HEY! Remember when I said the Cadillac ATS was going to be a miserable failure? Guess what? It still IS going to be a miserable failure! But you’d never know it from the glowing reviews on the Web right now, many of which are filled with self-described on-track driving heroics that sound utterly Schumacher-esque until you realize they were done with mandatory save-the-brakes stops every lap and with careful supervision.
Motor Trend’s Scott Evans managed to slip the surly bonds of that supervision long enough to touch his Cadillac’s face to a couple of trees. We challenged GM and Motor Trend to release the black box data and share with the public what really happened.
Well, I’m pleased to announce that Mr. Evans completely fessed-up to the real reasons behind the accident in the full-length MT feature on the car, which was just released. Just kidding! He didn’t even mention it! He who controls the past, controls the future! It never happened! Love ya, Scott! For the amusement of TTAC’s readers, I have, ah, slightly edited Mr. Evans’ review to reflect what he perhaps should have written.
(Note: It appears that after some complaints from MT online readers, a section about the crash was added at the bottom of the page, after the advertising. In that section, Mr. Evans again claims to be like, totally going slow and responsible and stuff.) Here… we… go! Note that I’ve edited out the most boring parts and also some of the parts where it looks like Mr. Evans is figuratively trying to service the Cadillac PR team with the most intimate parts of his larynx. My changes are in bold type and-or strikethrough. Naturally, they will be extremely juvenile, because that’s the most fun way to do it.
Ever since its “Art and Science” rebirth, Cadillac has made it clear it’s gunning for BMW. The CTS, and particularly the big-stick CTS-V, which we had for a whole year, totes free, is the opening salvo. For too long, though, the CTS has been the only product in Cadillac’s portfolio worthy of
taking on the Germansbeing driven for free by people whose real-world earning potential wouldn’t put them in a Accent sedan… Now, with its all-new 2013 Cadillac ATS, the new Standard of the World finally appears ready to take on the Ultimate Driving Machines. And I’m ready to take on a tree with it.
The ATS was presented as a true BMW 3 Series competitor, and was benchmarked against what Cadillac says is the best 3 Series ever, the E46. Them’s fightin’ words, right there. The crash made me talk like a hick. My doctors are working on that. Since then, Cadillac’s been running its mouth with Super Bowl commercials, Nurburgring test videos, and more. It also made me talk like a tough guy.…
The singular question, then, is whether Cadillac can back it up. Given Cadillac’s boasting and GM’s general long-standing but finally fading habit of overpromising and under-delivering free cars to our office I was skeptical. That new 3 Series is damn good, and I should know — I’m assigned to MT’s long-term 328i. Has Cadillac really done it?
The answer is yes. The Cadillac ATS is shockingly good. I mean, I was really fuckin’ shocked when I hit that tree. I think the shifter penetrated my rectum. In fact, here are the four things I don’t like about the ATS: the instrument cluster is boring and uninspired; the shift paddles on the steering wheel are too far away from your fingertips; the back seat is too cramped; and the 2.5-liter base engine has no business being in a car aimed at dethroning the 3 Series. Fifth thing I forgot to mention: it’s easy to crash. That’s it. But does that make it better at crashing than the 3 Series?
…The ATS offers everything from optional magnetic shocks to its CUE infotainment system and more to match BMW’s adjustable shocks and iDrive and the rest. But does that mean anything on the trees approximately fifty feet from the road?
It does. I drove all three engine variants on beautiful and treacherous back roads north of Atlanta, and I was more than surprised when I put that bitch upside-down into the sticks. The ATS is smooth and composed on rough pavement and through turns. It is, however, just a touch unrefined when bouncing on its roof towards Deliverance country while the driver is urinating in his pants so hard it drips into his open mouth. The ride is appropriately stiff for a car with sporting intentions, but never harsh or brittle. I was most surprised by the standard, non-adjustable suspension, because frankly, I couldn’t feel much of a difference between how it and the optional Magnetic Ride Control suspension rode or handled. This was because I was upside-down in some trees at the time.
…Cadillac claims the ATS weighs as much as 160 pounds less than the last 3 Series we tested, but it retains a solid, weighty feel on the road. Off the road, it feels weightless, as it one were suspended upside-down from a great height by a safety belt. It comes off planted and confident, ready to glide through corners with ease rather than attack them with unbridled fury. It will, however, attack the shit out of some oaks. I can’t recall how many times we’ve declared that the CTS “ain’t your father’s Caddy,” but the moniker applies equally to the ATS. My dad never crashed his Caddy. It’s good enough to make you overconfident. If you’re an idiot. Should that become the case, the ATS defaults to progressive understeer, unwilling to put its tail out unless you really do something wrong, like put a tire off the road into some nice, soft dirt. OMGLOLHAHA THIS IS AN IRONIC WINK TO ALL MY FRIENDS WHO KNOW I SHITCANNED A $45K CAR AND HAVE TO WRITE THIS FAWNING PIECE OF JUNK AS PENANCE BEFORE BEING PERMITTED TO ONCE AGAIN STAY AT THE RITZ-CARLTON!
On the road or the track, the ATS imparted a sense of balance — the engine never overdrove the suspension or tires. I did that all by myself. Steering feel is very good for an electric unit and the car turns in quickly with a nice bit of weight to it. The Brembo brakes, standard on turbocharged and V-6 models, provide excellent, linear stopping power and resist fade very well. You know, as long as you stop after every lap. Because that’s all they trusted us with doing.
…While I drove all three variants on the road, I was only able to
test the top-shelf V-6.crash one of them. Without a proper dragstrip on hand, I used the front straight at Road Atlanta where our trusty VBox recorded a 0-to-60 mph time of 5.7 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 14.1 seconds at 101.6 mph. That’s actually a bit slower than Cadillac predicted. It said the V-6 should do a 5.4 to 60 and 14 flat in the quarter. Aside from the test location, unusual atmospheric conditions on the test day may have contributed to the poor result. We’ll retest the car when one becomes available in California to verify the result. DO YOU UNDERSTAND, CADILLAC? IT ISN’T ENOUGH TO GET A FREE TRIP TO ATLANTA. WE EXPECT A FREEBIE IN OUR HANDS STAT. PAY UP, BITCHEZZZ! WOO-HAA! WOO-HAA! I GOT YOU ALL IN CHECK! AND YOU KNOW I GOT THE CAR UPSIDE DOWN TO BREAK YA NECK!….
The V-6 emits a decent rasp as you lay
into itit on the doorhandle. It’s one of the better 60-degree V-6 sounds out there, considering how hard it is to make that type of engine sound good…
In the meantime, CUE is very good. It’s like having an iPad in your dash, and anyone comfortable with an iPhone or Droid will find it familiar. You know how you can work an iPhone upside down? CUE doesn’t do that. The controls are touch-sensitive and generally quick to react, especially on the screen. Controls on the faceplate, like the temperature, require a more deliberate poke to avoid picking up every accidental brush or leaf, but delays and missed commands can be frustrating. To avoid glitches, push and hold, or train yourself to slow down and wait half a tick for the slight vibration of the haptic feedback, signaling that your touch has been recognized. Also, you need to touch the black above the little metal accents, not the accents themselves, as that’s where the sensor actually is… Not only has Cadillac finally upgraded its HUD as I’ve been begging it too, but it’s actually outdone BMW by making it more adjustable and offering more information.
…The front seats offer a good compromise of comfort and sportiness, though I could do with more side bolstering. It would have done a better job of keeping me in the car when I had that thang UPSIDE DOWN, YO.
..In all, then, the new Cadillac ATS is a very, very good car. But is it better than the 3 Series? The honest answer is…I don’t know yet. We’ll need to have our perinea tickled by PR reps from both companies, complete with some extra hotel stays and another free car for Jonny Lieberman to passive-aggressively moan about being forced to drive for free. Despite driving them less than 24 hours apart, I just can’t say without driving them directly back-to-back. FACE TO FACE, AND BACK TO BACK, THE TREES WILL FEEL, MY CRASH ATTACK! Both cars ride, drive, and handle exceptionally well, offer a deluge of technology and sport top-notch materials and build quality. To say that the ATS is as good as 3 Series is a grand compliment by itself, but determining which car is better will have to wait for the inevitable comparison test. It’s gonna be a nail-biter. Especially if you’re the hapless GM functionary assigned to tossing my salad while I decide what kind of damage I’m going to inflict on your property.
I hope you’ve found this annotated review slightly easier to swallow than the original one. By boosting the truth content while reducing the amount of press-release regurgitation, we’ve come up with a creamy smooth mix that rides like the Cadillac ATS’s Nurburgring-tuned suspension! See you next time!