2009 Cadillac CTS-V vs 2008 BMW M5

BMW M5 | September 10th, 2008 by 45

Road and Track: M5 versus CTS-V What do you get when you combine German driving skills with an American sport sedan? One rough andready American …

Road and Track: M5 versus CTS-V


What do you get when you combine German driving skills with an American sport sedan? One rough andready American icon.


The CTS-V is just that. Where the regular CTS is blah, and, well, bleh… The V is a formidable effort of true German quality. It was born on the ‘Ring, and bread with an American V8. The CTS-V lapped the ‘Ring in a sedan record of 7:59. It has a 6.2L Supercharged V8, packing 556hp at 6100 RPM and 551lb-ft of torque at 3800 RPM. Keep these figures fresh in your mind… The CTS-V only weighs 4200/4300lbs, in manual and automatic trim.

The M5 is a car that we’ve had since 2005 to drool over. And I still do. Every time I see one, I still have to stop and look, or take a second look. I love the M5. I prefer the manual to the SMG, but that’s just me. The M5 still carries one hell of a punch with a Naturally Aspirated V10 that has 500hp at 7750 RPM and 383lb-ft of torque at 6100 RPM. The M5 also weighs in at just 4012lbs.

So, Road and Track got the two cars and took them to the Monticello Motor Club’s brand new, unfinished, 3.4 mile long track, that is still under construction. Bill Auberlen and John Heinricy were both on hand to drive the M5 and the CTS-V around the track. Bill Auberlen is a factory BMW driver, and is famous for racing the M3 in ALMS, and John Heinricy is head of GM’s performance division, and drove the CTS-V around the ‘Ring for its lap record.

Now, here we go. This is a very fair test. Where Road and Track, to me, has become a very slow paced magazine that can’t really test their cars to the same 0-60 and 1/4 mile times that Car and Driver and Motor Trend can. But this time, they look up to the challenge. Unfortunately, do to the construction at the track, they could only track for an hour and drive so hard, as there was a lot of dust embedded in the track, and some water on the back side of the track in the shade. They got no chance to test the cars’ 0-60’s and 1/4 mile times against one another. That’s okay, because the track time tells a better story.

Both the Cadillac and BMW teams were there to watch it all go down. The CTS-V was a 6-spd manual, and BMW supplied an SMG and a 6-spd manual M5 for the test. Bill took the SMG. Keep in mind, John Heinricy has been the official test driver of the CTS-V since its inception. He is also a factory Chevrolet racing driver. Bill hasn’t touched an M5 in four years.

The CTS-V came out and drove a 2:47.55 after some warming up. The M5 ran a 2:45.96 after some test laps. Then the M5 comes in and finishes the day with a 2:44.70. The CTS-V then struggles to get the fastest total lap before they had to wrap up the hour long test. The V raced to 2:44.23.

See that? 2:44.70 for the M5 and 2:44.23. John has been driving the car for a few years now. Bill hasn’t driven an M5 in four years, and rips the V a new one… The CTS-V has 56 more hp, 168 more lb-ft of torque, and just shy of 200lbs heavier. The M5 is just slightly slower with less. Isn’t that funny. Remember, the CTS-V also develops its 551lb-ft of torque at 3800 RPM versus the M5’s 383lb-ft of torque at 6100 RPM. Oh, and the V gets its 56 more hp at 6100 RPM versus the M5’s 500hp at 7750 RPM.

I can’t wait until the next M5 comes out. Look out Cadillac, BMW isn’t far behind being the older dog in this fight.

You can read the full article and view all of the pictures at RoadandTrack.com.

Article by Josh from RawAutos.com

Link for video 

45 responses to “2009 Cadillac CTS-V vs 2008 BMW M5”

  1. Julio says:

    wow, who ever thought…although like you said, the CTS is a great effort of American automakers

  2. RawAutos says:

    @Julio: The CTS-V is. The regular CTS… Well, read the link I added for the CTS. I test drove it… Ugh, not a good car. I drive it every once in a while, and I find more things that I hate about it, haha.

  3. Joe says:

    Honestly I love my M5 and wouldn’t trade it for the world – until a new one comes out :). Good effort by Cadillac but you really need to face it that the M5 is better in so many ways and speed is just one of them. They should be comparing this car to the M3 sedan.

  4. Giom says:

    Just amaizes me how competitors need to add bigger capacity engins to keep up with BMW – even a few years on.

    If I was Cadillac, I wouln’t be proud of this outcome – their car should have anialated the BMW.

    This is why we love our Beemers so:)

  5. Mark says:

    I just have to wonder if G=M/Cadillac has ever learned to put a decent interior in their cars???

  6. RawAutos says:

    @Mark: Well, in some cases the CTS has a pretty good looking interior. That is, if you get the nicer interior options…

  7. Alan says:

    the V is clearly the king. THE M5 CAN’T HANG AND EVERYBODY HAS SEEN IT!!!! Can’t keep up 0-60 or in the quarter mile. and the M5 is much more expensive. They say the cadillac driver has been driving the car for years, yet it’s not even being sold yet. Sorry BMW fans, but this one is obvious, the M5 just can’t hang.

  8. RawAutos says:

    @Alan: Oh, Alan, please, don’t hurt my feelings! Please… The M5 is 5 years old and still showing that it’s not that much slower than a CTS-V. The M5 really isn’t more expensive if you go for a used or CPO unit. Actually, you could probably pick an E60 M5 up for less money than a brand new CTS-V. But, let’s not forget that the CTS-V will be held in high demand and sold for the highest price… The CTS-V will hit the lots and sticker at $80,000 once the dealerships add their price hike.

    Now, since you say the M5 can’t hang. 4.1s 0-60 vs a 3.9s for the V. The CTS-V has 556hp and 551lb-ft of torque vs the M5’s 500hp and 383lb-ft of torque. I would sure as shit hope that the CTS-V is faster…

    But, wait, it’s not that much faster! Holy hell!?

    Read the article again, read the actual Road and Track article. And once you’ve done some real research on these two cars, come back and tell me that the CTS-V is still king. I would love to see what happens when the 2011 M5 comes out. The Cadillac will be crying its silly American eyes out all the way to the finish line 10s after the M5 already finished.

    You say everybody has seen it… Who is everybody?

  9. RawAutos says:

    @Alan: Read Giom’s comment “Just amazes me how competitors need to add bigger capacity engines to keep up with BMW – even a few years on.

    If I was Cadillac, I wouldn’t be proud of this outcome – their car should have annihilated the BMW.

    This is why we love our Beemers so:)”

    Okay, let’s also compare another fact. John Heinricy has been driving the CTS-V for the past half decade or so now. Don’t you think that a man who created the car could do better than Bill Auberlen who hasn’t driven an M5 in 4 years? I would expect that. It just goes to show that the M5 is king in the sense that you can just hop in it and feel comfortable to keep pushing the limits. The car doesn’t have to be on sale for it to be test driven and raced… John has clearly been driving the car for years and is also the creator of the damn car.

  10. Giom says:

    Amen to Josh!

    @Alan: If ‘hanging’ a car is all what it’s about to you… by all means, have your V.

    @The rest of us: We just enjoy every aspect of motoring -especially a car like the M5. Every detail on this car is so thoroughly thought through and engineered that it actually is a no-brainer.

    Anyhow… I’m just jotting out to my local cafe for a paper. “Boy how I wish I could hang the tail around the one and only corner…

  11. Alan says:

    The CTS-V has recorded 1/4 miles at 12 seconds flat (check cadillac website) and cadillac has even claimed that it has done it in under 12 seconds. You all say oh well it has a bigger engine, but who’s fault is it that Cadi made a bigger engine for a car that’s $30,000 less? And the M5 does roughly a 12.5-12.7 1/4 mile so yes, that means it can’t hang. I do love the M5 and BMWs are clearly the best handling sedans, but having had a 5 series and the new CTS, believe me when I say that handling is the only advantage. Does BMW have a hard drive in the car? Does it have tivo for the radio? NO. But what it does have are uncomfortable seats and a terrible navigation system. So please tell me again why I would choose an overpriced BMW over Motortrend’s car of the year?

  12. Alex S says:

    I totally agree with Alan. Cadillac has out done itself with this one. Not only will this spank the new M3 but clearly the M5 is blown out of the water. After owning an extremely uncomfortable M5 I will be trading in for this bad boy. I am sad to part ways with my beloved BMW but the time has come and a superior automobile has arrived.
    Save your EUROS and buy AMERICAN which is clearly superior!

  13. RawAutos says:

    @Alan: Haha, after knowing what it’s like to have 5ers and a 2008 piece of crap CTS in the garage, trust me, I would know much better than you what it’s like for both. The 5-Series is far better at handling, driving, better stereo, iDrive is more fun, seats are more bolstered and more comfortable, better gas mileage, better speed, more fun on any road, better iPod connectivity, and the list goes on. I’d love to have you drive both for a week or more and then tell me that the CTS is really the better car. The CTS is the most uncomfortable piece of shit I’ve ever driven. And I drive it quite a bit since it’s my father’s car…

    The new CTS harddrive is useless. I don’t see why this gets people so excited.

    The looks of the CTS are even bland… They look good from a distance, and then you get closer and you see the car looks like plastic and made cheaply. The interior isn’t anything special in comparison, the seats are HORRIBLE! The steering wheel is the most awful thing I’ve ever used to drive with. The steering goes where you want, but the transmission sucks, the brakes are either REALLY on or not there at all. You can’t modulate the brakes to be comfortable when stopping. You are either slamming on them, well, nothing.

    The engine isn’t as nice as I expected. The car is just plain and simple useless.

    The CTS-V is a much different car. It looks great, I’m sure it drives great, but that steering wheel and the interior are still a huge drawback. I would never buy the CTS-V simply due to that horrible feeling steering wheel. I can’t fit my hands around it at 9 and 3.

    I’ve seen the CTS-V’s information, I know what it does. It’s quick as hell! But I would really, really hope so with the amount of power coming out of a 6.3L Supercharged V8. The M5 will make just as much power and still be the better car in its next iteration. It’s not even that much slower now… It may be a bit slower in a straight line, but look at the numbers, it almost had the Caddy.

    CTS-V: 2:44.23
    Bimmer: 2:44.70

    That’s hardly enough to make me sell my M5 and go for a CTS-V. And you bring up the price point, again. You are just like all of the GT-R kids. You bring that up every chance you can. You won’t be able to find a CTS-V for sticker. Won’t happen.

  14. RawAutos says:

    @Giom: I agree, BMW has researched the M5 to be a great all-round car. That’s just what it is. It’s always been the tops in those terms. It’s still shocking to me that it took 2 generations of an M5 until Mercedes finally had an AMG to compete, and that even wasn’t anything by comparison. The best competitor to the M5 was the RS6. And still, you couldn’t even get that in a manual… The 1st generation CTS-V was fantastic! As long as you weren’t listening to the squeaks, the differential breaking, and also as long as you weren’t driving long distance. Other than that, the car was a hell of a lot of fun to drive, and so very quick. It was a great American sports saloon. But then again, you could still buy an M5…

  15. Alan says:

    rawautos: I’m not sure how you would know much better than me, considering I owned a used 530i (which I returned after 9 months) and my mother has a 545i, and I’m currently driving a CTS. The 530i was a complete piece of crap, probably because it was first generation though, but I have noticed through not only mine but my parents and friends’ experiences that BMWs for the most part tend to have a whole lot more problems than Cadillacs. My father has had four cadis with 0 problems, and I’m on my second one now I’ve yet to even service either one as the salesman assured me I would have no problems and he was absolutely right. The 545 drives nice, but BMWs are just too damn stiff for me, they handle great but I prefer Cadillac’s old man smoothness on the road, seeing that I drive in the city and I’m not a race car driver so I prefer comfort. The seats in the regular 5s are more comfortable than those of the M5, yet still not nearly as comfortable as the Cadi. They feel smaller and less cushioned and in my opinion are no match for the seats on the CTS.

    Now, you claim that the 5 is faster. This is true, except for the 528 of course. The 535 is only slightly faster to 60, but would probably take the CTS by a second to the 1/4 mile. And the 550i is a beast, but just way too overpriced as are all the 5 series. I just personally don’t see the point in paying more for less.
    528i (0-60 in 6.5) = MSRP $45,500
    535i = $51,000
    550i = $60,000
    What i payed for my CTS, 3.6 liter DI with sports package and 40g hard drive: $36,000
    And as for the gas mileage, the CTS gets better mileage than the 535 or the 550
    CTS DI: 18/26
    535: 17/26
    550: 15/23
    Explain that one to me again please because last time I checked 18 was more than 17 and 26 was more than 23. I guess you can say it’s simple math. And the best part is, the CTS runs on regular fuel.

    The 40 g hard drive is great because you save your cds onto the car and guess what? You never have to pop in another cd again. No need to keep cds in the car and no need to continuously switch cds while you’re driving. Personally, I think it’s great and I think every car should come with it. Oh, and by the way, that eliminates your need for the IPOD, though you can still connect it if you wish. And BMW still has no tivo for the radio, which allows to to even playback the radio when you’ve been out of your car for an hour.

    I don’t really find the iDrive any fun, but that’s personal opinion and you are clearly biased towards BMWs. I have no personal favorite car company, I simply go with whatever car gives me the most for my money, in this case, the CTS.

    You clearly prefer the stiffness of the BMW, which I find rather useless considering that once again, I drive in the city to work and back and not on a race track. The interior on the BMW is mediocre, but definitely not worth more than $35,000. It’s the same interior as the 3 series! They all look the same on the inside and they even have the same boring speedometer! Cadillac offers a nice red needle with a blue backgroung that looks great at night, and even leaves the driver with the option of the digital dash, like the Porsches which I personally love.
    What it comes down to is personal preference, but the way I see it, why pay so much more for a more bland interior and a stiffer ride? At least through my experiences, the BMWs have proven to have several problems (nothing is worse than my Jaguar experiences though) and a mediocre interior for a much higher price. Cadillac has me hooked for now, but again, I drive any car that’s comfortable and treats me well.

    Now, for the Nissan comment, please don’t go there. The fact that people consider paying that much money for a Nissan is just absurd. Nissan’s are by no means bad cars, however, they’re just Nissan’s! Nothing special just another Japanese car. And as for Mercedes, I just don’t think they even compare to Cadi or BMW. My father had an E320 (stiff piece of shit) and the newest ML drives awful. My sister’s Volvo XC90 drives much better than that overpriced crap, though the Volvo does drive well.

  16. simon says:


  17. john says:

    RawAutos, you biased little sucker, the CTS-V won!, read the entire article.

  18. john says:

    BTW, doesn’t matter if it is by an inch, or by a mile, winning is winning and the CTS won. The rest, nobody cares.

  19. blake says:

    i just bought a 2009 cts 3.6 di.. sure its not as fast as the bmw’s i test drove but the seat of the cts actually reaches the back of my knees… comfy… the bmw’s r short… doesn’t reach the back of my knees same problems that toyota has. the bmw had a way worse ride… im not driving it on a track.. i drive on city streets. oh and look at 3 year reliability ratings on a bmw as compared to the cts… hey if u wanna pay for a car that breaks TWICE as often as a cadi AND doesnt ride as well.. be my guest. oh and one more thing.. my cadi has better resale value. oh and i also know more people the have owed BMW’s and said they will NEVER own another one than any other vehicle on the market.

    • Josh says:

      Then have fun with your Cadillac. The seat doesn’t come up to the back of my knees… I drive the CTS quite a bit. Unfortunately, my father owns one. It’s a sad piece of American machinery to me.

      I doubt that the CTS holds its value better then a 3-Series. That hasn’t been the case at all for the retail prices I’ve seen. Your friends probably wouldn’t buy another BMW again, because they probably either didn’t know how to care for the car, didn’t get the right kinds of care for the car, and/or bought the wrong BMW. You didn’t specify new or used… Also, Cadillac’s the past few years have been decent. Before that… Not so hot.

      BMW is a German car. It’s simple, the produce cars that are built to higher and better standards. The CTS doesn’t get as good of gas mileage, doesn’t wear as nicely, nor does it look as good after 10 years. Show me the large groups of people that get together and restore 10-20 year old Cadillacs. For every 1 group you can find me, I can find you over 100 that restore their BMW’s.

      It doesn’t matter if you’re getting on a track or not. Plain and simple, the 328 and 335 are better cars then the CTS’s are. They handle better, feel better, drive better, are more comfortable, etc. etc.

      But, if you like your Caddy, more power to ya, brother. That just leaves more BMW’s for me and the true enthusiasts to own and drive.

      Thanks for reading my post and commenting. Come back soon!

  20. Steve says:

    The CTS-V also weighs 300 lbs. more than the BMW M5. Amazing how you left that out, huh?

    The CTS-V is also much cheaper, not even in the same price class as the BMW M5. LOVE how you left that out, huh?

    BMW has been making sportscars for many years. Cadillac is a novice in this area, yet created the CTS-V to whoop the EXPERIENCED BMW M5. LOVE how you left that out, too! AMAZING!

    Enough said. You lose.

  21. Giom says:

    Nasty thing, this inferiority complex…

  22. Jon says:

    What’s funny is that the CTS is something like 20-25 grand cheaper. Well, I’ll take that 20-25 grand, put a blower or a twin turbo on the CTS-V, re-do the entire suspension, and probably build an entire new engine for it. Then it WILL cost the same and absolutely eat the M5 for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The price difference is substantial and makes up for it.

  23. Peter says:

    My comment is that the BMW is just classier than the CTS-v.
    The price difference simply separates the classes. ANYONE can own a CTS-V, not everyone can drive an M5. Need proof. Drive around in Miami, Houston, LA, full of Cadies with average Joes on the seats.
    Not the M5.
    BMW 300/500 series/ CTS-V are for pretenders, everyone can lease/own one. NOT the M5.

    It is what separates the masses from the elite.
    I call it “Admission Price”. Everyone can have a crappy house, crappy clothes, not a dime in savings, and still lease a CTS. Can’t do that with M5. You either have it, or not.

    You do not struggle to make the M5 payment. An M5 is for people who have “arrived”. Arrived to a time when they have everything else in their lives, Beautiful home, good portfolio, golf three times a week, college funds already put aside, AND the 90k car to Drive around.

    So for everyone out there who think a car is simply to drive fast,, get your CTS-v. and race all your Evo driving buddies, I will pay the price of admission and get the M5. Because after all, I ‘VE ARRIVED!

  24. Peter says:

    I will add, to my previous comment…
    You know why I own a Land Rover when they are known to break down alot? Because I CAN. To me, class is more important than reliability. If I wanted a reliable car, I buy Lexus. In my LR, I am noticed the moment I arrive. People are not afraid of a drive by shooting when they see my LR (Escalade anyone?)
    Plus, I do not care if it breaks down! I make a phone call and the dealer gets me a Rover in minutes. Try that on a Cadillac.
    Think about this, the CTS-V is faster than an Aston Martin…..hum, which one would I pick though?
    Again, it is called the “Price of admission” . It is the same reason Augusta National Golf Club exists, separation of the classes.
    The CTS-V is a wide leather seat in COACH Class. Sorry, I pay the extra and fly first class.
    I am sure any State University has the same education level as an Ivy League school,…Still, I know where I am sending my kids!.
    It is called..CLASS. The M5 and CTS-v are not on the same class. You get what you pay for.!

  25. Jack says:

    Best thing about buying the cadi besides it being faster, sounding better, and being less expensive is you aren’t just another douchebag BMW driver…….

  26. Durrh says:

    How does running a SLOWER time equate to “ripping the V a new one”? Please explain that one to me.

    Talk about biased reporting.

    • Char says:

      People on the internet can be so stupid. You morons are claiming the BMW ripped it a new one, yet it was slower. The article was posted in 2008, and the Cadillac is a 2009, how can he have driven it for years?? Then dumb people are saying stuff about the engine size? Is this a competition to see who can have the smallest engine??

      m5 is for people who have arrived? What kind of idiot would be driving a bmw after they arrived?

      If you have not heard the news, Cadillac beats BMW in quality.

  27. Boomstick says:

    Makes me wonder if the drivers have any idea of what they’re doing. Clearly a biased article seeing as they claim the BMW M5 rips the CTS-V a new one while it’s still slower (smoke some more crack, will ya?). Gotta make me wonder if the tests were biased too…

    And yeah, BMW will revamp the M5 so that it’s possible a little faster, probably by adding a larger v12 or whatever and then Cadillac will counter by improving the CTS-V and being top dog again and then maybe Audi or Mercedes will step into the market, so what’s newer means nothing. It’s an ongoing cycle that will never end as long as people are still making cars.

  28. Phil says:

    CTS-V beat the M5 by roughly a HALF SECOND and you say the M5 ‘rips the V a new one’ – HAHA…

    Stop making excuses, the CTS-V is fast than the M5 in EVERY Category… Put your personal subjective opinions aside – the CTS-V is the KING of four door performance sedans…!

  29. Phil says:

    Your recap is also misleading people – the CTS-V first laps were done on a WET track, the BMW M5 turn in it’s fast lap when the track was dry and the CTS-V went out and only needed to turn a few laps to pull a HALF SECOND faster time – that’s called a SPANKING in the road racing world…

    Quoted directly from Road and Track Article:
    ‘With the water patch drying and the sun warming the track surface, both drivers start running cool-down laps between fast laps. It’s the last session and it’s too close to call yet. Auberlen runs two hard laps and comes in first with a smile. His timing beacon says he did a 2:44.70 and the GPS data agrees. Heinricy is still out and Kevin Smith of Cadillac’s communications is perspiring. The V is flagged in, Smith’s stopwatch says it’s close. The V ran three fast laps, each one faster than the previous by a tenth of a second. The final one is a 2:44.23, just under a half-second faster than the BMW.’

  30. dean says:

    Cadillac is not the first company that tries to gentrify their cars by driving them on the Nurnbergring, then discussing them in the same sentence as BMW and Mercedes. This is Madison Avenue propaganda. I remember Fort Taurus trying the same shenanigans a decade ago….People know quality when they see it, and GM cant fool the astute buyer from buying the real deal. Besides, I find the new Caddys to be downright butt ugly. No sense of lineage in design, no heritage. I would be embarrassed to buy a car that shares nameplate lineage with the Catera, Allante, and Crap de Ville !! Get real General Motors….

  31. non of your god damn business says:

    Its funny to see how many eurotrash supporters are willing to argue how much these piece of crap, overpriced, better by extended warranty or sell your kidney to fix trash buckets are better than an inexpensive luxory sedan that will out do the bmw or Mercedes for 30k less. If having 10 cylinders is not a big engine, tell me what is?! So let’s compare apples to apples. E63 vs rm. What happen bmw? What excuse do you have now?

  32. non of your god damn business says:

    Embarrased? Shame on me? I need help? Hell, the only help I need is finding the m5 owners after I smoke them in my cts v like the giants smoke phillies. 623 hp to the rear wheels. might not be stock but but I didn’t spend more than 70k on my car. To the one that said you couldn’t get a cts v for sticker price, ha! Sad sad man. If I didn’t own a piece of eurotrash 745 I wouldn’t be talking. But since I do …..

  33. VetteMan says:

    I wouldn’t buy either. They brake my standard code of car conduct:
    1) Must not weight over 3300lbs
    2) Must be louder than any car within a 10 miles radius
    3) Must only have only two seats- one for my ass and the other for my ego.
    Simply put that leaves one badass Zr1 Vette in my opinion. You can rip those Bee Gee songs to your Caddy hardrive, I’ll rip through the fabric on space and time in my Zr1.

  34. Phil lazenby says:

    Let’s all keep in mind the m tested was smg whereas the cts-v was a manual. There is a reason all race cars have shifted to clutchless driving (no pun intended)

    From my experience of e46 m3’s on the track, the smg with the same driver will on average complete a minute lap roughly two seconds faster. (depending obviously on his heel toe skill with the manual.

    Take that into account as well as fact that the bmw driver is an actual professional driver. The cts driver is a designer who happens to have driven cts-v cars quite a bit. Probably a weekend tracker. I track quite a bit but I would be willing to bet that schumacher would kick my ass in any car, regardless of how long I’ve owned it.

    Unfair comparison imo. Should be same driver, same tranny. Top gear style

  35. Slimg00dy says:

    “Unfortunately, do to the construction at”
    Should be “Unfortunately, due to the construction at”

  36. mchicha says:

    This is the test that put Cadillac’s V division on the map. Kudos to BMW for their exellence, Cadillac would never have stepped up

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