If I didn’t drive a Cadillac I’d drive a…

My last few automobiles have been Cadillacs.  My next vehicle is likely to be a Cadillac — preferably something from the V-Series.  I like the formality and elegance of Cadillacs.  I like the performance and luxury.  I have reached a point in my life that I can afford to have nicer things, so I prefer to drive a nicer vehicle, and Cadillac offers the right mix.  If I were NOT to drive a Cadillac as my next vehicle however, what might I purchase?

1. Saturn Sky Redline

First of all, I am a Corvette fan.  But I have really been smitten by the value equation of the Saturn Sky Redline.  Although now out of production, starting at US$28K new, you could purchase a quick roadster.

Along with the boost in horsepower and torque, the Sky Red Line featured a long list of standard equipment including:

  • Stabilitrak electronic stability control
  • Traction control
  • Close-ratio five-speed manual transmission with self-adjusting clutch
  • Four-wheel ABS disc brakes
  • Limited slip differential
  • Performance-tuned suspension with coil-over Bilstein monotube shocks
  • Air conditioning
  • Power locks, windows and mirrors
  • OnStar with one year of Safe & Sound service

I was so ready for Cadillac to get one of these Kappa platform cars!  In 2-seat convertibles, a used Porsche Boxster S tends to be VERY inexpensive.  I never have gotten used to the idea of that platform packaging with NO engine access though.  I also like the looks of the BMW Z4.  I would likely look for a used Corvette at the same time as a used Sky Redline, and take the one I found first.

2. Chevrolet Camaro 2SS

The recently redesigned Camaro is a great vehicle choice car for a 2-door 2+2.  Rear wheel drive, V8 making excellent power, tight suspension, great looks, great price.

2010 Camaro LT with RS appearance package

Starting at $23K, the Camaro V6 is a persuasive package as well.  It uses the same LLT 3.6L V6 as the current Cadillac CTS Premium or Performance editions, making 304 hp.  That is as much or more than some recent V8s made.  Two V8s are offered, one with an automatic transmission, and a slightly different engine with the manual transmission.    The full boat 2SS variant starts at $33K.  The Camaro team has hit the range I wish Cadillac would hold the CTS — about $10K difference across the model range from least expensive to most expensive.

Honorable mention in this configuration goes to the previous Pontiac GTO.  I never really liked the looks of the GTO, but the package is sweet with a Zeta RWD chassis, LS engine.

3. BMW 335i Sedan (used)

For a 4-seat, 4-passenger sedan I would look at a used BMW 335i.  Now the M3 is the V-Series equivalent for BMW, but in the 3-Series range the current 335i with a 300 hp turbo 3L V6 makes a very nice value versus the more expensive M3 with 414 hp V8.  I would feel terrible if I spent the more money for the M3 and could have had the Camaro V8 and cash back.  On the other hand if I had to have 4 doors, the price of the M3 would move it out of my range of consideration.

BMW 335i

A new BMW 335i Sedan starts at US$40,600.  That would likely make even the 335i more than I would want to spend.  The 1-Series seems unattractive to me, so no joy there.  I see used 335i’s for under $30K, so they rapidly come down in price from new.  By comparison the BMW M3 Sedan new starts at US$55,400; definitely out of my target budget range.

But if you can overcome the funding issue, the BMW 3-series has good acceleration, good cornering, and good looks in a tight package.

For the CaddyInfo Cadillac Forum Readers — If you didn’t drive a Cadillac what would you drive?

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.





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.

C&D test shows 2009 Cadillac CTS-V Outraces the Competition

Car & Driver via Autoblog — Car & Driver runs an annual event called the Lightning Lap.  They get the fastest cars in the world together, and run them all on the same track under similar conditions and publish the results.

This year they included the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V in the mix.  How did the new high performance Cadillac do?  Amazing.  Check the details.  The new Corvette Z51 won for under $60K; but the CTS-V posted the 2nd highest times in the event for vehicles under $60K, and 6th highest overall of 22 performance cars!  Go Cadillac!

Remarkable thrust from the LSA [The Cadillac CTS-V has an LSA engine] with no hint of the angry bull bellow that afflicted the previous CTS-V. Remarkable, too, is its six-speed manual gearbox, providing precise shifts and crisp engagements. Remarkable balance, allowing the driver to drift and pivot this big sedan with ease. Remarkable brakes, offering formidable stopping power without a hint of fade, lap after lap.

The BMW M3 came in just behind the new CTS-V, followed by the Mercedes C63 AMG.  Not sure why the new Corvette ZR1 was not in the test.

The Cadillac did 0.92g’s in the first section; have to love that.

2009 Cadillac CTS-V Supercharged Performance

2009 Cadillac CTS-V Supercharged Performance

I know, 6th. But the first five were the Mosler MT900s, Dodge Viper SRT10, Ferrari 430 Scuderia, Nissan GT-R, and Corvette Z51. Very fast company, and none of them have four door, four seats, and Cadillac luxury.