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Cadillac XLR and XLR-V

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Comments

  • 213xlrv213xlrv Posts: 38
    You're not paying attention. But for the record on cadillac.com the vehicle comparator for the STS lists the 5 series, not the 7 series. What I actually *see* people doing in the market is shopping STS against 7, not 5. And having driven all of them, the splitting of the size classes encourages comparison with the next size up, not down. The STS/STS-v splits the characteristics too. It is a better luxury car than a 5 series, and a better performaner than a 7. The Cadillac has not been designed to be a full-on assault against the M5 as an M5 clone. It is a car with a different mix. Its difference in balance isn't a matter of weight distribution as much as it is in choices for dynamics. It might be a price issue for some. But for many, a little time in all three cars leads to the conclusion that the STS and 7 seemed paired more than the STS and 5, just as the CTS feels much more like a 5 than a 3.

    And by the way, the STS-v is positioned as a performance sedan, not a sports sedan. That's the CTS-v's role.

    That DTS Cadillac makes isn't a barge anymore, but it does have FWD. Not appealing to me. But for its market, it's sharp, capable, comfortable, and more so compared to anything else offered to them. The Germans blew their brand purity when they added SUVs, so let's admit that no thoroughbreds are left here. If you haven't seen a gold-badged Merc or BMW since the 1990s, you haven't been to Southern California for awhile. I see a new one every day. I put that and faux roadster roofs in the same bin.

    I don't really care about the ultimate numbers a 4 door sedan can put up. Several competitors getting close puts them in a practical category, and then the characters of the cars can come through as differentiators. If I want a hard-edge car for hard-core performance, I'll buy a powerful balanced sports car like a Z06 or a Ford GT. A sedan that skews too far to that objective is a silly object. I think Cadillac has that balance about right with the CTS-v. I can also tell you from experience that if, in the rare situation you have 3 passengers who want to feel a driver really exercise his M5, the extra mass of those bodies also degrades the precision claimed for the car. I don't evaluate 4 door sedans as sports cars. I evaluate them as sedans. And on that count, the Cadillacs are fully legitimate contenders albeit different in their design brief. The magazine quant results are interesting, entertaining, and given the number of good cars contending -- esoteric.

    Nothing says BMW has to stick with a V8 in the M5. I'm saying it would be preferable if they had. The V10 adds unnecessary complexity, mass and dimension, which has to be managed through additional engineering. There are a lot of ways to get the horsepower up. I think BMW chose the least desirable path available to them, and certainly the least impressive, from a standpoint of projecting engineering wisdom. But, the path they chose they did execute well. I doubt you will see that V10 get long-term development and it will prove to be an anomlie in BMW's engine roster.

    We've already been over the STS/7 issue. But again, GM doesn't make the claim. Market behavior is my reference. It's also fully legit to compare an STS with a 7. STS to 750 and STS-v to 760. BMW's entire brand is performance, not luxury -- "The Ultimate Driving Machine." It doesn't take an M badge for BMW to claim performance advantage. On power, torque and dimensions, a 760 is the closest match BMW has to an STS-v.

    A quarter ton of needless bulk outweighs needling concerns about interior materials. We're just not going to get any closer than we are on that issue. The only "cheap" material in my XLR-v interior is the carpet. Mercedes interiors aren't paragons of reference quality these days, so what's the big deal? The interior issues loom large in the minds of many buyers, but the differences are badly exaggerated by reviewers. But that surplus quarter ton? It ain't going anywhere. You can't send your SL out to have it excised like I can have an upholsterer put some added leather in my interior. No matter how much engineering cleverness Mercedes applies to manage that extra quarter ton, it announces itself in every dynamic change and makes the car less fun.

    The mass is a fact. My view that the SL interior is overwrought is opinion. Mercedes not being the defining standard of the world in interiors is pretty much shared fact for the past decade or more. OK, you can still prefer the SL. No problem. I'm here to say for all who have heard and read that the Caddy has a K-mart interior, that in fact it doesn't. It's better than you've been led to believe and the rest of the car has real advantages making it worth consideration against MB. I sure hope, however, that some kind of advantage is revealed for an SL55, because I priced one recently equipped to parallel an XLR-v and it stickered only a few thousand shy of $150K. This SL has a bunch more torque from over a litre more displacement. 50 more hp than the XLR-v -- that shouldn't be too hard to find with a little tuning and configuring. The SL55's additional 94 lb/ft probably can't be found without a real project. Can't easily make all of that deficit up, but some. So you'll be able to pummel your IRS a little harder on hard launches. Snooze. If we wanted real racers, we'd abandon this class of car and you'd save 1200 lbs. with a Z06, and I'd trim 700 myself going that route. For the additional $40K+, I'd be a lot more impressed to see that extra mass avoided.

    I don't care about other sources. I've stated I think the rest of the army is out of step on this comparison. I've already said that I think the XLR-v is unfairly criticized for its interior and price, by people who don't grasp its mission as an alternative to an established order. If I were valuing interior above all else, I'd buy neither the Mercedes nor the Cadillac. XLR-v a different prioritization for the same design brief and every difference I've outlined will be plainly evident to anyone who drives both. What remains is for people to decide whether the alternative view represented by GM is meaningful to them. I don't know whether an STS-v is superior to a 750 or 760, yet. I know it is a competitive alternative. But I do know my XLR-v is a superior object of its type compared to an SL anything for reasons amply outlined here. And relative to a 5 series I definitely enjoy a CTS-v more.

    Phil
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Obviously you're confused. Saying the STS is a better luxury sedan than the 5-Series when the 5-Series' is billed as a sports sedan first is just plain bass-ackwards. Saying the STS is a better performer than the 7-Series when the 7-Series is in truth too large to be a true performance sedan and is a luxury car first is equally ridiculous. Talk about turning and twisting and taking excuse making to another level! So what are you saying that the STS is superior to both the 5 and 7-Series? Nonesense.

    The Cadillac has not been designed to be a full-on assault against the M5 as an M5 clone. It is a car with a different mix. Its difference in balance isn't a matter of weight distribution as much as it is in choices for dynamics. It might be a price issue for some. But for many, a little time in all three cars leads to the conclusion that the STS and 7 seemed paired more than the STS and 5, just as the CTS feels much more like a 5 than a 3.

    More excuses. Ultimately it doesn't matter how you try to get around it, the M5 ranks over anything from Cadillac, STS-V or CTS-V. You can go on forever spinning the reasons as to which "V" model competes with the M5 and how/why, but it really doesn't matter because the M5 will take them both out in a heartbeat. Cadillac's intention was to compete with the M5, period. Doesn't matter which V car you choose because they both get spanked. End of story.

    And by the way, the STS-v is positioned as a performance sedan, not a sports sedan. That's the CTS-v's role.

    Oh, and it gets trounced in that role by the M5.

    That DTS Cadillac makes isn't a barge anymore, but it does have FWD. Not appealing to me. But for its market, it's sharp, capable, comfortable, and more so compared to anything else offered to them. The Germans blew their brand purity when they added SUVs, so let's admit that no thoroughbreds are left here. If you haven't seen a gold-badged Merc or BMW since the 1990s, you haven't been to Southern California for awhile. I see a new one every day. I put that and faux roadster roofs in the same bin.

    It is so a barge with wrong-wheel-drive. It doesn't compete with modern rwd luxury cars of it size so why mention it. It is a throwback in a class of one. The DTS is nothing more than a remodeled DeVille. The comment about the Germans blowing their "brand purity" by introducing SUVs is silly too. What should they have done ingnore a booming market segment for sake of purity in the eyes of buyers who wouldn't buy a German car in the first place? I seriously doubt you're seeing late model/brand new MBs and BMWs with gold kits everyday. That sounds like something from the land of make believe to me.

    I can also tell you from experience that if, in the rare situation you have 3 passengers who want to feel a driver really exercise his M5, the extra mass of those bodies also degrades the precision claimed for the car. I don't evaluate 4 door sedans as sports cars. I evaluate them as sedans. And on that count, the Cadillacs are fully legitimate contenders albeit different in their design brief. The magazine quant results are interesting, entertaining, and given the number of good cars contending -- esoteric.

    This happens in any car on the market. No car is going to handle the same with a full load of people. Again what is the point of this statement? You're right the Cadillacs are "contenders" but they aren't superior like you stated in your previous claims. A BMW M5 will mop up the track with the CTS-V any day of the week. There is no amount of excuse making possible to escape this fact.

    Nothing says BMW has to stick with a V8 in the M5. I'm saying it would be preferable if they had. The V10 adds unnecessary complexity, mass and dimension, which has to be managed through additional engineering. There are a lot of ways to get the horsepower up. I think BMW chose the least desirable path available to them, and certainly the least impressive, from a standpoint of projecting engineering wisdom. But, the path they chose they did execute well. I doubt you will see that V10 get long-term development and it will prove to be an anomlie in BMW's engine roster.

    Yet at the end of all of this the M5 is the superior sports/performance (whatever you want to call it) sedan by a mile. What a wasted effort to try and disregard this with nonesense like what they should have done when the end results are so stunning. What the heck is " projecting engineering wisdom"? BMW didn't develop the previous V8 any further from its introduction in the 2000 M5. So again your point is?

    Like I said before, just admit you just plain don't like the M5 because it kills your V-Series Cadillacs and because you're not making any sense here.

    We've already been over the STS/7 issue. But again, GM doesn't make the claim. Market behavior is my reference. It's also fully legit to compare an STS with a 7. STS to 750 and STS-v to 760.

    Yeah we have, but you don't seem to get it. Buyers can compare whatever they like, doesn't mean they're right. Who is going to look at 77K Cadillac, which is a rare buyer to start with, and then turn around and look at a 115K BMW 760i and think they're direct competitors? A one in a million buyer.

    Who goes out and has to have a 100K car fitted for better leather or materials? That is absurd. I have driven the SL and didn't find it to be anywhere near as "heavy" as you over hype it to be, and secondly I've been in the XLR-V (not driven) twice and I found the interior to be as cheap as GM cars that cost half as much so I haven't been "led" to believe anything.

    It amazes me how this mass issue is hardly ever mentioned yet these Cadillacs having cheapo interiors for their prices is constantly mentioned, but on the rare occasion in which the press does mention the SL's bulk they are right on the money, but when they say that the XLR has a "K-Mart" interior they're wrong.

    You keep saying that the SL's mass is a fact. I never said that the SL wasn't heavier. What I said (for the umpteenth time) is that the extra weight isn't as obvious to the average buyer for this type of car, being a GT not a sports car. Secondly that weight has been hidden and is carried well enough for the base SL to outhandle the base XLR. This is why I said that I want to see a comparo between the SL55 and XLR-V because I find your constant harping about the SL's weight to be just as much of none-issue as you find the press' (and most here that have sat in the car) issues with Cadillac's interiors.

    M
  • 213xlrv213xlrv Posts: 38
    At no point in this exchange have I said that the STS-v outperforms an M5. What I have said is that the STS-v is a more multi-dimensional formula that puts the compromise between driver & passenger interests on a slightly different point on a continuum. The STS has a longer body and longer wheelbase than a 5 series. That alone makes a difference in handling feel. So, yes, the STS platform is a better luxury platform than a 5 and a better performance platform than a 7. It isn't directly aimed at either car but splits the differences. Which is a good way to elbow back into a market. Obviously it's working. Cadillac sales are up sharply after many years of decline. You don't get this.

    You somehow have come to the conclusion that explanations are excuses. Cadillac may elect to aim a vehicle directly at a single BMW model and if/when they do that we can measure the numbers they put up. But that's not what's going on. Mercedes doesn't match BMW on a strict performance basis either. BMW has developed a very specific formula for car engineering that gives their products a specific feel. This is true for Porsche, Mercedes, Corvette, Viper, Ferrari, Lambo, Maserati, Audi, Aston, Jaguar, Subaru and others, and now Cadillac. If I wanted a BMW I'd buy a BMW. No one else needs to duplicate it. Cadillac's take is different, as is Mercedes' on these matters. Even when they put up similar numbers, the feel is much different, brand to brand, model to model. I'm advocating that the reflexive brand buyer should consider alternatives, including the new Cadillacs. They might find a mix of factors that's better for them.

    The CTS-v is outperformed by the new M5, a vehicle that didn't exist on the market when the CTS-v debuted. And the difference in price is large. Obviously, GM can put 500hp into the CTS-v and perhaps they will. But frankly, the sales numbers for the entire category are small and there's no hurry. Nearly every driver of this class of sedan is absent the skills to make proper use of 400hp, let alone more. Besides, that M5......wait for it.....weighs A QUARTER TON more than the CTS-v. 500 pounds. And that pointless V10 musters 12 fewer lb/ft while generating another hundred hp. Plus I don't have to put up with the annoying SMG transmission. The performance difference between the two cars in practical use isn't nearly as large as the numbers suggest. On the full tour of senses, the CTS-v is at least as much fun. Hell, for a little more than $81K I could buy a Z06 and get proper sports car performance + a 3.6L CTS for when I need room for passengers. The M5 is a nice halo sedan for BMW. But given how close the $53K CTS-v gets to it, don't you think Cadillac could field a car that outperforms it if they built a car for $81K too? It still won't feel exactly the same. Put another way, BMW doesn't know how to duplicate the emotional cues and feel of a CTS-v. They shouldn't be expected to. Again, if I wanted ultimate performance parameters, I'd buy a Z06 or pony up for a Ford GT. If I wanted a distinctive Euro sedan, I'd leapfrog the common-as-beans Germans and buy a Quattroporte. The M5 is an interesting artifact in which the BMW sedan vision is executed well, but it's not a desirable automobile to me when all factors are considered. It's not even aesthetically attractive. For me at its price, it would be an STS-v or I'd pay more for a Maser.

    On the STS v 7 v 5 issue, it's only natural to compare a class-splitting car with the next car up, not the next car down in size. This is why market behavior is what it is. And it's a good re-entry strategy for Cadillac.

    You're right, some 760 shoppers will want a V12 just for the sake of having a V12. Some will shop a Quattroporte against a 760 and they'll complain that it doesn't feel like a BMW, whereas the complaint should be that the BMW doesn't feel like the Maserati. And some will look at the size, weight, power and feel and conclude that the Cadillac is an alternative. I saw someone buy an STS-v at my dealership yesterday, after making exactly this comparo. It's not wrong just because it violates your sense of car class propriety.

    By the way, here in L.A., it's surprisingly common for people to have six figure cars further customized by interior crafters -- well, any cars. I see it across the board in luxury brands, except the Italians. Everybody respects art when they see it so you never see it there. Similarly, the Mercedes/BMW/Lexus gold badging is still going on every day, on brand spanking new 2006 models. That little bit of tasteless excess isn't dead by a long shot.

    The mass issue with the SL permeates the entire experience with the car. It's evident as soon as the car is rolling and is the singular defining element of the car to me. There's needless mass evident in every change of direction. It just feels porky compared to the V. I can't help it if reviewers who are less discerning or too brand-blinded don't report it. That's what I'm doing here. That mass shouldn't be there in the first place and hiding it through engineering only is barely sufficient. Even if you put enough tire on the car to keep it on track, the mass feels ponderous. I suppose Mercedes must be taking to heart the 1950s Detroit marketing for "Road-hugging Weight!" Except now it's 2006 and there are better ways. As for the Cadillac V interior, I like it fine and the next version will be better still. It has no more nor less than it needs and the rest of the car matters so much more.

    Phil
  • 213xlrv213xlrv Posts: 38
    And let's look at this CTS-v vs. M5 issue a little deeper.

    Putting aside that the M5 looks like an overfed catfish and is a cosmetic blight to the roadscape, whereas the CTS-v cuts a sharp-creased dashing figure to enhance the landscape, what do we have?

    Both seat 4 in leather, have muscle motors, big brakes, communicative steering, agile chassis/suspension, and 0-60 times under 5 seconds.

    Sure, BMW has a new version of their car with a 500hp V10. Cadillac has adopted the Corvette LS2 for 400hp. Looks like a slam, doesn't it? But wait.

    The BMW V10 develops its rated 500 hp @ 7750rpm. The Cadillac V8 develops its rated 400 hp @ 6000rpm. Looks like the BWM has the Honda S2000 problem in circumstances prevailing in North America.

    The BMW V10 develops its rated torque of 383 lb./ft. @ 6100rpm. The Cadillac V8 develops its rated torque of 395 lb./ft. @ 4400rpm. The big 6 litre Caddy has a redline at 6600rpm so it's not reluctant to spin. Then, the quarter-ton heavier M5 saddles each pony with 8.024 lbs. While the lighter CTA-v puts 8.7725 lbs. on each horse. The torque ratio is in favor of the Cadillac.

    In the hands of competent drivers, the two cars aren't so far from each other, especially given the $28,000 difference in price. In fact, a difference in driver competence can make all the difference. Put the better driver in the CTS-v and he or she can beat the less skillfully driven M5. And vice-versa is true too, of course.

    In America, you drive torque even though you bought horsepower. Those 395 lb/ft are a lot more accessible at 4400rpm than the heavier BMW's are at 6100rpm. And 400 hp isn't light.

    Now, to be sure, the M5 is well-engineered, which isn't the same as sensibly-engineered. The V10 is a dead end. They either need a better 8 or a 12, but the latter probably won't fit and it's even worse for weight distribution. Like Mercedes on the SL55, the engineers did their job of managing the baffling extra quarter ton of useless mass, rather than figure out how to avoid it in the first place. But hey, it's what they do. They've made a competent high performance 4 door car, bizarre as that category is. But of course we like and buy such things. The thing is, so has Cadillac.

    The CTS-v won't feel like a BMW M car to be sure. The BMW is sterile and precise. But the BMW won't feel like the CTS-v either, which means it's missing the emotional engagement of the LS2, the stick action of the traditional 6 speed manual, the better sightlines out of the car, and of course it won't have that set-apart visual impact of the V's edgy presence. The interior of a $28,000 cheaper car is quite acceptable to get that. The ergonomics, with the exception of Cadillac's silly foot-depressed e-brake, are better anyway. The M5 is a highly competent performer, unfortunately it's just not all that desirable in current form. All left brain, no right. A million dollar head and a ten-cent heart.

    The CTS-v by contrast is the more attractive, more emotional, more fun ride. It's more comfortable too. I'd rather have it. I do have it, in fact, along with my XLR-v.

    Phil
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,857
    It`s nice to read your passion about your car, and I for one hope that continues...You and Merc both are top notch writers, and both very passionate....Tony
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    At no point in this exchange have I said that the STS-v outperforms an M5. What I have said is that the STS-v is a more multi-dimensional formula that puts the compromise between driver & passenger interests on a slightly different point on a continuum. The STS has a longer body and longer wheelbase than a 5 series. That alone makes a difference in handling feel. So, yes, the STS platform is a better luxury platform than a 5 and a better performance platform than a 7. It isn't directly aimed at either car but splits the differences. Which is a good way to elbow back into a market. Obviously it's working. Cadillac sales are up sharply after many years of decline. You don't get this.

    The problem is that you don't get that the 5-Series isn't trying to be a luxury car first and the 7-Series isn't trying to be a performance car first. The 7-Series is a luxury car first, its size and weight dictate this and comparing the STS to it from a performance standpoint very disingenuous. Ditto for the 5-Series. Of course the 5-Series isn't going to function as luxury sedan on par with a larger car for those looking for a roomier/larger car with ride-comfort being the priority. To compare the STS to the 5-Series and say it is a better luxury car is equally nonsense because Cadillac is the one doing the chasing and they intended the STS to be the 5-Series competitor, not the other way around. You're making excuses for Cadillac by changing around the criteria and purpose of the 5 and 7-Series cars to make the STS out to be some kind car that competes so well with both. It’s specious.

    You say that Cadillac "may" decide to put a car directly up against BMW. Uh...they have, it’s called the CTS-V or STS-V. Take you're pick. You think the CTS/CTS-V competes with the 5-Series/M5 right? If that is the case the Cadillac gets beaten badly. End of story. All the theories (excuses) about how Cadillac is going a different route doesn't cut it. True all makes have their own take on how a car should look, ride, feel, perform, but all I'm reading here is that these "V" Cadillacs are superior one minute, yet when called out on performance against Motorsport BMWs, all I get is how Cadillac isn't competing directly. It can't be both, the STS/CTS-V either compete with the M5 or they don't. If they don't then they can't be superior, and if they compete with the M5 it is a lost cause for them to say the least.

    The CTS-v is outperformed by the new M5, a vehicle that didn't exist on the market when the CTS-v debuted.

    Ok a bow to the reality of the situation followed by an attempt to give Cadillac a pass. FYI the CTS-V didn't outperform the old M5.

    On the STS v 7 v 5 issue, it's only natural to compare a class-splitting car with the next car up, not the next car down in size. This is why market behavior is what it is. And it's a good re-entry strategy for Cadillac.

    Yeah and it makes them a jack of all trades, master of none. The last time I looked sales of the new STS had fallen dramatically in only its second model year.

    By the way, here in L.A., it's surprisingly common for people to have six figure cars further customized by interior crafters -- well, any cars. I see it across the board in luxury brands, except the Italians. Everybody respects art when they see it so you never see it there. Similarly, the Mercedes/BMW/Lexus gold badging is still going on every day, on brand spanking new 2006 models. That little bit of tasteless excess isn't dead by a long shot.

    Yeah they're called tuners, but people don't run to them because the base car has a cheap interior. Quite a difference. I don't believe you're seeing brand new Mercedes and BMW models with gold badging "everyday" or even at all. Thats nonsense.

    The mass issue with the SL permeates the entire experience with the car. It's evident as soon as the car is rolling and is the singular defining element of the car to me.

    Bingo! For you yes, but for most buyers not! Reviewers are reporting on the cars in the SL's class as GT cars hence them not complaining about this trumped up weight issue you're eternally stuck on. As a GT car the SL is the class leader has been for years and years and a Cadillac with a typically cheap GM interior and less weight is going to change this.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yet at the end of all that the M5 will outperform the CTS-V in any contest you can name. You won't find any reviewer anywhere that will agree with your far-fetched points about the M5...which is really a silly attempt to come with some imaginary M5 deficiencies.

    Like I said a few posts back you not liking the car is fine, but to try and say the CTS-V is someone equal to the M5 or superior is ridiculous and a pointless exercise to say the least.

    There are cars I don't like either, but to do that much reaching in a wasted attempt to down a car like the M5 is really telling. Just say you hate the car because none of what you've said (some of which I can't believe you actually think) about the M5 has any merit or substance.

    M
  • 213xlrv213xlrv Posts: 38
    For some reason you have not been paying attention. I accept that the M5 is an effort to build a performance sedan, and that the 7 series is an attempt to build a luxury car. What you're not grasping is that someone who wants a more passenger-accommodating performance car than the M5, the STS-v is an alternative. And for someone who wants a more performance-oriented luxury car than the 7 series, the same is true. This is a very good way for Cadillac to have reasserted its brand in both markets, splitting the difference between the classes as BMW defines them, for the customer who isn't satisfied by the Munich formula. Lots of people buy a 5 series thinking it is a luxury car, because all they bought is a badge. Most 5 series owners wouldn't know what to do with performance in a car if the instructions were written on the windshield.

    For anyone who wants a car configured exactly to the 5 and 7 series formulas, only a BMW will do, since no one else will ever build the identical car. Cadillac didn't set out to build identical formula cars. I think it's you making excuses for BMWs that are too one-dimensional in their intent, as sedans.

    Sorry, but a CTS-v doesn't get "beaten badly" by an M5. Especially when you consider the nearly $30K difference in price. But I already addressed the reasons why the cars are closer than you say, in the prior post. Certainly in North American conditions, the CTS-v formula has more tractable, more accessible power, and in a lighter more entertaining package. It's only missing some extra leather and dead weight compared to the M5, and the gap is even narrower compared to a lesser 5. If Cadillac equipped the CTS-v to an $81,000 retail level of gear and creature comforts, it wouldn't be difficult to beat the M. But there's no need to. The better driver in the "slower" car can beat the average driver in the one with 500hp sitting up there at 7750rpm.

    By the way, a sedan by definition is a jack of all trades. I don't expect a sedan to be anything but and the M5's "master of one thing" design is precisely what makes it flawed as a sedan. If I want a single-purpose master in the performance category, a Z06 sounds about right.

    STS sales down? Yes, modestly. So are E-Class Mercedes. In Cadillac's case, part of this reason is the new DTS which is taking some STS customers who a year prior bought a smaller car than they originally intended. The STS drop off is just a few hundred units.

    There are tuners for 6 figure cars, sure, but that's not what I referred to. There are a gazillion upholsterers who do nothing but repair or upgrade interiors. You can see instances of their work in everthing but Italian cars, where they can't make an improvement.

    There's no advantage to a surplus quarter ton in a GT car, no matter how much you'd like to sweep that under the rug. It's only penalty. Nothing positive can be achieved by that mass, especially since the price of the car suggests the engineering and materials would be more sophisticated to avoid the needles bulk. An interior is superficial and the differences you complain about are small. No doubt, some people will choose a car on that criterion alone. But then they're not really buying the car, are they? For an extra $40+ thou, I hope Mercedes can put a few more scraps of leather and metal in their interior! The XLR-v ergonomics are fundamentally correct however and they've come to market with something much more distinctive, better engineered for mass optimization, and more entertaining to boot, for enough less cash to buy a sports sedan. I expect there to be a little less of something somewhere. The interior is the logical place to dial back the opium den aesthetic.

    You'll love this: Today, between 7:35am and 8:30am Pacific Time, I saw 3 new (not even tags yet) Mercedes and 2 new BMWs with GOLD PLATED BADGING. Not enought? 10:07am, eastbound I-10 near 20th Street exit in Santa Monica. What do I see up ahead (and quickly behind)? Plain as day, a new, no-tags, greyish SL55 with GOLD PLATED BADGING and a gold-plated license plate frame. Tasteful.

    You just don't get around much, huh?

    Phil
  • 213xlrv213xlrv Posts: 38
    You must have mistakenly come to the conclusion that I assign credibility to automobile reviewers. Do you think it is in any way persuasive to me that I "....won't find a reviewer anywhere that will agree with [my] far-fetched points about the M5...."? A pointless V10 (we couldn't fit a 12 and don't believe in superchargers and needed a gimmick to one-up our last mill), another case of a surplus quarter ton of extraneous bulk which is what requires the power in the first place, a fussy 7 speed SMG, an interior cramped for the clientele, and new catfish styling -- if reviewers don't notice these warts, it isn't my fault.

    I don't hate the car, actually. I just think it's kind of useless. A sedan doesn't put your [non-permissible content removed] close enough to the driving wheels or get the mass optimized to give you a sporting experience, and it terrorizes the passengers if used as a performance machine. Brakes and handling? Fine. But, you know, an extra quarter ton does nothing to improve those either. What is it about the Germans lately and surplus quarter tons of useless mass??

    If the M5 were $30,000 and aimed at the guy who can only afford one car, then OK. But it's $81,000. That buyer can afford variety and in a multi-car scenario, the M5 is just silly. The CTS-v is a better mix, especially in North America. Now the silliness of the M5 won't keep them from being sold, but you can be sure that far fewer than 20% of the people who buy an M5 understand the slightest whit of what they've bought.

    I don't find a couple of tenths or hundredths interesting or convincing if the central aesthetic (all of it -- appearance, sensation, driving feel, packaging) is alienating. Great, I can spend $81,000 or more but to extract the performance I allegedly bought, I have to spin the thing up like a crazed ricer. It's just one of those things. Remember, nobody sees a Maranello and concludes the driver is an [non-permissible content removed], but nearly everybody has that first reaction to seeing a Ferrari 360/430. The M5 has that rep.

    BMW, on basis of their own communications, apparently perceives the M5 as the purest expression of their idea. It's all the more reason not to desire the car, and it's a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong way from the friendly, competent, charm of the then-competent 2002.

    Phil
  • laurasdadalaurasdada Posts: 2,689
    Yup, spirited discussion.

    My .02 and strictly my theory from 20,000 feet. I have driven neither XLR or SL, but am familiar with both and wish either one would fall from the sky into my driveay bought and paid for.

    At this price point and type of car, for the majority of buyers, I think deciding factors in a purchase include:

    Prestige: A lifestyle statement. I've made it, this is my toy/reward. (or I'm leveraged to the hilt! ;) )

    Style/design, both interior and exterior. A two seat convertible is a fashion statement, an accessory, a toy.

    Ride: For cruising the boulevard or blasting down the interstate.

    Handling: Just looking for the car to be able to reasonably negotiate the back roads for when you're trying to avoid the paparazzi...

    If the buyer simply wanted a fun, great handling two seat convertible: Miata (and now, maybe Solstice/Sky?). But that would'nt satisfy the "Prestige" factor.

    So, in the grand scheme, at this point in history, imho Mercedes beats Caddy in prestige and styling (not by much on the exterior, quite a bit on the interior). I can't comment on ride/handling.

    I have to line up more with Merc on the "weight" vs. "interior" shortcomings issue. Yes, extra tonnage is undesireable (in both car and myself :cry: ), but I think to the buyers here that if the pleasantly plump SL500 has the smooth, quiet ride to go with the styling and prestige perceived with MB, it wins. The weight will never be an issue (as weight would be an issue to the handling maven's, but again they could go Miata, Z4...). To the buyer, the somewhat "downscale" XLR interior design is a bigger issue. When paying ~$70k + for a car, certain overall expectations must be met and a luxurious, well appointed interior (as well as a corresponding exterior) is a minimum daily requirement.

    And therein lies the rub with GM. They can't generally seem to put a full package on the road. To me, the XLR is a player, but at the wrong price point given the entire package. Cool exterior style, hard top convertible, great Northstar engine, lots of toys BUT the interior for the price of admission they're asking...? It is not a terrible interior, just shy of the $76k in look and feel. I think they improved it a bit with the '06 though.

    '13 Jaguar XF, '11 BMW 535xi, '02 Lexus RX300

  • 213xlrv213xlrv Posts: 38
    OK, something sensible to address.

    Prestige: No question that in 2006 Cadillac is playing from behind against the Germans and Italians. It's a wash with Lexus. Some Lexus buyers believe they are buying status and everyone else dismisses that as posing. Cadillac is actually well regarded now in some circles. However, I don't buy cars to telegraph my wealth or what I've achieved. In horsepower, money and success there's always someone with more anyway. I buy what I enjoy and in some measure what projects identity. No Mercedes could satisfy that for me. There are others like me and I really don't care whether that number exceeds the population of Mercedes brand seekers or not. I suppose on the contrary I prefer it is smaller.

    Style: Whether a 2-seat drop top is a toy or not depends on where you live. It undeniably has entertainment value but at times I've had sports cars as my only transportation. But style is a prime mover and on that front for me the XLR-v wins by a knockout over the squashed, bloated, long-overhangs SL. Others may disagree.

    Ride: You're probably correct that for some people this kind of car is expected to be a good cruiser. I'm not one of them. The cruiser character of the SL is precisely what excuses its surplus bulk and compromises it in the majority of driving. I strongly prefer the edgier, more sporting set of the XLR-v, and when it is in standard auto mode, the ride is soft enough for gliding around town on the no-longer-smooth streets of Los Angeles.

    Handling: I do agree that the status poseur only asks for reasonable handling competence, and that buyer likely has very little experience with a true sports car. However, there is a sub-segment of this market, in which I include myself, for whom handling is expected to be as close to sports-car-like as possible given the mass necessitated by its GT luxury retracting hardtop configuration. Hence, an XLR-v weighs about 600 pounds more than the performance-oriented Corvette that shares its platform.

    I agree that for the market-at-large today, Mercedes beats Cadillac in perceived prestige. If someone if buying a car to announce their success to the world and they want a specific recognition and response to what they are telegraphing, then Mercedes will do that and Cadillac may or may not. However for a more secure, confident person, this wouldn't matter at all.

    So it comes to the interior. No doubt, making it more....something...would overcome a certain kind of buyer's objections. At $76K I don't see the problem with the XLR interior and I've been inside everything it competes with. All the $60K - $80K cars have plastic and leather and wood inside, and none of it looks crafted. It's all mass produced and looks it. On the arrangement of functions, ergonomics, communications, the XLR is a specific aesthetic that I and many others like for its straightforwardness and simplicity. The XLR-v significantly upgrades the touch points and cosmetics on the same ergonomics. If I were the product planner, I'd say put the XLR-v interior in the XLR and then let's look at how we can boost the prestige visuals and tactiles in the V. Especially given the higher-than-average markup in the car. BUT, that's a nice-to-have and the way it is presents no reason not to consider or buy the car. It's quite convincing and accommodating the way it is. Given the serious gap in price between equal equipment SL55 and XLR-v, if upgrading the interior further meant losing any aspect of the drivetrain or dynamics, I'd be begging to keep the interior as is.

    Now, as a business move, if I were running GM I would consider pricing for the break-even point plus dealer profit to disrupt the market. The fact that they didn't do that is a business decision, right or wrong, that isn't a reflection on the car itself. The fact is, its pricing is more than competitive for what it delivers and the experience the driver gets.

    In introducing the V into this rarefied market, Cadillac is asserting that the criteria for selection in the class have room for alternative thinking. I can say that actually driving the cars has the potential to change your views about what matters and what doesn't in this class. Cadillac's challenge is to make sure the V gets evaluated. I approached this with no loyalty to GM, and in fact had never bought a new GM vehicle before this. A lot of people ask me for advice on cars and in this class, my message is, if you think you are working from a short list of one -- Mercedes SL -- you settling for less entertainment than you could be getting at the price.

    Phil
  • laurasdadalaurasdada Posts: 2,689
    Phil, you are 100% correct for yourself. From your posts, you did your homework and bought the best car for your needs/wants and desires. And I enjoy your reviews and thoughts. Also, to me, a point in the XLR's favor is its relative exclusivity. In Boston, as LA, SL500s are far from a rarity. But an XLR? Once in a blue...

    My comments were a generalization, as I stated. People buy a car for many different reasons and none of them are wrong. Because they are buying the car they want with their money for themselves (as did you). Whether it is prestige, style, economy, power, ride/handling or a pretty color, if they buy they are correct. Nothing wrong with that.

    I appreciate the effort Caddy is making to once again (re)establish a brand identity. While the CTS was crossed off my list early, it did seem to signify a new beginning. At least it is bold (and a good drive, from what I've read). As you've stated, while each Caddy may not be the "best" in its segment they are being compared/contrasted with the established peers and are fairing well. Finally, viable alternatives. However, I believe that their "ambitious " pricing has hurt their efforts a bit. Better cars, same discounts/rebates/trunk money/"Employee Pricing" to actually align the pricing with the market. But I'm no business genius, so what do I know? I'm just a car guy and consumer :)

    When it's time for the evil wife to upgrade her Lexus RX, I'm sure we'll check out the SRX (but again, that interior...I'm sorry. I know they all use plastics/woods/leathers but some mfg. just know how to put them to better use. To me, Audi and Lexus craft some lovely interiors. MB, too). I continue to window shop (used) XLRs, one never knows... EMC could hit $100/share again, right???

    Keep enjoying the Vs. Post any interesting tidbits, reliability/lack thereof, economy, performance, notes from the road. Unless, of course, you don't have time because you're out enjoying the ride!

    Three days to the beginning of the Red Sox valiant march to glory!

    '13 Jaguar XF, '11 BMW 535xi, '02 Lexus RX300

  • jlmartinjlmartin Posts: 7
    Greetings,

    I am one of the fortunate to have the opportunity to purchase a world class luxury roadster. For my requirements, MB SL500,Cadillac XLR and Lexus SC430 were the final three for serious consideration.

    I should note, Porsche 911, Chevy's Corvette, Jaguar's XK8, BMW's 650i Maserati's Spyder convertible were reviewed and I liked many aspects of what these cars offered. But for all that these cars offered and let me say they are wonderful products, they all were missing a key requirement, hard top drop ease. And quite honestly I was not looking for the ultimate sports car, but instead a GT luxury roadster.

    First, I would be happy with any of these luxury roadsters sitting in my garage. In my evaluation I ranked Cadillac's XLR best in class luxury roadster. The Lexus SC430 was eliminated after the first test drive. My wife's comment nailed it, "drives kinda like a Lexus sedan" and for me the overall styling was not my favorite. But Lexus has a fine product and we have owned two of their sedans and high quality with a big "Q", Lexus wins hands down. For the SC430, we found it to be a well wonderful car, but not very sporty feeling. So it ranked last. However, the Lexus SC430 was the bargain of the group, coming in at a little over $67,000

    The real contest for me came between the MB SL500 and Caddy XLR. For overall styling, (exterior/interior) XLR wins. For me when I walked up to the SL500 I liked what I saw, but it did not excite me, good styling overall and interior design nice, but nothing that grabbed me. But when I walked around the XLR, WOW is what came to mind. What a beautiful, exotic contemporary design. I could see myself peeking at it in my garage. And the interior design is beautiful with a fresh, uncluttered, modern styling that adorns the touch areas with luxury level leather, wood and aluminum. In comparison the SL500 is more traditional, with very good materials, but a bit busy design with lots of buttons when the SL500 is optioned to the level of the XLR. The SL500 priced a little over $108,000 compared to XLR' $78,000 price tag. But quite honestly, this was not the key factor. The key factor was the drive of the SL500. The SL500 is a very heavy feeling and interesting softer in its ride on some road conditions than the XLR. The XLR on the other hand, has better balance of feel and ride with a more sporty to drive sensation compared to the SL500. Let me state, none of these luxury roadsters offer the type of feedback that other high end sports cars offer and that is part of its appeal to me. The race track is not a weekend affair or of interest for me.

    From the point of view of specifications, both products are to close to split hairs about.

    Other design approaches become evident when comparing the XLR and SL500. From a driver standpoint the systems integration is better implemented in the XLR when compared to the SL500. For example there are no keys for the XLR (only for emergency). No key hole slot in the doors and as a matter of fact, the doors release electronically, no door handles of the conventional style. I know this may sound like a small item, but it added to the exotic design of the exterior. The same goes for the interior as well, no door handle release to pull, just a small round button and the door is opened for you. The Heads Up display works very effectively and once you become accustom to having this feature, it becomes an irritation to drive without it. All in all. I view the difference between Cadillac's XLR and MB's SL500 as matter of contemporary versus traditional. There is one other factor to consider, how the cars interfaces with its driver. This topic is not talked about very much, but was another edge I gave to the Cadillac designers in that, the XLR was the most intuitive in everyday use and created a ease of use better than the SL500. The SL500 made you feel you needed to review the owners manual from cover to cover before you can use its high tech features. On the other hand XLR's integration makes you feel a quick reference card is all you need. In other words MB SL500 forces you to adapt to it versus the XLR adapts to you. For example the act of making or receiving a phone call. In the XLR, you press a button and simply say Call and provide the number you wish to connect to. If you say Dial, you simple say the key word and the numbers you have stored are completed. This all without taking you eyes off the road. Another example is when you wish to change the XM station or switch to your favorite MP3, CD or DVD disc collection, simply select from your steering wheel buttons and view the results through the Heads Up display, it is seamless. This is one area where the XLR is far ahead of its competition in its design approach. No small feat when you consider the amount of technology within these vehicles.

    I would expect the next generation of the SL500 and Lexus's new $100,000 GT car will have me re-evaluating my XLR decision. But for now, Cadillac's XLR is, in my opinion the best in class luxury roadster.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    For some reason you have not been paying attention. I accept that the M5 is an effort to build a performance sedan, and that the 7 series is an attempt to build a luxury car. What you're not grasping is that someone who wants a more passenger-accommodating performance car than the M5, the STS-v is an alternative. And for someone who wants a more performance-oriented luxury car than the 7 series, the same is true.

    And what you're not getting is that the STS isn't superior (like you originally stated) to either one of them at what they're designed to do. Who said that a Cadillac wasn't an "alternative"? Of course they're an "alternative", but they don't best the BMWs at what they're designed for, 5 being sport and 7 being luxury. Why is that so hard to grasp? Just because Cadillac wants to be the odd man out and size their cars differently in a futile attempt to cover more segments isn't BMW's fault.

    For anyone who wants a car configured exactly to the 5 and 7 series formulas, only a BMW will do, since no one else will ever build the identical car. Cadillac didn't set out to build identical formula cars. I think it's you making excuses for BMWs that are too one-dimensional in their intent, as sedans.

    I think you've made nothing but excuses for Cadillac since day one.

    Sorry, but a CTS-v doesn't get "beaten badly" by an M5. Especially when you consider the nearly $30K difference in price. But I already addressed the reasons why the cars are closer than you say, in the prior post. Certainly in North American conditions, the CTS-v formula has more tractable, more accessible power, and in a lighter more entertaining package. It's only missing some extra leather and dead weight compared to the M5, and the gap is even narrower compared to a lesser 5. If Cadillac equipped the CTS-v to an $81,000 retail level of gear and creature comforts, it wouldn't be difficult to beat the M. But there's no need to. The better driver in the "slower" car can beat the average driver in the one with 500hp sitting up there at 7750rpm.

    I can't believe you're being serious here. The CTS-V gets its lugnuts handed to it by the M5. You can argue all day long about how badly the CTS-V gets beaten by the M5, but the in the end the result is the same....M5 wins. Period.

    There's no advantage to a surplus quarter ton in a GT car, no matter how much you'd like to sweep that under the rug. It's only penalty. Nothing positive can be achieved by that mass, especially since the price of the car suggests the engineering and materials would be more sophisticated to avoid the needles bulk. An interior is superficial and the differences you complain about are small. No doubt, some people will choose a car on that criterion alone. But then they're not really buying the car, are they? For an extra $40+ thou, I hope Mercedes can put a few more scraps of leather and metal in their interior! The XLR-v ergonomics are fundamentally correct however and they've come to market with something much more distinctive, better engineered for mass optimization, and more entertaining to boot, for enough less cash to buy a sports sedan. I expect there to be a little less of something somewhere. The interior is the logical place to dial back the opium den aesthetic.

    Yawn, yet when the two are compared the SL gets the nod in the handling department.

    I have to say your second post reads like nothing ever seen before. No one but a GM apologist could come up with so much nonesense about the M5 and so many excuses in an attempt to put over a clearly outdone Cadillac CTS-V.

    Most 5 series owners wouldn't know what to do with performance in a car if the instructions were written on the windshield.

    Really? I guess the average senior-citizen in a STS or DTS would? You seem to live in your own little world when it comes to Cadillac like their buyers are more informed about their cars and that Cadillac has all of a sudden become a performance brand.

    STS sales down? Yes, modestly. So are E-Class Mercedes. In Cadillac's case, part of this reason is the new DTS which is taking some STS customers who a year prior bought a smaller car than they originally intended. The STS drop off is just a few hundred units.

    Wrong. An 18 percent YTD drop-off compared to last year isn't modest, especially in the 2nd model year of the car! That ain't "modest" that is a problem for a new model. The E-Class is only down 3 percent YTD compared to last year, and it has been on the market since 2003. You trying to call that STS' drop in sales modest sounds/reads like all these recent press releases from GM in which they talk about their "turnaround" working while they bleed market share and sales every month like a cut pig.

    M
  • laurasdadalaurasdada Posts: 2,689
    Very nice write-up, thanks!

    While the interior of the SC430 is still one of my fave's, the exterior is a very distant third, imo, to both the XLR and the SL. Many people downgrade the SC as not being sporty enough, but I don't believe Lexus ever marketed the SC as a sports car, rather a GT, sport tourer.

    I, too, would (most probably) only consider a hardtop convertible. Luckily, over the next 18 months it looks like those ranks will grow offering true(er) four seating capability which, for my family, will be a good thing.

    Still, the XLR catches my eye. The kids can walk!

    '13 Jaguar XF, '11 BMW 535xi, '02 Lexus RX300

  • laurasdadalaurasdada Posts: 2,689
    As premium fuel here in the Boston area rapidly approaches $3/gallon, anyone care to post their XLR mpg? A child of "energy crisis" and "fuel shortage" of the '70s, economy is always on my mind. And wallet...

    '13 Jaguar XF, '11 BMW 535xi, '02 Lexus RX300

  • 213xlrv213xlrv Posts: 38
    I drove through both the '73/'74 and '79 fuel crises too. On sustained freeway driving at 80+mph, my XLR-v gets 23-24mpg. In mixed Los Angeles urban/clogged freeway/canyon roads/open freeway, I get 18mpg, which includes the stop-and-go 4mph rush hour creep. On a whole tankful of nothing but city and rush hour freeway creep, I get 14mpg. I consider this excellent for a 443hp car. It's a little worse than my former manual tranny Corvette and a little better than other supercharged vehicles I've had. At $3.00/gal in SoCal, premium gasoline is still cheap in real dollar terms and not a concern if you can afford this car. Even at this price and mileage, I am paying a lower percetnage of my after-tax income for fuel than I was in 1973 or 1979.

    Phil
  • 213xlrv213xlrv Posts: 38
    The STS-v is a better CAR than an M5. It costs less too. It's irrelevant whether the M5 has modestly better performance numbers. It's a little smaller, less useful as a passenger-carrying car, and its margins over the STS-v are scarcely meaningful in North American driving. On the contrary, the STS-v performance bias makes more sense on our continent than does the M5. As an abstract object M5 is finely engineered. So is the Cadillac. The Caddy and the BMW are close but each is optimized a bit differently, and this is true whether you compare it to the 7 or the 5. No one takes their M5 to the track to trade paint and no one thinks the 7 series is anything but a dreadnaught sedan. A difference in drivers can put the STS-v ahead of the M5 and magnify the porkiness of the 7. As cars, these three are different flavors and the STS-v gives you a good measure of the advantages of both, making it a better singular car than either.

    Reviewers have commented that the XLR-v chassis is sharper handling than the SL. It's true. It is. You only have to drive both the V and the SL500 or 55. When you've actually driven all these cars like I have, come back when you know what you're talking about.

    I didn't mention anything about Cadillac's customers' ability to leverage a performance car's performance. Cadillac isn't the brand with the hordes of status-seeking Mario-pretenders. As I said before, V-Series is a performance brand. Cadillac's brand is broader.

    The 18% drop in STS sales is modest when you consider the sales that went to the new DTS. E-class being down 3% is a problem for Mercedes too. It's a competitive market where if you're not growing you have something to attend to. BMW was up. Congratulations to them. They've successfully managed their brand for status-seekers for 30 years.

    Phil
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The STS-V isn't better car than the M5, that is nonesense and no publication, professional driver would ever agree with such nonsense. The STS-V competes with the 7-Series in price only, not in much else. Face it, for the M5 was designed to do (be a sports sedan) it trounces any and everything from Cadillac. End of story.

    Reviewers have commented that the XLR-v chassis is sharper handling than the SL. It's true. It is. You only have to drive both the V and the SL500 or 55. When you've actually driven all these cars like I have, come back when you know what you're talking about.

    I haven't read that anywhere, care to give a credible source? Everything I've seen says the opposite, despite all this nonesense about weight and what not. Fine you've driven the cars and you found different, but your opinion is in the minority and I'll take the mags words before I will an obvious GM apologist that has a grand excuse and/or twist for every GM shortfall.

    I didn't mention anything about Cadillac's customers' ability to leverage a performance car's performance. Cadillac isn't the brand with the hordes of status-seeking Mario-pretenders. As I said before, V-Series is a performance brand. Cadillac's brand is broader.

    Broader, wider whatever you want to call it, yet they can't catch BMW with a tailwind in either sales or performance. It isn't Mercedes, BMW's or Lexus' fault that Cadillac destroyed their image in the mind of luxury car buyers to the point of not being on the image scale. If Cadillac were still the standard of the world you'd be cheering about how prestigious they are. Another thing has to be said too about this point, Cadillac has made nothing but old folks cars up until now and that group doesn't usually care about image and who not, but for brand who actually make cars that people want drive (instead of riding in) like BMW and Mercedes of course they'll draw more image seekers than a worn-out, tired old brand like Cadillac.

    The 18% drop in STS sales is modest when you consider the sales that went to the new DTS. E-class being down 3% is a problem for Mercedes too. It's a competitive market where if you're not growing you have something to attend to. BMW was up. Congratulations to them. They've successfully managed their brand for status-seekers for 30 years.

    An eighteen percent drop in the 2nd model year of a new model is "modest"?! More GM-type spin and excuses. The E-Class is up for a facelift and I'll bet you that they wind up selling more this year than last despite a 3-percent drop for the first few months of the year.

    Knock BMW and Mercedes because they're hot while trying to play up tired Cadillac as some type of thinking man's alternative because they've finally managed to become merely competitive after 30 years of building people couldn't care less about, yeah I've got it.

    Oh I get it, the STS' sales tanking in its second year is the result of all the educated buyers having bought one last year so now they've moved on to the even more boatlike DTS. Makes sense to me. Yet these are some type of performance buyers that would compare a STS to a 750i? Absolutely ridiculous.

    M
  • 213xlrv213xlrv Posts: 38
    A professional driver's or a magazine's opinion one way or another about the STS-v being a better car for general purposes than an M5 isn't relevant. My point is that judging any sedan as a sports car or on sports car attributes is nonsense, as building to that spec reduces the vehicle's suitability as a passenger-carrying car. Now, if someone wants a 4-door built to BMW's M formula, fine. But really, even a sports-car-performing sedan cannot give you the sports car experience. The driver doesn't have the seating proximity to the drive wheels, seating position, chassis feedback, low mass, or the low center of gravity to have the same experience. Hence an M5 is optimized for factors that undermine its suitability as a passenger vehicle without delivering a sportscar experience, and the Cadillac makes fewer such sedan suboptimizations to favor irrelevent performance. It's a better formula for a performance sedan, not intended to duplicate the pointless M5, and sharper driving than the larger 7. If I want a car engineered to nth-degree performance, I'll buy a sports car where the intended experience is intrinsic to both the engineering and configuration, as in a Z06. For a 4 door performance sedan, the STS-v is a more considered and appealing mix of characteristics and, really, the number of people who agree with that is irrelevant to whether the observation is valid. No one drives a 4 door luxury sedan on public roads at 1g, and not even evasive maneuverability demands it.

    The one thing all these performance sedans have that is universally pertinent is big brakes for stopping power. Excellent! On the other factors, too much "performance" in a sedan begins to compromise its chief function while the form factor precludes the experience that extreme performance bias tries to capture. You end up with a cramped 4000 pound 4-door stuffed with a torque-anemic, V10 having its peak horsepower up in buzz-bomb territory near 8000 rpm. The image and mechanics just don't jibe. Where's the wing on trunk-mounted 3-foot drilled titanium supports? You have to drive the thing like a backwards-ballcap-wearing modified Ricer to extract the spec performance from that thing. You can't maintain any civil dignity in your $80,000+ teutonic, flame-surfaced, humpy box. BUT you can get something larger with more torque and plenty of peak horsepower accessible at 1300 fewer rpms; or something a quarter ton trimmer with more torque and plenty of usable horsepower accessible at 1700 fewer rpms. There, that's how it's done. BMW makes fine cars, really. None that I would own, but good cars nevertheless. They just don't make Cadillac Vs.

    If I cared about majority opinion at all, I'd have a stupidly-overweight, quarter-ton-too-heavy SL-something, and be sheepishly explaining that I'm just not independent enough to have bought the better car.

    As for the comment on the XLR-v having a sharper handling chassis than the SL series, Automobile Magazine for one. But as I said, if you actually go drive them, you don't need a reviewer to point out the obvious.

    Although I am old enough to remember a time when Cadillac made cars that young people aspired to, none of them actually interested me. Older people tended to own them because back then younger people couldn't afford the cars. Young people didn't expect to own prestige cars and if they did buy way beyond their means, they bought sports cars -- Corvettes, Porsches, Healeys and Jags -- or, later, msucle cars. Credit wasn't liberal, leasing was non-existent, and there was a lower incidence of brand status-seeking in the culture. Sure, Cadillac neglected and actively mismanaged their brand since the mid-sixties. But it's really status-seekers who have swelled the sales of BMW, Mercedes and Lexus above any intrinsic core buying population of people who might actually understand the car they've bought. Those companies have done a good marketing job over the last 20 years and until recently, Cadillac has not.

    I am not trying to open the eyes of status-seekers. They are mindless about product and driven by brand perception alone, and can only be turned around over time. I am only concerned today with car buyers who actually grasp real, meaningful product differences, know how to drive, and are brand-independent enough to be open-minded about better or more interesting product choices from a resurgent brand.

    I remain mystified how you came to the conclusion that I'm a GM apologist. I am a first-time GM new vehicle customer with no history whatsoever of GM fealty. I've owned at least 10 Ford vehicles. I think Rick Wagoner is latest in a long line of beancounter CEOs whose very mindset has hamhandedly put GM into its current plight. I'm apologizing for nothing about GM. However, when they win on product I'm ready to recognize it.

    A CTS-v is more usable than an M3 and more emotional and fun than an M5. Mercedes has nothing equivalent. An XLR-v is sharper, lighter and more fun than an SL-55, and more modern in its form. And these attributes are true even before considering Cadillac's price advantage.

    You continue to miss the point about the drop in STS sales and the intro of the new DTS -- the new DTS picked up some of the prior year's STS volume. Some new customers for Cadillac 4 doors prefer a larger car. They are not performance-oriented, not size-constrained, and for them the DTS works better, just as some BMW customers prefer the porky 7 to the more nimble 5. The DTS also picks up some customers in northern climates who have come to prefer the snow traction of front-wheel drive, irrespective of the fact that FWD isn't appealing to you and me.

    I don't know where you are, M, so if you're outside the US, what I'm about to say is not relevant. But if you are in the US, then you have a direct interest in seeing Cadillac specifically and GM in general succeed. The reversal of fortune there will not happen overnight. And it will be uneven, product-by-product. The turnaround task is gargantuan. If brand prevents you or others from recognizing, appreciating and supporting with your cash the instances of GM fielding world-class competitors, then you can't expect those efforts to continue. There are many car models where a GM buyer is effectively looking past meaningful product deficiencies to buy American, get Onstar, support a local dealer, or whatever. But the Cadillac V-series cars are not among them.

    Phil
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    My point is that judging any sedan as a sports car or on sports car attributes is nonsense, as building to that spec reduces the vehicle's suitability as a passenger-carrying car.

    Then what in the world is all the talk about the CTS-V being better than the M5 when it is about the same size and not nearly as luxurious in addition to being trounced by the M5 on performance? None of what you're saying makes any sense. You're still trying to give these Cadillacs a free-pass on being not up to par as sports sedans because they're slightly bigger depending on which angle you use to put the Cadillac in the best light possible. It won't work because the whole point of a car like the CTS-V is to be a sports sedan, the regular versions can carry people if that is what people are looking for. M5 scorches the CTS-V in any performance contest you can come up with...I'm not sure what about that fact is difficult to understand.

    The STS-V may be a more appeal package to you, but you'll be hard pressed to find anyone else outside of the GM camp that agrees with this. You're clearly in the minority on that one.

    You can go on forever and a day about the BMW M5 and its V10 and how it develops its power but at the end of the day it will smoke any Cadillac build. End of story. You're right BMW doesn't make Cadillac "V"s they make something entirely different and according to most, better. The bottom line is that the M5 outperforms the CTS-V and there no amount of GM-induced spin that can change that.

    I remain mystified how you came to the conclusion that I'm a GM apologist. I am a first-time GM new vehicle customer with no history whatsoever of GM fealty. I've owned at least 10 Ford vehicles. I think Rick Wagoner is latest in a long line of beancounter CEOs whose very mindset has hamhandedly put GM into its current plight. I'm apologizing for nothing about GM. However, when they win on product I'm ready to recognize it.

    I don't see how you could be. You come up with an excuse for GM at every single turn and you seem to think Cadillac has managed to outdo BMW in building a sports/sporty sedan. This whole conversation reeks of excuses for GM left and right and/or a smear of competing brands with points like:

    1. Trying to compare Cadillacs to a one-up size BMW - typical specious GM tactic by both supporters and GM corporate alike.

    2. Talking about weight in the SL and M5, while at the same time saying that none of these cars should be judged as sports cars. This is the point I made at the start here, the XLR isn't a sports car and most buyers of a 75K roadster aren't going to throw it around like one, yet you went on and on about how the XLR is so tossable and how the SL is so heavy, but now these cars shouldn't be judged on sports car criteria??? Simply does not make sense.

    3. Labeling all BMW/MB buyers as mere status seekers like all of them are so clueless, all the while trying to make out Cadillac buyers as this incredibly well informed group of buyers when most of them wouldn't know any more about their cars than buyers of any other brand. In reality they likely know less especially when it comes to competitors cars. The only reason Cadillac is even still around is because there was a group of people so ignorant to the point that they wouldn't buy anything else during the 80's and early 90's when Cadillac heaved more junk on the road than anyone else. This applies to GM as a whole during that time and there is still a large group of GM-only folks around today which have kept the company going until recently.

    Perfect example of excuse making for Cadillac/GM:

    You continue to miss the point about the drop in STS sales and the intro of the new DTS -- the new DTS picked up some of the prior year's STS volume. Some new customers for Cadillac 4 doors prefer a larger car. They are not performance-oriented, not size-constrained, and for them the DTS works better, just as some BMW customers prefer the porky 7 to the more nimble 5. The DTS also picks up some customers in northern climates who have come to prefer the snow traction of front-wheel drive, irrespective of the fact that FWD isn't appealing to you and me.

    This is an excuse. So you're saying that Cadillac is so awful in marketing that they can't sell both the STS and DTS in good numbers at the same time? You've lost Cadillac's (or any car company's) plot if you think the reason for the STS' sales drop is the DTS. The idea is to sell both cars in good numbers to increase market share for the Cadillac brand, not alternate sales between the two. The STS has optional AWD so there goes the excuse about the DTS taking sales because it is FWD. No matter how you slice it, a 21 percent drop for a new model in its second year is a problem no matter what the brand is. Mercedes and BMW are able to sell their medium and large cars side by side without one of them dropping 21 percent when the other one is brand new. How about the truth for once? The STS is dropping like a rock because there are superior cars in its class. Newsflash: STS buyers aren't "performance-oriented" in the least. To even suggest that the STS is too much of a sporty car for the average Cadillac buyer to pass it over for the DTS is just plain absurd.

    I am not trying to open the eyes of status-seekers. They are mindless about product and driven by brand perception alone, and can only be turned around over time. I am only concerned today with car buyers who actually grasp real, meaningful product differences, know how to drive, and are brand-independent enough to be open-minded about better or more interesting product choices from a resurgent brand.

    Apparently a lot of buyers have been open minded about Cadillac in the last few years with their sales having risen dramatically in the last 3-4 years. My question for you is how do you know that these buyers are so well informed and so intelligent compared to BMW/MB buyers? Factual evidence please, not a story about someone you know who has an uncle/brother/nice/mother/neighbor/co-worker etc. etc. etc. that knows about cars and what you see on the road because none of that means anything here. Who and what says that Cadillac buyers more techincally astute then BMW/MB buyers??? Where is this written? Where is the proof of this? All BMW/MB buyers are mindless? That fits right in with all Cadillac buyers being geezers right? We both know that neither of those can't be true in every case.

    I personally don't want GM to fail, but then again if they do its their own fault...though we're talking about Cadillac here not GM.

    M
  • 213xlrv213xlrv Posts: 38
    Oh my.....you keep filtering out the content that answers the questions you pose. I already covered why the CTS-V is a preferable mix of attributes over an M5. It's more useful as a 4 door while delivering near sports-car performance in a sedan. The small (it doesn't "scorch" a CTS-V) raw performance margin in favor of the M5 comes at the price of a more cramped cabin, 500 pounds more useless bulk, overteched content, and a nice V10 (if you like V10s) that is just plain silly in its powerband for this application. It makes scarcely more sense in the M6; more sense still if they revived the Z8 and shoehorned it in the engine room. Judging a performance sedan on sports car performance alone is nonsense because no matter how far you bias its mix of attributes toward sheer grip, acceleration, top speed and handling, it still cannot duplicate the sensation of a sports car, nor does anyone actually drive a car of that configuration at anything more than 7/10ths performance.

    CTS-V has a better mix of attributes for a sporting sedan. More usable power that's more accessible in real conditions, in a more straightforward package, with more grip and stopping power than either car's buyers have the ability or courage to use. All at lower cost and less weight. It's not an excuse. Cadillac did not set out to duplicate an overengineered M5, they built a V instead. Moreover, with almost $30K price difference between the cars, it wouldn't be difficult at all to put merely SOME of that difference into tuner modifications to the V to handily outperform the M5 in the areas of advantage you cite. I can easily blow well past the M5's power and meet or exceed its grip and dynamics for much less than $30K, and I'll still have the better-looking, more usable, lighter-weight car. Hell, I can even slather it in more interior leather, too.

    That the STS-V's appeal over an M5 or a 7 series is a minority conclusion is irrelevant. Why would you even bring it up? If I agreed with the majority there'd be nothing to write about here. Clearly I think a lot of people are just plain wrong or at least willfully ill-informed.

    There are no excuses being made. Just reasons for differences. I've compared Cadillac V sedans to one-size up and one-size down BMWs. The CTS-V and STS-V sit between the BMW/Mercedes classes, so why not? A CTS-V is a better mix of performance sedan characteristics than an M3 or M5 for most drivers, whether they know it or not. An STS-V is similarly better-configured as a performance sedan than either and M5 or the "sportiest" 7 series. If more people actually drove these cars comparatively with a blind eye to brand, they'd reach the same conclusion.

    You keep condemning Cadillac for not meeting every spec of an M car. But they are not building M clones. They're building Vs. If Cadillac were to make the CTS-V an M5 clone, there'd be less than $28,000 difference in price between the cars. Less than $45K between an XLR-V and an SL55. Even with the traditional advantage to pragmatic American engineering, it would surely cost more to build 500 more pounds in either car and deliver more inaccessible horsepower.

    But how could they get there in the CTS in a better way? Let's see....7.0L LS7 from the Z06 for 505 hp and equal grunt in a lighter car. Not to mention that there's a 600+hp version of the small block under development and much more than that is cheaply reached in the aftermarket. Bigger front and rear sway bars. Make a differential cooler standard and bolster the diff case. Meatier bushings and a brace for the IRS. Punch up the spring rates a bit and stiffen the dampers some. Steering from the Z06. Z06 brakes. Bigger footprint tires and offer option of non-EMTs with a goo can. Oh...as a bone to you we'll put leather on the dash and doors and aluminum on the center stack. You're there. The M5 would be in your rear-view mirror.

    Uh-oh...but I forgot....WE HAVE TO ADD ANOTHER QUARTER TON to the car to equal BMW's engineering. How would you like your 500 lbs. of useless bulk? Bricks in the trunk? Depleted Uranium body armor in the floorpan? Maybe steel wheels with dogdish caps and cast iron in the exhaust? Geeze, it's hard find sensible ways to add all that weight, other than the upgrades in engine, suspension, brakes, tires. Or is the BMW M customer suddenly in favor of lead sound insulation? Isn't it self-evident by the $28,000 difference that a CTS-V isn't intended to clone an M5? Shall I start on the XLR-V v. SL55 along this line?

    None of these cars ARE sports cars. They are sporting cars. And weight is enemy to sporting characteristics as well as sensation, which is what sports cars deliver and sports sedans reach for. "Managed" weight might get to the numbers but still erodes the experience. There's no possible advantage to it. An extra quarter ton of useless bulk in a same-purpose, same-function, similar-spec performance car is bad, plain and simple. There's no way to disguise it. It infects everything from the car's economics to the sense of its behavior when changing direction. Just because grip can be engineered in doesn't make 500 pounds extra acceptable.

    You German car apologists and aficionados can't have it both ways. When Detroit's cars were heavy they were criticized mercilessly for their bulk. Now, the Germans are the ones packing on tubby lard and it's OK? Five-hundred pounds -- CTS-V to M5 and XLR-V to SL55. There is no consideration in which an extra quarter ton in mass is preferable in a similar-performing and same-function car that is already heavy due to luxury features. The XLR-V, based on a box-tube-frame/torque-tube, true sports car structure and chassis, is much more advanced in its vehicle engineering thinking than the tired, old-school, fat unibody SL. Remember when unibodies were supposed to be lighter? Now an aluminum bodied Audi weighs more than a steel body-on-frame Crown Vic and about the same as a Town Car.

    The STS is certainly sportier and perceived as harsher by Cadillac's legacy customers than a DTS. They will prefer the DTS because it's for them, not me. But the only cars we're discussing as performance cars on Cadillac's side are Vs. Yeah, the intent is to sell both cars and in fact, sales of DTS+STS last year exceeded STS+leftover old DeVille before that. The mix of sales settled into a market-driven STS and DTS proportions that trimmed STS for a year when the larger new car was introduced. So what? Now the task is to grow 2006 over 2005 for both cars.

    I don't think I have ever said in any of this exchange that Cadillac buyers are in general better informed than others. You've said I said it, but I didn't. I did point out that most MB/BMW buyers are brand seekers who know little about their cars, and that's true. If they knew more about the products themselves and ignored brand, fewer would be sold. Now from a marketing standpoint, people buying on brand alone is exactly what you want, so no quarrel with what those c
  • 213xlrv213xlrv Posts: 38
    Oh my.....you keep filtering out the content that answers the questions you pose. I already covered why the CTS-V is a preferable mix of attributes over an M5. It's more useful as a 4 door while delivering near sports-car performance in a sedan. The small (it doesn't "scorch" a CTS-V) raw performance margin in favor of the M5 comes at the price of a more cramped cabin, 500 pounds more useless bulk, overteched content, and a nice V10 (if you like V10s) that is just plain silly in its powerband for this application. It makes scarcely more sense in the M6; more sense still if they revived the Z8 and shoehorned it in the engine room. Judging a performance sedan on sports car performance alone is nonsense because no matter how far you bias its mix of attributes toward sheer grip, acceleration, top speed and handling, it still cannot duplicate the sensation of a sports car, nor does anyone actually drive a car of that configuration at anything more than 7/10ths performance.

    CTS-V has a better mix of attributes for a sporting sedan. More usable power that's more accessible in real conditions, in a more straightforward package, with more grip and stopping power than either car's buyers have the ability or courage to use. All at lower cost and less weight. It's not an excuse. Cadillac did not set out to duplicate an overengineered M5, they built a V instead. Moreover, with almost $30K price difference between the cars, it wouldn't be difficult at all to put merely SOME of that difference into tuner modifications to the V to handily outperform the M5 in the areas of advantage you cite. I can easily blow well past the M5's power and meet or exceed its grip and dynamics for much less than $30K, and I'll still have the better-looking, more usable, lighter-weight car. Hell, I can even slather it in more interior leather, too.

    That the STS-V's appeal over an M5 or a 7 series is a minority conclusion is irrelevant. Why would you even bring it up? If I agreed with the majority there'd be nothing to write about here. Clearly I think a lot of people are just plain wrong or at least willfully ill-informed.

    There are no excuses being made. Just reasons for differences. I've compared Cadillac V sedans to one-size up and one-size down BMWs. The CTS-V and STS-V sit between the BMW/Mercedes classes, so why not? A CTS-V is a better mix of performance sedan characteristics than an M3 or M5 for most drivers, whether they know it or not. An STS-V is similarly better-configured as a performance sedan than either and M5 or the "sportiest" 7 series. If more people actually drove these cars comparatively with a blind eye to brand, they'd reach the same conclusion.

    You keep condemning Cadillac for not meeting every spec of an M car. But they are not building M clones. They're building Vs. If Cadillac were to make the CTS-V an M5 clone, there'd be less than $28,000 difference in price between the cars. Less than $45K between an XLR-V and an SL55. Even with the traditional advantage to pragmatic American engineering, it would surely cost more to build 500 more pounds in either car and deliver more inaccessible horsepower.

    But how could they get there in the CTS in a better way? Let's see....7.0L LS7 from the Z06 for 505 hp and equal grunt in a lighter car. Not to mention that there's a 600+hp version of the small block under development and much more than that is cheaply reached in the aftermarket. Bigger front and rear sway bars. Make a differential cooler standard and bolster the diff case. Meatier bushings and a brace for the IRS. Punch up the spring rates a bit and stiffen the dampers some. Steering from the Z06. Z06 brakes. Bigger footprint tires and offer option of non-EMTs with a goo can. Oh...as a bone to you we'll put leather on the dash and doors and aluminum on the center stack. You're there. The M5 would be in your rear-view mirror.

    Uh-oh...but I forgot....WE HAVE TO ADD ANOTHER QUARTER TON to the car to equal BMW's engineering. How would you like your 500 lbs. of useless bulk? Bricks in the trunk? Depleted Uranium body armor in the floorpan? Maybe steel wheels with dogdish caps and cast iron in the exhaust? Geeze, it's hard find sensible ways to add all that weight, other than the upgrades in engine, suspension, brakes, tires. Or is the BMW M customer suddenly in favor of lead sound insulation? Isn't it self-evident by the $28,000 difference that a CTS-V isn't intended to clone an M5? Shall I start on the XLR-V v. SL55 along this line?

    None of these cars ARE sports cars. They are sporting cars. And weight is enemy to sporting characteristics as well as sensation, which is what sports cars deliver and sports sedans reach for. "Managed" weight might get to the numbers but still erodes the experience. There's no possible advantage to it. An extra quarter ton of useless bulk in a same-purpose, same-function, similar-spec performance car is bad, plain and simple. There's no way to disguise it. It infects everything from the car's economics to the sense of its behavior when changing direction. Just because grip can be engineered in doesn't make 500 pounds extra acceptable.

    You German car apologists and aficionados can't have it both ways. When Detroit's cars were heavy they were criticized mercilessly for their bulk. Now, the Germans are the ones packing on tubby lard and it's OK? Five-hundred pounds -- CTS-V to M5 and XLR-V to SL55. There is no consideration in which an extra quarter ton in mass is preferable in a similar-performing and same-function car that is already heavy due to luxury features. The XLR-V, based on a box-tube-frame/torque-tube, true sports car structure and chassis, is much more advanced in its vehicle engineering thinking than the tired, old-school, fat unibody SL. Remember when unibodies were supposed to be lighter? Now an aluminum bodied Audi weighs more than a steel body-on-frame Crown Vic and about the same as a Town Car.

    The STS is certainly sportier and perceived as harsher by Cadillac's legacy customers than a DTS. They will prefer the DTS because it's for them, not me. But the only cars we're discussing as performance cars on Cadillac's side are Vs. Yeah, the intent is to sell both cars and in fact, sales of DTS+STS last year exceeded STS+leftover old DeVille before that. The mix of sales settled into a market-driven STS and DTS proportions that trimmed STS for a year when the larger new car was introduced. So what? Now the task is to grow 2006 over 2005 for both cars.

    I don't think I have ever said in any of this exchange that Cadillac buyers are in general better informed than others. You've said I said it, but I didn't. I did point out that most MB/BMW buyers are brand seekers who know little about their cars, and that's true. If they knew more about the products themselves and ignored brand, fewer would be sold. Now from a marketing standpoint, people buying on brand alone is exactly what you want, so no quarrel with what those c
  • 213xlrv213xlrv Posts: 38
    continued...

    I don't think I have ever said in any of this exchange that Cadillac buyers are in general better informed than others. You've said I said it, but I didn't. I did point out that most MB/BMW buyers are brand seekers who know little about their cars, and that's true. If they knew more about the products themselves and ignored brand, fewer would be sold. Now from a marketing standpoint, people buying on brand alone is exactly what you want, so no quarrel with what those companies have achieved as marketers. You could argue I've implied that *I'm* better informed and that some people reflexively buying BMWs and MBs would actually be happier in Cadillacs if they took the time to learn the comparatives on an objective and experiential basis.

    I've said brand-seeking buyers are mindless about product, and this is true across the board. I've also said this is true for MB and BMW buyers OUTSIDE of their much smaller core aficionado constituency that actually does know about their cars. This latter is a small group and I am not concerned with them. They bought BMWs specifically for BMW's mix of attributes and they consciously don't care about the downsides. No issue there. I haven't said at any time that Cadillac buyers are more technically astute. You've injected that claim. I perhaps only implied that I am and more people should be.

    Phil
  • ClairesClaires Chicago areaPosts: 979
    Let's get back on track, please -- this is the XLR/XLR-V discussion. If you want to talk about the STS, DTS, or CTS, we have topics for each of them in the Sedans Forum. Thanks.

    MODERATOR
    Need help getting around? claires@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • xlrguyxlrguy Posts: 1
    You are living a "Yellow Submarine" pipe dream. I have just left a "reliability stained" 39 months with a 2003 E500, and my business associate just left (2 months earlier) a similarly stained experience with a SL500. Both of us were long time "believers" in the MB star. We both had late 80s - early 90s MBs that were good cars, but not great cars. They were reliable and delivered on the promise of quality. The two cars I mentioned above were in for a combined 31, ready that THIRTY-ONE, non-maintenance related events. I can only find comfort in the fact that he had more events that I, but not by much. Both of us had delivery defects that called for immediate service (why can't they at least check out the vehicles before turning them over to the customer) that did not serve well for the MB experience. It took over two years for them to solve just one problem that involved what I call "lost/delayed acceleration", but you will find many other choice names for it among the forums. I will not dwell on this point any more, but I would like you to note that MB is now far behind the latest upstarts (given that MB likes to state that they are the oldest car manufacturer in the world) from Korea when it comes to quality, warranty, value, and customer loyalty.

    My other associates experience with BMW is on a similar parallel, some with even worse experiences on the 7 series. The horror stories on the 5 (since it is relatively new) have only recently begin to hit with similar impact.

    You have consistently defended the inexorable and inexcusable engineering excess (primarily read that as obesity)of the SL(the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over with the expectation that something will change). I would like you to turn your attention to the latest Business Week, and to the report on how Boeing is (my term,"kicking Airbus's [non-permissible content removed]") by demonstrating the superiority of design utilizing the advantages of light weight provided by using composites in the design. The design wins are overwhelming, and it must be noted that Cadillac has chosen similar design goals.

    As an chemist and engineer myself, I found it very enlightening when I compared (with test drives) the SL500, XK, 650 and XLR. All are competent cars, but I found the XLR (coincidentally the lightest in the group) to be the the best car when it came to handling AND comfort. I did not know at the time that I test drove the XLR that it was a re-bodied, re-suspensioned, re-comforted Corvette, but it becsme obvious thirty minutes after exploring the car.

    Cadillac has spent a huge amount of capital in reversing their earlier ills, but I, for one, think that if they can get their product into a previous MB or BMW hands, believe that the "perception will no longer be the reality", and Cadillac will reverse the trend they started.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    First off just because the CTS-V uses a truck-grade pushrod V8 doesn’t mean the V10 in the M5 is overteched. People buy expensive cars for refinement as well as performance and the CTS-V is short on both when it comes to a car like the M5. BTW, the superior performance of the M5 isn’t “small” in the least. The stats don’t lie and the CTS-V can’t even keep a M5 in sight. Period. People don’t buy cars like the M5 or CTS-V for ferry around passengers, they buy them for increased performance otherwise they can buy a regular CTS or 5-Series. I don’t see what is so hard to understand about this. The M5 is a superior sports sedan and no amount of spin will change that. All this garble about useable power, weight, driver’s ability, is nothing but spin and excuses and yet you can’t deny that the M5 outperforms the CTS-V in any test of performance you can come up with.

    I have never seem so much written in order to spin/cover up the obvious superiority of the BMW M5, yet in the end the CTS-V is on the trailer.

    Feel free to speculate about Cadillac putting a 1000000hp engine in the CTS-V, but until they do all that is just that, speculation.

    The STS is certainly sportier and perceived as harsher by Cadillac's legacy customers than a DTS. They will prefer the DTS because it's for them, not me. But the only cars we're discussing as performance cars on Cadillac's side are Vs. Yeah, the intent is to sell both cars and in fact, sales of DTS+STS last year exceeded STS+leftover old DeVille before that. The mix of sales settled into a market-driven STS and DTS proportions that trimmed STS for a year when the larger new car was introduced. So what? Now the task is to grow 2006 over 2005 for both cars.

    No way, driven the STS and previous Devilles, uncles had Cadillacs for years and I've driven the new STS a few times. That is nothing but an excuse there unless the DTS got softer from previous generations, which I doubt since they're calling it a DTS now. Fact is that the STS is dropping in only its second year on the market, don't care who thinks it rides which way or whatever, sales are sales at the end of the day and Cadillac needs them in order to prop up a dying GM. The fact that they can't sell both cars without one having so much effect on the other (per your excuse) says a lot about Cadillac. If Cadillac was serious about becoming something agin the FWD DTS needs to go or be redesign to bring it up to date with other large luxury cars.

    None of these cars ARE sports cars. They are sporting cars. And weight is enemy to sporting characteristics as well as sensation, which is what sports cars deliver and sports sedans reach for. "Managed" weight might get to the numbers but still erodes the experience. There's no possible advantage to it. An extra quarter ton of useless bulk in a same-purpose, same-function, similar-spec performance car is bad, plain and simple. There's no way to disguise it. It infects everything from the car's economics to the sense of its behavior when changing direction. Just because grip can be engineered in doesn't make 500 pounds extra acceptable.

    The contradictions here are amazing. One minute these are not sports cars yet weight is a problem. You're right they aren't sports cars which is they the Cadillac's being lighter doesn't help them when they're trimmed in cheapo materials which is something that luxury car buyers care more about than flinging around a 100K car.

    You German car apologists and aficionados can't have it both ways. When Detroit's cars were heavy they were criticized mercilessly for their bulk. Now, the Germans are the ones packing on tubby lard and it's OK? Five-hundred pounds -- CTS-V to M5 and XLR-V to SL55. There is no consideration in which an extra quarter ton in mass is preferable in a similar-performing and same-function car that is already heavy due to luxury features. The XLR-V, based on a box-tube-frame/torque-tube, true sports car structure and chassis, is much more advanced in its vehicle engineering thinking than the tired, old-school, fat unibody SL. Remember when unibodies were supposed to be lighter? Now an aluminum bodied Audi weighs more than a steel body-on-frame Crown Vic and about the same as a Town Car.

    Your comparision doesn't have any basis because these German cars you're trying to say are to heavy can easily outperform the Cadillacs you're trying to compare them with and secondly that American junk you're talking about couldn't get out of its own way and had the build of a boxcar. Big difference compared to today's cars. I'll give you that the A8 should be lighter considering its construction, but compared to Lincoln Town Car? Don't be ridiculous. The Audi's interior furnishings alone embarrase anything from any American car company and it also has AWD which adds weight not to mention it is just a superior car.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I don't think I have ever said in any of this exchange that Cadillac buyers are in general better informed than others. You've said I said it, but I didn't. I did point out that most MB/BMW buyers are brand seekers who know little about their cars, and that's true.

    And I'm saying that you don't have any way of knowing this beyond your own experience with them so you don't know what the percentage is and that more importantly you have know way of knowing that Cadillac buyers are any more intelligent.

    I've said brand-seeking buyers are mindless about product, and this is true across the board. I've also said this is true for MB and BMW buyers OUTSIDE of their much smaller core aficionado constituency that actually does know about their cars. This latter is a small group and I am not concerned with them. They bought BMWs specifically for BMW's mix of attributes and they consciously don't care about the downsides. No issue there. I haven't said at any time that Cadillac buyers are more technically astute. You've injected that claim. I perhaps only implied that I am and more people should be.

    Ok, I'll go with this but you still don't know how large that group of MB/BMW buyers are that know about their products. Since there is no way to measure this why bring it up? It's pointless.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well you're talking about a whole different issue, I can certainly understand that if you've been burned by Mercedes why you would feel that way. However reliability isn't what was being debated here. Do I think Mercedes has a problem in that area? For sure. No argument from me there.

    I will not dwell on this point any more, but I would like you to note that MB is now far behind the latest upstarts (given that MB likes to state that they are the oldest car manufacturer in the world) from Korea when it comes to quality, warranty, value, and customer loyalty.

    I won't dwell on it either, but Korean cars don't even come close to MB in other areas. A better warranty is needed because everyone remember the junk they've built in the past and the driving experience isn't even up to Japanese levels let alone anything from Germany. Don't get into an accident in a Korean car either, nothing but tins cans designed to get 5-stars in government and nothing more. The only thing "quality" about a Korean car is the fine way they have in working plastiwood and placing well in relibility surveys...while they deliver a sup-par driving experience and tin-can build intergrity.

    You have consistently defended the inexorable and inexcusable engineering excess (primarily read that as obesity)of the SL(the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over with the expectation that something will change). I would like you to turn your attention to the latest Business Week, and to the report on how Boeing is (my term,"kicking Airbus's [non-permissible content removed]") by demonstrating the superiority of design utilizing the advantages of light weight provided by using composites in the design. The design wins are overwhelming, and it must be noted that Cadillac has chosen similar design goals.

    And others have defended similar flaws in the XLR and even have gone so far to completely disregard them when everyone else seems them. Thats the definition of insanity, you know the "they're all making it up" condition.

    There is nothing "inexorable and inexcusable" about the SL's engineering. That is absurd and really a baseless claim unless you know the complete interworkings of the car. You seem to have also forgotten that the SL isn't a sports car its a GT cars as is the XLR. Now if you found the XLR to be more competent (as at least one other here) then good for you. Problem is that the things you call "inexorable and inexcusable" are what make the SL the class leader and until cars like the XLR become more well rounded they'll forever play second fiddle. I hardly think the average buyer in this class cares about the weight of the car compared to the interior, features, comfort and overall experience (not just handling) and besides it isn't like the SL can't handle. Others here will argue that XLR can outhandle the SL500, but that isn't what the professionals say. Can't comment on the SL55 vs the XLR-V, haven't driven either.

    Seems like you're willing to excuse anything Cadillac does for whatever reason when I find the interior of the XLR to be "inexorable and inexcusable" for its price as well as its looks, IMO.

    M
  • skeezixskeezix Posts: 45
    Merc1 says "the CTS-V can’t even keep a M5 in sight. Period." I thought about that and decided to look at Road and Track's Summary from December 2005 that was lying on the floor. M5:0-60 is 4.8 seconds, 0-100 is 11.3 seconds, the 1/4 mile is 13.3@108.5, top speed is 155 MPH, 60-0 is 116 feet, 100-0 is 203 feet, the slalom was 66.4 MPH, and the observed gas mileage was 18.2 MPG. The CTS-V has the following stats to compare:5.0, 11.4, 13.4@109, 163, 115, 202, 66.0, and 17.1. I simply do not see the huge performance disparity that you quote. The cars seem very well matched to me, performance wise. The comment about the "truck engine" is one of the most false statements I have ever heard. These forums are good for that though. Just make a statement - that makes it true.
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