The Ford Mustang has been brought into some seriously uncharted territory with the 2011 model. With big improvements having been made to the handling, some are starting to look at it as an M3 killer. Certainly, with the huge difference in price, if the Mustang can give you the same driving experience, then the M3 doesn't have a chance. America has already gone after the M3 with the Cadillac CTS-V and it has stolen quite a few customers from BMW.
So, how does the new Mustang stack up against the CTS-V? While the idea of comparing a Mustang to a Cadillac might cause some people to need a little lie down, it really isn't as absurd as you might think. On paper, the two cars are very similar, especially when we look at the GT500 variant of the Mustang and the coupe version of the CTS-V. Both are two-door, front-engine, rear-wheel-drive and powered by supercharged V8s, with a power output within 6hp of each other. Handling is a major issue, since the two cars have very different suspension setups.
Surprisingly, it was the GT500, with its live rear axle that pulled the higher skidpad number. An astonishing 1.0G compared to the CTS-V's 0.90Gs. A large part of the improvements that have been made to the GT500's handling have been a result of Ford's switch to an aluminum engine block, which cut 102 pounds from the front end, thus improving the balance of the previously front-heavy setup. It's still not as balanced as the CTS-V, and would benefit from independent rear suspension; but for the first time there is a Mustang with good handling, and not just good handling for a muscle car.
The CTS-V is heavier than the GT500, and with an almost identical horsepower rating you might expect that the Cadillac would be a bit sluggish by comparison. It isn't though. The larger-displacement engine in the CTS-V gives it a torque advantage to the tune of 41 lb-ft. and this resulted in 0-60 and quarter mile times both 0.2 seconds faster than the GT500's. This isn't a huge difference though, and things like interior space and noise levels, as well as trunk space and braking distance are also close enough to being the same that they aren't worth going into.
This means that the decision comes down to just a couple things. This first would be the price, you will obviously pay more for the Cadillac, but it isn't a huge amount, and you will be getting more in terms of luxury features and electronic goodies. There is one area where two cars are very different though, and that is looks. Both are very good looking cars in their own right, but they are also very different looks which cater to very different crowds, and this will probably be what puts you behind the wheel of one rather than the other.