Date registered: May 2016
Vehicle: 2000 S430
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Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Just test-drove a 2016 Cadillac XTS - compared to my 2000 S430
It's good, folks, to see what competition is out there. I've had the good fortune in the past to drive some nice cars--not mine, but family members. One of those cars is my Dad's 2000 Mercedes S430.
Turns out I needed new tires. Since the car is white, Dad had put Vogue whitewall tires on it, the ones that also have the gold rim. This really set off the car and made it look just that bit of extra-nice. So, naturally, I wanted to keep the same good looks.
The only Vogue whitewall tire in my area is a Cadillac dealership. I called 'em and made an appointment for the new tires, which they did in fine form. This happened last week. While waiting for them to finish, I figured I'd take a look at the showroom. One of the showroom salesman offered to let me test-drive a 2016 Caddy. The one that fits my long legs is the XTS Sedan. He said it was basiclally their equivalent to the S430. I said, "sure, why not? I'm waiting anyway."
So, I drive this thing. It's a nice car, with a 304HP, 264 lb-ft naturally-aspirated 3.6L V-6 engine. I liked the car. It felt nice, I could feel the road, all that. It's a comfortable car and even looks good.
But one thing I found was that while the horsepower rating is similar to my S430, the S430 seems to put the power to the wheels somewhat better. I've noticed this about Cadillacs from even the Northstar days. BMW 735i's felt about as "fast" as the Cadillac Northstars of the same era, with the 740i's giving considerably brisker acceleration. Mercedes 500 SEL's from that era also felt faster. It seems to still be the case these days, albeit to a somewhat lessened degree. Supposedly the Cadillac will do 0-60 in 6.7 seconds.
Also, the S430's interior feels "warmer". The Caddy has all the latest Android-like interface for the stereo and whatever else, and the W220's console isn't nearly so techno-flashy. But the W220 just felt a bit more sumptuous, if I may. This is perhaps simply a difference in chosen style. Cadillac's going for a more "edgy" atmosphere, and I gotta admit, they do a good job implementing it. It does look good.
Finally, I can service pretty much everything, including the transmission, on the W220. Like Mercedes, Cadillac also claims to use a "maintenance-free", sealed transmission. I don't know if you actually *can* service that Caddy XTS's transmission the way you can the W220's. Maybe you actually can, but I just haven't looked into it yet. I sure hope so, given what those cars cost!
Is the XTS the "equivalent" of the S430? After having driven both, I like the Caddy. It drives well and fits my dimensions without me feeling cramped in. But so does my year-2000 S430. I'd say that the cars are pretty close, actually.
What I took away from this is that it's taken Cadillac this long, 2012 being the introductory year, to get to where Mercedes already was in the year 2000. And W220's in good shape can be had for a good price. The brand-new XTS is in the $60,000 price range and gets about the same fuel economy as my car. A good 2005 or 2006 S430 or S500 can be had for what, 1/8th to 1/9th that price, maybe less if you shop a bit?
Mercedes automobiles are also well known for their reliability. I see a whooooole lot of older Benzes on the road, much older than mine. I don't see that many older Cadillacs. Quality had been a problem from General Motors for several years, so this may explain it. I hope that GM has fixed that problem of late. Only time will tell.
Win: the W220. Now that I drive one, I like what Mercedes has done with these cars, and I understand why my Dad purchased this example 16 and a half years ago.