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Audi RS 7 Performance and Cadillac CTS-V in a comparison test

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Audi RS 7 Performance versus Cadillac CTS-V
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G tastes are known to be different : An engine with four wheels, without driving aids and windshield - that's it! But far too rarely are my puristic preferences satisfied in everyday testing. Instead, two heavyweights have arrived in our garage.

Uh, Stefan? Would you have time? No chance, my colleague Helmreich, who is quite open to power limousines, is currently struggling through the handling test. Then the editorial staff, who despises two tons, has to do it. Well wait, Audi RS 7 Sportback Performance (2,030 kg) and Cadillac CTS-V (1,918 kg), get dressed very warmly.

Too heavy, too limousine, too disconnected from the outside world with his Double glazing - there are actually only a few reasons for those who like sport auto to exuberantly celebrate something like the RS 7. But now, when it catapults itself explosively like a sprinter out of the blocks and pounds to 100 km /h in 3.5 seconds, you just have to love the all-wheel drive.

Audi RS-7 madness: 3, 5 s to 100 km /h

Three five, please let it melt in your mouth. It was not that long ago that such sprint values ​​were reserved for thoroughbred sports cars. Today, in the four-seater, the youngsters can still cheer casually in the back seat when the Audi RS 7, as in our case, undercuts its factory specification of 3.7 seconds. Plus became performance - with the RS-6 predecessors of the C5 and C6 series, Audi followed up with the more powerful Plus version with an advanced model cycle. Today both the RS 6 and its relative RS 7 have the suffix Performance.

His V8 biturbo has never been a child of sadness, but somehow it now seems even more spontaneous, even more greedy, even more naturally aspirated when accelerating to react. As a performance version, the originally 560 hp four-liter engine now achieves a nominal output of 605 hp. Stop for a moment - once these were Formula 1 performance figures. Today you shear it on the country road, just want to overtake the man in front, and then you find yourself sniffing the sheet metal avalanche from your car, truck and agricultural machine.

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Identification measure: a new color (ascari blue) and attachments in titanium look reveal the performance model externally.

Fighting and noiseless at the same time like the soundproofed Walther PPK from James Bond, the Audi RS 7 Performance also kills the Cadillac CTS-V when accelerating up to 200 km /h. RS 7, he can be brutal, but is always a little bit wrapped in cotton. Through the double-walled Audi windows you can only hear a subtle V8 bass or a clearing of the throat of the optional sports exhaust system at full load and gas blows - provided that the dynamic mode or the “engine sound” option has been set to “dynamic” in individual mode.

Cadillac CTS-V with 855 Nm and cylinder deactivation

Gliding quietly or banging, high-octane bursts of thrust or four-cylinder mode (COD: Cylinder on Demand) - the RS 7 is a double moralist par excellence Cadillac? The top model of what is now the third generation of the CTS sedan optically wants to break out of its segment. Striking air inlets, power domes and aggressive front splitter - with its crisp appearance, the circle of friends of the CTS-V seems clear - more Corvette Z06 and Nissan GT-R than AMG, BMW or Audi power limousine.

Quite briefly his V8 also wants to play the double moralist. 'V4' instead of 'V8' lights up in the instrument cluster as a sign of cylinder deactivation. Hit the accelerator quickly. We already know its compressor whirring - the 6.2 liter, internally named LT4, comes from the Corvette Z06. The fact that the Caddy didn't get exactly 659 hp, but “only” 649 hp is due to its differently designed intake and exhaust system. If you fire the torque cannonball with a maximum of 855 Nm while standing, you can easily put the fire alarms in every underground car park on alert. White smoke screens with a Michelin aroma - no problem for the US rear-wheel drive car.

With activated driving aids, the Cadillac CTS-V tames overly digitally conditioned gas feet - especially when it is wet, a small rear swing is always possible when the load is too motivated inside. Unsurprisingly, when ESP is deactivated, the Caddy is left behind when accelerating in dry conditions compared to the RS 7 Performance traction hero.

The Corvettewith four doors

Nonetheless, or perhaps because of it, the CTS-V is the more honest type, whose feedback is far less synthetic than that of the Audi. A robust men's limousine, like a Corvette with four doors. Unfortunately, they robbed him of his manual gearbox. The CTS-V was the last of this upper middle class that was allowed to compete with this rustic transmission. Wait, the penultimate one, we don't have the BMW M5, but at least in the USA it is still available as a manual switch.

The automatic of the CTS-V does its job in everyday life with barely noticeable gear changes, just as easily as its counterpart of the RS 7. And on the racetrack? Anyone who wants to change gears manually in the Caddy using the steering wheel paddles should shift gears well before the engine speed limit at 6,600 rpm. Otherwise the US limo gallops into the limiter and only accepts the switching command with a delay.

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Nothing easier than that: Casual drifts and a carbon bonnet are series. Optional: Aero package with splitter and rear spoiler.

This configuration problem once also existed with the transmission software of AMG vehicles. It sounds crazy, but on the racetrack it is better to let the automatic shift and operate independently. Just as precisely as in the Corvette Z06, the transmission downshifts with pinpoint accuracy when braking and upshifts without delay when the speed limit is reached. A downer for fans of the self-determined pace - but that's the fastest way. In order for the transmission to work so smoothly, the Caddy must first be ordered from the “Tour” cruiser mode via a switch on the center console to the “Route” mode. In addition to the adaptive chassis, the restoring forces of the electromechanical ZF power steering are then noticeably tighter.

Audi RS 7 impresses with fantastic traction

In a direct comparison, the steering of the Caddy works with its precise feedback the central position, but above all, thanks to the smaller steering angle, is significantly sportier than its counterpart in the RS 7. Or differently: the robust caddy steering is reminiscent of sports cars, while that of the RS 7 with its large steering angles is more like sedans. The dynamic mode ofAudi still work hard.

But the RS 7 fights so doggedly in Hockenheim, which is deserted in winter, as if it were about the DTM title. In the test, it steers in directly, its variable all-wheel drive scores with excellent traction when accelerating out and even pushes slightly with the rear under load. Thanks to the optional dynamic package plus with ceramic brake, dynamic steering, stiffer RS ​​sports suspension and sport differential including active torque distribution between the inside and outside wheel, everything seems to be prepared for top values.

But it only seems like this: The current performance test car works nevertheless not as precise as the 'normal' RS-7 test car that visited us in sport auto 12/2013. Despite the same Pirelli tires, his grip level is not quite as good this time. The result: with the same test driver, the lap time of the RS 7 Performance is a tenth of a second slower than that of its 'weaker' 560 hp brother. In the slalom, too, the seasoned RS 7 is 66.5 km /h below its record of 2013 (67.6 km /h).

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Audi with no chances: In Hockenheim, the Cadillac CTS-V the traction talent from Ingolstadt for almost a second. This means that the Caddy is just as fast as a Porsche Panamera Turbo.

Cadillac CTS-V with clear victory in Hockenheim

Similar to the Corvette Z06 works in the CTS-V an electronically controlled differential lock. Of course, here at the apex of the bend you can't accelerate quite as unabated as in the RS 7, but the traction is exceptionally good for a 649 hp rear-wheel drive car. Also amazingly good: the almost racing car-like traction control called Performance Traction Management with five driving modes. In race mode, the traction control regulates extremely sensitively and almost imperceptibly. The result: lap times as fast as with a completely deactivated system. Thank you for the successful tuning!

The developers also did a good job with the ABS tuning. Both the RS 7 and the CTS-V enable astonishingly in the limit range for this vehicle categorylate braking points. The grip level of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires tends to be higher than that of the Pirelli tires from Audi. However, the RS-7 tires remain at a constant level even on several fast laps in a row, while the CTSV's tires already wear off slightly after two laps.

But the fastest lap time in the orbit of the luxury limousine is long gone in the box. With 1.12.6 minutes, the Cadillac CTS-V is not only almost two seconds faster than its 564 hp predecessor (1.14.5 minutes), but just as fast as a Porsche Panamera Turbo. Not to mention the German sedan competition: BMW M5 Competition 1:12.8 min, Mercedes E 63 AMG S 4Matic 1:13.5 min. Respect, Caddy!


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