By on July 23, 2014

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11 years ago, Cadillac told us that they were “The Standard of the World”, in a blast of Zeppelin-backed TV spots and aggressively geometric styling. The 2003 CTS wasn’t even the standard for North American luxury cars, but hey, it took Audi another 30 years to even come close to making that claim. Cadillac seems to be moving at a much quicker pace.

Despite Cadillac’s confidence in their excellence, they are reticent to lend any press vehicles to TTAC. The timing of a recent trip required a one day rental, and the local Avis counter advertised a special on the “Cadillac CTS” for just $80 a day with unlimited mileage. It turns out that Avis does indeed rent out the CTS, but our particularly branch did not. Instead, we were assigned a silver ATS4 (all-wheel drive) with the 2.0T engine and 6-speed automatic. Remember kids, if it seems to good to be true…

It would be incorrect to say that I was disappointed, but I had hoped for the CTS precisely because a) the relentless hype had me curious about its overall competence b) we are lacking in reviews of the car and c) every ATS I have driven thus far has been a letdown. Around the time of its launch, I briefly sampled a rear-drive 3.6L with all of the bells and whistles, and found it underwhelming. A second drive, in a 2.0T with the 6-speed manual, did nothing to dispel my skepticism. The 6-speed manual was unequivocally one of the worst gearboxes I’ve ever sampled, and the engine’s NVH characteristics were shockingly coarse for a luxury sedan. I could not, for the life of me, understand the praise being heaped upon this car.

After a solid day’s drive, I have a better picture in my head of why the ATS is so highly regarded. Part of it comes down to the fact that the team of engineers, product planners, designers and marketers have managed to great a truly worthy sports sedan. The other half of that equation is that the competition has miraculously managed to recede in overall competence to the point where the ATS is the class leader by default.

The ATS can reasonably lay claim to “The Standard of the World” title by virtue of its 2.0T engine, which is, well, the new standard of the world for virtually every mid-size car that would normally have used a V6 engine, thanks to a combination of regulations and economies of scale. The 2.0T in the ATS isn’t particularly charming or refined, but it does bring 272 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque at just 1700 rpm. Like most of these new turbo four-bangers, the torque builds down low and stays fairly robust throughout the rev range that you’d use in any realistic situation, including spirited back road driving.

Acceleration, passing on two-lane roads and any other task that relies on forward thrust is accomplished with minimal fuss, and it’s hard to see why anyone would bother with the V6 when the power on tap here is so usable in everyday situations. The 6-speed automatic transmission is the superior choice versus the manual, but it doesn’t feel terribly responsive or sophisticated. However, this gearbox will likely be replaced by either the 8L90 GM 8-speed automatic, or the Aisin 8-speed from the Cadillac CTS, so dwelling on its shortcomings is a bit of a moot point.

The most compelling part of the ATS is the chassis, which stands out as a credit to GM’s engineering team. It’s hard to think of a car that is able to so expertly balance ride and handling, delivering a smooth, composed ride no matter what the road surface, while also delivering on the “sport” part of the equation. Befitting its rental car specs, our ATS had a smaller wheel and tire combo than what I normally see on the road, and that may have contributed to the ATS being a bit more sedate. But through twisty stretches of road, the ATS still delivered in a big way, with flat cornering, eager turn-in and communicative, if not particularly weighty steering.

A spirited drive makes it plain why the ATS was met with such a chorus of approval when it debuted. GM has finally made a proper sports sedan that is better to drive than the current BMW 3-Series. Part of this has to do with the fact that current F30 has lost its way in such a severe manner that the ATS assumes this mantle by default: I have not driven the Lexus IS350, our EIC’s favorite sports sedan, and I know that an E90 328i is superior in every way, but right now, the ATS is without a doubt the best handling luxury sports sedan on the market.

Unfortunately, it has two glaring flaws.

  1. The back seat is tiny. Cadillac stole a lot of good things from the BMW playbook. One of them seems to be the size of the E36’s rear seat area. My two passengers, at 5’8″ and 6’2″, were initially enthusiastic about my rental car selection. By the end of it, they were cursing the Caddy.
  2. CUE is unequivocally the worst infotainment system on the planet. By comparison, the early renditions of MyFord Touch look like something running iOS. The haptic controls never quite worked the way they were meant to and even the slightest bump or pothole in the road can send your finger veering off to the tab or menu item that you didn’t intend to touch, leaving you to navigate through a confusing menu system that only leads to distracted driving.

More time would yield a more thorough evaluation of the ATS. For now, I can only determine that somewhere within the bowels of the RenCen, there are a talented group of engineers that are capable of making something that truly is “The Standard of the World”. Their electronics division is another matter…

 

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127 Comments on “Rental Review: Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD...”


  • avatar
    highrpm

    I love the Rental review aspect of this. To me, if Cadillac is not lending you a car then they have something unpleasant that they are hiding. If the car was stellar, they would give you the keys and tell you to have fun.

    • 0 avatar

      Cadillac shouldn’t feel like they have anything to hide. Aside from CUE, the ATS is excellent, and GM should be proud.

      • 0 avatar
        Signal11

        That is indeed unfortunate, because more and more, the human interface design of the infotainment system is gradually becoming a larger factor in my consideration of what I consider to be a basic competency in a decent car. If a lux or near lux vehicle infotainment system has poor human user interface design, then as far as I’m concerned, the vehicle is wrong and not worthy of consideration.

        My current object of ire in last couple years of rental cars and short term leases is Merc’s COMAND. My experiences with COMAND in the past few years have been so awful, that I refuse Mercedes-Benz vehicles at the rental counter.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        Also aside from the useless back seat, a mediocre automatic and worse manual, and coarse engine? How does it compare to the segment on price?

        I think you are letting the transmission of the hook too easily. What you think GM might replace it with at some point in the future is the moot point – the not terribly responsive and unsophisticated transmission is what’s on sale now.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      The Cadillac ATS. The standard of the New Malaise Era*.

      Squeeze into one at your local Clack-i-Lack (courtesy of GDI 4 banger) Dealer on a soon to be $269 per month lease for not-even-close-to-well-qualified-buyers.

      *New Malaise Era includes you, as well, BMW, Acura & Lincoln (an you’re slipping as well, Infiniti [*cough Q50 cough*] an Lexus [*cough IS250 cough*]).

  • avatar

    Another Tacky Sedan thanks to failed marketing.

    • 0 avatar
      alsorl

      Failed marketing. There are 4 new ATS sedans in my neighborhood out of only 48 homes.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Lease specials with no back seat, poor resale value, and little future ownership potential.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Ah. 48 homes and 4 ATS out of millions of homes and cars. A highly representative sample, and a sound analysis.

        • 0 avatar
          alsorl

          No there was no statistical analysis in my findings. But, I do see many of them in the better parts of Central Florida. And the pro grandma accord, camry, japanese worshipers can get a little repetitive on this site.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m not familiar with the socio-economic situation in Central Flordia, so I am going to assume this is an improvement over what you have seen in the past. However ATS could have been far more impressive than it is… I’ll quote myself:

            1. Cadillac did not improve upon the E46 and simply cloned it.

            “Alpha platform/ATS benchmarked the BMW E46 which is fine and dandy, but did it improve upon it? If its a similar version of a BMW without any improvements, why should folks cough up a good deal of money for something they could buy used? Why because its a “Cadillac”? That name has lost all meaning to most folks.”

            http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/cadillacs-peffer-resigns-amid-falling-sales/#comment-3408698

            2. The model is too small for US tastes which is why you only see four lease specials as opposed to a dozen.

            “It occurred to me both cars (ATS/CTS) may not have been truly intended for US consumption and may have been designed for smaller Asian builds. Hence the seemingly prevailing attitude from RenCen: “Youse ‘mericans should buy the big ole ‘merican model Cadillac Escalade or SRX””

            http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/review-2014-cadillac-cts-2-0t-with-video/#comment-2573282

            3. What makes these desirable as Cadillacs, esp at the price point? The Cadillac brand has lost all relevance to most people.

            “…Aside from meaningless doodads like CUE and Easter eggs like the magnetic suspension, what makes these Cadillacs? I can’t see any reason to call any of the current “Cadillacs”… Cadillacs. These cars are either reworked Chevrolets or basically Oldsmobiles; small, me’h power, near premium, some gadgets, but still not blowing your socks off, still not garish exclusive or worth spending a mint on. Not impressive at all, hell the Buicks are more impressive for what they are than the so called Caddys.”

            4. Why build a *low volume* lease special car in the first place? CTS/ATS will be lucky to move 60K units combined this year. BMW moved 119,521 3 series in the US alone in 2013.

            “So I think someone cooked up the idea to follow up the incredibly disastrous Catera with a “lease only” type model built an exclusive rear drive platform, pull from the parts bin, and go apeshit on the styling, thus CTS was born.”

            http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/review-2014-cadillac-cts-2-0t-with-video/#comment-2573114

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_3_Series

            Cadillac had better hope the new Omega RWD can save them, because the brand is completely dependent on SRX and Escalade for survival.

            For S&G:

            Dear Vinnie,

            Thank you for your letter. Everyone at the office loves a good gangster movie as much as anyone else, but what you must understand is we here at Cadillac hate our long rich heritage. Hate it, like a boss. We looked around the industry and thought, who could we copy since we can’t look to our own storied history for inspiration? Our first copy was the Escalade, see we noticed Lincoln had come out with a luxury SUV based on a lowly Ford. We had a staff meeting and concluded in no way did it draw on our history, so we grabbed the first GMC we could find and Cimmaroned it up as the Cadillac Escalade. We noticed people kept wanting to buy it although it was clearly a rebadge, so we decided to change a few other things and continue to sell it. Then we noticed the Seville’s sales were faltering, and we just couldn’t understand why since it was equipped with our fantastic Northstar system. So we said what other sedans were out there which were not Cadillacs and spit in the general direction of our founders, and we came across a BMW 5 series. We had Ray whip one up using an Australian platform but we couldn’t figure out how to style it. Murray was trying to eat a double quarter pounder in the break room but it collapsed as he ate it and he got what was left of the sandwich all over his tie. So we all had a laugh but then thought about it, this looks ugly, disgusting, and something that makes you puke when you see it. We checked our notes and found this type of styling is very anti-Cadillac so we went with it, and voila! After the initial production run however we realized although the car was already crampt passengers could still use the rear seats. When it came time to a refresh, we realized comfortable rear seat room was a Cadillac feature in its history, so Ray did his best to push the rear seat up as to eliminate any rear passenger comfort. Murray asked if maybe it was better to make it a coupe since we took out the rear leg room, but wait I saw there was once a “Coupe de Ville” and put the brakes on that crazy idea. The one that seemed to get away was the Deville, but we eventually killed it off too and replaced it with a restyled Buick Lacrosse, phew thank the good dude for the Xerox machine, right? Ray assured us while appearing to be a similar size to the Deville, it was crampt inside since it was based on a Chevrolet Malibu, which itself came from an Opel spec. Those crazy Germans sure do understand interior discomfort, thankfully they are on our side this time, right? In closing Vinnie, we will never, ever, develop real Cadillac models again because Cadillac is dead unless our Beijing masters command us to do so.

            Sincerely,
            The Oldsmobile, er Cadillac Design Team

            P.S. What’s that boss, rear leg room for Chinese models? Sir I’m not sure, that doesn’t sound like Cadillac.

            http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/the-ats-goes-long-in-its-target-market/#comment-2702146

  • avatar

    #1 BACKSEAT: seems to me that this car was designed for people who wanted a Cadillac Sedan but wouldn’t be able to spend extra for the CTS – and didn’t need the backseat much.

    #2 C.U.E. – Uconnect makes every single other infotainment center on the market look so bad, it’s like comparing an Android OS Tablet to an iPad. iPad owns em with simplicity and coherency. You’re selling to OLD PEOPLE who aren’t into tech enough to recognize a poorly designed User Interface right away. Most of them will hit the Onstar button and simply beg for directions to be downloaded to the car.

    My Mom’s 2010 STS… I’m gonna make her wait till Cadillac either ditches CUE or redesigns it to buy her a new Cadillac. Hopefully an ELMIRAJ.

    And what’s weird is that the Nav system in the 2nd gen CTS was EASY to use.

    You can criticize the Garmin technology in Uconnect 8.4n for looking too simple, but there is a wealth of easy-to-read data in a Uconnect system which I’ve only seen surpassed by Google Maps on a mobile device – though easier to access on the road.

    I bet $100 that if the ELR was plug-in hybrid tech built into a car the ATS’ size, it would be selling far better. Whoever thought they should launch a plug-in hybrid with just a 2-door option and no 4-door option NEEDS TO BE FIRED IMMEDIATELY.

    A plug-in ATS would have been a serious Model S competitor. You get around the “range anxiety” and the interior of the new Cadillacs is the best of any American car maker (especially the seats).

    I just want to know whose “body” they build these cars based on. Who is the model they use to plan headroom, shoulder room leg room and hip room?

    FIRE THEM.

    Hire me…

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I don’t like UConnect. The look of it reminds me of an android tablet marketed to children (like the Nabi).

      • 0 avatar

        I mentioned that it looks too simple…

        Tell you what…try driving interstate with Uconnect to 6 or 7 different addresses you’ve never been to before.

        Then do the same in the next-best system you can name.

        I’ve used MMI, COMAND, C.U.E., SYNC and Hyundai’s BlueLink + Nav.

        Nothing else even comes close and the Mercedes’ W222 COMAND is ANNOYING in the car we just leased. they should have had a touchscreen – but those damn German’s refuse.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I use the voice commands for entering addresses. Does the enter address function even work on the UConnect touchscreen while driving? It doesn’t with MFT.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            It’s speed disabled like MFT. You have to stop to enter addresses, but I think BT’s point is that it’s not irritating to do over and over again like with some systems.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Oh Ok. When I had a Dart rental, the UConnect didn’t irritate me . Its fuctionality is good, but I don’t want to look at it for 5+ years.

            Danio-

            I also find that the old Ford navigation system with sync is very good at recognizing addresses. However, compared to MFT, IT TAKES FOREVER.

          • 0 avatar

            danio:

            Yes – by default it’s locked unless you’re driving at below 10 mph. You can, however, enter voice commands for addresses while driving.

            Thing is, it’s so easy to do it takes a few seconds – it’s fast to autofill an entry – and it’s easy to update or add new contact information.

            It takes me SECONDS to do it in Uconnect, but longer on Comand, Sync or C.U.E.

            My Jeep’s map screen looks far more sophisticated than my 300’s. I really DON’T want to update the 300’s.

            My only complaint is the Nav-traffic’s map colors look terrible – unlike Google Map’s on the phone.

        • 0 avatar

          The German systems are all designed so you can use them by feel. The first i drive was basted, but if you learned to use it, the haptic feedback was easy to understand…smooth, notchy, etc. Touch screens require you to remove eyes from road and look at the screen. Once you learn i drive or comand or audi whatever, it makes sense. The zillon tiny buttons on the dash of my MDX are hard to read at 100 mph.

  • avatar
    JCraig

    The gauge cluster on this car kills it for me. It reminds me of the 90’s Buicks that had a single cheap piece of black plastic with numbers stamped on it. If you’re going to cut costs on something that the owner has to look at every day then I hate to think about where else costs were cut. I know there is an available all digital cluster but most of them will have the cheap throwback one.

  • avatar
    mjz

    Doesn’t Cadillac offer a long wheelbase version of the ATS for the Chinese market? Why not bring that version here too, might help with the rear seat legroom issue. Of course, then there’s still CUE to deal with…

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      Probably because in China the other cars are also offered as LWB and these cars get purchased by people who don’t care about the price (i.e. someone else is footing the bill for the car or they’re insanely rich)…whereas in the US this would quickly make for a confusing competitor to the CTS.

  • avatar
    319583076

    The ATS exterior >> the IS exterior but…

    the IS interior >> the ATS interior

    It seems that both are entertaining drives. Why can’t the inside guys talk to the outside guys and produce a cohesive, attractive whole?

  • avatar
    koshchei

    Until Cadillac stops trying to out-BMW BMW (regardless of whether or not they succeed), they’ll always be just another Acura or Lexus to me.

    What happened to the Cadillac that led rather than followed? Cadillacs of olde were more Rolls-like than small zippy corner carvers.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Boomers who embraced more athletic luxury vehicles over the plush barges their parents deemed as the object of success in the years before.

      Cadillac evolved unlike Lincoln where their buyers have mostly died off due to old age.

      • 0 avatar
        koshchei

        I think you’re missing the point I was trying to make (or I wasn’t making it well enough). I was dealing with brand perception and heritage rather than packaging.

        I used Rolls Royce as an example rather than Lincoln for good reason: Unlike Lincoln which has been allowed to stagnate in an act of almost criminal negligence, Rolls has remained upscale and bespoke, and has no perception issue amongst the ostentatiously wealthy. As a former member of the vanguard of American true luxury (a segment which no longer exists), Cadillac used to compete with Rolls Royce.

        These days though, instead of rediscovering its roots, Cadillac seems content to compete for scraps in the super-saturated pseudo-luxury segment.

        There is more than enough money at the top these days for Cadillac to take the Sixteen into production, as an example.

        • 0 avatar
          oldfatandrich

          Well put. I sprung from the upper middle class and grew up in the mid fifties. My father was a doctor who would never think of driving anything but a black Buick Roadmaster. When we went to church on Sunday my father would exchange pleasantries with the owner of the large mill in town. And what did he drive ? A Cadillac of course. What else would the very rich have driven ? Certainly nothing from Dearborn or Highland Park would remotely approach the cachet of a Cadillac.
          “Rich enough to drive a Cadillac.” Has ever a brand with such equity been so systematically eviscerated by an imbecile management ? And if it is to be reclaimed, it will take 50 years.

          • 0 avatar
            CapVandal

            OF and Rich ….

            The Cadillac of ‘X’ …

            Matt Damon in Rounders: “No-Limit Texas Hold ‘Em is the Cadillac of poker.”

            It is still popular, although with a touch of irony.

            John Deere is the cadillac of lawn mowers.

            But latent brand equity. Definitely. They definitely need something to replace the Towncar as the staple of airport limos. There are still a lot around and they must have a zillion miles on them. They seem to be going to Navigators, but its a BOF truck.

          • 0 avatar
            CapVandal

            and this:

            “Most recently, in the HBO series “The Wire,” when the young female thug Snoop is sold what a salesman calls the Cadillac of nail guns, she dismisses his pitch with the line, “He mean Lexus, but he ain’t know it.”

    • 0 avatar

      @koshchei – I couldn’t have said it better myself. I am not sure why Cadillac would want to ape BMW in driving dynamics or size. 99% of BMW drivers don’t know or care about driving dynamics. Most don’t even know the difference between RWD and FWD. A Malibu based roomier FWD ATS with a cheaper price tag would have sold three or four times more. Domestic car buyers want more room and a standard V6 if you want them to pay over $30K. BMW buyers don’t mind being miserable driving a $40K compact 4cyl as long as their co-workers are impressed.

      For all the praise the ATS and CTS have received, the five year old non-RWD SRX outsells them 2 to 1.

      • 0 avatar
        bryanska

        I am the most sympathetic person here. I LOVED the Caddys from 1992 to 2005. I had a 2002 STS and believe me: there was NOTHING more suited to its mission. That car was SO athletic yet comfortable. FWD was the absolute right choice. You could bomb down the Interstate at 90 MPH all day, then explode around city streets and winding roads with the Northstar. It was not only the anti-BMW, it was a better experience period. Rather than find the perfect balance of lightness, feedback and weight, my 2002 STS just threw a big V8 on top of all three and still managed to be sporty enough.

        But even I can’t deny that BMW ate the North American aspirational market alive… and where the hot aspirational brands are, the rest must follow.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          @ bryanska – The reason I once considered a DTS Performance (used one owner 2008 with 38k miles for 18 grand) was because the car was not only extremely comfortable,quiet, spacious and plush riding, but the Northstar had a menacing growl when kicked in the arse, an th car just had a presence that new Cadillac Sedan can match.

          Unfortunately, the car only had a 4 speed transmission, the steering was way too boosted, the dash design was pretty shoddy, and then I became intimately familiar with the head bolt issue, which I honestly don’t believe Cadillac ever did truly rectify, and therefore buying a DTS as a long term keeper as a pretty big gamble given that dealing the head bolt issue meant pulling the entire motor out of the car, attempting a time cert stud kit, and praying for the best.

          I’m in the minority on this, but I always felt that the Raven Black DTS Performance was a bad arse looking car with a masculine stance that no present Cadillac sedan or coupe can match.

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            I seriously miss the Northstar. I’d love to have one in my CTS. It was smooth as glass, had a nice fat torque curve and sounded great on the throttle. It was everything one wanted in a Cadillc. By comparison, the 3.0 V6 only makes power above 4K, shakes at idle and, frankly, gets only a 2 mpg more than the Northstar in my STS did.

            Sadly, I really don’t know where to go for my next car. I really liked the driving dynamics of the ATS 2.0, but it’s too small. The new CTS is priced alongside the 5 series and I just don’t see the value proposition. The Cadillac wagon is almost certainly not going to return, so there we are.

            My ideal car would be a current CTS wagon with a better infotainment system (deferring NAV and connectivity to my phone), magnetic ride and a Northstar coupled with a sharper-shifting transmission. *That* car I would buy in a second.

          • 0 avatar

            I’m wondering what to buy myself. my 08 Enclave has 186,000 miles and even though it still rides and looks good, I am ready to pass it on to the kids and get new wheels but Auto News is reporting a body change isn’t coming until 2017. that’s 10 years with only minor upgrades. worse yet, rumor is the new Enclave will be lighter with less engine.

            what’s a Buickman to do?

        • 0 avatar
          Firestorm 500

          My wife’s car is a 2001 STS Sport. Black on black. It is one badas* car.

          She absolutely loves it. I dread the day when we have to find a replacement. I don’t think she will be satisfied with anything more “modern”.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        “For all the praise the ATS and CTS have received, the five year old non-RWD SRX outsells them 2 to 1.”

        This! After all that money spent, the SRX is still the volume seller for Cadillac.

        • 0 avatar
          bryanska

          Well, in all fairness, the RX is Lexus’ #1 seller with 103k in 2013 followed by the ES at 72k.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I don’t have a problem with the ES, RX, or SRX. They move units and keep brands alive. People seem to forget that.

        • 0 avatar

          I live in the tony suburbs north of NYC. The status truck is the Q7, or X5. A few towns East, Porsche and Range Rover/Land Rover win the school run car show prize. The 3 series, all iterations, are like Camrys elsewhere, and driven by the same folks just with more money.

          SRX ? Whazzat ? I got Armadas, Q56s, and ML and GL. I can show you 5 series, 7 series, A4 A6 and A8. Mama likes the RX, or oft the Sienna..MDX has fans…never a Chrysler van, or god forbid, any GM van. That’s for the plumber if he doesn’t have a Sprinter.

          ATS ? I see that in the magazines. My FIL has a first gen CTS, but he lives in Albany and is the “classic Caddy guy”.

          My neighbor works for a magazine, so I saw and got to drive a CTS V wagon…once….three years ago. There is ONE CTS wagon in my village, a 3.6…does stand out.

          Cadillac basically does NOT exist in Westchester County, NY. Likewise, trips to Long Island’s Gold Coast….nope…nothing.

          You guys still have a problem.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I really hate it when you do this. Any article which isn’t about those 7 vehicles which moms in your microcosm drive their kids to school and you:

            -State you live somewhere wealthy.
            -List some things people drive with improper ellipsis use.
            -Say the manufacturer has a big problem because people in the wealthy guilded suburb of Whereverthefaq, NY don’t drive them.

            This is a tired meme from you.

          • 0 avatar

            I’m not talking about me personally.

            I’m reporting what the fashionistas, who drive (pun intended) much of this market, buy. I like Caddy, and I like the SRX. The rich burbs nearby (not mine, sorry-the official car of my Village is the Subaru wagon, followed by the minivan) have interesting car habits and I’m just pointing them out. These are the financial B & B, and aren’t car folks usually….but since many of them lease and turn over, are a huge source of business for the top end cars. Fashion is a big part of this, and who is hot and who is not in this class of car is rarely related to merit as far as the B & B on this board would rate it.

            I lived near Fort Lee, NJ for many years. You’d see new cars before they came out in the magazines…another area which is atypical but again, interesting for what it shows. You have a small group that buys these special rides….a fickle group…geographically concentrated in many, many areas of the US.

            The manufacturer of any aspirational brand who doesn’t get play here DOES have an issue. It’s such a bizarre area for cars, and markets, that you see the winners and losers in a very clear way. Caddy is not winning here. The CTS Coupe is beautiful…a work of art. The wagon is unique as well. There should be more of them, IMHO, but they aren’t there….they should be, but they aren’t…..

            You’d think Tesla, a hothouse flower, is a common car if you based it on this area.

            Once outside this “hothouse”, the fleet returns to what would be considered a normal distribution-Camcord, minivans, workaday rides that aren’t on 3 yr leases and will change based on that year’s fashion…a totally different market, which is ably commented upon by our BHPH writers and others.

            I’ll watch the ellipsis (wasn’t that the password in a Bond movie:) )

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Lol, yes in Casino Royale. It was the password the terrorists were using. Ultimately he uses it to gain access to all kinds of things. Terrorist organizations only use one password across all of their secret plan arrangements.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    My lady, while very progressive in many societal things is very retro in her beliefs about automobiles. The first generation CTS and this new ATS both get derided by her as “too small to be a Cadillac.”

    It sounds like an excellent car but I’m still stuck in the “if I want a BMW, why wouldn’t I just buy a BWM?” I wish Cadillac had expanded on the themes in their “Welcome to Adulthood” commercials and backed it up with competent cars.

    • 0 avatar
      koshchei

      Or at the very least, cars that aren’t ashamed of their heritage.

    • 0 avatar
      Hillman

      I have a family member who bought a ATS a year ago. He wanted a 3 series but was disappointed with how the car performed compared to the ATS.

    • 0 avatar
      font9a

      Because unless you’re talking about an F80/F82, the F30 is truly a POS compared to the field. It used to be dynamics put BMW so over the competition, but the F30 in all its guises is just too soft, too washed out, too portly to recommend. The NA inline 6’s used to be able to contend on smoothness, linearity, and willingness to pull hard to redline. The N26 (turbo 4) is unremarkable to drive in every way. The N55 (which supersedes the exceptional N54) is good for the environment, but has been “refined” by the marketing department to be milquetoast beyond belief.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      I was thinking of the “Welcome to the League of Gentlmean, Gentlemen” ads. Caddies need to be big, brash, bold, and unabashedly American. They should hire Samuel L Jacson or Bruce Willis to be their spokesmen. Oh, and build a car cool enough that either one of them would drive it.

    • 0 avatar
      darkwing

      Isn’t this supposed to be why you have a brand hierarchy in the first place? Let Buick compete with the entry-level models from the other luxury brands, while Cadillac makes things like the Escalade and the Elmiraj.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      “if I want a BMW, why wouldn’t I just buy a BWM?”

      I hope the ATS leases/sells well enough that I can buy one used at a low price. With the ATS you get a fun to drive car that probably has 1) horrible depreciation, 2) Chevrolet-class low maintenance costs, 3) Cadillac old-man-car insurance costs, and 4) doesn’t attract attention of the police. Several years down the road the ATS could be a great used car bargain. A used BMW comes with fairly high BMW operating costs.

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      If you want a BMW, the problem is that BMW themselves no longer makes them like they used to. I had four 3-series in a row and sold my E90 after only three years. The F30 335i is even worse – it feels, to me, no better than cars costing half as much.

      The ATS isn’t perfect, but the chassis is really something special, and its fit/finish is right up there with current German cars. Styling is subjective, but the ATS looks restrained and well-proportioned in the way that BMWs and Mercedes used to be before flame surfacing and droopy trunks became a trend. If you want a car that drives like you thought a BMW is supposed to drive, the ATS is better than a current BMW.

      But I realize that the vast majority of BMW purchasers nowadays want something with a BMW badge rather than any particular set of dynamic qualities.

  • avatar
    jrasero23

    I really like the ATS and it defiantly has the balls to compete with the Germans especially with the 2.0 Turbo or 3.6. The 2.5 serves well with its 200+ HP engine but the 2.0 is what you really want. I have two problems with the ATS and Cadillac. One being price. $34k+ for a 2.5 liter car and leatherette seating just doesn’t cut it for me. There are handful of cars for $34K that offer more power and real leather. You could go with the new Acura TLX i4 w/ Technology package for the same price of the ATS but you get Milano leather and all the other upgrades that comes with the Tech package. If you need a slightly bigger car, want more power, and more for your dollar the soon to be discontinued G series is a serious value at $33K or for $35K you can add AWD. The G37 while an older model is a tough car to pass on with its 3.7 engine that garners 327 HP. Or get an Audi A3 starting at $30k or get a base Audi A4 which starts at the same price as the ATS. My second problem is the CUE system which I agree is horrible. People constantly complain about the Lincoln MyTouch system (Which isn’t that bad) but the the CUE system really does make MyTouch look like iOS.

    Now if the ATS started at $30k I could forgive the lack of standard luxury features and maybe even block the frustration of the CUE system out of my head everyday but at mid $30k the ATS has a lot of competition no matter how great it drives.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Speaking of vinyl, question for Derek: Did this car have vinyl, and how was it? Setting aside MB-Tex (which I consider something of an institution), I’m disappointed with the industry’s move away from good-quality cloth as the base interior in luxury and near-luxury cars. Was Lexus the last hold-out here? I think the Verano offers an old-school cloth inserts/vinyl surrounds base interior. Everything upmarket of it seems to be pure vinyl (until you get to really expensive leather-only models). And it doesn’t help matters that leather generally seems to be of a slightly lower quality than of 10 or 15 years ago. (I presume improved “everything but the moo” hide processing technology is a factor here.)

      And yes, I realize my tastes are out of step with that of most US buyers.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I’ve messed with Cadillac’s building tool online. I think it’s ridiculous that you have upgrade to the “Performance” trim, at more than $40K, to get foglights instead of cheap plastic inserts in the front facia. Even Mazda will sell you foglights as a separate $300 option.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        @ TMA1 – You would think foglights could be a dealer-installed option.

        Conversely, Cadillac will let you get a sunroof as a standalone option, which isn’t the case with a frighteningly high number of cars. I realize that bundled options have kept costs down (or in fact even lowered them relative to inflation) and increased assembly quality, but the inability to order exactly the car you want is annoying.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          It’s funny how they bundle things these days. With luxury cars, it seems they go out of their way to make it apparent that you didn’t get the higher trim. Think about all the blank buttons on any Porsche that’s not fully optioned out, or the blank inserts where foglights belong. I noticed the new A3 has the inserts, but doesn’t have foglights available on any trim level.

  • avatar
    Brendon from Canada

    Rented the exact car last week – silver 2.0 AWD AT. I was excited to drive it, as its finally time to give up my ’01 E46 330Ci MT and wanted to do a compare. I can understand the reviews, but hated the delay in transmission – at least I assume this is the transmission, and not a turbo/transmission combo issue; driving through the streets and highways of Montreal where people move in and out of lanes, it actually felt borderline dangerous to not have some moving power on tap right away. Moving the car around corners seemed fine, damping was great, etc, etc, but the acceleration delay… pretty much rules this one out for me. Hoping to try a 3.6 RWD MT at some point to see if it was just the turbo/AT that was such a let down.

    As for the rest of the car – it felt small on the inside compared to it’s outside dimensions, and the controls where on par with what I’d expect for the price. I didn’t particularly like the CUE system, but it didn’t annoy me either, and the dash was again just “ok”. I really wasn’t overwhelmed by the car, but it’s definitely one of the nicer rentals I’ve driven in quite a while! (And for $4 more per day then a mid-size – I love car rental deals!)

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Apparent crappiness of this specific manual gearbox aside…. Why can we not get a 6MT and AWD. In ANYTHING? And with the top trim level?

    IS350, ATS, Forester XT, every crossover. The only exception seems to be the WRX/STI.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Modern AWD systems do a lot of work balancing power across all fours wheels; something that’s much harder to do when they don’t own the whole powertrain. It’s comparatively harder to to ESC with an MT as well.

      The WRX is a good example: the AWD system in stick-shift cars is much less sophisticated than the auto-version, which dynamically redirects torque to each wheel.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        Good answer, thanks.

        Still, for me, manual is required. I’d gladly take a simpler AWD system if that was all that was available and I greatly desired both AWD and a manual.

    • 0 avatar
      cdnsfan27

      Dave, you can get an A4 with a 6MT and it rocks.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Correct me if I’m wrong… 2 series, 3 series, 4 series, A4, S4, Golf R, I think. You’d do better to buy what you want and get a good set of snow tires though.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        The A4 is the only one of those with a fairly complex AWD system and a stick; everything else is a pretty simple power-split

        That said, you’re right: a good pair of snow tires is a better investment than AWD unless you’re wanting comprehensive stability control. There’s not a lot of places where you need AWD that you wouldn’t also want for more ground clearance and possibly full-time four-wheel drive.

        I used to have spoke spiders for my Saab for the really awful parts. Anything else would want for a truck. Or a snowmobile.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        Come on gents, you know I am one of the loudest/most vocal winter tire fanbois on TTAC.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        Why does someone have to say this in every thread that mentions awd, as if awd and snow tires are mutually exclusive?

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatic

      Also the traction available with a good AWD system is hard on clutches. If the wheels can’t spin on a hard launch the clutch will be taking a lot of abuse.

    • 0 avatar
      turboprius

      Well, there’s the Wrangler (4WD, but still).

      Lift it and put a Vineyard Vines sticker on the back window. Welcome to the club! Party like you were born in 1997.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I’ve had a couple of these for rentals and for the most part agree with Derek. It’s a good car, but it is let down by the details, and the back seat is silly. And MSRP is too high, though I imagine ATP is just fine with the usual GM hood money. If they made a wagon, I would at least consider it in the running for something I would buy. As a sedan though, I prefer the Regal 2.0T.

    Personally, I like the more relaxed personality of the current 3-series. I just find that whereas on the e9x that the sport package just ruined the ride, on the f3x it is mandatory. And they have majorly improved the steering lately – I just had a new loaner while my car was in for service and it was noticeably more communicative. So they are coming to grips with the electric steering. And I didn’t mind the feel of the original F3x – I think the e9x is heavy for the sake of being heavy, and is no paragon of feel.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Would it really have cost Cadillac a lot to make an LWB version like they do for cars this size in China. Two or three more inches in the backseat would solve the biggest problem.

    That being said, the only Cadillacs I would consider are the XTS and Escalade ESV. The XTS has all the tech toys of a BMW 7 Series, but is 2/3 the cost. The Escalade ESV is the last REAL Cadillac. Big, bold, V8, huge trunk and doesn’t give a hoot what the Germans are doing.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    So after multiple attempts, we are still in agreement then, Derek? We both agree it’s fine, and that’s not what Cadillac should be going for.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/forum/used-car-discussion/test-drove-an-ats-2-0-today/

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “11 years ago, Cadillac told us that they were “The Standard of the World”, in a blast of Zeppelin-backed TV spots and aggressively geometric styling. The 2003 CTS wasn’t even the standard for North American luxury cars, but hey, it took Audi another 30 years to even come close to making that claim.”

    It is 2033? What?

  • avatar
    bd2

    I’ve stated all along that the decision makers at GM bungled the current ATS and Malibu when it came to overall packaging/rear passenger room.

    Seems like the next Malibu, which is already undergoing road-testing, corrects that and one can only hope that GM also keeps the life-cycle of the 1st gen ATS on the short side and correct its major deficiency (assuming that CUE will have improved by then).

    • 0 avatar
      GiddyHitch

      They did the same thing with the previous CTS, not sure how the current one is. Lexus has the same issue with the IS.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        The IS350 has balls, but is relatively harsh in terms of suspension refinement. It’s almost as if Lexus intentionally dialed unnecessary harshness in to shed their image of being “soft,” but went overboard.

        The IS250 is a joke since they essentially neutered the 6 in that car to underperform 4 bangers groom competitors. The new Lexus corporate grill looks like a$$, as well.

  • avatar

    Derek, two things called my attention in your review. How much of the balance found on this car can be attributed to the smaller wheels and tyres and also the fact that it is an I4 and not a V6 and thusly not so nose heavy?

    Wheel sizes have gotten ridiculous to the pint of compromising the drive, which is in itself ridiculous. The 2.0 instead of the V6 is a welcome thing. Makes Cadillac more in tune to the current times and helps in the car’s balance. With all the power they put out, the current I4 are really putting the squeeze on the Vs.

    • 0 avatar
      stevelovescars

      Agreed, unnecessarily large wheels and super-low profile tires have jumped the shark from a cost/benefit perspective. A well-balanced car doesn’t need the biggest tires out there since even base wheels are usually 16’s or 17’s these days.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    So what?
    Very unimpressed with any car that calls itself the gold standard sedan and yet will not allow for a useable back seat.
    THAT is the issue when designing cars!
    Who in hell cares if you build a “perfect” car that leaves out several of the main objectives?
    It ain’t perfect then, is it?
    Others are trying to build a car that has everything and are having difficulty. I understand why. The entire package is the goal…not just part of it.
    Enough of this praise and come back when you have the cake entirely baked and frosted.

  • avatar
    carguy

    I have posted this before, but it bears repeating here…

    One of the unkindest deeds GM ever did to the ATS is to allow its marketing department to hail it as a 3-series competitor. This caused an outbreak of massive confusion with auto journalists and would be compact luxury shoppers alike who took GM at their word and compared and cross-shopped the ATS with the likes of the A4, 3-series and the new C-class. Needless to say they found it to be simply less car than its competitors. That is not a reflection of the ATS’s quality but simply a fact that it is smaller than all of the major players in this class. One look at the back seat and trunk sent the majority of prospective luxury shoppers heading to other dealerships.

    But if we choose not to drink the GM Kool-Aid and compare the ATS to its same sized German rivals? A quick critical measurement comparison between the new Audi A3, Mercedes CLA and the Cadillac ATS reveals that they all fall in the same size group. More importantly, a comparison of real world prices for models equipped with a 2 liter turbo, leather, Nav, upgraded stereo, keyless entry, sunroof and backup camera, reveals that they are all within more or less $1K of each other. Of course, arguments can be made about which model has a few more features (like the AWD in the A3) but none of these would account for any significant difference.

    Mercedes CLA Audi A3 Cadillac ATS
    Length (inches) 182 175 182
    Width (inches) 70 71 71
    Rear Track (inches) 60 60 61
    Rear Leg Room (inches) 27 35 33
    Trunk Space (cubic feet) 13 10 10
    Real world cost (TrueCar) $37,500 $38,500 $37,800

    You will notice from the ATS’s real world price that GM was also very wrong about setting a realistic retail price. What you may not notice is that the quoted 33 inch leg room number for the ATS is also a complete fabrication to justify their market strategy of being 3-series competition. Adjusting the front seat for a 6 foot driver leaves no more than 27 inches for the rear occupants.

    It’s no surprise that after messing up nearly every aspect of the marketing, the ATS is selling well below expectations.

    This is a pity, because while GM marketing did just about everything wrong, its engineers got nearly everything right when compared against the real competition. Unlike its German rivals it’s not based on a FWD drive economy car but a real RWD platform that is shared with its more expensive CTS cousin. That upwardly mobile parts sharing also comes through in the interior quality which meets and exceeds the competition at this price point. Even in lowly entry level guise with the 200 HP motor and a manual transmission, the ATS feels like a better balanced RWD version of the original Acura TSX.

    There are some downsides, of course, the competitors do about 3-4 MPGs better and the CUE system is unnecessarily awkward but neither is enough to overcome the charms of this vehicle.

    But none of that matters anymore because the marketing dollars have been spent, the car magazine comparisons written and CLA and A3 shoppers will probably never think of visiting a Cadillac dealership. Some buyers in this market may be after the badge but many also simply want the best entry level luxury that $35-$40K can buy and in that market the ATS is a formidable competitor. If only GM had sold it the right way.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Lol, the CLA and A3 are on another planet. You meant to put C Class, A4 and 3 series, all of which, from what I remember, have about the same or only slightly larger rear seat accomodations.

      You take something about the size of a 1995 Honda Accord and take out a foot of the interior for an engine, it’s gonna be tight.

    • 0 avatar
      GiddyHitch

      Shouldn’t the IS be included as well at 184/71/?/32/14/$36,100-base?

      • 0 avatar
        carguy

        Maybe but it larger, slower and it’s almost impossible to get leather seats. But it is a fun car with the right engine and options but that puts it in 328 territory.

    • 0 avatar
      turboprius

      35? Wow, depending on how the backseat is designed, that could be a lot. The Rogue has 35 and feels extremely roomy, while the RAV4 has 38 and feels cramped.

      Blame hard seat backs and sharp window switch panels that jut out. A good amount of manufacturers like putting hard panels on the backs of the front seats, when all that does is compromise rear seat room.

  • avatar
    readallover

    I passed on an ATS because of the horrible back seat and the Regal was just as bad. Bye, Bye GM.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      Was the Regal really that bad? I found it to be a full class size larger. The ATS felt like the Cruze in terms of size.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        The Cruze feels bigger than the ATS on the inside.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          As our EIC said in his first Cruze review, the Cruze makes it hard to justify the Regal. I would assume that means the non performance versions. He said that before the Verano was released. The Verano likely makes it hard to justify the Regal’s existence as well. I’d wager with the current Malibu many more customers are buying a Cruze after looking at the Malibu than going UP to an Impala.

          • 0 avatar
            bryanska

            I have to disagree. I actively shopped both the Verano and Regal, and spent serious time inside both. The Regal feels larger both front and back. In front, the Regal windshield is further away and the center console is less intrusive. This is in spite of a wider center console overall. In the back, the Regal is absolutely larger with measurably and perceptually more rear legroom. The Verano has no room for a rear-facing child’s seat, but the Regal definitely does.

            Coupled with more power, more trunk space and a different philosophy, the Regal is indeed a different value proposition. It is similar, but it’s definitely different.

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            The Regal’s back seat seems only useful for child seats. For seating adults, there is no point to the legroom if it doesn’t have headroom to match. When Alex Dykes did his video review, I remember he had to cock his head to the side to sit in the back – and he is only 6′.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Not only does the Regal feel bigger than the ATS (especially in the rear, as Cadillac further robbed the ATS of useable rear leg room by positioning the rear seat frame in an odd manner), I actually think the Regal has a more “premium” feeling ride, despite being wrong wheel drive.

          The Regal has the plushness of better European vehicles in its ride quality attributes, which stands to reason as it’s essentially an Opel Insignia.

  • avatar
    Noble713

    The ATS’s back seat /legroom is a complaint in every thread about this car. Having only Internet stats to go by, I just can’t wrap my head around it. As I’ve said before, it has almost the same wheelbase and other dimensions as several JDM sedans I’ve owned or been a passenger in, and I fit in all of them just fine. I’m 5’11” 165lbs with long legs and a short torso. So I just can’t comprehend where the volume is being lost in the ATS.

    Since I’ve become a performance sedan junkie, here’s my take on this segment, focusing on the main 3 RWD offerings:

    BMW 335i or M3
    Pros: Glorious Inline-6 engine, good trannies, aftermarket performance support
    Cons: German luxury tax, questionable reliability, price for both the car and mods

    ATS
    Pros: US-made, best handling, lightweight, good overall chassis
    Cons: terrible aftermarket support, uninteresting engine/trans options

    IS350 FSport
    Pros: Lexus reliability, polarizing exterior is growing on me
    Cons: poor and likely pricey aftermarket support, no manual trans *AT ALL*

    I have nearly no interest in “luxury”, I just want a RWD performance/tuner sedan that’s smaller than a Charger/CTS/SS. I want to love the ATS because it’s the closest a US manufacturer has come to delivering a desirable sedan. Coming from a JZ engine, the ATS’s powertrain options bore me…partly because they don’t want to undercut sales of the big-boy CTS and CTS-V by offering an LS engine.

    If I could drop the new BMW S55 engine/trans into a Lexus IS chassis I’d be happy, but modern Toyota’s seem to be a nightmare to mod due to ECU issues (closed ecosystem approach).

    If I had millions to play with I’d love to set up a dedicated performance sedan tuning shop. Kinda like a Cadillac/Lexus version of Alpina, but with more emphasis on raw sportiness at the expense of creature comforts.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      Before your opinion solidifies, you owe it to yourself to experience that backseat. It’s so small! The tumblehome pushes the doors into your shoulders, your eyes seem too close to the seatback, your knees and legs are squeezed together…

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The legroom/backseat complaint is a valid one. Especially if Cadillac is marketing the ATS as a 3-series competitor. I am someone that would purchase a performance sedan, but I also have a child. With the car seat in the forward facing position, my 2 year old does not have enough legroom in the back. This is not a problem in the 3-series.

      I realize that not everyone has this problem, but many people buying $40K sedans do have children. Read Bark’s Boss 302 Mustang review. For my money, I’ll take a Mustang GT that can be had in the lower 30s.

      • 0 avatar
        pragmatic

        Exactly if I didn’t want a back seat I wouldn’t want four doors and the Mustang becomes the value choice. If only Ford would get more weight off the nose and on to the tail.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      BMW 3 is fine. IIRC, CR recommends it. Not sure where you are pricing mods either. JB4 tune nets ~380WHP for like $600. You’re not getting anywhere near that for anything near $600 in any other car in the class, outside of the S4. I’m still not hot on the 3, but I’m sold on the turbo I6. When I run my Z into the ground, I’m going for a 135i or if the budget/wife permit an M235i. The “raw” stuff sounds good when your current ride is boring… but outside of a tiny bit more noise, better body control and more horsepower, my Z is perfect for the street. Any more “rawness” would just be annoying on a 600+ mile road trip or even my ~40 mile commute. “Raw” sedans are a bit silly… if you are going to go “raw”, go all the way… get a sports car or a motorcycle.

      • 0 avatar
        GiddyHitch

        Do the BMW 3.0L turbo engines still munch on HPFPs? That would have to be a consideration for anyone owning them outside of the warranty period.

      • 0 avatar
        johnny_5.0

        The tunes from Burger are great, but you won’t be making anywhere near 380 at the wheels with just a tune on the N55. Even a stage II N55 with methanol isn’t making that. N54 cars could hit that easily with small supporting mods like intake/exhaust. Not that they are pokey stock by any means, but if you want really big power you have to buy an older used N54, or splash a little more cash for a still used-but-less-old “is” model that kept the N54 around for a few years longer.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I would have suggested the C-Class, but it looks like the MT was dropped for 2014 (and boy, is the 2015 replacement a funny-looking thing). It’s a better car than people commonly give it credit for.

      That said, if you are looking in this market and can stand /not/ going new: F90 3-Series (or even a nicely-cared-for E46 330i ZHP) or a G35S. The C-Class is rare as hen’s teeth in six-speed form, but it would be worth looking at, too.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      I wouldn’t compare the ATS to a 335 or IS3350 F sport – the cost difference is nearly $10K.

      A more appropriate comparison would be the ATS vs the A3 and CLA (all around $38K real world price) and in that contest the ATS blows away the competition in just about every dimension except gas mileage.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        How did you arrive at $10k? ATS w/3.6L V6 is $42k, while a 335i is $43,500. There is a similar price difference comparing the ATS’ 2.0T to the 328i, and the 320i is actually cheaper than the ATS w/2.5L.

        I know additional features can add up fast with BMW, but $10k?

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    “I have not driven the Lexus IS350, our EIC’s favorite sports sedan, and I know that an E90 328i is superior in every way, but right now, the ATS is without a doubt the best handling luxury sports sedan on the market.”

    So you haven’t driven Jack’s favorite sports sedan, the one that won the last Car and Driver comparison test in which the ATS finished dead last, but you’re declaring the ATS to be without a doubt the best handling luxury sports sedan on the market? This doesn’t do much for your credibility.

  • avatar
    Rday

    my buddy ‘stormin norman’ only buys cadillacs. He is the only person i know that owns one..and he owns three. His wife is handicapped and needs to large doors to get her wheelchair in. He refuses to buy any other brand of car…just caddy’s. and they are nice….buy
    he buys only used ones with the northstar v8 engine because he can get them so cheeeep. He drives them until the engine starts to self destruct and then he sells them to someone. He says even with all their problems he can come out doing it this way.
    I think caddy is doomed as long as it is part of BM. they are losers that have tarnished their reputations so bad that no self respecting intelligent american would have anything to do with them. when my fiancee saw some of their advertised lease rate she laughed out loud saying that soon GM will be paying people to buy caddys. I think that they are almost to that stage. does their resale hold up at all to the bimmers and benzes?????s

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    I agree with the instrument cluster being ancient. It looks almost same as the old Buick and Pontiac stampings, digits and needles. How come a company boasting renewed leadership can’t deliver on critical areas. Based on a rental in NY, I wasn’t impressed at all. The trans kills the merits of a pretty nice engine. Mate the 2.0 with Aisin and it’ll be a better performer. Regardless, the Lexus and Acura is far ahead this Cadillac, in my opinion.

  • avatar
    Acd

    The ATS is the first car I’ve driven in a long time that made me visit a dealer to see how much it would cost to put one in my driveway. The ride/handling compromise blew me away and its light weight encouraged throwing it into corners. I never would have thought a Cadillac could be this fun to drive. As a former Chrysler 300C V8 owner I’m a member of the more horsepower is better club but the 2.0 really is the right engine for this car; it works very well with the chassis I didn’t have the throttle response lags that others have reported. Sure the back seat is tiny, the CUE is virtually unusable and the interior has more that it’s share of cheesy plastic but the way it drives makes me overlook those flaws. It actually reminds me of an old-school European sport sedan; if it had an Alfa Romeo emblem on its grill we’d be praising it as the best Alfa sedan ever.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      Right on. I fully admit that if this car fits, there’s no more perfect machine. If I were fresh out of school and not married, this would be THE car.

  • avatar
    Buford T. Justice

    Why is Cadillac still selling to fleets if they’re trying to bring themselves upmarket. Doesn’t this hurt ATS residual values, and hurt existing customers? How many BMW’s are sold to fleet customers?

  • avatar
    KrohmDohm

    I have to disagree on CUE. I rented an ATS for 10 days last December. I was able to add my phone, program radio presets and everything I needed to do without cracking a manual. I never failed to quickly find a function I needed and the voice recognition was quite good. There are better systems but the Ford/Microsoft are far worse.
    I will agree on the touch screen sensitivity over bumps but that probably common to all of them.


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