By on September 11, 2009

GM’s “May The Best Car Win” campaign is beginning to take shape, and it’s turning out to be every bit as gimmicky as you might guess. In a conference call with the motoring press, GM’s Bob Lutz challenged all comers to beat him around the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. Lutz will be driving a Cadillac CTS-V, and he promises to beat any production four-door sedan as a way of proving that Cadillac does build world-beating cars. Jalopnik‘s Wes Siler has taken up the challenge, and will be facing Lutz in a Mercedes C63 AMG. So we’re curious: what unmodified sports sedan would you mount up in to send Lutz back to the RenCen with his tail between his legs? Myself? I believe water skis are the traditional conveyance for shark-jumping competitions. Meanwhile, TTAC would like to take this opportunity to pit our own Jack Baruth in this competition for the ages. Do we have a deal, GM?

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103 Comments on “Ask the Best and Brightest: In What Car Would You Beat Bob Lutz?...”


  • avatar
    FloorIt

    Does he have to be in the car when clubbed? Oh, you meant beaten as in a race. Sorry.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Audi RS6?

  • avatar

    Now Lutz is challenging people to a duel? That’s certainly gonna help GM get out of the death spiral. It did wonders for Zell Miller and Saddam Hussein’s career.

    Baruth in an M5 might be the winning ticket. Hell make it interesting, make it an E39 M5 worth about $20,000 in today’s market.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    What effing nonsense!!!

    People do not shell out $100k or even $50k to buy a luxury car to just torture it going round and round on a stupid track until the tires are worn off!

    Want a competition, Lutz?

    How about you try to do 300,000 miles in this POS, and I’ll easily exceed that in afar, far superior (inside and out) 7-series Euro-spec diesel or S-class Diesel? (an dburn 1/3 of the fuel YOU will burn in the V?

    LOL…

  • avatar
    NickR

    Jack B in a BMW M5 or a Taurus SHO or a Lexus ISF.

  • avatar
    spyspeed

    I’d bet a Merkur Scorpio would give Lutz a seizure.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Autech 40th Anniversary Skyline GT-R. AWD for the win, Bob.

    For the sequel, we can run the CTS wagon versus the Stagea 260RS.

  • avatar
    Banger

    Sajeev in his Mehtamobile = teh winzors.

  • avatar
    Jeff in Canada

    If GM (and Lutz) were confident that their cars were world class, then they should be performing these tests with any vehicle, in any class. I’ll wholly admit the CTS-V is an amazing machine, but 1 great car does not a world class company make!

    I’ll gladly race Lutz in other examples

    Aveo vs Fit
    Cobalt vs Mazda3
    Malibu vs Fusion
    Silverado vs F150
    HHR SS vs Mazdaspeed3

    Perhaps the CTS-V does have a shot against it’s competitors, but the rest of the GM line-up has FAILure written all over the bumpers.

  • avatar
    sean362880

    I think the smart money is on the CTS-V, if not Lutz. M3, RS4, C63, IS-F? It’s pretty hard to overcome 100+ HP disadvantage. By all accounts, the CTS-V is no handling slouch.

    M5 maybe, but it’d be close.

    My pick? Evo X FQ-400.

  • avatar
    chaparral

    Cobalt SS vs Mazdaspeed3 is fair (and I’d bet on the Cobalt given even odds).

    They don’t make a Mazdaspeed5

  • avatar
    wsn

    I can’t afford either, but I blindly believe that a IS-F can beat a CTS-V, given the same driving skill.

  • avatar
    FloorIt

    How about anything from the jalopnik 24 Hours of Lemons race? That’d be fun to see, some pos civic beats GM’s new car.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Now I know that everyone here hates Lutz, but c’mon, he’s going to murder that C63. As to sending Baruth in a used car (a stock E39 I believe)…well, Lutz used to race Neon’s too, it won’t work. Best bet is sending a challenger out with an new M3, but if the track has long straights then it’s still a lost cause. Apples to apples, on the track I wouldn’t put my money against the CTS-V, even with a really old (former racer) at the wheel.

    “People do not shell out $100k or even $50k to buy a luxury car to just torture it going round and round on a stupid track until the tires are worn off!”

    Is the challenge for oval racing? If not then you’d be dead wrong, as many M-cars and AMG’s are taken out for trackdays. It’s not like he posted a race challenge for a no equipment having base car, the CTS-V (like all of it’s credible competitors) relies on actually having track worthy components to justify price. Actually, I’d say the Merc is the least likely car to beat the CTS-V; speed limited to 155, awful stability control, and crap MB automatic tranny (yup, I said it).

  • avatar
    GroupB

    One commenter on Jalopnik got it right: Pontiac G8 for the extra-ironic 1-2 punch!

    (alas, not me)

  • avatar
    GroupB

    PLUS: I would bet the CTS-V Lutz shows up in is a ringer car.

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    Laguna Seca fastest lap times by model can be found here.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    1. Vauxhall VXR8
    2. Ford Mondeo
    3. Porsche Panamerica.
    4. Mitsubishi Evo

  • avatar

    Just got off the phone with Wert of Jalopnik.

    It’s their exclusive, period. Fair enough. Wert says they’re looking at two tracks: Laguna and Monticello. Laguna is JP’s choice. Siler is getting some training beforehand, as well.

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    Here it is boys – GM’s strategy is now clear.

    It isn’t about producing good, reliable, affordable, fun, efficient cars that do well over the long term.

    It isn’t about dealers going the extra mile for their customer, and taking responsibility for the car when things do go wrong.

    It isn’t about the dealers, customers, and employees.

    It’s about pissing contests. Yes, that’s right – the strategy is now who can piss the farthest, who can down the most shots at the bar, and who can win the arm wrestling competition.

    GM is doomed. They don’t get it. They never have, and they never will.

    -ted

  • avatar

    I’ll race Lutz. He can drive a “Chevy” Aveo, and I’ll drive a Deux Chevaux.

    As zerofoo points out, this is just a distraction.

  • avatar
    jonny b

    @ Ed Niedermeyer: Thanks for the list. Fascinating. It seems the CTS-V is every bit the business. Looking at the list it seems some form of BMW could do the trick. As for the Merc’s chances, I’ve been in its predecessor, the E55 AMG, through some turns not unlike the Corkscrew at Laguna. It was fierce! It might come down to driving skill.

    BTW, the marketing guy in me says this is silly. But the pistonhead in me loves a good old fashioned race. Especially at my favourite American race track.

  • avatar
    davejay

    Just got off the phone with Wert of Jalopnik.

    It’s their exclusive, period. Fair enough.

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand that’s the sound of me no longer reading Jalopnik. Tsk.

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    zerofoo, bravo, couldn’t have said it better. None of this in-your-face bravado crap addresses the fact that their mainstream products don’t measure up to what the Asian manufacturers, and Ford for that matter, are selling. The ‘bu is good, but it’s just not a better car than the Camry or Accord, sorry guys.

    So he beats Siler and the C63. Then what?

  • avatar
    shabster

    I haven’t purchased or leased a GM product for years. I doubt I’ll purchase a GM product in the next ten years. Government Motors and all….

    However, I admire GM and Mr. Lutz for shakin’ things up. Adding a little fun and zip to the mix. I don’t quite see why the Amen Corner feels it has to crap all over this GM promotion.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Oh, yeah. If GM can cram a 500 hp engine into a $100K Cadillac and rocket around some racetrack, somewhere, I’m definitely going to buy a Malibu instead of a Camry and GM will be wildly profitable.

    Memo to Lutz:
    Grow up.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    GroupB wrote: “PLUS: I would bet the CTS-V Lutz shows up in is a ringer car.”
    If there was anyone left at Mopar or Ford racing who had their balls left they’d build a ‘ringer’ Taurus SHO or a Hemi Charger, and hand the keys to Jonathan Summerton and go wip Maximum Bob’s backside. Though I have no doubt a Mercedes C63 AMG is more than enough to make him cry like a little girl.

    Even if the ringer were found out it would still show there was enough life left in the domestic dinosaurs to take one last bite at the back of their old nemesis.

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    Laguna is a track which should play to the CTS-V’s strengths: there is a lot of power AND finess involved in going fast on it. EG, you have lots of place to get up a head of speed, but the turns themselves are very tricky.

    EG, even the SIMPLE turns like turn 3-4 are suprisingly evil at speed, as you pick up a good head of steam between T2 and T3 and then to T4, but T3 and T4 are subtly off-camber.

    The AMG will probably get its ass-kicked.

    M3 perhaps (although its down on power), but the M5 seems the best choice, but even then, its close.

    The CTS-V is a real beast of a 4-door.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    KixStart wrote: Oh, yeah. If GM can cram a 500 hp engine into a $100K Cadillac and rocket around some racetrack, somewhere, I’m definitely going to buy a Malibu instead of a Camry and GM will be wildly profitable.

    LOL, yeah that’ll really convice the rest of the car buying public, won’t it?

  • avatar
    Happy_Endings

    If Lutz is driving the CTS-V, I wouldn’t doubt a five year old can win on a bicycle. Lutz will end up taking a turn too fast, crash into a gravel pit, and get stuck. I don’t see him being able to walk/run the rest of the way.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    How about an ariel atom? Shouldn’t this eat the cts-v for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and twice on sundays) ?

    Whoops, the atom is 0 doors, my bad :)

    But if I was going to buy a track car at the $60k pricepoint, I’d still take an atom over the cts-v.

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    @shabster
    Adding a little fun and zip to the mix.

    I would normally agree with this, but nothing about this “race” has the whiff of fun. Lutz is just one pissed off dude, he’s pissed at Toyota, pissed at the American public…he’s just…pissed.

    It’s just an angry guy driving his angry car to prove some kind of point. Nothin jovial about it, just childish bravado.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Does anyone here have the results of the sales race?

    How many CTS-V, M3, IS-F, C63 are sold each year?

  • avatar
    mtr2car1

    So what’s next??

    is Lutz going to challenge every M5 owner to an arm wrestling match… just to prove that they are not only stupid for not buying the CST-V but a girly man too??

    This company has sold 1.4 million vehicles thru August (35% less than last year) and the guy in charge of marketing is farting around with something that’s 3 tenths of 1% of their volume?

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    And lets face it, the CTS-V probably IS the best car GM makes:

    It makes a crapload of power (550 HP!), more than the M5 (500). It only weighs 200 lbs more than the M5. AND costs $20 grand less!

  • avatar
    John Horner

    I’m no Lutz fan, but this is a good move. GM needs positive PR and Lutz knows a thing or two about getting attention.

  • avatar
    shabster

    Yeah, I guess GM and Mr. Lutz are really disappointed that so many people on many, many auto blogs are talking about their promotion. Wait a minute, isn’t this kinda like free publicity?? Perhaps it’s not the best publicity, but still….

  • avatar
    dswilly

    They better not push the caddie to much or the trim will start flying off or it will start to smoke.

  • avatar

    I think it’s a great idea. If Cadillac is ever going to regain brand image as “Standard of the World”, they have to put on their big boy pants and play in the big leagues.

    Lexus doesn’t really sell based on performance, and the GT-R is a Nissan, not an Infiniti, so it’s M-B or BMW. Since the V Series Caddies are directly analogous to M-B’s AMG line, and since we’re talking about the sweet spot in the luxury car market, where BMW’s 3 Series has reigned, running the CTS-V against a C Class factory hot rod makes great sense for Cadillac’s marketing. Car guys may recognize BMW’s M branded cars, but I think AMG has better brand identification overall.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    Hmmm.. what to choose…

    1. a Tata Nano, piloted buy the competent Mujibur and Sirajul of Dave Letterman fame.

    2. Forget the car or the bike. Just walk and wait until the POS breaks down. Then I bet the average couch potato would beat the geezer to the finish line on foot.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    OK, when we say “sports sedan,” I conjure up a four-door, just to be fair. So, forget about the Nissan GT-R. The Brits might call it a “saloon,” but it’s a coupe.

    The only silver bullet would be a BMW M3 four-door. The list Edward posted contained a M3, but it was a two-door. The difference in lap time was one second.

    The M-B C63 has a 75 horsepower disadvantage to the CTS-V, and Benzes have never been track stars, so I’d bet the Caddy would put that one on the trailer with no problem.

    By the way, the CTS-V has already wasted the M5…

    http://www.roadandtrack.com/article.asp?section_id=31&article_id=6963&print_page=y

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    KixStart :
    September 11th, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Oh, yeah. If GM can cram a 500 hp engine into a $100K Cadillac and rocket around some racetrack, somewhere, I’m definitely going to buy a Malibu instead of a Camry and GM will be wildly profitable.

    Memo to Lutz:
    Grow up.

    Not to interrupt your rant, but the CTS-V stickers out for about $60-65,000, not $100,000.

  • avatar
    boybarian

    The Stig.

    Driving anything.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    If I get this straight, we’re upset today because Bob Lutz has the audacity to point out that a GM product – the CTS-V – can run with ANY sports sedan in the world, a fact that’s been borne out by every buff mag…and this is a bad thing?

    Let’s back up here. The only sports sedan that can take the CTS-V is the BMW M3, and the latter is (rightly) acknowledged as the benchmark for sports sedans. That means that GM has built a no-excuses, no-shit great sedan here.

    And this is a bad thing?

    Go look up “irrational,” guys.

  • avatar
    shabster

    I’m not sure if the point of this promotion is to trick consumers into buying a Malibu – ‘cause a CTS-V is a fast car.

    Some of the other TTAC posters are more knowledgeable on promotion and advertizing than I. It’d be nice to hear the thoughts from some promo people as to the potential benefits of this GM play.

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    If I get this straight, we’re upset today because Bob Lutz has the audacity to point out that a GM product – the CTS-V – can run with ANY sports sedan in the world, a fact that’s been borne out by every buff mag…and this is a bad thing?

    No what people are annoyed about is the ludicrous self promotion.

  • avatar
    Vega

    This testosterone -filled idiocy is nothing new for Lutz. I remember back in the late 80s german magazine Auto-Motor-und Sport ripped the Chrysler Saratoga (which Lutz foolishly tried to market as 3 series or MB 190 competitor) a new one. Lutz then wrote a letter to the editor challenging the writers for a race on the Ring, to which they cooly replied that ring times were not necessarily the decisive factor for judging the qualities of a compat executive sedan.

    Some things never change.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    Hey Lutz, let’s do a comparo that will actually sell cars. You pick the GM car of your choice, and let’s see which wins a test of durability, longevity, and fuel economy; your car, or the Toyota Prius. Two rules apply, no ringers, and no concepts/one-offs. Your car must be new, and available at any GM franchised dealer.

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    and the GT-R is a Nissan

    whats wrong with that?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    HEATHROI :
    September 11th, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    No what people are annoyed about is the ludicrous self promotion.

    Well, let’s start with the concept that self-promotion is something companies do, shall we?

    Or are they just supposed to not promote themselves?

    As far as “ludicruous self promotion” is concerned, I’d agree – if the product was uncompetitive. But we’re not talking about a silly comparisons like a Mercury to a Rolls here. If I’m correct, and the only sedan in the world that can put a CTS-V on the trailer is a BMW M3, I’d say we have a competitive product here.

    Or should GM just keep that fact under wraps?

  • avatar
    the duke

    Really too bad its a Jalop exclusive. Because I’d recommend old Jack take down Maximum Bob in a G8 GXP. Have a “bad GM” car beat down a “good GM” car.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    superbadd75 :
    September 11th, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Hey Lutz, let’s do a comparo that will actually sell cars. You pick the GM car of your choice, and let’s see which wins a test of durability, longevity, and fuel economy; your car, or the Toyota Prius.

    Considering that NOBODY – not even Honda – can build a better hybrid than the Prius, how about a true mainstream matchups:

    Midsize car – Camry versus Malibu
    Small CUV – RAV4 versus Equinox
    Large CUV – Highlander versus Traverse
    Full size pickup – Silverado versus Tundra

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    As far as “ludicruous self promotion” is concerned, I’d agree – if the product was uncompetitive. But if I’m correct, and the only sedan in the world that can put a CTS-V on the trailer is a BMW M3, I’d say we have a competitive product here.

    Or should GM just keep that fact under wraps?

    You have a point, but…who cares? How many CTS-V’s does Caddy sell? Is the regular CTS as much of a world-beater? Will GM sell more cars because Lutz whoops ass on a blogger at Laguna Seca? Does any of this make the Malibu or Equinox better cars?

    The whole thing seems like a pointless pissing match.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    Isn’t this like a guy getting challenged to a fight by a girl? If you beat her up, you’re an a-hole who hits girls. If you get beat up, you look even worse.

    Lutz has already joked that if he looses the lap to an expensive sedan, he’ll just market on how close it was given the price differential.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    HEATHROI :
    September 11th, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    and the GT-R is a Nissan

    whats wrong with that?

    Nothing wrong with that at all, aside from the fact that the GT-R is a coupe and the CTS-V is a sedan that can carry four adults in comfort.

  • avatar

    How about taking him on in another CTS-V?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    PartsUnknown :
    September 11th, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    You have a point, but…who cares? How many CTS-V’s does Caddy sell? Is the regular CTS as much of a world-beater? Will GM sell more cars because Lutz whoops ass on a blogger at Laguna Seca? Does any of this make the Malibu or Equinox better cars?

    The whole thing seems like a pointless pissing match.

    GM’s fighting to survive right now. They have to fight and claw for every competitive advantage they can take until their new products come on line.

    If they’re pissing in someone else’s pond, good for them. It shows me they’re looking to succeed, not just live off taxpayer largesse forever.

  • avatar
    YZS

    Sounds like some sore loser wants a meaningless rematch.

    You want to be the man? Grow up and grow a pair, beat them at their own game and make them cry. BS publicity stunts might stroke your ego, but it won’t do jack for GM.

    Besides, the stig can beat him in a Hyundai or Bimmer at 2/3 the price.

  • avatar

    So long as with a traditional duel, the challenger can bring Lutz his chosen weapon… rather than allow him to bring a ringer. Otherwise this is all good fun.

    It won’t help GM one little bit, but it will be entertaining. Bread and circuses folks (minus the bread), that’s what your tax dollars buy these days!

    –chuck

  • avatar
    rochskier

    Number of base model CTSes I’ve seen on the street:
    At least 70

    Number of CTS 4s I’ve seen on the street:
    3 or 4

    Number of CTS-Vs I’ve seen on the street:
    0

    @ FreedMike:

    “Wasted” is hardly an accurate term to describe the CTS-V’s 0.47 second margin over a 3-year old BMW design with a less powerful engine. “Eked”, “pipped”, or “nipped” are far, far more appropriate adjectives.

  • avatar
    ash78

    I like Wes’s choice and I agree with it.

    However, I’d like to find the most unassuming AMG63 with which to beat him by a smaller margin, perhaps an E63 wagon–or even an R63 (long shot, but extra style points…or lack thereof).

  • avatar
    redshift.flipgear

    BMW M5
    Jaguar XF-R
    Audi RS6
    Vauxhall VXR Bathurst

  • avatar
    NickR

    Instead of flinging that CTS-V around a track, he should give it to me. I will tell everyone far and wide how great GM is. I promise.

  • avatar
    th009

    @FreedMike, while the M3 is definitely one of the best choices, I suspect that a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo FQ400 might be even better: it beat the M3 around the very tight Top Gear course by half a second.

    Of course, this is purely academic since it’s a Jalopnik-only event, and they chose the AMG.

  • avatar
    Lokkii

    I’m proud of Lutz and I think this is a good PR move.
    Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday still works with the “Good Morning America” and “USA Today” crowd. This will sell some Caddy’s.

    As to whether it really means anything or not, who cares? It’ll be fun to watch and I hope Maximum Bob and the CTS-V win.

    Next lets go back to 1950 and get a PanAmericana race going again!

    http://www.seriouswheels.com/1950-1959/1954-Cadillac-La-Carrera-Panamericana-Race-Car-SA-1280×960.htm

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    @ FreedMike: Considering that NOBODY – not even Honda – can build a better hybrid than the Prius, how about a true mainstream matchups:

    Because GM isn’t proving anything to anyone by matching Toyota. The Malibu is a very nicely done vehicle, so are the new Equinox, the Traverse, and the Silverado. GM has to soundly whip the asses of the competition to prove themselves worthy of drawing people back to their brands. If GM beats Toyota at their own game, then maybe the people that are pissed at GM for taking our tax money would give them a chance. GM needs a reliable 60+mpg halo to use as a draw. And it’s got to be reasonably priced, to boot. The Volt will not be the answer GM needs, even if it does prove to be real.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    Just got off the phone with Wert of Jalopnik.

    It’s their exclusive, period. Fair enough.

    When I saw the news about the challenge in Jalopnik I remember reading something in the line of they were the only ones to step to the challenge. If they got the exclusive I consider it fair.

    A race against Baruth would have been great.

    Maximum Bob reminds me Mr. Chavez. You never know what kind of craziness he will come with.

  • avatar
    Monty

    I don’t know…this seems to have us all talking about a GM product, and a damn good one at that. It may be “childish bravado” or “self-promotion” or even a “pissing contest”, but that fact remains that if Bob Lutz driving a CTS-V beats the pants off of everything save a BMW M3, he will have proven the point that GM actually is capable of building a good car. So what if it’s a halo car? It will have a, hopefully, trickle down effect making every other engineering and design team attempt to go one better than Maximum Bob’s new favourite car/model.

    Didn’t GM build their reputation on so-called halo cars? The Cadillac V-16, the original Buick Century and the original Corvette spring to mind. And even stock car racing was dominated by GM cars when they were racing actual “stock” cars off of dealer’s floors.

    Given that GM has to completely rebuild it’s tarnished image, this is not a bad first step.

    (I hope he wins)

  • avatar
    ajla

    I love the C63, but it’s basically just a godly sounding jet-engine attached to a C350. The CTS-V shouldn’t have any trouble dispatching it. The CTS-V isn’t the problem with GM anyway so I don’t see what this is going to prove. Other than that Lutz is a jackass.

    I personally would have gone with the G8 GXP (just for the irony) or M3 sedan (just because it has the best shot at beating the CTS-V).

    As an aside, what a shock that Jalopnik is alloiwing itself to be a pushover for GM PR show. (/sarcasm)

  • avatar
    Bruce from DC

    Well this is kinda amusing, but, I think ultimately irrelevant. I mean, for a number of years GM has already built an ass-kicking sportscar that sells for 10s of thousands of dollars less than its overseas competitors. By that, I’m referring to the Corvette. This is not a secret to the enthusiast community who reads the car mags.

    But the rest of the car-buying public seems to be singularly unimpressed, as they have shunned GM’s vehicles in favor of overseas-branded competitors. This seems to me to be no different, and, as others have said, is just a testosterone-driven stunt for the gearheads (who still won’t buy GM in any signficant quantities.

    Not that I know anything about marketing, but, under circumstances it seems to me that a campaign along the lines of “We will earn your trust” backed up by comprehensive long-duration warranties and some ass-kicking at the dealer sales and service department level would be a far more effective strategy. GM’s product line is what it is, at the moment. That’s not going to be changed overnight. What can be changed overnight is how GM deals with its customers.

    My 2 cents.

  • avatar

    Enjoy the challenge. Wish there was an M3 there, as it does appear to be the only car likely to beat the CTS-V.

    Lutz is supposedly a good enough driver than no one, even stig, is going to beat him in a Hyundai or a G8.

    One thing surprises me about that list of times. Is Jeremy Clarkson a bad driver, or is a Civic Si seriously capable of a better time than an NSX?

  • avatar
    mtr2car1

    FreedMike :
    Go look up “irrational,” guys

    I think people are up in arms with this idea because it’s so stupid to prove a point that’s already been proven.

    97% of the buying public probably doesn’t know what the V is, the other 3% (being the best and brightest) know that the V IS in fact a pretty damn fine automobile – able to excell against others at a fraction of the price and will most likely win.

    Those that know…already know; go do something like this to win over those that don’t!

  • avatar
    James2

    I think Bruce from DC pretty much nailed it.

    I don’t believe GM is capable of matching Toyota is basic reliability (I think it’s more cultural than simply engineering) BUT GM can certainly compensate in every other respect.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    “the CTS-V is a sedan that can carry four adults in comfort”

    I’ve sat in the back of a CTS. Comfort is neither standard nor an available option.

    Re the NSX: IIRC that car was borrowed and Clarkson didn’t want to risk wrecking it.

  • avatar

    FreedMike : Well, let’s start with the concept that self-promotion is something companies do, shall we?

    Or are they just supposed to not promote themselves?

    They should promote a high volume car that might actually get some of our tax dollars back. Promoting the hell outta cars like the Malibu, LaCrosse, etc. The CTS-V will sell to its niche, Bob cohorting with Jalopnik won’t change anything.

    Is that too much to ask for?

  • avatar
    KixStart

    FreedMike: “Not to interrupt your rant, but the CTS-V stickers out for about $60-65,000, not $100,000.”

    Golly. I feel terrible about that.

    Just kidding. I don’t. From here, $60K looks a lot like $100K. Nothing priced like that is going into my driveway. And el Lutzbo’s challenge is still stupid.

    GM hasn’t been on a downward trajectory because they don’t know how to make muscle cars, GM has been on a downward trajectory because they’ve forgotten how to compete in value cars. Their testosterone-crazed car and driver aren’t going to change that.

    FreedMike: “Considering that NOBODY – not even Honda – can build a better hybrid than the Prius, how about a true mainstream matchups:”

    Toyota sold over 18K Priuses here each of the last two months. They sell something like 150K per year, here.

    The Prius is a mainstream car. And GM hasn’t even tried to answer it.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    If I get this straight, we’re upset today because Bob Lutz has the audacity to point out that a GM product – the CTS-V – can run with ANY sports sedan in the world, a fact that’s been borne out by every buff mag…and this is a bad thing?

    Yes, it is a bad thing.

    (There, I said it.)

    It shows plainly that Lutz just doesn’t get it. Not at all. He’s absolutely clueless as to what is wrong, and therefore misses how to fix it.

    He seems to earnestly believe this “perception gap” nonsense. He thinks that he can fix it with a 0-60 time or by working the EPA highway cycle to get 1/2 mpg more than a competitor.

    He’s wrong. Completely wrong. That isn’t it at all.

    The problem is more basic than that: Most of the public doesn’t trust General Motors. They don’t trust the vehicles or the service. They have no faith, so they spend their money elsewhere.

    A 1/4 mile time does not fix mistrust. Having 2 cubic feet more cargo room will not mend a bad relationship. And arguing constantly that there is a “perception gap” (in other words, that the customer is a moron) is surely a slap in the face to the customer who has lost that trust.

    Trust needs to be earned, and lost trust needs to be acknowledged as having been lost for good reason, before being earned again. Not with specifications or numbers or “perception gap” BS, but with a combination of product and service, coupled with enough style and finesse to push a few fencesitters into their direction.

    It’s stunning to see that even bankruptcy and a humiliating infusion by taxpayers couldn’t create an epiphany with these people. They’re still fighting the last war that they already lost with tactics that they have already proven don’t work.

    If stupid was a crime, Lutz would be doing consecutive life sentences, with no chance of parole. What an embarrassment, not just for the company but for the country.

  • avatar

    Isn’t the CTS-V a dead car walking? I thought they were killing it. And if so, should he be using it as an example of GM’s superiority (or whatever he’s trying to prove)?

  • avatar
    wsn

    FreedMike :
    September 11th, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    If I get this straight, we’re upset today because Bob Lutz has the audacity to point out that a GM product – the CTS-V – can run with ANY sports sedan in the world, a fact that’s been borne out by every buff mag…and this is a bad thing?

    ——————————————–

    Yes, it is a bad thing.

    GM is on bailout money and Lutz is hired to help GM to return that money. The only way for GM to make money (or stop losing as much as possible) is to build better $20k cars.

    Now that he spends his time (as we pay for his time) bragging about a $60k+ car that will never make money, it is a bad thing.

    No, the CTS-V is not world beating. Smarter companies simply don’t build a competing car that’s destined to lose money.

    Out of the US big 3 and Jap big 3, there is only one company still making money—Honda. They dont’ even have a halo car (S2000 discontinued; NSX replacement shelved). And no, they don’t offer a RWD car. And no, they don’t have a V8.

  • avatar
    mcs

    PLUS: I would bet the CTS-V Lutz shows up in is a ringer car.

    Make it a rule that the cars have to be 5 years old and off of a used car lot. I want to see how it performs after spending some time in the real world.

  • avatar
    tedward

    “there is only one company still making money—Honda. They dont’ even have a halo car (S2000 discontinued; NSX replacement shelved). And no, they don’t offer a RWD car. And no, they don’t have a V8.”

    Sure, but the whole theory is you pay for this down the line. Many would argue that GM got where it is today by building halo cars and mainstream models that just weren’t competitive by foreign performance and reliability standards. That surely isn’t how Cadillac and Chevy used to be run. Toyota started out selling nimble, relatively small cars in the US, kept up their halo models, took risks, made mistakes, and grew. They’ve only recently become what everyone calls, “the new GM”, by selling poorly received halo cars and boring sedans. If they never pay the piper, theory demolished.

    For what it’s worth I think Honda still has a positive sporting brand image (b/c, ,like Mazda and Nisaan, they make interesting mainstream cars), but they’re running a risk cancelling the halo models at the same time they attempt to commit suicide by design failure. And I don’t have personal knowledge of this, but I doubt the Miata and Z cars lose their makers any money, and if they do, that number is certainly less than their marketing value for the larger brand.

    Good for Lutz, everyone is discussing how awesome the CTS-V is online (google matters), and he’s more than likely to win this one (former racer/jet enthusiast everyone). Even if he loses it would make for a fantastic TV/internet video spot. Marketing win, especially since the GM brand is now publicly associated with all their cars, and they need to show off any area of superiority. Good for GM in general for, as FreedMike put it, “pissing in someone else’s pond”.

  • avatar
    Demetri

    So how much is GM paying Jalopnik to throw the fight?

  • avatar
    tedward

    “So how much is GM paying Jalopnik to throw the fight?”

    THAT is an interesting question.

  • avatar

    Guys, Jalopnik isn’t going to throw the fight. There’s too much too gain from winning.

  • avatar
    Adub

    According to the mags, a driver will go faster in a CTS-V than in any other four-door sedan. To beat Lutz, one would need a better driver.

  • avatar

    and the GT-R is a Nissan

    whats wrong with that?

    Nothing intrinsically, but Infiniti is a more prestigious brand here in the US. Some folks are impressed by brand names and those folks are more likely to be impressed by beating a Benz than a Nissan.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Robert Farago

    “Guys, Jalopnik isn’t going to throw the fight. There’s too much too gain from winning.”

    No doubt Siler is in it to win it once the race starts. But they picked the C63, which is an extremely friendly choice from Cadillac’s branding POV. Someone already commented about it’s relevance as an image fit for a brand match up, with a (well obvious to an enthusiast) likely win thrown in to boot. YOU on the other hand would definitely have shown up with an M3, an EVO/sti, a GXP, or some other “I’m actually a journalist so up yours” pick, at the very least denying them the easy PR coup with a cheaper car or an obvious meta-critique attached. Am I wrong?

    The friendly pick does no harm; consumers, Jalop and GM all come out ok…but it dosen’t not stink just a little. And I really like Jalopnik.

  • avatar

    tedward

    No question: the wrong ride. [see: above] I would have chosen a used BMW M5 (to balance the price thing), SMG gearbox and all. Or a used S65 AMG. Those barges handle surprisingly well and it would MURDER the Caddy in the straights. What about a V8 Ford SHO (courtesy of Sajeev’s mob)? Hehehehe. Either way, put Jack Baruth behind the wheel. Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it, Mr. Bankruptcy-Proof Pension.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Robert Farago

    “SMG gearbox and all”

    haha, if I didn’t enjoy disagreeing with you already I’d be heartbroken. Honestly though, the Cadillac would still win, Mr. Bob will surely know how to stuff a pass, and the back end of that circuit is all-win for the better handling car.

  • avatar

    Just got off the blower with Jack Baruth. He’s going to give us his take on the contest tomorrow. A LOT of food for thought coming. A banquet.

  • avatar
    Nopanegain

    MURDER the Caddy in the straights

    Having driven all three vehicles you discuss, I would not say the M5 or S65 would MURDER the Caddy in the straights. When that supercharger is on boost, the CTS-V pulls relentlessly.

    Anyone have any 50-130 MPH statistics handy?

  • avatar
    Sanman111

    Well, it depends on your definition of 4 door sedan. I would like to see an rx8 r3 against the cts-v. Otherwise, an m3 or an evo would definitely be a great choice. I will say the the cts-v is a tough car to beat. However, it doesn’t really matter. Nobody runs to the Toyota dealership based on Camry lap times.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    One more question: will they be doing separate time attacks or running wheel to wheel? ‘Cuz if it’s the latter, I’d let Lutz have the hole shot, tail him around the course, then punt him through the corkscrew Dale Sr. style. That’s how I win in Forza. :)

  • avatar
    Snikster

    2009 BMW M3… and the Stig.

  • avatar
    blautens

    Lutz isn’t even the fastest exec at GM (Heinricy would be polishing his trophy before Lutz was helped out of the car).

    The ex-cop is me knows that the guy who throws down the gauntlet is never the badass.

    The real Top Gun keeps his mouth shut but never lets you escape his peripheral vision.

    (And yes, Lutz, that was directed at the pilot in you.)

  • avatar
    bubbagump

    How about my used ’07 V6 Accord?

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    As much as I don’t like Cadillac, the C63 and the M3 aren’t fast enough to win that challenge. The Porsche Panamera turbo on the other hand WILL win. It’s the fastest 4-door on a track. Period.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Can’t see why this should hurt GM in any material way. Many of those buying AMG’s especially, but M cars as well, don’t even know Caddy has something at least as fast up their sleeve. A bit of publicity can’t hurt much. Lutz has said and done a lot of stupid things recently, but I actually find this silly stunt kind of cool.

  • avatar
    dash riprock

    “so how much is GM paying japoknik to throw the fight” – (compared to how much the promo value of them beating lutz?- second part “that is an interesting question’ – yeah like “is elvis still alive and how did the clinton’s benefit from 9/11)

    “Plus I bet the cts-v is a ringer car” ( see the elvis comment above)

    “from here $60,000 looks like $100,000.” ( the logic here is beyond me – but from a distance stephan hawkins may look like paris hilton – if that follows the same thought pattern?)

    “why not compare the Aveo to the Yaris, or, the cobalt to the corolla?”( when the Fit and the civic beat them both handily? )

    In the end, it is a 77 year old ma piloting a cadillac from a bankrupt company, against “a perceived expert” driving the “ultimate german luxuury sedan” how does GM lose?

  • avatar
    Andy D

    I was in the back seat of a CTS4 last weekend as it was hooned around the Berkshires. The V6 was deemed plenty adequate. The car was a rental with 12K miles on the clock. The interior looked and smelled pretty good still. The driver liked it better than his 530i.

  • avatar
    Morea

    It’s the tires, stupid!

    Do they have to run the stock tires, and if so what are the stock tires on these cars? (Run flats on either?)

    Can they swap in slicks or must they be DOT legals?

    For cars this close in performance it’s the car prep details that matter.

    Even correct choice of tire pressures can make all the difference.

    Will the GM engineers make better choices than the Jaolpinik boys?

  • avatar
    faygo

    the CTS-V will likely have the “track” brakes, which are a different pad compound & floating discs IIRC. all fair there, it’s a box to check when you order one.

    the C63 is probably marginally slower than the M3, but neither one is fast enough. E60 M5 is down on power & torque. G8 GXP is a silly suggestion as it’s down 125hp and isn’t meaningfully lighter. while S65 has tons of power/torque, it’s too big & heavy, not optimized for the track.

    driver skill (or lack thereof) will be a significant factor in the result. a cleaner (but less entertaining) test would be to have the cars driven by the same driver, but I don’t think The Stig is available.

  • avatar
    AICfan

    What a waste.

    What killed GM was the crap reliability and build of their cars.

    In the mid 80’s, right after Harley had their brush with death, they brought a pair of bikes with the then-new evolution motor to Daytona, I think at the time of the rally, and ran the balls off ’em (over 100mph, constantly) for a day or so, stopping only to swap riders.

    A company that had a reputation for motors that blew up with stunning regularity, didn’t work right, and fell apart fast, basically erased that reputation after that. Shovelheads are unreliable time bombs, but evos just keep on trucking – everyone ‘knows’ that…

    Dealers who couldn’t give the things away suddenly found lines out the door.

    Quality and reliability bring customers back a lot faster than some old geezer posting a nice track time in a car that costs more than most folks make a year.

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