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MotorTrend Gets Wild With Super Wagon Showdown (Video)

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On: Tue, Mar 27, 2012 at 11:50AM | By: Chris Salamone


MotorTrend Gets Wild With Super Wagon Showdown (Video)

MotorTrend, the company famous for Subaru Outback adventures and Jeep survival epics, brings the thunder when it comes to automotive journalism. Few companies, if any, are capable of producing such high quality, well composed content and a recent super wagon-on-wagon comparo is no exception. In just over 9:00 minutes of scintillating video or skimming a brief article, viewers will be left with a newfound sense of appreciation.

Wagons, it would seem, can be less embarrassing than we thought, especially the Cadillac CTS-V and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG.

Before spoiling the endgame, Cadillac’s small-block supercharged 6.2L V-8 is good for 556 horsepower and 551 lb.-ft. of torque and the E63 AMG’s 5.5L twin-turbo V-8 produces 518 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. From the outset, GM’s warrior wagon looks to have the power advantage. Enter Mercedes-Benz’s P30 Performance Pack, an optional boost which nudges horsepower up to 550 and torque up to 590. Point Mercedes-Benz.

But GM’s magneto-style magnetorheological dampers and a quick shifting six-speed manual transmission provide driving dynamics the E63 cannot contend with. Sure, the Merc’s seven-speed wet-clutch automatic transmission and fancy coil, damper, and air suspension offer a potent mix of sophistication and gut-wrenching speed. The problem is that buyers of super performance wagons are probably auto enthusiasts shackled to the ball and chain of everyday polite society. We want a car that allows us to break away from the mold, turn on a dime, and fly through that grocery store parking lot – children and pets in tow.

We want a social deviant that looks like just another wagon, a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Johnny Lieberman, from MotorTrend, sums up the CTS-V’s advantages nicely. Referring to the E63, “The rear air suspension just isn’t as good as the magnetic-hydraulic stuff. Moreover, adhering to our strict I-don’t-want-to-die policy, we left the traction control fully on in both cars. Spirited driving caused the yellow idiot light to flicker on the AMG. We never saw T/C kick on in the CTS-V. The Cadillac also turns in better, has a more linear steering feel, and seems to shrink when pushed hard. Plus…I prefer the Cadillac’s row-your-own transmission.”

So there you have it. Cadillac’s CTS-V takes the cake. Although the E63 is a bit faster, launching from 0-60 in 3.9 seconds compared to the CTS-V’s 4.1, the deciding factor is the Cadillac’s glorious handling and manual shift thrill. After all, what’s the point of buying a war wagon toy unless it’s really fun to play with?


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