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H.O.T. Damn, Round Two: M5 vs CTS-V vs E63 AMG S

Ross Ballot October 6, 2017 All Things Hoon 26 Comments

Round Two: Luxury super-sedans

Welcome back to H.O.T. Damn, the still terribly-titled game in which your automotive fantasies are played out online for you to continue to fantasize over. It’s the vehicular “what-if?” theoretical scenario that daunts your wishes and taunts your dreams, turned into a game. It’s self-explanatory: pick one to Hoon, pick one to Own, and pick one to Total.

For Round Two we’re straying from the sports-meets-muscle cars of Round One for another trio of overpowered cars, this time a selection of four-door super-sedans that match overt luxury with extreme levels of power and sophistication. In a sub-segment of ever-increasing popularity due to the participants’ practicality-meets-capability mojos, these three have struck a chord with those who can drool over them and likewise with those who can actually afford them. Super-sedans are the car you can scare the crap out of your friends in, cart your kids around in, and scare the crap out of your kids in. They repeatedly make a case for themselves when “you can only have one car,” should you be able to swing the roughly hundred-thousand-dollar bill.

So let’s pit three of the best against each other, shall we? Three of the best, in my opinion (at least of those available in the ‘States): the BMW M5, Cadillac CTS-V, and Mercedes E63 AMG. You know the rules: Hoon, Own, Total. Pick a car, pick a fate for it in your hands. Now hit the jump to read the choices of your fellow Hoons, and be sure to voice your opinions on these leather-laden, fire-breathing cars in the comments.

Let’s review the rules before we go any further. Think of H.O.T. Damn as the F.M.K. game that you probably played in High School (look it up on Urban Dictionary if you’re lost…), wherein three options are presented and you must choose what you would do with each. Option One is Hoon, in which the chosen car is yours for the beating on for a day. It allows you to fulfill your automotive fantasy of driving the ever-loving shit out of the car and hooning it as hard as you please. Own is next, the self-explanatory theoretical choice in which you take on ownership of said car and keep it as your own long-term wheels. Up last is Total, in which the remaining option must die an untimely and unfortunate death, because this every game, this one included, has to have an evil side. Now that we’ve freshened up on what H.O.T. Damn entails, let’s explore the options…

Option One for this super-sedan shootout is the all-new-for-2018 BMW M5. The German icon returns in its F90 generation with a selectable all-wheel-drive system, a slew of entertainment and safety tech, and, most importantly, six-hundred horsepower. As always, quad exhausts and fender vents mark the M5’s trademark styling, which is understated but yet still purposeful. It’s an evolutionary design rather than a revolutionary one, but one that still makes its point and backs it up with the tech and powertain of our dreams.

Option Two is the Alpha-platform Cadillac CTS-V. Having debuted in 2015 as a 2016 model-year car the fullsize, LT4-powered Caddy might be relatively ancient compared to the other two options here, but it still boasts the most power, rear-drive, standout styling, and the ability to roast the tires with the best of them. Ignoring its age, GM’s top-tier performance sedan is a genuinely impressive car, and not just for one with four doors. What the big V can do and what it sells itself on is outright shocking, from its Magnetic Ride Control to its 640 horsepower to its (relatively) light weight and (also relatively) low-ish price. It might not exactly be the Corvette of sedans, but it’s big, brutish, wildly fast, and, even though CUE may still be lagging behind other infotainment systems, the V is a real value in its class.

Option Three is another all-new-for-2018 model and another German with all-wheel-drive twin-turbo-V8: it’s the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S, and it rounds out or choices with 603 horsepower, valley-mounted turbos, a gorgeous screen-heavy interior, and classic Mercedes good looks. Like the BMW, it too makes itself known in its performance credentials more so than in overt styling, but it should be a good match for the other two on-track and on the roadways alike. The E63 is a hell of a performer and a beautiful, comfortable place to commute from and blast off shockingly quick acceleration runs from in total comfort. It might boast baby S-Class looks, but it’s a high-end performer in every aspect, from tech to what it can do when given an open stretch of Autobahn.

So there you have it, your Round Two choices laid out ahead in front of you. And now, without further ado, your Hooniverse contributors’ H.O.T. Damn picks…

Greg Kachadurian:

Hoon – E63 AMG. I’ve always admired AMG for their more badass approach to luxury saloons with big power and V8s that roar louder than some muscle cars. This one must be a riot to hoon.

Own – BMW M5. Shocking choice from me, I know. I love where they’ve taken this M5. Where the F10 was sharp, they made this one sharper. When RWD wasn’t enough, they gave it an AWD system that can still revert to RWD on the go. It can transition from canyon carver to relaxed family sedan to tire-shredding hooligan at a moment’s notice. It’s taken the whole dual personalities thing to the next level here and I love it. I adored the E60 and really enjoyed the F10, and I feel this new one will continue that trend. It’s what I want to live with and drive the most.

Total – Cadillac CTS-V for no reason other than for how bad their commercials are.

Kamil Kaluski:

Hoon – E63 AMG S. I haven’t driven this new model yet but if it’s like anything like the other AMG Benzs, then I can safely say that this might be the ultimate hooning machine.

Own – BMW M5. I recently reviewed the M550i and loved it. I called it the best 5-series ever. The M5 will take all of that and turns it up a notch or three. Purists will cry about the automatic transmission and AWD. Purists are stuck in their old ways. And they’re wrong.

Total – I don’t think I have even seen the current generation CTS-V. I might have seen it at an auto show but I may not have noticed it.

Ross Ballot:

Hoon – Huge power and rear-wheel-drive makes the CTS-V the one I’d want to hoon the hell out of. Going sideways until the tires disintegrate pelletized rubber projectiles seems like the best great way to spend time behind the wheel of the V, and driving it at full-tilt means you don’t have to interact with CUE. Windows down, traction control off, full throttle everywhere: that’s how I want my seat time in the big Caddy. I’d love to own one, but more so I’d love to take full advantage of its powertrain.

Own – The M5. It might be a much more financially-intensive choice down the theoretical road, but the prior F-10 gen has hold of my heart and the new F90 seems to improve on it in every regard. Though the unnecessary levels of safety and entertainment tech doesn’t thrill me, the idea of an all-wheel-drive system in which you can disable power from going to the front wheels seems like the absolute best of both worlds and would prove the ideal way to have sideways fun in all conditions while still being able to easily plow through some of the terrible snowstorms we get up here in the Northeast. I might not love everything about the M5, but it has the most of what I want, and it has a subtlety factor I can’t get over.

Total – It pains me to do this to it, since it looks phenomenal and AMGs always sound fantastic, but the E63 AMG S gets thrown into the fiery volcano of death. If it were the wagon it would be my pick for Own, but we’re talking strictly sedans here so the AMG must, unfortunately, die. That’s not to say anything bad about it, because it’s a hell of a machine, but it just doesn’t do it for me the way the others do. It might have the best interior styling (at least in my eyes), but not much else thrills me. Thus: total.

Alan Cesar:

Can I just opt out of doing anything with any of these? Unless I can still get the CTS-V as a wagon with manual transmission, I’d send all three backwards into a tree and keep my minivan. Blasphemy? Perhaps. But when you have a fussy baby and a demanding three-year-old, sliding doors beat horsepower. No, you can’t have my man card. Dads are men by definition.

But if I really have to, I guess I’d hoon the Mercedes (I can put the engine on display in my house, right?), total the M5 (I don’t care to be the prick on the inside, not even for a day), and own the Cadillac. With cars like the Cimarron and Catera in its pantheon, Cadillac ownership carries the least pretense.

Chris Haining:

Hoon- I’m going for the Merc here, and I’m choosing Hoon only because I want to own one a little less than I do the BMW. I’m not sure why, but I get the feeling that, several years hence, the Mercedes will feel like a used Mercedes, while the BMW will feel like a sixth-generation M5. Don’t worry, my brief time in the Mercedes will be spent using it up.

Own- It’s the BMW M5. Every M5 has been a classic in its own right, the F10 was probably the least memorable but the G30 has been touted as something of a revelation. I love them all. Alas, what I really want is an unbastardised E39 M5, but since this one is free, it’ll have to do.

Total – The Cadillac. It intrigues me, and only loses out to the Merc by about 0.0001 of a percentage point. It dies, but the decision didn’t come easily.

So there you have it, our H.O.T. Damn Round Two choices. What will be yours? Let us know in the Comments.

  • Sjalabais

    Hoon: The Cadillac. It’s so rare here, it would be fun to try it out hard one day. Wouldn’t want to own it for the prejudice that follows – among non-car people especially.

    Own:
    https://media.ed.edmunds-media.com/volvo/v70/2006/oem/2006_volvo_v70_wagon_r_rq_oem_1_500.jpg

    Total: Why waste a precious new car?

    Tl;dr, I can’t do this.

  • QWER38456

    Try 2
    Buy the CTS-V (will last forever no matter how long I own it or how hard I drive it)
    Hoon the … BMW (I want to see how quick I can get around the track)
    Total the Merc (Caddy can do burnouts the BMW faster around the track (I think) so why keep it)

  • Maymar

    Hoon – the Cadillac. I hear spectacular things about how it drives, but at the same time, there’s just enough slightly cheap GM-y bits inside. It might get irritating by year ten, but for a few laps until the tires are destroyed, why not?
    Own – the Benz. I love the solid feel, they sound amazing, and there aren’t a ton of corners where I live. Also, I missed the part where the wagon wasn’t an option, but I’d still take the sedan.
    Kill – BMW. It’s what’s left?

    • kogashiwa

      I’m with this guy except totalling the BMW is an easy choice for me, (completely irrational) dislike of BMWs here. I’m sure it’s amazing but I wouldn’t want to be seen behind the wheel.

      • Maymar

        I feel like the 5-Series is at least among the most low-key products BMW makes. It’s comfortably removed from the vinyl seat 320i’s for the $30k millionaires who want to humblebrag about their “Beemer”, it’s not any of the godawful SUVs, and it’s not a 7-Series telling the world that you’re putting in 70 hour weeks to be one of the primary drivers behind our next major financial collapse.

        • kogashiwa

          I agree if I had to have a BMW I’d have … an i8 (actually kind of really want an i8) … but if a BMW sedan then the 5 would be the choice no doubt.

  • Alff

    Well done, Alan. I thought I’d be the only one to choose the Dadillac on the the basis that it’s the least conspicuous.

  • Let’s see. As I recall I have driven precisely one Cadillac (a ’65 Coupe de Ville), pushed precisely one BMW (an Isetta) on two occasions (same Isetta both times), and ridden in precisely two Mercedes (each a W115). I don’t have a lot to contribute on this one.

    • Hoon: Isetta – because that would be cool.
      Own: Cadillac, because that’s something to daily, or live in.
      Total: W115 – there are enough around to exterminate one.

      • Now you tell me! The Cadillac was scrapped about 25 years ago, as was one W115. The other W115 was scrapped closer to 35 years ago. None of them were mine.

        I believe the Isetta is still around but those things are pricey these days and, as suggested above, I have no reason to think that it runs (not that this usually stops me).

  • outback_ute

    Hoon Cadillac, total BMW and own Mercedes. Until I sold it to buy a HSV GTS-R. Not as much power, interior quality or useless toys but a better driver’s car (eg comes with a manual) and it knows what fun is.

  • smalleyxb122

    Hoon the Bimmer, Own the Caddy, and total the Benz. There really isn’t a wrong choice for “hoon” or “own”, and “total” just gets whichever is left. The Caddy wins the “own” for the magnetic ride and because I prefer a supercharger to a turbo for a daily. For the Benz and the Bimmer, I flipped a coin.

  • SoldierofaDifferentStripe

    Hoon the Mercedes, Own the Cadillac, Total the BMW.

  • jeepjeff

    Alan continues to be a gentleman and a scholar. I’m pretty meh on all three cars. No clutch pedal, and they’re luxury cars. I took an honest look at my fleet this summer, and bullet point #2 on my required features list for vehicles is “assault on the senses”. I don’t need it to be fast, but I want a raw experience so I can really feel the car and enjoy everything about how it is moving and running.

    • The CTS-V used to be available with a 6 speed, no longer?

      • jeepjeff

        Wikipedia thinks they dropped the six speed option for the third gen CTS-V. Which sucks.

        • Their build & price confirms it. I has a sad.

          At least the ATS-V still has the stick.

  • I don’t understand this game at all.

    Why are we totalling good cars?
    Why do we have to choose between hooning and owning?
    Why would I have any of these wonderful machines and tuck it away to preserve it and not enjoy it?

    My first choice among these is the Cadillac because I like the looks and in every review the V series Caddys get high praise for their handling.

    • Alan Cesar

      Why? To push your priorities and your decision-making process to their limits. And because it’s fun.

  • Zentropy

    With no manual option in any of these sedans, I’d not own any of them. I know modern automatics are faster and often more efficient, but in cars like this, I want more fun, not more speed.
    So, I’d hoon the Benz on Monday, the Bimmer on Tuesday, and the Caddy on Wednesday, and return to the pleasure of manual shifting in my E28 535i after that.