How BMW Can Improve the M3 to compete with the Cadillac CTS-V

The Cadillac CTS-V is the premiere “Track Car” for the V-series, having supplanted the STS-V. The M3 is the premiere track car for the BMW M Series. The CTS-V is actually the same size and has luxury fittings similar or exceeding the BMW M5. Cadillac is preparing a new, smaller-than a CTS vehicle called (perhaps) the ATS, which will directly compete with the BMW 3-Series. Nonetheless, for now track car to track car seems a reasonable comparison. So, how can BMW upgrade the next M3 to be able to compete with the current Cadillac CTS-V?

First, the BMW is down by 142hp, but also weighs in at 3,726 lbs, around 500 lbs lighter than the ~4,200 lb CTS-V. Generally speaking, 100 lbs is offset by 5 hp in acceleration times. So that leaves the BMW down by an equivalent 117 hp. The upgraded engine for the next generation M3, now being rushed to market, should put the M3 over 500 hp to catch up, which should make it competitive in performance times.

Confusingly, although the BMW M3 starts at $45K, equivalently equipped to the standard of the Cadillac CTS-V it is slightly more expensive, at $63K.

Vehicle
Advantage

Cadillac

Cadillac

CTS-V

BMW M3
Equipped Price Advantage Cadillac $62,845 $63,520
Horsepower @ RPM Advantage Cadillac 556@6100 414@8300
Torque @ rpm Advantage Cadillac 551@3800 295@3900
Final Drive Ratio Advantage Cadillac 3.73 3.85
Fuel Capacity Advantage Cadillac 18.0 16.6
Adaptive Variable Suspension Advantage Cadillac Standard Option Added
Powertrain Warranty Time (Months) Advantage Cadillac 60 48
Powertrain Warranty Miles Advantage Cadillac 100000 50000
Wheelbase (in.) Advantage Cadillac 113.4 108.7
Length (in.) Advantage Cadillac 191.6 180.4
Width (in.) Advantage Cadillac 72.5 71.5
Head Room (front) (in.) Advantage Cadillac 38.8 38.5
Universal Garage Door Opener Advantage Cadillac Standard Option Added
Front Heated Seats Advantage Cadillac Standard Option Added
Satellite Radio Advantage Cadillac Standard Option Added
Surround Sound Advantage Cadillac Standard Not Available
DVD Player Advantage Cadillac Standard Not Available
Navigation System Advantage Cadillac Standard Option Added
Fog Lights Advantage Cadillac Standard Not Available
Automatic Crash Response Advantage Cadillac Standard Not Available
Emergency Services Advantage Cadillac Standard Option Added
Crisis Assist Advantage Cadillac Standard Not Available
Stolen Vehicle Assistance Advantage Cadillac Standard Option Added
Remote Door Unlock Advantage Cadillac Standard Not Available
Roadside Assistance Advantage Cadillac Standard Option Added
Remote Horn and Lights Advantage Cadillac Standard Not Available
Turn-by-Turn Navigation Advantage Cadillac Standard Not Available
Hands-Free Calling Advantage Cadillac Standard Not Available
Vehicle Diagnostics Advantage Cadillac Standard Option Added
Low Mileage Discount Advantage Cadillac Standard Not Available

So, the next BMW M3 will have to have improved performance, and cost slightly less than the current model to compete with the current CTS-V. And even at that, BMW will have to hope that Cadillac doesn’t further tune the CTS-V, so the M3 can have a chance to catch up.

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