America's New Muscle Versus Europe's Finest Super Models [Part 2]

Welcome to Part II of our massive ‘America's New Muscle Versus Europe's Finest Super Models’ Feature, where we basically played match-maker for America’s best of the best on four wheels.

After Part I, the score is tied between the US and Europe at 2-2. So let’s go ahead and start the next duel with two torque monsters!

DUEL #5 – Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat vs. Mercedes-Benz S 65 AMG Coupe

It’s really, really hard to say anything bad about the Challenger Hellcat. It’s just such an awesome car. Its power, its price, its looks, heck even its name is bad ass. I dare you to try and look more masculine in anything else on the road today.

Under that sexy hood there lies a 6.2 liter supercharged HEMI V8 engine, giving you no fewer than 707 PS along with 881 Nm (650 lb-ft) of torque. Dodge calls the Challenger Hellcat the “ultimate GT muscle car” and I tend to agree. It will run the quarter mile in 10.8 seconds with drag radials, which makes it faster than a Camaro Z/28, a Viper GTS and even the C6 Corvette ZR1.

This car is unbelievable. If you can get the power down properly, you’ll hit 62 mph somewhere around 3.7 seconds. It packs more power than a Lamborghini Aventador! It’s just silly fast. Just plain silly. And it’s been talked about so much that there’s really not that much more to say, so let’s put it up against the mighty Mercedes-Benz S 65 AMG Coupe and see what we have.

First of all, they’re both fairly similar in size and weight so this is a very interesting match up. The S 65 AMG Coupe is a monster at 630 PS and 1000Nm (737 lb-ft) of torque. It’s down on power to the Hellcat but it’s massive V12 twin turbocharged engine has so much torque that it could probably unite two continents.

It’s the ultimate Mercedes-Benz Coupe which makes it one of the best cars ever built. From a stand still, it will reach 62 mph in 4.1 seconds, which makes it 0.4 seconds slower than the Challenger Hellcat, but what would happen after that is the real question. It has a pretty big torque advantage which might actually cancel out the Hellcat’s horsepower advantage if they would race each other from a rolling start.

Now the price. A brand new S 65 AMG Coupe will cost you $230,900 and wow that’s a lot of money. By the way, did I mention that the Challenger SRT Hellcat is just $59,995 ? The price gap is just too massive to justify. We could say that the Merc’s interior is light years ahead of what you get in the Challenger and, it’s true. The new S-Class is the new benchmark from a luxury perspective. But if that’s what you’re looking for in your fast luxurious Coupe then you could just get the S500 Coupe or even the S 63 AMG. It’s not like any of them are slow. But you’ll be nowhere close to 700 PS and you won’t get that massive torque that the S 65 delivers in order to keep up with the Hellcat. It’s a tough call. The S-Class Coupe is a vastly superior automobile when parked next to any type of Challenger, even a Hellcat. But for our purpose here, talking strictly about the S65 AMG version, I just can’t give it the win. Not when it’s 4 times more expensive to buy (and to own).

Winner: Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

DUEL #6 – Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat vs. Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG S

If one Hellcat wasn’t enough for you, here is the more practical and family oriented Charger to the rescue. It’s so much better looking than the previous model that I’d almost be inclined to say that it’s a great looking family sports saloon. But from some angles it still feels a bit unpolished and definitely not as beautifully sculpted as some of its European rivals such as the E63 AMG, the BMW M5, or the Jaguar XFR-S.

What it does do for you however is pack the same punch as the Challenger SRT Hellcat, meaning the same supercharged HEMI V8 with the same 707 PS and 881 Nm ( 650 lb-ft) of torque. It’s 0-62 mph time is about the same too, hovering around the 3.7 second mark.

The Charger Hellcat will cost you a bit more than the Challenger, at $63,995, but to be fair, you do get two extra doors so…yeah.

If you go on Dodge’s website, you’ll find that they call the Charger SRT Hellcat, and I quote, the “ most powerful, quickest and fastest sedan ever “, which it most definitely isn’t. Quickest I mean. There is one Euro rival quick enough to challenge it off the line, even though it’s nearly impossible to find something that will be a match for it without having to search for some type of Brabus creation.

The Mercedes E 63 AMG S packs a 5.5 liter biturbo V8 engine with an output of 585 PS and 800 Nm ( 590 lb-ft) of torque. Thanks to its 4MATIC all-wheel drive system, it gets to 62 mph in a real 3.6 seconds. So yes, I’m sorry for having to cheat a little here and pick an all-wheel drive car, but there was literally nothing else that could even come close to challenging the Charger.

The Merc is indeed prettier to look at, more stylish, it has a better interior, it’s more agile (Dodge gave the Charger a better ride than the Challenger, giving it softer springs and shocks), and it’s quicker off the line. What happens after that, well you might think it’s a blowout, but the Merc’s AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7 speed sports transmission is much faster. So you could expect for the Benz to keep its lead over the Charger even after hitting 62 mph. Ultimately, if you max them out, the Hellcat would obviously win, but like I said, it wouldn’t be a blowout at all.

So then price. Well we’ve established that the Charger Hellcat is actually amazing value for money, just like the Challenger. The E63 AMG-S Merc will set you back $100,600, which isn’t all that bad either considering the type of car you’re getting. A premium mid-sized AMG saloon, great over long distances, great to look at, fun to drive and I feel as though I shouldn’t give it points for its all-wheel drive system since that makes it a better overall package than the Charger and so I won’t.

But it won’t change the outcome. I think the Benz is just better value overall and it costs just 36k more. I guess it depends on what you want from a car as well. The tradition, the build quality, the prestige is all there in the E 63.

Winner: Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG-S

DUEL #7 – Cadillac CTS-V vs. BMW M5

Even though it might not be the best choice looking at the engine specs, the BMW M5 is the ultimate rear wheel drive European saloon in terms of agility, which is why it’s been a benchmark in the automotive industry for so many years despite more powerful all-wheel drive offerings from Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

So in my mind, the M5 is the perfect opponent for the all-new 2016 Cadillac CTS-V – the most powerful Cadillac ever made. It’s strength comes from the same power plant used in the Corvette Z06, GM’s LT4 6.2 liter supercharged V8 giving you 640 PS (10 less than the Vette) and 885 Nm (630 lb-ft) of torque.

The CTS-V is a great looking car, both outside and in. The interior is beautifully covered in high quality leather (yes you can find plenty of low quality stitching in lots of cars) and looks luxurious, just like a Cadillac should. And when you’re bored with admiring the inside of your CTS-V, you can plant your foot on the gas knowing that if you had your own private runway, you could get it up to 200 mph (322km/h). Of course the good people of Cadillac went with a 0-60 time instead of 0-62 because well, the rest of the world cares so much how fast a car will get to 96km/h. Anyway, its 0-60 time is 3.7 seconds which means a 0-62 might be somewhere around 3.9 seconds. Either way, its both fast and quick, which means it has the whole package. Carscoops' Danny Choy wrote a great piece on the 2016 CTS-V, comparing it not only to the M5 but also the Charger SRT Hellcat and E 63 AMG.

However, while we’re busy bowing down to the CTS-V, I should also mention that its 8-speed automatic is claimed (by Cadillac) to rival what you’d find in a BMW M5 or an AMG Merc, but in case you’re new to cars in general, you should always take that with a grain of salt.

And so in the other corner, here’s the BMW M5 aka the Benchmark. I’ve actually driven the M5 and I can attest to the fact that its 7-speed dual clutch transmission shifts brutally fast and its agility and all-round maneuverability is pretty much unparalleled. But do I think you should buy it over the 2016 CTS-V? Of course not! It has less power (560 PS), less torque (680 Nm) it’s neither as quick (4.1 seconds) nor as fast (250km/h). And you can argue either way about which of them has a better interior.

As for the price, there’s still no word on how much the CTS-V is going to cost, but a brand new M5 starts off at $93,600 and I’m willing to bet the Caddy is going to drop somewhere under that number. Maybe a few grand less.

Winner: 2016 Cadillac CTS-V

DUEL #8 – Tesla Model S P85D vs. Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG S 4MATIC

I’m really excited about this duel. It’s not even fair, right? These two cars go about their business in two very different ways but they’re pretty similar in performance and, well, what else can you throw at the absolutely INSANE Tesla Model S P85D, a 691 HP car, packing 931 Nm of torque and able to get off the line and onto 62 mph in about 3.4 seconds.

I’m a huge fan, to say the least. The P85D pretty much says that even though you’re all for helping out the environment, which is why you’re driving a plug-in electric car, you still want power and you still want speed out of your luxury saloon.

You’ve seen it on YouTube take on a Lamborghini, a Ferrari and a BMW M4 and win pretty easily each time (at least until 62 mph and a bit upwards)! Even against the equally powerful and much lighter Aventador. The Tesla’s advantage comes from its instantaneous torque delivery which means that from a stand still and until a certain speed, you’ll probably never have to worry about other cars on the road challenging you. It’s not to say that there aren’t faster cars in the world, but in its segment? Nothing comes close.

So what does this mean for Europe? What can they throw at the P85D? Well, a few names come to mind such as the Porsche Panamera Turbo S, the Audi S8, the Mercedes-Benz S 63 AMG 4Matic and the Audi RS7. They’re all massively fast, luxurious, and just like the Tesla Model S, they have all-wheel drive. They’re not all playing in the same segment though and if you ask me the S8 and the S 63 AMG are bigger and a lot more luxurious, therefor, I’m going to say apples and oranges. The Panamera is sort of a tweener choice but I think nothing matches up as well as the CLS 63 AMG S – it’s larger than an E-Class yet not as gigantic as an S-Class. Perfect.

The CLS 63 AMG S Merc packs as big of a punch as the E 63. It has the same 5.5 liter biturbo V8 engine, good for 585 PS and 800 Nm ( 590 lb-ft) of torque. It will also get to 62 mph in 3.6 seconds which means it can keep up with the Tesla, sort of. The thing is, one is a gas-guzzler and the other is pretty much the car of the future, without any of the compromises you’d normally expect from an eco-friendly vehicle.

So let’s talk money. As of right now, a brand new Tesla Model S P85D costs $105,670 while a Mercedes CLS 63 AMG S sits pretty at $106,550. There you have it, they cost just about the same, which I’d like to say that I knew way before choosing this match-up, but I didn’t. There’s no doubt that the CLS 63 AMG S is the better drivers’ car if that’s what you’re looking for. But does that count as much as what you get if you buy the P85D Tesla. You get an electric car, you get to save up on gas money, you get to do your part in the community and you get a faster accelerating car! As for the badge? Well, the Tesla is, dare I say, very popular right now. Man, this is a hard one, but I just have to give it to the Tesla. The AMG is just a bully, but the P85D is the handsome nerd who’s just gotten his black belt.

Winner: Tesla Model S P85D

And there you have it. It turns out our final score is 5-3 in favor of the Americans! Going into this feature, I wasn’t entirely sure what the final score was going to be. In Part 1, I asked if American Muscle is back. I think it’s safe to say that it is. However, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves and say that the US now makes better sports cars than the Europeans, because they don't. I didn’t mention lots of other supercars, most of which are better and faster than anything we’ve talked about here, and so it wouldn’t have been a fair match.

All in all, the US should be proud and 'Detroit' especially should be proud. Their cars are better than they ever were and because of that, we’ll always be waiting for bigger and more impressive things from them. The world is watching.


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