Super Sedan Showdown: 2016 CTS-V vs. Charger Hellcat vs. M5 vs. E63 S AMG

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Christmas arrived early this year as Cadillac unveiled the all-new 2016 CTS-V. According to the latest release, the monstrous Caddy boasts a staggering 640hp and 630 lb.-ft. of torque. To put this in perspective, the CTS-V is merely down 10hp and 20 lb.-ft. of torque compared to the mighty Chevy Corvette Z06. However, how does the CTS-V compare to the German rivals BMW M5 and Mercedes E63 AMG?

First off, the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V swallowed the thumping LT4 6.2 liter supercharged V8 engine that was originally found in the 2015 Corvette Z06. However, the key difference that caused a slight drop in power is the CTS-V's use of wet sump lubrication rather than the dry-sump arrangement in the Z06. The CTS-V is still allegedly capable of launching from 0-60 mph (96km/h) in just 3.7 seconds. What's more, the CTS-V also claims that it will reach a staggering top-speed of 200 mph (322km/h).

Recount all the times an automaker asserted that its latest product will finally have the guts to take on the German rivals and fell just short of actually living up to the claim. This time, it looks like the new CTS-V has finally accomplished the deed: at 640hp, the Caddy's power output absolutely towers over the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG. Even in top-if-the-line BMW M5 Competition Package and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S trim, it's almost a joke to say that the German brutes "only" offer 575hp and 577hp (585PS), respectively, which is at least 63hp less than the new CTS-V. It looks like the good old American supercharged pushrod V8 out-muscled the German twin-turbocharged V8 power units. However, the comparison isn't just about what's underneath the hood.

Much of the 2016 CTS-V is enhanced and redesigned. In fact, Cadillac stated that torsional rigidity in the new Cadillac is improved by 25 percent over the standard CTS. That said, the brand also promises that the new model is more than 50 pounds (23 kg) lighter than the predecessor for a total curb weight of 4,145 pounds (1,880 kg). Most of the weight has been shed from where it matters most: sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport summer tires wrap a new set of staggered 19-inch lightweight forged aluminum wheels, measuring 9.5-inches wide in the front and 10-inches wide in the rear, which possess significantly reduced unsprung mass to make the CTS-V even more responsive to steering inputs.

Lastly, a sophisticated suspension system puts it all together for the 2016 CTS-V. The third-generation Magnetic Ride Control magnetorheological dampers (also found in the hardcore 2015 Camaro Z/28) are uniquely capable of reading road surfaces to modulate damping forces. The dampers also work with stiffer bushings, new anti-roll bars, a quicker steering-ratio, and a set of high-rate springs to deliver extraordinary road feel. Finally, 15.4-inch and 14.4-inch Brembo brakes for the front and rear makes sure the 2016 CTS-V can stop as well as it goes. However, GM points out that the CTS-V will not come available with carbon-ceramic brake rotors as the CTS-V would have required larger carbon rotors for acceptable operation and that would have dictated larger wheels and a complete re-engineering of the suspension setup.

Despite all this massive hardware, the 2016 CTS-V's claimed 4,145-pound weight is actually less than the 4,380-pound 2015 BMW M5 and the 4,500-pound Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S. While the BMW should be suffering both power and weight disadvantages, the M5's impressive launch control can produce a 0-60 mph time of 3.7-seconds, which match the new 2016 CTS-V. However, the Mercedes-Benz brings power down to all four wheels, giving it superior traction off the line for an astonishing 0-60 mph time of 3.4 seconds.

While the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG has got the new 2016 CTS-V covered in acceleration, the BMW M5 Competition package clearly delivers the better brake hardware. Massive $9,200 carbon-ceramic discs assure that the M5 will come to a standstill from 60 mph in just 106 feet. Unfortunately, braking distance has yet to be rated on the CTS-V at this time.

Obviously, fending off the German heavyweights is more than enough work for the Cadillac CTS-V. However, the 2016 CTS-V sedan will encounter serious competition from its compatriot 2015 Charger SRT Hellcat as well. This unreal 4-door Dodge is equipped with a supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 engine that delivers 707hp and 650 lb.-ft. of torque.

With a total power output that is more than 60hp over the CTS-V, the Charger Hellcat boasts a top speed of 204 mph (328 km/h). The extra 4 mph may seem marginal, but amid the current horsepower battle, a 4 mph (6 km/h) gap is the difference between a winner and a loser.

Heftier than the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S, the Charger Hellcat weighs 4,560 pounds (2,068 kg) and is the heaviest of the four cars mentioned here. From a numbers standpoint, the weight may prove to be the Charger's Achilles' heel. However, Dodge addressed the potential weakness with a three-mode Bilstein suspension setup that tunes the Charger Hellcat for "track," "sport," and "street" settings. Old-school hydraulic steering also stands to give the Hellcat better steering feel than the electric steering offered in the CTS-V, M5, and E63 AMG. Finally, enormous six-piston Brembo brake calipers bites down on 15.4-inch rotors in the front, while a four-piston setup grabs 13.8 inch rotors in the rear.

While the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is arguably the most raw and brutish of the four vehicles, its $62,295 price tag also makes it the most affordable. The Germans cost significantly more: the BMW M5 Competition package starts at $90,900 while the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S starts at $100,600. As for the new CTS-V, pricing hasn't been announced, but it will surely cost more than the $60k 420hp CTS V Sport.

Now it's your turn! Take your pick and let us know which car you'd like to see in your driveway!

By Danny Choy


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