BMW 335is versus Cadillac CTS-V

Often the Cadillac CTS-V is compared to the M3 or to the M5, since these are maximum performance BMWs.

However, a new entry, the BMW 335is is now available.  Trimmed with similar equipment as the standard equipped CTS-V, according to it costs $57,675.  The starting price for a already well equipped Cadillac CTS-V is $62K.

BMW 335is

Here are the options I selected to get a comparable build:
My 335is Coupe 3.0-liter, inline 6-cylinder engine with TwinPower Turbo technology rear-wheel drive
. Base MSRP $49,650
. Alpine White $0
. Black Dakota Leather $0
. Dark Glacier Aluminum trim $0
. Convenience Package $1,500
. Premium Package $2,650
. Heated front seats $500
. Navigation system $2,100
. iPod and USB adapter $400
. Destination & Handling: $875
. Total MSRP as Built$57,675

Cadillac CTS-V

The BMW 335is is a sport version of the 335i. By retuning the engine to give additional boost for short periods, BMW has created a sporting model that is more capable than the standard 335i but less expensive than the M3.  The BMW M3  starts at $55K and quickly scales up from there.

Engine: The 3L Turbo Inline six is a nice engine and well suited for this application.  It is significantly less powerful however than the CTS-V’s supercharged 6.2L engine which provides 556 hp and 551 lb ft of torque.

Braking: The CTS-V comes with Brembo brakes front and rear, and is track ready.  The 335is can be made track ready by replacing the brakes with aftermarket units, at additional expense.

Suspension:  The 3-series suspension has been well lauded, but is a conventional suspension.  The CTS-V has the high tech MR, magnetic suspension that reacts hundreds of times per second to road conditions.

Reliability between these two is probably a toss-up.  Cadillac reliability has been very good, and the CTS-V powertrain is bullet proof.  The 335is engine is a new design or configuration.  Both BMW and Cadillac offer a 48 mo, 50K mile warranty.  Cadillac also includes a 60 mo, 100K mile powertrain warranty.

Maintenance: BMW includes 4 year maintenance in the price of the 335is.  Maintenance on the CTS-V will be at owner expense.

Configurations: BMW offers the 335is in coupe or coupe convertible form.  Cadillac currently offers the CTS-V in sedan (4 door), and will offer the CTS-V Coupe (2 door) beginning this summer.  Cadillac does not offer a CTS-V Convertible.

Summary: When shopping between the BMW 335is and the Cadillac CTS-V one has to consider — are you after the pure driving experience?  Then the CTS-V would be your choice.   If you demand the cachet of the BMW, then a standard 335i or a low-option M3 might be better choices than the 335is.    There may be a window in which the BMW dealers mark up the M3 above retail however, and the lower cost of the 335is just keeps it within budget, and a used M3 is out of the question for some reason.  In that case, the 335is could be your BMW, and the Cadillac CTS-V would be the road not taken, that perhaps offered more.

Metal to Molded Cadillac Art and Science and Cost

The 1st generation CTS-V had a stainless steel mesh front grill.  This became a hallmark of the V-Series.  You can quickly and easily tell if a Cadillac is a V-Series by looking for the mesh upper grill and other highlights, such as V Series badges.

2nd Gen CTS-V Sedan

When the 2nd Generation CTS-V arrived in 2009, the front grill looks like a stainless steel mesh, but is a molded plastic piece.  Some Critics were quick to claim that this was done to save money, and was an inferior solution to the metal mesh of the first generation V.

1st Gen CTS-V Mesh Grill on a CTS

Actually, the Designers at Cadillac changed to the molded piece in order to attain a 3-dimensional grill for artistic purposes.    The stainless steel mesh looked great from front on or at an angle, but in close up photos or direct light one could see right through the stainless mesh to the mechanical bits beneath.  I like mechanical parts, as I am a function over form guy.  But from an artistic point of view, one function of the grill is to have some depth to it to hide the internal mechanical bits.  The new molded V-Series grill gives the same great mesh look, but also has some depth to it so that it looks great from a variety of angles, and doesn’t expose the mechanicals behind it.

In terms of cost, the Wags assume that a molded “plastic” grill  is less expensive than stainless steel mesh.  In fact the new grill may be MORE expensive, but it also improves the appearance of the V-Series.  That is what I like to see — continuous, thoughtful improvements in these great Cadillacs.

Gen1 CTS-V: Supercharger?

In my previous article about performance mods for Cadillacs I mentioned the great gains possible in the LS2 with a Cam/head package, and I argued that if you intended to add a Supercharger you might do that up front instead of doing a cam/head modification.  One advantage of a supercharger add is that it leaves no question as to the drive-ability of the car, and maintains a smooth idle.

Let’s look at the current situation for supercharger modification options.  The Cadillac solution of course, as used on the 2009+ CTS-V with LSA supercharged V8 is a TVS1900 supercharger.

The Corvette LS9 engine uses the larger 6th generation TVS2300 supercharger, and some CTS-V owners have found that if they upgrade from the TVS1900 to the TVS2300 they gain significant horsepower.  Based on my reading, it appears that the TVS1900 is good on a 6.2L engine up to around 800 crank horsepower; you would want the TVS2300 if you are targeting above this number.

For the 6L LS2 engine in the 2006/2007 for most applications the TVS 1900 Seems a better fit than the TVS 2300.

The previous Magnuson supercharger kit for the 2004-2007 CTS-V used the 5th generation MP112 1.84L unit.  That setup for LS6 engines made 6 psi of boost, and added on average 130 whp according to Magnuson.

Interestingly, the STS-V and XLR-V 4.4L engines used a modified version of the MP122 unit.  It adds 10 cubic inches to the M112, so rounds up to a full 2L of displaced air.

The size indicates the amount of air displaced with each revolution of the blower.  So at the same RPM and gearing the MP112 will pump 1.84L of air, the TVS 1900 will pump 1.9L of air, and the TVS 2300 will pump 2.3L of air.  The new TVS units are also more efficient, will make more power at the same boost due to lower heat added to the air charge, and are quieter.  The simple amount of air pumped per revolution does not tell the whole story.

TVS means Twin Vortices Series.  The new TVS series superchargers are 4-lobe Eaton units with 160 degrees of twist along the rotor.  This simulates twin vortices of air rushing into the intake system.  The 5th generation units like the M112 or M122 used 3 lobes with 60 degrees of twist along each rotor.  All TVS superchargers have a 2.4 pressure ratio capability and a thermal efficiency that exceeds 70 percent, which enables more compact packaging and greater output.  The M112 1.84L unit was replaced effectively by the TVS1320 (1.3L) unit due to the greater efficiency of the new series.

The LSA engine in the 2009+ Cadillac CTS-V is basically a supercharged LS3.  So it differs from the LS2 engine in the 2006/2007 CTS-V not only by the fact that it is supercharged but also because it has different heads, among other differences.

So how would a TVS2300 do when added to a ‘stock’ LS2 engine?  Try 130+ RWHP added, which seems oddly similar to the Magnuson number for the MP112 on a CTS-V.  My impression is that the TVS models have more head-room and can provide more air at lower temperature, and be spun faster with less loss of efficiency.  It is not clear to me from the raw numbers in kit claims that one system has more output in a near-stock setup than the other.

A supercharged 2007 CTS-V that pulled 350whp (wheel hp) stock, with a supercharger it might then make 480 whp.  Not surprisingly approximately what you might expect of a 2009+ CTS-V at the wheels.

Superchargers costs start around $7,500 plus installation, but reach beyond $10K depending on the kit and options.

With a Supercharger, premium fuel will be required.