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Talk Me Out Of It: F90 M5 vs CT5-V Blackwing

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You guys are a smart bunch, so I can’t say I’m surprised that the M2 CS beat out the M3, getting 66% of the vote. Shall we continue the theme of cars that are not long for this Earth? Let’s check in on the F90 M5 now that production is coming to a close, and pit it against perhaps my favorite car ever reviewed: the Cadillac CT-5 V Blackwing.

The 2021 BMW F90 M5 Base vs the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing

See the M5 listing here

See the Cadillac listing here

Oh, you thought I was going to make this easy on you? Not at all. The current M5 is my favorite modern BMW, even more so than the M3. But you know the deal – it’s missing a little bit of soul and a manual transmission.

Enter the V – on paper, it’s slower. It’s also just plain better. Sounds better, feels better, and has a manual. M5 prices are known to plunge a bit when a new one is coming out, though that is still about a year away. V prices however – they remain high. There are actually many used ones available with low mileage, as if the previous owners were just afraid to drive them. Sad for them, yay for us.

A direct comparison is difficult. The M5 is the more expensive and more refined of the two, with its ZF eight-speed and all-wheel drive. But can the Caddy catch it with its pants down?

The 2021 BMW M5 Base

The 2021 BMW M5
The 2021 BMW M5. Photo: CarFax

Allow me to make a few concessions please. First, you can find an F90 cheaper than the one I’m presenting. Though it’s not always the case, I find the LCI on this 5 Series to be such an improvement that I simply cannot bear to look at the earlier model.

Next, let’s check the Competition, as in Competition Package. Unlike a stick in the regular M3, BMW gives you no reason to choose a Base M5, and at this price point, what’s an additional $7,600?

A lot, actually. Since the Blackwing is a cheaper car, let’s go with a base M5. If it makes you feel any better, this one has Carbon Ceramic brakes, a true unicorn. How fun must the person who spec’d this M5 be? This car has:

  • 12,825 miles
  • One-owner CarFax
  • $94,595
  • An impact on the front-end of the car. Check how it was resprayed.
F90 M5
You’ll miss the blacked-out headlights and other menacing trim.

Now, it is a bit odd – this M5 has Competition wheels, but the chrome badges and non-Shadowline headlights prove it is indeed the M5 for plebeians. You cannot option the car this way from the factory. Aside from those brakes, it also has the optional Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System, a $3,600 selection.

Strange, this M5 is. Is the Caddy a better choice?

2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing

The CT5 V Blackwing. Photo: CarFax

Surprisingly, used Blackwings are sort of all over the place. They range in price from the low $90s to nearly $115,000. Logic suggests that manuals are worth more, but sometimes automatic versions are more expensive. You’ve got to pay attention to what these dealers are throwing out there.

The one I’m bringing you has:

  • Just 4,400 miles on the odometer
  • Very questionable wheels – where did the originals go?
  • $96,950
  • A history that makes my butt pucker up. Corporate fleet use, followed by two owners in just two years.
  • An open recall

Like the M5, this V has Carbon Ceramic brakes. Unlike the M, you can row your own. Of course, it’s easy for me to spend your money, but I’ve tried to pick cars that are responsibly priced (if flawed). These two cost the same, yet the Caddy has nearly 10,000 fewer miles.

A rare car that needs nothing from you but to drive it.

Also, the V sounds like you’re sitting in the front row of a Metallica concert. The M5 is at the show too, but it’s sitting waaaay in the back. So quiet here.

Going, going…

The new M5 will be a hybrid. Meh. The Blackwing, or whatever, won’t even have an engine in it. Shudder.

Bold prediction: both of these cars will hold their value, and perhaps even rise once we see what actually does replace them. If you’re in the market, strike soon.

But in the market for what? Can the M5 hold its own against the competition without a Competition package? Can you forgot those awful wheels on the Cadillac?

Come on, talk me out of it…


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