2009 Cadillac CTS-V vs 2009 BMW M5
Cadillac confirmed itself as a true uber-sport sedan builder in 2004 with the factory-tuned CTS-V. Now caddy has kicked it up a notch with their all-new 2009 CTS-V. And what better way to test out its prowess than to pit it against Germany's tuner sedan flagship, BMW's M5. This match-up was too big for our town, so we've come to Georgia's Roebling Road Raceway for a heavyweight smack down.
The BMW M5 enters this fray with the confidence of experience, having defended its title against any number of young street brawlers over the years, including the original CTS-V. But, the '09 CTS-V is something of a comeback kid, better conditioned now and having learned a few tricks since their last fight.
The M5's physique is muscular but not bulging. Think old school, like Gentleman Jim Corbett in his street clothes. Not an obvious threat, but one you'd better look at twice before picking a fight.
The Cadillac CTS-V, on the other hand, bares its brawn for all to see with chiseled lines, stacked headlights, and power dome hood. The visual statement promises blunt force trauma to all who get in its way. Call it a young Mike Tyson in a torn t-shirt.
Flexing their muscles for the camera, the BMW M5 reveals a high-tech 5.0 liter V10 engine capable of 500 horsepower and 383 pound feet of torque. Designed for sustained high-rpm operation, the M5 engine uses proven racing technology to achieve its 8,250 RPM redline.
For the CTS-V, GM turned to its tried and true V8 family, choosing a de-tuned version of the supercharged 6.2 liter monster found in the Corvette ZR1. Minus the ZR1's dry-sump lubrication and twin-intercoolers, the CTS-V pumps out a still impressive 556 horsepower and 551 pound-feet of torque but at a less lofty 6200 RPM redline.
Once at the race track, the gloves quickly came off, and even on this freezing day, the brash Caddy laid a smoky stripe of rubber while warming up to a 0-60 sprint of 4.2 seconds. The quarter-mile flashed by in 12.5 seconds at 118 miles-per-hour. The less-torquey M5 managed a 4.5 second 0 to 60 run, and used its strong launch to ring the quarter-mile bell in 12.7 seconds and 116 miles-per-hour.
Now, both cars offer a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes. Our BMW arrived with a proper 6-speed manual, while the Caddy carried a 6-speed automatic with paddle-shifters. So, even with the perceived disadvantage of an automatic, the Caddy crossed the line first.
Now, on to the Main Event, around Roebling Road's twisty two miles and nine turns. Comparing lap times, the CTS-V consistently edged the M5 by about half-a-second per lap. But it's how they arrive at the checkered flag that tells the whole story.
The BMW M5 is the more solid-feeling and composed of the two. Its more refined suspension and flexible power band show it to be truly at home on the track.
The Caddy puts up impressive numbers and is the more immediately entertaining of the two, but you get the feeling you're conquering the track rather than cooperating with it. Like most any other rear-drive GM performance car in recent memory, the CTS-V will throttle-on oversteer seemingly at will, helping to point the car and power it out of corners.
The M5 pulls strongly out of bends too, but its energy in reserve is just shy of having power-slides in its bag of tricks. What the M5 does have is far superior brakes: They were rock solid and fade free. While 60 to 0 stops produced nearly identical results, the Caddy offered less feedback through the pedal and less confidence overall.
Neither car is a candidate for green car of the year, but with Government Fuel Economy Ratings estimates of 13 city/19 highway, the CTS-V again holds an edge over the M5's ratings of 11 city/17 highway, although both cars are slapped with gas guzzler penalties.
The Cadillac again beats the M5 in terms of price. Base for the M5 is a hefty $89,325; as-tested it came to a sky-high $94,895. To put a Cadillac CTS-V in your garage, you'll have to come up with $60,355 to start, or $66,795 equipped like ours.
We can't argue with those who say BMW's prestige and quality are worth the extra money. But, if it's our money, we'll take the CTS-V, and then strike a good deal on a BMW 1-series with what's leftover.
On numbers alone, The Cadillac CTS-V is a knockout winner: it's faster, stronger and costs less, and has earned its shot in this ring by providing a no-excuses thrill ride for those who want the world to know when they've arrived.
The M5 however, plays a different game. More boxer than brawler, it steps into the ring expecting to go all 15 rounds. Relying more on style than flash and technique over punching power, the M5 is still the ultimate driving machine. So, the way we see it, both of these heavyweight contenders are a sure bet to satisfy your sporting desires, only one let's you keep more of the winnings.
2009 Cadillac CTS-V
Engine: 6.2 liter V8
Torque: 551 lb feet
0-60 mph: 4.2 seconds
1/4 mile: 12.5 seconds @ 118 mph
EPA: 13 mpg city/ 19 mpg highway
2009 BMW M5
Engine: 5.0 liter V10
Torque: 383 lb feet
0-60 mph: 4.5 seconds
1/4 mile: 12.7 seconds @ 116 mph
EPA: 11 mpg city/ 17 mpg highway