30 mph. By 40 mph, the Jaguar is a tenth quicker. At 60 it's a tenth behind (4.4 seconds to the CTS-V's 4.3). That lead holds to 100 mph and past the finish line as the CTS-V clicks off a 12.6 second run at 114.6 mph. The XFR is 7.9 feet behind -- 0.1 second and 0.5 mph slower. They don't get much closer than that.

That both 4200+ pound sedans can hit 60 in under 4.5 seconds is as mind warping as their ability to stop from that speed in less than 110 feet. Only three feet separate the two at rest but there is a profound difference in the way they feel under full deceleration. This is primarily a difference in suspension tuning rather than brake set up, as the Jaguar noses down more under load. The Cadillac? It just stops. Fast.

Handling also favors the CTS-V, facts supported on our figure 8 course where the Cadillac breezes through 0.8 seconds quicker. The skidpad is where the real story is told, as the CTS-V outgrips the XFR by a considerable margin, 0.94 g vs 0.87 g. It is in this realm that the CTS-V clearly KOs the XFR. Though the CTS-V has a distinct advantage in total engine output and pure speed, it is the Jaguar's velvet hammer shifts, bottomless pit of pull and enthralling exhaust note that drew raves from our staff. Same goes for the overall fit, finish, and styling. The two were close, but the judges gave the nod to the Jaguar's sexpot-with-a-switchblade attitude. So how does the CTS-V beat an XF-R that looks and launches better? With the same knockout combination it used to fell the M5 -- the exquisite balance of luxurious ride and full race handling.

To be fair, the XFR is no slouch on regular roads at sane speeds. Most preferred its long legged grace and single-malt-smooth ride. Problems begin as you pick up the pace; the XFR chassis weights up and the tires begin to complain and to lose grip. Even with the sharpened steering, suspension, and throttle responses of Dynamic Mode, the Jaguar loses handling clarity and composure as the turns pile up. Steering becomes muddled and the nose bobs and weaves, as though the magnetically juiced struts can't contain all the shifting mass. At this point, aggressive traction control cuts in and out, which is good, because the XFR will go headlong in to a barrier if you let it.

As the XFR comes apart, the CTS-V only gets better. In situations where the Jaguar goes light in front and tail happy, the Caddy hunkers down, poised to pounce. Front grip is tremendous and near telepathic steering feel through the fuzzy Alacantara trimmed wheel is surprising for a vehicle so massive and massively overpowered. Yet it absolutely adores high speed direction changes and devours all manner of corners - banked, off camber, decreasing radius, blue sky - with equal gusto. Sure, it will also step sideways through careless use of the throttle, but the difference is its oversteer is imminently controllable. Paddle shifts also feel a bit slower and rougher than in the XFR, but then you can just slot the lever to Sport mode and forget shifting entirely. That's the way Heinricy did it on his way to clocking a sub 8-minute lap around the Nurburging Nordschleife.

So while the Jaguar has the look and snarl of a backstreet brawler, the CTS-V packs the more potent punch of a pure driver's car. Who's the next contender? How about the Merc's E63 AMG?

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GM chasis engeneers did their work.

Why do you think a (modified) version of the prev. gen CTS is so successful as a road racing car?

GM is like a bipolar dysfunctional child-brilliant when it wants to be, really bad at other times...

This is a time when GM is brilliant!

Chris

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The bias!

Seriously though, great review. The CTS-V remains the Standard of the World.

I just wish the rest of the current and future lineup would aim to be the best too...

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The bias!

Seriously though, great review. The CTS-V remains the Standard of the World.

I just wish the rest of the current and future lineup would aim to be the best too...

Or allow the best to continue to be offered...

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You know what's a beautiful sight?

These two cars on the same showroom floor next to each other. (it actually happens here)

It's like the Revolutionary War all over again.

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The bias!

Seriously though, great review. The CTS-V remains the Standard of the World.

I just wish the rest of the current and future lineup would aim to be the best too...

Already?!?

If the Cadillac looks a bit dated on outside
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I'd take the Jag, it looks better, looks more sophisticated and stylish, and the interior is far superior. CTS-V has too many hood bulges and plasticy looking wheel arches and body kit add ons, that make it look kind of like an STS-V and that is why it looks dated. I wish the XFR wasn't so heavy, it suffers from not being aluminum like the other Jaguars. The current Jaguar lineup is really excellent and the XE roadster is coming too.

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Whoa whoa... whoa.

Isn't this an aluminum-chassis'd & -bodied jaguar ? That weighs a monsterous 4400 lbs ?? Please tell me this one's all steel...

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Whoa whoa... whoa.

Isn't this an aluminum-chassis'd & -bodied jaguar ? That weighs a monsterous 4400 lbs ?? Please tell me this one's all steel...

Yeah it's steel. I think it was going to go aluminum but the kept it steel for cost reasons or something.

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The CTS-V is in the 4300+ pound range too, both are heavy cars (likewise with the RS6). The Jaguar XJ's chassis and body are aluminum and magnesium, but no such luck with the XF, it would cost too much. The XJ weighs less than the XF, so it must post a pretty amazing 0-60 time especially for a 17 foot car with airline style folding tray tables. Question is will the M5 maintain it's weight or go up or down.

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The Google ad at the bottom of the video says "Bankruptcy Cadillac Style"..... seems fitting.

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I'd say Cadillac focused it's energies 5 fold in the CTS-V, easily giving me the best performing, best looking. most reliable, super quality, and easily modifiable super-luxo sedans on the planet.

The XFR is a nice looking car no doubt.. but so is the MKS.. which I consistently liken to the XF. Not a good thing. The interior is hot tho and while I don't walk away from it thinking that it is vastly superior to my Sweetness, I will admit it's materials are probably slightly better.

But one again I find myself easily and ultimately knowing why... IT COSTS ALMOST $20K more!!!

That's about $20K more for about $500 more for an interior upgrade and similar performance to the M5, a car well known to give up it's lunch to the "KING V"

I will agree with anyone that says that Cadillac could have charged 90% "STS-V Prices" on this car and it would have still sold. This would have STILL made it less expensive than the cars it's beating, and allowed for them to give it some of the STS-V's additional amenities and materials. And while the CTS-V's interior lay-out is superior over the XFR, M5, EAMG, STS-V, etc... it does, with the exception of the M5... which it simply kills in all ways, have materials that are only 95% there. With the impending death of the STS, a pretty as it still is, the CTS will be getting a nice MCE for MY 2011... that will move it up in material fit and finish to something that the Germans and Brits will have no choice but bow down before.

But like I said... for the savings of $20K-25K over it's competitors... I could easily triumph them in an interior upgrade, but why bother??? It still outshines the old benchmark... from BMW. While I'm cruising trouble free in my 95% as good interior... the XFR owner will probably be sitting in his Jaguar Loaner car

Edited by Cmicasa the Great
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CTS-V has too many hood bulges and plasticy looking wheel arches and body kit add ons, that make it look kind of like an STS-V and that is why it looks dated.

the jag doesnt know that though, it only sees this

2229919979_750f6f528e.jpg

Edited by cletus8269
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But like I said... for the savings of $20K-25K over it's competitors... I could easily triumph them in an interior upgrade, but why bother??? It still outshines the old benchmark... from BMW. While I'm cruising trouble free in my 95% as good interior... the XFR owner will probably be sitting in his Jaguar Loaner car [/size]

Jaguar is #1 in reliability. They beat Lexus, something no other brand could do in the past 15 years. You can't knock Jaguar for breaking down, or reliability issues because no one is better than them. The XF has equipment that the CTS doesn't have, and the interior materials are far better. The CTS is missing a lot of details that prevent it from being an $80,000 car. Plus, no one would pay $80,000 for a Cadillac, the STS-V was a dud and proved that. GM is desperate for money, if they thought they could get more than $62,000 for a CTS-V they would be asking more.

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You wouldn't happen to be looking to adopt, would you? :smilewide:

Edited by Kix
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Jaguar is #1 in reliability. They beat Lexus, something no other brand could do in the past 15 years. You can't knock Jaguar for breaking down, or reliability issues because no one is better than them. The XF has equipment that the CTS doesn't have, and the interior materials are far better. The CTS is missing a lot of details that prevent it from being an $80,000 car. Plus, no one would pay $80,000 for a Cadillac, the STS-V was a dud and proved that. GM is desperate for money, if they thought they could get more than $62,000 for a CTS-V they would be asking more.

LOL.. Check again Slick. Jag is not all rosies as U say. Specificallythe very model that the XFR is based on is the reason for what I'm saying. Click here To Get Truth

The CTS is missing certain amenities that the XFR has but certainly not $20K worth. And anyone with a brain would realize that the existence of the STS is the reason for the pricing of the CTS-V. I guarantee the death of the STS will spawn a hike in pricing and amenities for the CTS... guaranteed.

No one would pay $80K for a CAdillac but I actually have friends and clients who actually paid $86K-115K for the STS-V and XLR-V. My by just paid almost $90K for an Escalade Platinum.

The STS-V was a dud because it was marketed against the M5... a car that is the exact same size as the CTS-V. AND WOOOW!!! Take a Cadillac that is the same size as the M5... give it a proper engine and viola.. Suddenly we have a new KING in the segment.

Bottom line is the STS, the car that I traded in for my CTS-V, wold have been better had they elongated it in 2008, with its MCE, to the Chinese SLS size and given it the STS-V's S/C 469HP Nrthstar, we woud have actually had an S-Class competitor as they have in China.

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You wouldn't happen to be looking to adopt, would you? :smilewide:

Only if U are 21 year Brazilian girl who looks a lot like this

:AH-HA_wink:brazil-girl.jpg

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I'd take the Jag, it looks better, looks more sophisticated and stylish, and the interior is far superior.

merged.jpg

I never get tired of posting that pic.

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merged.jpg

I never get tired of posting that pic.

And U shouldn't. It proves my point even more so. The XF is pretty much as close to looking like the MKs as the Cobalt coupe looks like the G5. :confused0071:

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Good article, I would take a CTS-V over the Jag any day of the week. It is freaky how alike the Jag and MKS are.

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Ford/Jaguar....consider the lineage.

XF is a cool car but why its steel is kind of cheesy.

Also, the XF's interior is not all that great. Materials are not bad, but the design of it is really dull. A horizontal dull dash. Not real original, or exciting.

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