What happens when you want to have a great luxury sedan but you don’t want to have the top of the lineup massively powered version? In today’s world you simply take a step down and have a more manageable car on the road. In the beginning of the big luxury sport sedans the Audi RS6, BMW M5 and Cadillac CTS-V made horsepower numbers that topped out at 444, but todays models have a 640 horsepower beast at the top of the range which is made to run the tires off the car and possibly shoot your through a wall if you aren’t careful.
Thankfully there is a step down model for all three of these and those are the ones we will compare today. These three are the Audi S6 4.0T Quattro, the Cadillac CTS-V Sport and the Lexus GS F. As you can see the BMW was not invited to the party, mostly because we are allowing the Audi to represent Germany and with this group we have a representative from the three top luxury car countries in the world. All three of these models are great for some insane power, but which one will come out as the clear winner when the dust settles.
The Audi shows up as a car that appears to be different from the other two. This could be because of the time on the market for this car or it could be the exceptional interior that Audi has put together to offer us the right place to sit and enjoy the ride. The exterior looks are unassuming in true Audi fashion and this car is ready to take a drive that will impress you. The twin-turbocharge V8 that is attached to the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is awesome, especially when you add the capability of the Quattro AWD system. Overall this car gives a great drive and is one that would make anyone proud to be the owner and driver of this awesome machine.
The downside to a car that has excellent power, great looks and a wonderful interior came down to the steering. The steering is too sluggish to be attached to the other hardware under the hood. The Comfort mode has been said to feel disconnected and the Dynamic mode is heavy and still disconnected. While the air suspension does a good job of making the ride feel smooth it takes away the corner carving ability of this car and with a tight chassis the suspension lag is highlighted even more. While this car is an overall great cruising machine it’s not meant for your everyday commuter-style driving and for this comparison it finished in third place.
When the Audi was taken to a test track to perform it shows off as a lot of fun. The run to sixty mph came in at 3.8 seconds and was the fastest in this group. With a quarter mile time of 12.4 seconds at 111.4 mph this car was the overall fastest as well giving hope to Audi to simply address the steering and suspension issues to rank higher.
Even though it seems this car should be playing with the bigger cars the engine just isn’t made to keep up with them as of yet but it fits in really well with this group. If there was a car that was a polar opposite in the same class as the Audi, this would be that car. Even though there are some hints of Lexus comfort in the car the focus for this machine was creating a great sports car, which Lexus has successfully done.
With the GS F you are greeted with a Sport and Sport+ mode to make the strong 5.0-liter V8 make full use of the power it possesses. This engine uses an eight-speed automatic transmission which responds perfectly and changes the shift perfectly to offer a smooth and sporty ride. Because Lexus focused on sport over comfort the steering is sharp and the suspension allows you to feel planted to the road so you can be fully confident in every aspect of the drive. While this makes for a great sport drive there is not any room for you to have a comfortable ride with this car and it finds itself in the runner up position in this comparison test.
Out on the track, where all the numbers add up the GS F made the run to sixty mph in 4.4 seconds and turned in a quarter mile time of 12.8 seconds at 112.2 mph. The quarter mile had the fastest speed at the finish and when it rode around the track this car looked and felt great but it’s a little too much on the sport side to gain a top seeding in this particular test.
Riding the middle ground between being too comfortable and too sporty is the CTS V-Sport. This car has the balance we want, the looks that we can admire and the ride quality that is perfect for every situation. This is a car that is comfortable in a parking lot, in commuter traffic and on the track. It seems every aspect of the car has been made to put comfort and sport at equal strengths. For example, the meaty steering wheel is comfortable to hold but the steering system gives you plenty of feedback and responds perfectly to your inputs.
Using the twin turbocharged V6 and an eight-speed automatic transmission that shifts perfectly tis car shows off a quickness and power that makes it feel fully in control of every situation. When you head out to the open highway this car is perfect for the drive as it seems to be more than happy to engage the cruise control and ride along in style and quiet comfort. When you do challenge this car to go through curves or to tear up a turn or two it happily obliges to you and seems to ask for more from you than you can possibly give it.
Even though the CTS V-Sport has a disadvantage of fifty horsepower versus the Lexus it was able to show a time to sixty mph of 4.7 seconds and made its way through a quarter mile run in 13.1 seconds at 109 mph. You can easily see this car isn’t the fastest of the group, but when it comes to overall driving and the way it can handle the cornering and still remain smooth there was no doubt that the Cadillac is the clear winner of this comparison test.