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Comparing Cars


Cadillac Jim

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I've driven the CTS-V for only four days now. I drove the 1997 ETC for fifteen and a half years. I had a Corvette in the mists of antiquity and have had some contact with them since. I spent some time in Dallas recently and Bruce showed me around his STS-V. Thus I have some thoughts about the things that are very similar and very different about the cars.

The CTS-V is a hard-core world-class GT car. The ride is quite serviceable for a daily driver, and my wife loves the ride. That was a bit of a concern for me because a lot of people that aren't inclined to performance machinery would rather ride in a Deville with weak shocks for that silky smooth ride. But the handling and responsiveness are world class, too. Layered over it all is a top-line Cadillac and all that this implies. It has umpteen-way power seats with warmer *and* cooler; there are HVAC vents into the seats and backs of the front seats. The climate control is as good as anything I've ever experienced, as is the Bose speakers and multimedia radio. The nav system is also top-notch. It has voice commands for the nav system, the Bluetooth, and of course the OnStar. It has a back-up camera. And, it has a lateral acceleration meter that is available on the DIC that I wish that I had discovered before I got into the mountain twisties in Tennessee.

The STS-V is very similar to the CTS-V. The STS and CTS share the Sigma platform, as can be inferred from the side-by-side photos. The CTS-V has a 6.2 liter pushrod V8 while the STS-V has a 4.4 liter DOHC V8. With Bruce's tweaks to his STS-V, any practical differences in performance seem minor in my limited experience with both cars. The STS-V is a street car first and foremost, as compared to the CTS-V's commitment to road race track performance, and the STS-V has a better ride. It also has a few high-end features such as the heads-up display that aren't available on the CTS-V.

A Corvette, with its lower center of gravity, lower weight, better balance, and lower moment of inertia relative to weight about any axis, will have better responsiveness and higher limits on handling stresses than any sedan or GT car. And, it won't ride any worse than the CTS-V. In fact, a lot of suspension technology is shared between the supercharged Corvettes, the CTS-V, and the ZL-1 Camaro. But on a road course, a Corvette will have the advantage. This doesn't explain why Cadillac owns the Pirelli World Challenge GT Manufacturer's Championship when the competition in the GT class includes Corvettes and Vipers.

The ETC is dated, but its FE3 suspension with fresh OEM electronic shocks and struts with ultra-high-performance all-season tires it is the other side of the STS-V. Without a supercharger, it is only 300 hp, so it is in a different class than the V-series cars. It's ride is a tad better than that of the STS-V but it's higher center-of-gravity its handling can't compare with that of the STS-V or CTS-V. What it does have that the CTS-V and STS-V don't is on-board OBD II code readouts and limited control of module-operated options such as selecting DIC readouts, programming fobs, and other functions that require a trip to a dealer and a hookup with a Tech II in 2006 and later models. It has a rain sensor that controls the interval wiper mode, while the later models have a wider range of interval selection without a rain sensor. And while its handling and power don't match up to those of the V-series cars, it is more than a match for most modern sport sedans. It's not a bad idea to master an STS or ETC before you get behind the wheel of a V-series car.

Your comments are welcome.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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There are a couple of details that are important about all these cars.

The CTS-V has buttons on the dash and steering wheel that change the suspension setting to hard-core race-track settings and disable traction control and Stabilitrak. You can use these in off-road competitive situations where they will help. Keeping traction control and Stabilitrak strongly recommended on public roads for safety reasons, but may help in straight-line acceleration competition. The hard-core racing suspension settings may be desirable to some sports car people even on public roads, but your wife and small child may differ. The street setting for the suspension is quite acceptable to all while preserving amazing handling and stability.

The leather steering wheel on the ETC is easier on the hands than the felt-wrapped steering wheel on the CTS-V, which is quite hard. You might want to wear kid gloves or driving gloves for long drives or competition. Similarly, you might want to look at driving gloves for some Corvette steering wheels.

The rear seat legroom of the Eldorado is quite small, and as a consequence the Eldorado is really a 2+2 rather than a true four-seater. The CTS-V and STS-V are true four-seaters.

A neophyte with a lead foot can get into instant trouble with any one of these cars. In a high-powered Corvette or a V-series, you can have a lack-of-control incident quite suddenly that marks the beginning of a very bad day.

I recall a remark in a Cycle World review of a motorcycle, "It blows through 100 mph with license-eating ease!" There are a lot of low-mileage used Corvettes and V-series cars (and STS/ETC and others too) out there because the new owners suddenly found that they could no longer drive these cars because of tickets or accidents. A horrified insurance company can be verrry compelling, even if the DMV doesn't issue an edict of some sort.

I recall being able to reach out the window of my Corvette and easily put my whole hand on my rear tire. Not recommended while the car is moving.

The V-series cars are offered with either a six-speed manual or an automatic. The automatic has a "manual" mode in which shifting is done by the driver with a ratchet-shift like some competition cars have used for many years. The difference is that the PCM does the engine/clutch dance while you shift, and you can use your left foot to brace yourself. The standard shift isn't much of an advantage anymore except in all-out competition, or for that last tiny bit of fuel economy.

All of these cars are capable of getting quite respectable gas mileage, particularly the ETC and the Corvette. A lead foot with lots of braking can get you abysmal gas mileage in a tiny subcompact.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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I am enjoying your impressions.

The 6-speed likely is a large factor in the gas mileage -- a shame Cadillac stuck to the 4T80e for way too long when competitors had moved on to 6 and 8 speeds.

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

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Wow! Nice write up Jim, Thanks for the info...I hope that you and yours have plenty of good motoring years with the new machine!

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The 90's/00's STS(Seville) do look VERY Dated as compared to the current models, but I still enjoy the appearance of them. They seem to stand out so much more than anything else in the stable, We're probably just going to keep driving what we have until the XTS becomes alittle more proven and affordable. We'll see :offtopic:

Edited by scott f
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XTS is a nice car; love the completely programmable / selectable dash in the XTS -- vs only limited variant in ATS.

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

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I kept thinking the XTS was missing an upscale engine for the premium/platinum so I am glad to hear it is getting the TTV6 in FWD and AWD configs. That will change the XTS into a highway monster.

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

Follow me on: Twitter Instagram Youtube

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Put 410 hp TTV6 through the 6-speed instead of 302 hp from the normally aspirated 3.6L in the XTS and it will wake right up :yupi3ti:

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

Follow me on: Twitter Instagram Youtube

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Perhaps we need a comparison chart/table for all the extant V-series and 300+ hp models.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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