Monday, September 3, 2018

The Luxury Sedan Road Runners: 2018 Cadillac CTS-V RWD VS. 2018 Mercedes Benz E63 S AMG AWD

Highlight: Both the Cadillac CTS-V and the Mercedes-Benz E 63 S AMG in our comparison test were powered by high-performance 8-cylinder engines.

Cadillac CTS-V RWD Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $92,440 (Base Price: $88,490)

Mercedes-Benz E63 S AMG AWD Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $122,060 (Base Price: $105,395)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features:

Cadillac: ABS; air bags; a hill start assist system; a vehicle stability system; a tire inflation kit; daytime running lights; an automatic parking assist system; a tire pressure monitoring system; an all-speed traction control system; a rearview camera with a rear traffic cross alert system; a rearview frameless automatic dimming mirror; a curb view camera; GM’s OnStar Safety Service; a lane keep assistance with lane departure warning; automatic high beam headlights; a teen driver safety alert system; and a lane change alert with a side blind zone alert system

Mercedes Benz: ABS; air bags; a rearview camera with a rear traffic cross assist system; a blind spot assist system; a crosswind assist system; an active park assist system; an electronic stability system; an electric brake hold feature; a Mercedes-Benz Safety/Concierge Package; and a tire pressure monitoring system

Standard Equipment:

Cadillac: 19-inch wheels; rear wheel drive; an 8-speed automatic transmission; Brembo brake calibers; magnetic ride control; a performance suspension system; high intensity discharge headlamps; an in-vehicle wireless charging system; a heated steering wheel; a leather steering wheel; illuminated front sill plates; a power tilt/telescopic steering column; 20 way power front seats; 2 position memory driver’s operating package; heated front seats; leather/suede seats; remote keyless entry system; alloy sport pedals; a heads up display system; rain sensing windshield wipers; an alarm system with a remote panic feature; and a navigation system

Mercedes Benz: 20-inch wheels; all-wheel drive; a 9-speed automatic transmission; an AMG cylinder management system; a start/stop shutoff engine system; a performance steering wheel; a dynamic cornering assist system; galvanized shift paddles; camtronic variable valve lift; nanoslide cylinder wall technology; dynamic engine mounts; exclusive front axle and wider track; an AMG high performance composite braking system; AMG electronic slip differential; AMG speed-sensitive steering; an exclusive AMG body styling; an AMG menu with a race timer; an AMG sport exhaust system; Nappa performance steering wheel; power front seats with memory controls; heated and ventilated front seats; power rear window sunshade; a power sunroof; a keyless entry system; Nappa leather; a 12-inch infotainment screen; a navigation system with 3 years of updates; a wireless charging system; Android and Apple CarPlay Smartphone compatible; power folding side mirrors; a remote start system via a Mobile App; 3 years of live traffic service provided by TomTom; and an electronic trunk closer

Optional Features On Test Vehicle:

Cadillac: an oversized power sunroof; a tri zone automatic climate control system; a rear split folding seat with an armrest; heated rear seats; a rear window power sunshade; a rear side window manual shades; 110-volt power receptacle; and a rear camera mirror

Mercedes-Benz: 20-inch black forge spoke wheels; a special Selenite Grey Magno exterior paint; an air purification system; an AMG performance exhaust system; a/c power outlets; multi-contour front seats with massage functions; a black fabric headliner; heated rear seats; rapid heating front seats; an acoustic comfort package, which includes increased cabin insulation, windshield and side windows with acoustic and heat absorbing membrane; AMG premium package, which includes an active blindpot assist, an active brake assist with cross-traffic function; an active emergency stop assist; an active lane keep assist; an active lane change assist; a congestive emergency braking system; an active distance assist system; an active steering assist system; an active speed limit assist system; a head-up display system; an AMG advance lighting package: LED intelligent light system; an adaptive high beam light system; and an AMG night package, which includes a front spoiler, exterior mirror covers, side fender inserts, side still inserts, window trim, rear diffuser insert, and exhaust tailpipe inserts

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle:

Cadillac: a Bose 13-speaker AM/FM/HD with SiriusXM

Mercedes Benz: a Burmester 13-speaker AM/FM/HD/SiriusXM with surround sound

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty:

Cadillac: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Mercedes Benz: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty:

Cadillac: 6 years or 70,000 miles

Mercedes Benz: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower/Torque:

Cadillac: an 8-cylinder/640-horsepower/630-torque

Mercedes Benz: an 8-cylinder/627-horsepower/627-torque

Recommended Fuel: Premium

Standard Fuel Mileage:


Mercedes Benz:

Standard Top Speed/0-60mph:

Cadillac: 200-mph
           /3.6 seconds

Mercedes Benz: 186-mph
           /3.3 seconds

What’s New:

Cadillac: With the exception of a few minor equipment changes and color additions, the CTS-V is rolling into the 2018 model year virtually the same.

Mercedes Benz: The E63 AMG, which has become the fastest E-class sedan to date, is the newest addition to the E-class portfolio.

The Facts:

Cadillac: The current CTS-V is in its third generation. In many car circles, the CTS-V is seen as a four door Chevy Corvette. This is primarily because this high performance luxury sedan is powered by the same engine that is lodged under the hood of the iconic Chevy Corvette outfitted with the Z06 trim.

When the Cadillac design and engineering team created this vehicle, they made sure they incorporated a number of traits and features to distinguish the high performance luxury sedan from the brand’s traditional premium sedans. The ride, handling and the 640-horsepower are just a few of the notable features.

The larger grille, wider fenders, 19-inch tires, the 5-spoke forged aluminum wheels, the Bembro brakes, as well as the rear brake light that is integrated into the spoiler, are all subtle signs that this is not the traditional CTS.

In fact, Cadillac has added a lot of game to this vehicle for those seeking more flair in their CTS-V. For one, Cadillac has created a carbon fiber design package, which includes hood vents, an aggressive front splitter grille, color coded brake calipers and specially designed wheels changes the appearance.

And, they did not forget about the interior. To further accentuate the sports car theme, Cadillac stepped up the interior, adding such optional features as sports oriented Recaro seats and a Performance Data Recorder. These optional features will make anyone take a second look.

Cadillac also offers a high tech instrument panel and infotainment system. Cadillac has virtually eliminated knobs and buttons, as it relates to operating the audio system, navigation system and icons built into the infotainment system. Occupants will simply swipe and scroll, as if one is utilizing a giant size ipad. There are duplicate switches on the steering wheel for the driver to operate some features connected to the system. And the seat control switches are not tied into the touchscreen system.

Mercedes Benz: The brand’s new German-engineered vehicle, with its understated design, is the latest powerhouse to join the E-class line up.

The German engineered sedan, with its sports color coded Bembro brakes, is the fastest E-class sedan to date. With its art themed-designed interior and optional race car-inspired customized-like metallic paint, this street legal vehicle is designed to be driven.In order to give one the look and feel of a track car, the optional Carbon Fiber exterior package makes this vehicle a standout.

And to compliment the boisterous well-tuned engine, which proudly spews out 627-horsepower, the interior designers created a reconfigurable instrument panel that includes two digital screens, which provides a read out in a digit or bar graph format. There is also a screen that allows the driver to record the lap times, when the vehicle is out on track.

With all of this flash, Mercedes Benz is well aware that some of their owners, who take possession of the E63 S AMG, prefer to remain discreet. We realize it’s a Mercedes Benz. Isn’t that an oxymoron, Mercedes Benz and discreetness? We agree, but nevertheless, in order to address the concern, the product planners have given the buyers of this German machine the option of deleting the front engine badges, as well as the deck lid badges.

By taking these measures, this serves as a great means to keep everyone surprise. Does anyone really need to know how much muscle is under the hood? Does anyone really need to know how much a financial position one has to be in in order to afford this?

Furthermore, the E63 S AMG we reviewed, with the balanced ride and the form fitting seats, was outfitted with two unique, must-have features. One of them was the active speed limit assist, which detected and adjusted the speed to the posted speed limits in the area. With this feature, we were able to activate the highly advanced cruise control system, which automatically adjusted the cruising speed to match the posted signs in the area. This feature virtually eliminates anyone from racking up speeding times, as long as they stay within close range of the posted speeds in the area.

The other feature that went to the top of list was Mercedes Benz’s Crosswind Assist safety system. This highly evolved system is capable of detecting the effects of strong side winds on the vehicle’s handling stability, at highway speeds. We definitely could see the benefit of this technology, as we navigated the hilly slopes of the Georgia and Tennessee mountains.


Cadillac: With this being a luxury vehicle, we were surprised that the engineering team forgot to add a power pull down trunk. To our dismay, this is a feature that should be standard on every Cadillac.

Another continuous gripe of ours, is that the rear seating comes up short. Its not just an issue in the CTS-V, it carries over to the CTS too. The rear seating area is cramped and the seat cushions were not designed with rear passengers in mind. Hmm, maybe the engineers wanted to give one the illusion of being inside the Corvette, which inspired this Cadillac.

Moreover, with all of this power underneath the hood and the optional time recorder, while the CTV-S offered a variety of driving modes, we were unable to distinguish the settings. This was quite disappointing.

Lastly, being that the Cadillac is only available in a rear wheel drive configuration, this makes the luxury performance sedan more of a seasonal vehicle in some regions of the world. The folks at GM should consider adding an all wheel drive configuration model to the mix.

Mercedes Benz: Our E63 lacked a standard heated steering wheel and an automatic hold brake feature. These are two features we believe should be standard in this price class.

Furthermore, Mercedes Benz needs to change the location of the gear selector. Its confusing to have it where the turn signal is usually located. This could be a safety risk for those unfamiliar with the vehicle.

And, while the interior design and lighting inside this Mercedes Benz reminded us of being on a jet, the LED lighting strips, which outlined the vehicle, seemed somewhat out of place in this German machine. It was reminiscent of being in an arcade. We are not quite sure if that’s what the design team had in mind.

Lastly, the driver safety crash avoidance aids were standard on the Cadillac. That’s not the case with Mercedes Benz. For those expecting such features as a lane keep assist system, they’ll have to pay extra. Of course, this is what drove up the overall price of this premium ride.

Verdict: While most folks seem to be snapping up SUVs, crossovers and high dollar luxury trucks, two automakers realize there is still room on today’s roads for a big body sedan, despite cars sales dwindling down to only a third of total new-vehicle sales.

However, two luxury automakers have taking a page from Dodge’s playbook to keep consumers interested in the car segment. Dodge continues to keep their car portfolio fresh, with dated designs, by simply adding muscle power underneath the hood.

Both Cadillac and Mercedes Benz have followed the mainstream brand's mantra, as it relates to adding muscle power underneath the hood. Both vehicles are well suited for cross country trips, as well as lapses on the track. And, there are no compromises in terms of comfort or the tuning of the suspension systems.

While the Mercedes Benz offers a few must have tech items that escapes the Cadillac, the downside is that the German brand  charges extra for a number of safety avoidance crash aids.

Its a matter of taste. Do you want an American or a German built luxury performance sedan? 

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