By on September 16, 2015

2016_Cadillac_ATS_Sedan_(1_of_11)

2016 Cadillac ATS Sedan

3.6-liter LGX DOHC V-6, variable valve timing, active fuel management and cylinder deactivation (333 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm; 285 pounds-feet @ 4,800 rpm)

8-speed 8L45 automatic transmission

20 city/30 highway/24 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

24.5 mpg combined in 60/40 city/highway, downtown traffic nightmare combined cycle (Observed MPG)

Tested Options: Driver Assist Package — $2,885 (Adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, seat belt tightening, electronic parking brake); Kona brown semi-aniline leather seating — $1,295; Power sunroof — $1,050; Cold weather package — $600 (heated seats, heated steering wheel); Dark Adriatic Blue Metallic Paint — $495.

Base Price:
$49,105*
As Tested Price:
$55,430*

* All prices include $995 destination fee (U.S.)

It’s easy to get caught up in the BMW-Mercedes-Audi hyperbole. Those automakers swap spec superlatives in generational battles for supremacy that, in all reality, won’t matter when it comes time for most of those buyers to pull the proverbial trigger.

In many ways, the Cadillac ATS gets left out in the cold. It doesn’t have the history, drama or marketing machine that the 3 Series and C-Class beat us over the head with everyday.

In fact, when Cadillac announced that it would take head-on those vaunted cars, most people laughed as long as it took for them to drive one. Then it became very real. Although the ATS competes with the Germans on price, it also competes in capability. The underpinnings are rock solid. The engine lineup is comparable. And the performance ATS-V is really damn good.

For 2016, little has changed with the ATS, but incremental improvements in interior tech and its top-of-the-range engine bring the car ever closer to being on par with — or in some cases better than — its German counterparts.

And for a lot of people, it’ll be an awkward, angular shaped pill to swallow for the future.

2016_Cadillac_ATS_Sedan_(4_of_11)

Exterior
Fewer words could, and should, be written about Cadillac’s “art and science” approach to exterior design. The sheet metal in the ATS, especially in its grille, is a cold, hard approach to geometric car design and one that won’t be mistaken with any other brand any time soon.

It’s easy to chide the ATS for being too harsh, angular and fashion-forward, but compared to others within the segment — ahem, Audi A4 — at least it’s something. After gazing upon the 2016 Cadillac ATS-V, the ATS starts to make sense. Compared to the nostrils and aggressive front fascia on the ATS-V, the normal sedan’s hood lines and upright LED lamps that reach back to the front wheel arches look subtler and more palatable than first impressions.

In back, the “mini fins” and dual outboard exhausts tie the package together with an ideal short overhang. I’m nitpicking, but I’d say the back end is so symmetrical that it seems unusually cold. Compared to the front end, the tail lacks any real expression or style.

Compared to the 3 Series, the ATS presents an alternate reality. The BMW’s skin is stretched over its muscular frame, whereas the Caddy’s sheet metal falls flatly down its angular body. Put simply, the 3 Series wears spandex and the ATS wears a sharp suit — it’s in the eye of the beholder to determine the preferred approach.

2016_Cadillac_ATS_Sedan_(10_of_11)

Interior
Full disclosure: The interior of the ATS isn’t my cuppa, and that’s just how I feel. Based on what I know, the ATS represents a gigantic leap for General Motors-kind when it comes to interior fit and finish. The beautiful open pore wood accents blend seamlessly into a suede finished dash, and the ergonomics of the ATS easily beat the 3 Series.

Our tester, shod with Kona leather hides finished with jet-black accents inside, represented the best interior combination for our dark blue metallic finish outside. The subtle and inoffensive swatches represented the ideal combination for the real world. I can’t say the same for Light Platinum and Medium Cashmere packages inside; Red Obsession Tintcoat and Majestic Plum Metallic paint outside — but that’s just me.

The interior space of the ATS may seem cramped compared to its 108-inch wheelbase. The ATS is actually a little longer than the 3 Series and 2 inches shorter than the C-Class but feels much smaller than both. The trunk’s 10.4 cubes are smaller than the Merc’s 12.8 cubes, and it’s beyond my comprehension as to why. Rear passengers don’t benefit from the ATS’s dimensions — the 3 Series sports nearly 2 inches more in rear passenger legroom than the 33.5 inches allotted to ATS rear passengers.

On the surface, it would appear that Cadillac’s padded sport buckets are to blame; the bulky padded thrones are comfortable but look bulkier and heavier than the Rocky Mountains. The chairs are comfortable and supportive, but finding a neutral and comfortable seating position was tough — the steering wheel felt just too high.

2016_Cadillac_ATS_Sedan_(11_of_11)Infotainment
Including Apple’s Car Play was among the biggest improvements over last year’s model. The system is straightforward and user-friendly and, I believe, a solid step forward for carmakers as they search for something that attempts to relieve drivers of their obsession with their mobile phones.

The plain layout mimics Apple’s iPhone interface with Phone, Messages, Maps, Music, Now Playing, Audiobooks, Podcasts and (at least on my phone) MLB At Bat apps for drivers to use. Most apps, including Phone and Messages, immediately prompt Siri to ask what you’re trying to do, instead of allowing drivers to endlessly scroll through contacts and messages.

Calling up the Maps app brings forward Apple’s familiar (and terrible) user interface, but won’t allow drivers to pinch or zoom. To its credit, it immediately brought up my home address and gave me an ETA (with real-time traffic) everywhere I went.

Music was perhaps the most familiar, and dangerous, app CarPlay had to offer. The interface offered artists, albums, playlists and everything else found on Apple’s Music app, and quite often finding what I was looking for required considerable scrolling and fidgeting with the screen. Put simply: I could have found the music faster on my phone, which felt counter-intuitive.

CarPlay represents a solid step forward for automakers to adapt to something most drivers already know: their phones. If there’s one drawback for having such an intuitive infotainment system, it’s that the steering wheel-mounted controls can’t come close. Navigating the same menus and controls on the steering wheel was markedly different than the CarPlay system and it’s not something that I’d recommend for someone like my dad aka the typical Cadillac buyer.

2016_Cadillac_ATS_Sedan_(5_of_11)

Powertrain
The all-new 3.6-liter V-6 is the other notable improvement from 2015 and its modest horsepower bump (333 hp up from 321 hp) isn’t the real story. The LGX V-6 can shut down two of its cylinders to gain some longer legs in highway driving and it helps. Our observed mileage of 24.5 mpg in combined driving was spoiled by the near-constant Downtown Denver traffic. (Dear Texans: Please go home. Signed, Everyone.)

Shifting between four- and six-cylinder motivation was seamless and often, thanks to our eager right foot that wanted to test the cylinder deactivation system.

The eager V-6 ran up to its 7,000-rpm limit, although its growl wasn’t as sonorous as the ATS-V’s tuned intake. The V-6 never let us down, although it did feel like it was the victim of an over-anxious 8-speed automatic that emphatically and frequently shifted the car into an ever-higher gear.

Our tester was rear-wheel drive only — and in a perfect world, they’d all be. In reality, many buyers will opt for Cadillac’s all-wheel drive and that preference is understandable for cold-weather climates. But, if I could, I’d offer the Pepsi Challenge with winter tires and RWD to all seasons and AWD to prospective buyers — this combination is just too fun.

Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control makes an appearance now in 3.6-liter ATS cars with the Premium package and it’s marvelous, but more on that later.

2016_Cadillac_ATS_Sedan_(9_of_11)

Drive
As the relative new kid on the block, the ATS has the unenviable task of having to make up ground on the Germans. The Caddy not only has to be better, it also has to cost less.

The ATS Sedan with a 3.6-liter V-6 is fully $17,000 less than an ATS-V and it shows; this car is completely different that its performance variant and wouldn’t be confused with it — ever. (I wasn’t so sure that the last-gen M3 and 335i were all that different, by the way.)

The ATS’s Magnetic Ride Control stiffens the ATS to heroic proportions and keeps the car flat and poised, ready and neutral for more. When paired with an energetic V-6 and wrung out with paddle shifters, the ATS can break bread with any German of similar ilk. I firmly believe that.

But as the sport wears off and the road wears on, the stiffened suspension becomes too harsh and too uninhabitable for long hauls. There’s no middle ground in the sedan: either you’re dealing with the languid acceleration and shifting of “Touring” or the bone-shattering ride of “Sport.” Semi customizable suspension and throttle response would go a long way here.

At $55,430, the ATS runs up dangerously close to the $60,465 starting price from the ATS-V, but it’s hard to imagine they’ll overlap.

At its most expensive, the ATS is a serious and meaningful contender to the Germans’ sport luxury compact crown.

And that will be a tough pill for all of us owners to swallow.

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179 Comments on “2016 Cadillac ATS Sedan Review – Bitter Medicine...”


  • avatar
    Rday

    Why all this expanded bull ship about Cadillac …a brand which no self respecting car guy would ever buy. Somebody must be getting big bucks for all this baloney.

    • 0 avatar
      Aaron Cole

      If I was on Cadillac’s payroll I wouldn’t be buying generic toothpaste.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        I’ve driven the ATS back-to-back with the 3-series. I preferred the ATS for its performance, exterior looks, handling and overall road feel. If Cadillac could fix a few relatively small things, they’d be better than BMW or anyone else.

        The relatively easy fixes are:
        1. to upgrade the instrument panel (something like the new Audi TT)
        2. upgrade Cue – its too slow and lacks the feel people expect from an iPad
        3. simplify pricing and options. Maybe copy Honda/Acura where you pick one of 4 trim levels, your color combo and maybe transmission, and you’re done. My sense is that the ATS may start in the low $30’s, but to get the one you want, you need to spend $50K+, which is crazy.
        4. drop that 2.5L base engine, which is NOT appropriate to a Cadillac.

        The more challenging fix is to lengthen the wheelbase a couple of inches to expand rear seat legroom, which is ridiculously small.

        But overall, Cadillac is THIS close; I really hope they keep at it with a midcycle refresh soon.

        • 0 avatar
          energetik9

          But isn’t THIS the mid-cycle refresh?

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          I drove the ’14 ATS (IIRC). I think it had the 3.6L V6. I genuinely liked how it drove.

          But I hate touch screens, and it wasn’t comfortable. The front seat foot wells felt cramped, and the back seat was a joke. There’s no way I’m paying Cadillac money if I don’t get Cadillac comfort.

        • 0 avatar
          Mr. Orange

          Cadillac supposedly upgraded CUE for the 2016 model year.

        • 0 avatar
          carguy

          @VoGo: You are completely right. I owned a ’14 ATS and most of the fixes it really needed would have been relatively simple if GM would only listen.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          It’s not a Cadillac.

          It’s GM’s somewhat warped (and now outdated as proven by BMW’s sales figures) impression of s smaller BMW.

          It’s like a debadged Hyundai Equus with Lexus LS460 badging (but with the Hyundai having fit/finish, reliability and overall build quality that no GM co es close to ACHIEVAing).

          Simple recipe for fixing Cadillac-

          Every Cadillac MUST have:

          1) Most front seat room in segment, by a fair margin.

          2) Most REAR seat leg, knee, head and shoulder roo. In segment, by a BIG margin.

          3) Most trunk room in segment.

          4) Quietest interior in segment unless it’s a V8 (or V10?) equipped speciality Cadillac such as a V.

          5) Best center stack and gauge cluster in segment (better than Audi).

          6) Best standard equipment levels in segment…period.

          7) Most PLUSH RIDE BY FAR in segment – make it happen, no excuses, hapless motors.

          8) RELIABILITY (A timeless GM enemy, with the ATS being no exception as a victim).

          9) Best fit/finish, build quality, interior trim, paint quality (Clack-I-lack is so far away).

          10) Best dealership service, warranty coverage, gratis service, etc.

          11) Nothing LESS than a HO V6, a d preferably at least a growling & barking on command V8, under every hood.

          12) Ditch haptic feedback and CUE for that matter – buttons and knobs.

          13) Be no more expensive, and ideally less expensive, than any segment competitor (yes, GM, you need to copy the Lexus playbook of yore, until people inherently trust you, which exceedingly few do, for very good reason).

          14) Very publicly and loudly sh!tcan Johan de Nysschen & Melody Lee without delay or mercy.

          • 0 avatar
            Vlad_x35

            You love to hate on Caddies, and yet having driven 2015 ATS, 3-series, and S4, as well as from the previous years, I dont get where you get such high praise for the germans. The Audi interior, which everyone praises is not more special than a VW Golf. Boring, dull and rattly on potholes or when listeing to loud music with the bass up. The 3 series is solid, but pretty much like the E90, where you still cannot see the volume level. The ATS is not worse than either, and gives you leather covered dash and door panels. CUE is not smartphone smooth, but it is not garbage. A volume knob would be nice, though.
            I hate people who still have their clocks set to the late 90ies. Cadillac came up, and the germans have nothing special so stop blindly licking their aholes.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            DW,
            Your recipe is a non-starter. You are looking to add 20%+ cost over rivals with points 1-12, all while having diseconomies of scale. Then you want to price below the competition. You would bankrupt GM (again).

          • 0 avatar
            tonycd

            So, the recipe for a Cadillac comeback is to rebadge the Town Car?

          • 0 avatar
            nickoo

            Caddy needs to can the ATS, CTS, and SRX, OR do the realistic thing and bring back pontiac to rebadge them as what they should have been all along. See how I didn’t even mention the XTS? That’s because it doesn’t even register…

            Rebuild the Cadillac to compete with Bentley/Rolls Royce with two cars: The Escalade and a new Fleetwood, which will be the sedan version of the Escalade. Riding in them should be as close as possible to riding in the finest first class cabin. Have them come in SWB, LWB, and Limo, offer no trim packages as they will ALL come fully loaded, and start the fleetwood at 79,000 and the Escalade at 89,000.

            GM lost the plot when it comes to both Buick (smooth ride with space inside) and Caddy. The new style Impala does more for GM than the entire Buick Brand and certainly more than the XTS, ATS, and CTS combined.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @VoGo

            I suspect Cadillac as a brand is barely profitable and if we factor in the brand’s unrecoverable R&D investment in ELR and Alpha platform, the brand -if it were by itself- is bankrupt. I suspect the reason SRX was assembled in Mexico for years was because it was a profitable model despite rebates but cheaper assembly was needed to maintain/increase the margin to make up for all the other losses. DW’s points are not all unrealistic or expensive but even with those done I think the brand’s future if very bleak. How many times can they make asses of themselves and still expect to be taken seriously? Just recently we had the surprisingly brief ELR ad campaign and more recently its Dare Greatly and CT6. Since CT6 isn’t out yet we don’t know how it will fare, but I’m going to go out on a limb and call it another bomb. How many bombs has it dropped since 1995 even? (Catera gen 1, Northstar, XLR, ELR, ATS just off the top of my head) The CT6 is just too much money for what is essentially the new Seville. The brand has thirty five years of stain on it even before you factor in GM haters or bailout jokes.

            @tonycd

            Such a model would not hurt, but I don’t think all Cadillac models should be such big cars. I’ve said it before, nix the ATS sedan completely and replaced it with an Alpha CUV as somehow those with no interior room and functionality are ok. Keep the Alpha coupe but give it a name, CTS should be the smallest sedan offered followed by this new CT6 as Seville and whatever else comes later.

          • 0 avatar
            Firestorm 500

            DW, You’re describing a Lexus.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Not a Lexus, not a BMW, not an Acura, not a MB.

            It’s relative.

            Cadillac needs more front & rear seat space relative to any competing car in its segment, V6 or, better yet, V8 power, better interior materials & fit/finish, better NVH attributes, better ergonomics, gauges, reliability, service, etc., RELATIVE to segment competitors.

            The ATS lags in most of these aspects, and lags badly, despite being priced ridiculously high (in firm C Class territory).

            It’s a bad joke.

            Only GM fan boys could/would claim otherwise.

            50k+ sticker for this pile! WTF!!!

            Mark my words – ATS & CTS sales will continue to slow further, and the CT6 will be a huge flop, despite Cadillac already setting the bar for its “success” very low (it will sell fewer than 9,000 units per year, and possibly less than 7k).

          • 0 avatar
            "scarey"

            Dear Dead- Now you KNOW that GM is incapable of ANY of that on your 14 point list. Maybe 40 or 50 years ago, but seriously. GM is 15 years away from another bankruptcy and Cadillac fans aren’t fooled by their lame attempts. They make a fancy Suburban and ONE good car . And this ain’t it.
            I know you are just trying to help.

          • 0 avatar
            swilliams41

            Amen.

          • 0 avatar
            maxxcool7421

            Old Caddies do not sell. The new caddies somewhat sell.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @maxxcool

            Circa 1992, Cadillac had 3% market share, in 2014 it was 1.1% and nearly 50% of that was SRX. Tell me again what sells?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            @28

            Maxxcool thinks the RX and Accord are Cadillacs.

        • 0 avatar
          pragmatic

          More rear leg room.
          Fewer configurations. Why does the car come with three different rear seat configurations? Fixed in the base, pass through on the sport and split fold down on the luxury. Save the engineering money and offer only one.
          Why are heated seats an option?

          VoGo is right use Honda’s marketing lower costs byonly offerring limited configurations. How about Luxury and Sport both with the same rear seats, both with heated seats just differences in ride and trim.

    • 0 avatar
      BDT

      Why would a self respecting car guy not buy a CTS-V? Too fast? Too much horsepower? Chassis too competent? Just curious.

      • 0 avatar
        energetik9

        Car guy is the key term. I see a mixed demographic whenever I see this car on the road. 40-something and 50+. I doubt the 50+ group is looking in the CTS-V realm. I just don’t know if many Cadillac buyers associate Cadillac and high performance. I also think that in recent past these were pretty heavily incentivised which would make the gap even greater.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “a brand which no self respecting car guy would ever buy.”

      What kind of car guy buys based on brand? You buy a car because it’s a good car that you judge it on its merits. Only an idiot wouldn’t buy an otherwise fantastic Cadillac or Kia because it’s a Cadillac or Kia.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I don’t often buy suits simply because I don’t need them in my career very often, but when I do the basic I go for something like Lauren and if I’m serious its a mid level Zegna. If Sears made a suit with Zegna materials and quality, I could see where you’re coming from but there’s two things: 1. Zegna, as most designers do, has a certain style about it Sears can’t mimic and 2. I would know I am wearing a Sears suit.

        “Only an idiot wouldn’t buy an otherwise fantastic Cadillac or Kia because it’s a Cadillac or Kia.”

        I guess I’m an idiot then as I see no reality where I own a Killed In Action (or a Cadillac made after 1996 for that matter).

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Friends don’t let friends buy suits from Sears. Surely one can find a Hart Marx suit, that is made in the US, on sale somewhere. At the sub $500 price point, there are plenty of decent suits by different designers. Sierra Trading post is your friend. Plus, you must know a good tailor. That might be more important than the actual suit you buy.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I was trying to throw something cheap out there, I’d never buy there. The last cheap suit I bought was at Macys and I think it was 20% off of $600 or so (but this was four years ago so I don’t remember exactly).

            My tailor is actually an old Egyptian guy who happens to also be a little crazy (although a stroke can do that and he had one). I left a golf hat in the dressing room by mistake once and when I realized it the next day and returned, he was telling me how “a friend” gave it to him. But for the decent money he charges I won’t trust anyone else with my suits. Insanity and genius are only separated by a thin line.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            He reminds me of the Syrian guy that does my suits/pants. He talks super loud on his cell phone, in Arabic, on speaker phone, while measuring and marking my suits. He’s probably talking $hit about me, but he gets suits done in two days for a great price. As long as my suits are on point, he can talk $hit about me all day.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m sure this guy speaks Egyptian, but I have never heard it. He goes on and on about his Ford Taunus, which I had to look up because I had no idea what it was. He also makes references to Sadat and Mubarak’s regimes which I find interesting.

        • 0 avatar
          jmo

          So, you’d intentionally buy an inferior product just to avoid a brand name?

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Sadly that fact seems to be lost on many of the Millennial brand snobs out there.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      Maybe someone who doesn’t want to look like an instant asshole?

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      “…a brand which no effete snob would ever buy. Somebody must be getting big bucks for all this baloney.”

      There, I fixed it for you.

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      Um, as a guy with two BMWs in the garage and a still-active BMWCCA membership, I’d choose an ATS over a 3-series right now, hands-down. The chassis is just that much better, and real-world transaction prices are a *lot* cheaper.

      None of the ATS engines have the smoothness or torque of the 335’s inline-6, admittedly, but I wouldn’t want to own a 335 out of warranty. The 4-cylinder engines are basically a dead heat between BMW and Cadillac.

      Seems to me that the Cadillac is the choice if you want something that drives well and don’t care about the badge – quite the opposite is true for most of BMW’s current lineup.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        A Caterham 7 480 is a better handler than any BMW 3 series, too.

        BMW, unlike Cadillac, realizes that 99% of their prospective buyers drive on city streets and highways, to work, school, etc.

        Driving a base ATS is billiard-smooth-roads Washington State (compared to Michigan) revealed a borderline harsh ride.

        Driving two more versions in Michigan revealed both ATS suspension setups to be absolutely, positively uncomfortable.

        A premium performance sedan, the kind that 3 Series spawned, is not a mutually exclusive proposition to a relatively comfortable daily driver.

        There’s zero reason for a 40k, let alone 50k Cadillac “premium” sedan to have worse ride quality than many Hyundais, Hondas, etc, let alone Audis, BMWs.

    • 0 avatar
      DAC17

      Like many others, you need to understand that world has changed. Bury your head in the sand if you will, but you’re missing some really good cars.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      Anyone who says I should spend my $40k THEIR way deserves a push in the face. No self respecting car guy pushes his taste on others. If you want to see how a Cadillac buyer responds to such affront, just Google “middle finger” and “Goodfellas quotes”.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    From that photo, the front end seems to have become less exciting. Somewhat sterile.

    This statement seems a bit of a stretch, “Put simply, the 3 Series wears spandex and the ATS wears a sharp suit — it’s in the eye of the beholder to determine the preferred approach.” I personally find the Cadillac lines increasingly dated. Somewhat awkward. I view Cadillac more as pleated trousers, a button up Ralph Lauren Chaps shirt and a receding hairline.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I also find the BMW statement odd… I find the current F30 is stretched too far, and doesn’t look tight anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      I agree about the styling statement, but I think the back needs some help also. The vertical tail light/elongated brake light combo has been around for a while now and I don’t think it’s aged well.
      I understand WHY they’d set up the tail lights in such a way in order to maintain some link to the past, but I think it’s time to let it go. Seems to be the case where one’s heritage is holding back the brand. Of course, I suppose there’s room for all sorts and if it means that not everything looks the same, that’s a good thing. Still don’t like the back end.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        “The vertical tail light/elongated brake light combo has been around for a while now”

        Yeah, 1965! That’s when they put it on their big gurl.

        http://www.californiacar.com/65sdv102_edited.JPG

    • 0 avatar
      CincyDavid

      Nothing wrong with pleated suit pants…nothing worse than sitting in a too-hot conference room, in too tight flat front trousers, on a leather chair for hours. I like “ball room” just like Lyndon Johnson in the famous audio tape of him yelling at Mr. Haggar about some too-tight pants that made him feel like he was riding a barbed wire fence.

      I wear a suit 6 days a week, and I want to look presentable and be comfortable. I think these your skinny guys in tight suits with too-short suit coats look like Pee Wee Herman, whatever that’s worth.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    As Tested Price:
    $55,430*

    For a very cramped (rear seat tighter than a Chevy Cruze, as well as trunk), unreliable, harsh riding (Pontiac G6 rode smoother), circa-1988 gauge cluster clad, ubiquitous GM 3.6 liter (that can be had in nearly any other Guangzhou Motors vehicle), CUE-crippled POS!

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Do you like the orange peel paint effect visible in the shot of the right tail lamp and 3.6 logo? I think that’s part of the Exclusive Paints Option.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Time to bust out the clay bar.

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          A clay bar won’t have any affect on orange peel, kind of like the way a largely positive review of any Cadillac will have no effect on DeadWeight’s opinion.

          For orange peel, it’s color sanding through all the grits, polish and compound. I recently repaired some small damage on my CTS using a rattle can and the result, after the aforementioned process, I had a smooth, shiny, highly reflective outcome.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            You have to sand to get rid of it? Oh no!

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            ” A clay bar won’t have any affect on orange peel, kind of like the way a largely positive review of any Cadillac will have no effect on DeadWeight’s opinion.”

            You win the thread.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        GM’s assembly robots (under Roger Smith’s brilliant tenure) used to paint each other, so in those 30 some years, there’s been a little bit of progress.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          They were trying to paint themselves to match the new Cadillac style.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Hahaha. Oh man. The stories my dad has about working in retooled GM factories in the mid 80s to early 90s. So. Much. Wasted. Money. Pontiac Assembly and Buick City were special sorts of [email protected] ups. So much capital invested, only to poop it all away.

          • 0 avatar
            "scarey"

            Good point. I seem to remember that GM paid Fiat $2 Billion to get out of buying them, with which $2 Billion Fiat bought Chrysler. LOL !
            Now they may buy GM too. LOL again !

      • 0 avatar
        SP

        You know, it used to be that to get orange peel, you had to take your new car to a cut-rate body shop. But these days, you can get it on almost any new car! Not just the exotic brands like Kia either. Even a run-of-the-mill brand like Mercedes offers it standard now. Seriously – at no extra charge! It is only a matter of time before brands like Bentley abandon their archaic hand-rubbed finishes and get on board with this hot trend.

        We are watching the democratization of orange peel, right before our very eyes.

        It’s an amazing time to be alive! :)

        • 0 avatar
          nickoo

          The metallic white optima I have as a rental right now has excellent paint quality. I have to admit, I haven’t done a once over looking for orange peel, but in general, just looking at the car, the paint job is what impressed me the most, and I usually hate white cars.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      This is not the “ubiquitous” 3.6 V6 of yore.

      It is the brand new 3640 cc V6 announced in March. The 3570cc V6 is the ubiquitous one found everywhere and that was featured in last year’s ATS.

      This I/P ain’t the cheapy one found in the lower level ATS models that you hate so much.

      When you decide to sneer at this thing, at least get your facts straight instead of talking through your hat.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        @wmba
        Couldnt have said it better myself.

        Hes always screwing up facts to make his (idiotic) points. From “extended length Tahoes” (that dont exist) to Fords being built RIGHT NOW in an assembly plant closed years ago, its like, ya know, who needs the truth or facts when youre an opinionated jackass?

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Yep, it’s 5k more than a Chevy SS.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Incorrect. The redesigned LGX 3.6 is a basically new motor that addresses most of the NVH issues the LFX had with better fuel economy and performance to boot. It offers plenty of grunt in this small Caddy and even sounds better doing it. The only other non Cadillac car to offer this excellent mill is the new 2016 Camaro.

      I can’t personally vouch for reliability but anybody I know that owns a 2014/2015 ATS has not had any reliability issues with there cars and I have spoke with quite a few owners.

      The rear seat leg and knee room is very lacking as is the minuscule trunk so we are in agreement there.

      CUE is a non issue for me being a tech guy and for 2016 as stated in this article has been improved some.

      The dash indeed could use an upgrade but pre- 1988 like is stretching things a bit no?

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    More costly than the Q70 3.7 AWD, Q70L 3.7 AWD, and even the Q70 Hybrid. It’s more expensive than a GS350 F Sport AWD. It’s more expensive than a Lexus GX. It’s more than an XF 3.0 supercharged AWD.

    And it’s very slightly larger than a Cruze. Are you kidding, Cadillac?

    • 0 avatar
      SomeGuy

      Doesn’t compete with any of the cars you listed. The Germans it does compete with get far more expensive with similar options.

      The Q70 has been the same car for quite some time with the exception of the hybrid and the long wheel base.

      Also, no one will pay sticker for an ATS. Ever.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        The Cadillac brand is not tier 1 like BMW, MB, Lexus and Audi. It’s tier 2 like Acura, Infiniti, and Volvo.

        You should be thankful I’m even putting it up against any Lexus, which is above its station considerably.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Just on looks alone (I “got into” the meat & potatoes above), the Audi A4, S4, A5 and S5 are soooo much better looking, both inside and out, than the ATS, that it has to be seen to be you understood.

          The A4/S4, A5/S5 belong on a mantle; the ATS is already dated, and belongs where it currently resides.

        • 0 avatar
          bryanska

          Yes, the Lexus GS is quite soporific, different indeed.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      You can load up a BMW 340i with Nav, premium, track package, M-sport package, heated seats, on and on for the same price as this ATS also. In other words, to match the 3.6 price listed above, you have to check almost all of the option boxes of the BMW 340.

  • avatar
    SomeGuy

    I like how the car looks on the outside, the powertrain options are good, and MOST of the interior doesn’t bother me. 2.0 turbo tuned by Trifecta plus the manual would hurt a lot of feelings and would be considered a true sleeper IMO.

    However, the Achilles heel in this car is the gauge cluster. I absolutely hate it. Look at a 1998 Grand Prix and come back to this. It is shocking how close they are. Who approved this designed? You are telling me the design leader sat in the pre-production model, looked at those gauges and said: “Looks good! We finally have something better than BMW!”

    Gauges are not a hard thing to get right. BMW has had very simple gauges for decades that look great and age well.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    When I see an ATS on the road (not often) with that melty badge and terrible paint quality, I don’t think “Oh, there’s a well-heeled person in a $55k+ car of excellence.”

    I think, “There’s the person who could only afford the smallest Cadillac, not even a CTS. Those gauges in there are like a Bonneville. That looks like a $29,000 car.”

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      Which is the same reaction the C-Class garners.

    • 0 avatar
      JLGOLDEN

      “There’s the person who could only afford the smallest Cadillac, not even a CTS…” That you internally process the data to this summary, uh, just WOW! I work with educated, connected, and brilliant millionaires who drive ordinary Suburbans, Tahoes, and out-of-warranty Lexi. But to your point, I judge only the ATS drivers who choose the base 2.5L, evidenced by the single exhaust outlet. Further, I have a whole roster of characteristics I associate with anyone driving a Dodge Avenger.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        None of those things you listed are against the spirit of the brand they’re from, or are trying to be something they aren’t by putting on heirs they don’t deserve.

        The ATS – is. :)

        And any car I bother to pay special attention to causes my opinion and knowledge of the car to instantly come to the front of my mind. It’s very annoying.

        Like this: See a G – is that a G35 or G37 – newer headlamps, must be a 37. It’s an S. Has got the aluminum trim I don’t like. Rides hard, has got RS-A’s on it. Cramped interior room, but 7-speed auto is better than the 5 in my M. Ohio plates, would have chosen the X for living in Ohio. Center stack looks outdated. Slate blue color, common on G and much less common on M.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Why are you even bringing up orange peel? I looked at cars from virtually every automaker under one umbrella dealer and found orange peel on so many cars it was laughable. To use it as a reason people would buy this car and imply they are stupid only makes you look dumb!

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        1) I love when you come here, because you’re so logical.

        2) This place is for talking about whatever you want RE: cars. This is RE: cars.

        3) It’s a reason they would -not- buy this car, not one why they would.

        4) Show me where I said they were stupid.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “The LGX V-6 can shut down two of its cylinders to gain some longer legs in highway driving and it helps. Our observed mileage of 24.5 mpg in combined driving was spoiled by the near-constant Downtown Denver traffic.”

    How are they doing this in an OHC design? Pity what sounds like an excellent engine is in such a sh*tty car.

    “Base Price: $49,105* As Tested Price: $55,430*”

    Ok so cutout fancy cruise control for 3K and you’re at 52K for a V6, moonroof, leather, and heated seats which should all be STANDARD on a “luxury car” OF THE WORLD. This is a 32K car which with a V6 should not go north of say 36 with all of that basic luxury equipment being standard. People want to add on all sorts of goofy sh*t then fine ding them but it seems like you’re dinged for basic stuff.

    “but incremental improvements in interior tech and its top-of-the-range engine bring the car ever closer to being on par with — or in some cases better than — its German counterparts.”

    Please, these days they all suck equally.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I’m sure that cylinder deactivation on a new GM DOHC engine will be perfectly reliable…

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Are you suggesting the V-8-6-4 was anything other than pure magic?! Whatever, just replace it with a 4100 if you don’t like it!

        I mean, the LT1 with OptiSpark.

        I mean, the 4.6 Northstar.

        I mean, the 3.0 from the CTS.

        • 0 avatar
          wrxtasy

          Thanks Corey, now I need to rid my desk of the ice tea that just ejected itself from my nostril. Long live the V8-6-4!

          Seriously though, I’m just trying to picture what an absolute nightmare this car will be at even 80K miles.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            They’ll be in junk yards at 100k, as complete basket cases. I have a feeling we’re really living in an extended period of malaise for Cadillac. They can’t seem to get it together save for the easy-as-pie reupholstering of a Tahoe, and the (IMO quite overpriced) CTS. The biggest engine they have available in a non-track model is the 3.6.

            They’re currently in development of a “large flagship”… scratch that “another stop-gap replacement” for the XTS, which has a 2.0T as the standard engine, and the 3.6 as upgrade. They have no large car, no S/7 competition.

        • 0 avatar
          wrxtasy

          Thats what I’m thinking. I have yet to see an XTS around me that isn’t on livery plates. So if we think about the business model, where are they making their nut? SUVs and fleet sales. Soccer moms and fleet managers are hardly discerning customers when it comes to driving experience.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            With ATS, CTS & XTS sales all plunging (the ATS has been in perpetual freefall since its release, and the CTS has been in a deathfall since the 3rd gen with crazy high pricing was unveiled), the Escalade & SRX have literally kept the lights on at Clack-i-lack.

            SoHo Art & Science & Millennial Fashionistas Blabbing About “The Arena” & Montblanc Boy have righted the ship!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Clack-i-lack: Dare Greatly.

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            About 2 months back, I had a dealer loaner of a base CTS. I wrote a reader review, but nothing came of it. Let me summarize: with a sticker of $46K and a transaction price much lower than that, the car is a screaming bargain. It had soft leather, a very nice interior, excellent ride decent steering and the 2.0 provided enough power. Two years back, I tested a relatively base ATS with the 2.0 and, it too had a really nice ride/handling balance.

            My advice? Drive either of these cars with an open mind and forget all the historical crap. Properly selected, they are, at rhe very least, decent cars and, dare I say it, good values.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Bunkie-

            I’ve driven the CTS, and had one for the weekend on a test drive. I like it, but it’s basically $55K minimum for a V6 CTS. I find that unacceptable. That is E350 pricing. Not that the CTS isn’t a better driver, but they can’t go toe to toe with Mercedes on MSRP.

            I really like the 3.6TT version though. I actually think that’s where the value is at. It’s competition doesn’t offer that much power and options at $60K.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        Yes, you can rely on cylinder deactivation from GM to do exactly what it has done for decades now…fail prematurely.

        Shutting of cylinders while still keeping them yoked to the crankshaft, and hence turning with power applied only from the connecting rod is a perfect formula for wear and tear.

        But cheer up, I understand soon you will be able to cut out six of the eight cylinders in Corvettes, for even more reliability. Going to cut off lubrication to the valve guides, I read. That sounds like a winner…keep the parts moving but cut of the lube so that maybe they will stop opening. If not that, I can’t imagine why they would do it that way.

        But I long ago stopped expecting GM to make sense…going back to the mid-80s and the giant economy size Cadillac that was Cimarron.

        Prior to that, I just thought that using a gasoline engine bottom end built to handle ten to one compression ratios in a diesel engine running about twenty to one compression ratios was just something, albeit a large something, that just slipped between the cracks.

        GM continues to outdo itself in wacky ideas they somehow manage to sell to a portion of the public. They must have a picture of PT Barnum in their board conference room, as they seem to base their designs and engineering on Barnum’s marketing ideas.

        The last decent looking Cadillacs were the old “Mafia staff car” types from back in the seventies. Been downhill ever since. I’d rather have one of them than five new ones. Unfortunately, I am not the only person who thinks that they are the last of the good Cadillacs, and they are priced accordingly.

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    i love spandex

  • avatar
    dal20402

    If they priced the car realistically instead of trying to go dollar-for-dollar with BMW and Mercedes, all the complaining would cease.

    Pricing for optimum marketing return is really tricky. Price too low and you undercut any claim your brand has to prestige. Price too high and even the small flaws with your product start looking very glaring. But current Cadillac MSRPs aren’t even close to optimum. They’re way too high. This fully loaded example should squeak in under $50k, and a base 2.0T (there shouldn’t be a 2.5) should be in the low $30ks.

    Then people would focus more on the excellence of the 3.6 on its own merits, and not the fact that it can’t compete with the more-expensive-to-build German FI sixes… on the class-leading handling, and not the uneven interior material quality… and maybe even the gauges (which really do need help) would get a grudging pass.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Most people that are interested in a German car don’t want a Cadillac and most people interested in a Cadillac don’t want an E90 BMW.

    And, most shoppers just in general aren’t interested in a tiny RWD sedan for $40k-$50k.

    Whatever. Dismissive wanking motion all around for Cadillac. I hope Lincoln puts them in the ground.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Well, if the direction BMW’s gone suggests anything, it’s that the people really do want a Cadillac, or at least a Buick. They just want it to have that German badge.

      So, of course, as the market continues to prove they don’t really care about how a car drives as long as it’s not dangerously awful, GM doubles down and makes a car that really only excels at driving well.

      • 0 avatar

        I like the ATS, but again, I drive an ancient e46. I test drove one and it felt like they mated my e46 with a past generation CTS. No, I didn’t get to play with the CUE system….

        The comments that the ATS aims at a past BMW glory are correct, as well as the fact that most current BMW owners bought it ‘because it is a BMW’. I’ve often asked “why’d you spend 60k on that car to block the left lane” while commuting. Not to slam the Accord, but the base non sport BMW cars have zero reason to buy them over an Accord, save that Roundel to impress other humans.

        It has to be priced like Infiniti/Lexus/Acura, not MB/BMW. If it sold for the price of a G37/Q40, they’d have a winner, but if it has to go toe to toe with the 3 series pricing abuse, then it is a no sale.

        Much like BMW, however, it might be a very good deal once someone else eats the depreciation, and for the ATS, it might be catastrophic .

        • 0 avatar
          cimarron typeR

          As a former e46 330i zhp owner, g37s sedan 6mt, the 2.0t ATS dynamically was equivalent to the above cars. Backseat space wasn’t bad, I’m 6ft and could sit behind my self,there was adequate foot space under front space which is important for comfort, the g37 has horribly low front seats.
          It was an early build 6mt and the shifter felt fine. Similar to the g37s. Must have been already fixed with recall.
          The kicker is no one pays anywhere near sticker for these. There’s a pile of cash on the hood.So, it’s a relative bargain.
          Lets see if Lincoln builds a small 4dr on the mustang platform w/ 6mt, ecoboost /v8 options.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        I agree, people DO want Cadillacs. It’s a shame that Cadillac doesn’t build them anymore.

  • avatar

    THANK YOU TTAC for giving me A QUICK-LOOK SCORE CARD!!!

  • avatar
    mchan1

    Haven’t really seen many Caddy’s in my area of New England.
    The owners I have seen tend to be older (as in >50yrs+). Haven’t seen a younger driver who Thinks it’s cool to own/drive a Caddy.

    For the price, a person can get another luxury car brand [even a CPO] which may include more options than what Caddy is including. One doesn’t necessarily need performance from a luxury car (i.e BMW) so a cruiser is fine (i.e. Lexus or MB).

  • avatar
    qfrog

    WOW is that cluster horrible.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, I gotta concur with that one. The Accord is better looking inside, and it’s not MY comment, but did GM really have to use up that warehouse of old Pontiac clusters ?

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Ugly is an understatement. That thing is an embarrassment. The most beautiful gauge cluster I have ever laid eyes upon was in a GMT900 CADILLAC Escalade. Absolutely stunning. The Rolex or gauge clusters. How is it that the same marque of the same company can go from that to this turd.

        Hell, even the cluster in my old 2002 Tahoe that came from an Impala looked better than this.

        I honestly would not consider this car because I would not want to have to stare at that monstrosity for extended lengths of time.

  • avatar
    jonnyanalog

    I happen to like the ATS on the outside. The color in the photos doesn’t do it justice, IMO. Where its falls apart for me is the interior. I dislike the cheesy touch sensitive buttons and the cluster looks very cheap.
    Where I think Cadillac lacks is drama. They can get the ‘face’ right but everything else gets way too conservative. I’m not talking Lexus levels of weirdness but just more swagger (for lack of a better word).
    I just don’t see Lincoln competing with the top tier luxury brands simply because there is not enough differentiation between their cars and Fords.

  • avatar
    gasser

    I have sat in these ATS models for several years at the Auto Show. Its too small for me. The front seats feel so cramped that I wouldn’t even take one for a test drive. The back seat is too small to be useful for my occasional passengers. Unless Cadillac is able to use the platform in some future, highly modified state for some new product, the ATS is a huge loser.

  • avatar
    vvk

    Personally, for this kind of money, I would go with the S4.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Somewhere, DW is working up for his big moment…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqaKi9NTzS4

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    @Aaron:

    Any verdict on CUE? Word is it’s been improved. Inquiring minds want to know.

    (Nice review, by the way…)

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Asking $55K is pretty ambitious of Cadillac. It takes effort to option up an AWD IS350 FSport to $51K, and that is the first car I’d be looking at if I wanted an alternative to the German brands. Q50S looks quite nice for mid-40s, so that would be German alternative 2.

    The ATS apparently excels in the chassis and handling department. Frankly, if that’s what I prioritized I may as well grab a Q40 for $36K before negotiation and just deal with the lower feature content and old platform. It’s a fun car.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Cadillac also has the nerve to ask over $50k for a CTS 2.0 AWD.

      I agree, Cadillac needs to forget the Germans and focus on beating the Japanese and Koreans first. They don’t have the brand cache yet to get people out of the German cars while charging German money.

    • 0 avatar

      I won the rental car lottery recently, and was upgraded by Sixt to a Q50 for my California trip. I have Stockholm Syndrome when it comes to my BMW (in which I need to install a new secondary air pump this afternoon after work) but I loved the Q. Nice interior, great highway ride. The only thing I’d have changed is a bit tighter shock valving, but that’s me.

      The 3.7 was great and the autobox it was mated to seamless. This was a base rental so I had the hydraulic steering, which was good, but there were missing things, like memory seats in higher option packages, just like those Germans do. The two screens in the dash were wasted due to a lack of nav and other gadgetry.

      I will now speak heresy and say I’d prefer the Q for 95% of the driving I do on a daily basis, over any non-sport BMW. Factor in the money…..

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Infin8ty at least gives people a V6 for a lot less money than Clack-i-lack, and it’s not as if the Clack-i-lack’s exterior/interior build quality, reliability, etc. is as remotely good as Infinity’s.

        Cadillac/GM are in another one of their Richard Pryor freebasing phases.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Nice to hear the Q is decent to drive, so many reviews have focused on the deficiencies of the optional steer by wire. The lightly used G37 I tried was just a riot. The 3.7 has loads of power, the transmission is really well behaved, the ride/handling balance works for me, and the old hydraulic steering is a revelation after EPS.

        I’m not sure I could actually convince myself to spend $36K on a new one given the circa-2006 digital displays, spotty interior quality, and coarseness of the engine, but they are a great deal used. I get the impression the Q50 rectifies some of the G’s crudeness.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I forgot about the Q40, which is really a G37, which is really a G35, which is really an imitation 3-series that came out 13-years ago.

      Maybe that’s why the ATS cluster is so outdated-looking, because it was designed to imitate an imitator from 2002.

      Anyway, buy your Q40 soon, 2015 is supposed to be the last year of production.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        “the Q40, which is really a G37, which is really a G35, which is really an imitation 3-series that came out 13-years ago”

        Whatever it is, at $27K for a 2-yo example with ~25K miles, it is starting to replace a new GTI S as my favorite “Hmm, how ’bout that as my next car?”

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          Infiniti’s are luxury cars without the badge tax of German brands. I respect that.

          Q50 leases in my area are damn cheap. Cheaper than a new GTI lease.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            How cheap?

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            There’s one dealership in the DC area advertising new ’15 Q50s w/AWD for $259/mo for 39 months.

            Fine print below:
            “2 or more available at this payment. $0 Down Payment. 39 month lease. No security deposit, plus applicable taxes, tags, $700 IFS acquisition fee, destination fee, $595 dealer processing fee. 10,000 miles per year. – Expires: 09/30/2015”

            http://passportinfinitioffers.com/SpecialOffers#search/P29mZmVydHlwZT1sYXRlc3RvZmZlcnM=

            That’s $0 down(!), when local BMW dealers are asking for $4,000 down on a lease + other fees.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thanks TMA1

  • avatar
    dwford

    I just don’t see anything compelling in the current Cadillacs. The styling inside and out doesn’t do anything for me, and the prices get up there quickly. The new XT5 seems to continue that boring styling trend, as does the CT6. Maybe the next gen will be the one. Been waiting for it since about 1992, so I guess I’ll keep waiting.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Wasn’t the new-for-92 angular STS pretty exciting? If that’s too much for you, the Sixty Special has a Euro seats option for your sporting driving needs.

      I think you’re just too hyper.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    That gauge cluster is the worst of any current production car. It’s worse than ANY current Chevy, Buick, or GMC. That’s inexcusable.

    As has already been said, whoever designed that cluster, and whoever signed off on it, should not have a job at Cadillac anymore. The fact that they use the same POS, ’90s era cluster in the CTS as well is *breathtaking*. Why aren’t these cars selling? Why do we have to dump them with $10K+ cash on the hood? Gee I just don’t know. What could it possibly be? Hmmmm, maybe our total lack of attention to detail?

    Ford/Lincoln and Cadillac’s obsession with touch controls is one of the biggest blunders in all of recent car design. First of all, they make the center stacks look *terrible*, particularly in the Ford products where they are just giant flat slabs of gray plastic. The Lincolns and Cadillacs though are nearly as bad.

    Beyond just looking bad though, they DON’T WORK. When you want to turn the stereo down, you want to be able to reach for a volume knob. You don’t want some piece of crap touch slider that fails 50% of the time.

    You might think that smart designers would look at the sales leaders – BMW and Mercedes, and copy what they are doing. The current version of iDrive is almost universally praised as one of the best systems in the business. COMAND isn’t nearly as good, but it’s at least functional. Nobody likes CUE. Nobody.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Even Mazda has gotten the knob part down, bringing that functionality to the masses. Congrats, Cadillac, you’re worse at interior design that Mazda (probably less market share too). And neither of my Mazdas’ interior bits flex as much as the inside of the last ATS I was inside of.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    “The ATS Sedan with a 3.6-liter V-6 is fully $17,000 less than an ATS-V and it shows; this car is completely different that its performance variant and wouldn’t be confused with it — ever.

    At $55,430, the ATS runs up dangerously close to the $60,465 starting price from the ATS-V, but it’s hard to imagine they’ll overlap.”

    Am I the only one who can’t, for the life of me, understand what these two are saying? Only one can be right, right?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The $17k figure he’s referring to is the base price for a 3.6 ATS RWD vs. the ATS-V. The second quote there would be clearer as “Equipped to $55,430, the tester ATS runs up dangerously close…”

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      You aren’t the only one who was confused. There were other contradictions/poor word choices in the review too. For example:

      “…the ergonomics of the ATS easily beat the 3 Series…” vs “…finding a neutral and comfortable seating position was tough…”. If you can’t find a seating position that works, I call that bad ergonomics. I doubt the 3 series has that problem.

      Then there is the “intuitive infotainment system” where its primary function (playing music) was described as dangerous to use.

      Also the “marvelous” magnetic ride control that offers a “harsh and too uninhabitable” ride.

      This read like Aaron wanted the review to be positive, yet the list of demerits is long.
      *Back seat and trunk are too small
      *uncomfortable and cramped cabin
      *playing music on the infotainment is a pain
      *a sporty powertrain and comfortable ride that are mutually exclusive

  • avatar
    Der_Kommissar

    Just can’t see buying this, in any trim, over a similar BMW 3 series. The back seat and trunk alone would make living with this car difficult. Further, their pricing at the low end is totally out of wack. I’d take a 320i the base engine ATS options every day of the week and again on sunday.

  • avatar
    jmiller417

    The main issue with the ATS is the unhipness of the Cadillac brand, and it’s hard to fix that. People are perplexed when I say I drive a Cadillac. But surely we can agree that GM needs to be playing in this segment and if it’s not with Cadillac, then with which brand? Saab or even Saturn might’ve made sense, but they’re gone. Cadillac is chasing BMW, but so is everyone else in this segment. Mercedes is doing it just as surely as Cadillac is, though Merc did make a smart move in offering Sport and Luxury lines to cater to different sets of customers.

    FWIW, I own a ’14 2.0t manual, and I have to say I just love driving the car. The sheer pleasure of it is comparable to the old NA Miatas I’ve owned. I even find the ride to be composed, much more so than my old 128i, even if it’s not offering the traditional Caddy cush. It’s amusing that people make fun of Cadillac for making cars that are the opposite of the yachts they used to make fun of. Sure, the gauges could be cuter and the backseat could have an extra inch of space, but those are the furthest things from my mind when I’m out for a Sunday drive.

  • avatar
    jfinftw1982

    Why is this car so bad to so many people? What’s up with all the reliability? Please, fill me in.

    • 0 avatar
      jmiller417

      There have been some issues with the 2.0t pistons, but if you look at Consumer Reports, the big black marks are in areas like interior electronics (CUE). The big stuff looks to be at or above average in reliability. Granted, the little stuff can be plenty irritating if it keeps adding up.

      • 0 avatar
        jmiller417

        I had a little issue with the engine at the start, but it’s been fine since. I love my car, so I have no idea what people are on about. I think hate for the ATS has taken on a life of its own on social media, like the love for pumpkin spice at Starbucks or something. It’s just something people can’t shut about about.

        • 0 avatar
          Kevin Jaeger

          Glad to hear your ATS is working well for you. I’m seriously considering an ATS coupe as an eventual replacement for my C-class.

          I think the criticism of the rear seat room and trunk size are legitimate but they aren’t deal breakers for me. I don’t understand the rest of the hate either. Sure, the styling may not be to everyone’s taste but at least it’s distinctive and I kind of like it.

      • 0 avatar
        jfinftw1982

        Thank you for your honest opinion! Isn’t the 2.0t related to the 2.0t that was used in the Saab 9-3?

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          General/Government/Gangzhou Motors managed to screw up what once was a reliable design, in typical GM fashion:

          http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-ats-performance-forum/613529-2-0t-bad-pistons-roll-call.html

          http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-ats-performance-forum/605938-2014-ats-2-0t-cracked-piston.html

          http://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/f53/2013-ats-needs-major-engine-repair-185049/

          http://buickforums.com/forums/threads/38816-Neighbors-2014-Cadillac-ATS-2-0T

          http://gmauthority.com/blog/2013/12/faulty-connecting-rod-bearing-issued-with-gm-four-cylinder-engines-wont-be-recalled/

          http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-ats-performance-forum/611898-2-0t-bad-pistons-epedemic-rough.html

  • avatar
    Boff

    “And for a lot of people, it’ll be an awkward, angular shaped pill to swallow for the future.”

    “And that will be a tough pill for all of us owners to swallow.”

    Can someone explain to me what these mystifying statements are supposed to mean?

  • avatar
    Edsel Maserati

    The cramped rear seat was an instant deal breaker for me. And it made me wonder about their intended market. Do they assume that people who want a sedan have no friends? Or that the customers will be so overwhelmed by the car’s beauty that they’ll just skip over that shortcoming? Or that this is a second car, and you take out the Tahoe when you’re going with friends.

    I wouldn’t ask any friends to sit in the back of this thing.

    IF I were interested — and there are reasons to be — then I’d really spend serious showroom time checking out the sound system and the Nav. (Will this accept CDs, by the way? I drove a Vette recently that wouldn’t take my blues mixes. This is seriously wrong.) If it is screwy, it isn’t the only glistening new model to have confounding controls.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “The cramped rear seat was an instant deal breaker for me. And it made me wonder about their intended market. Do they assume that people who want a sedan have no friends? Or that the customers will be so overwhelmed by the car’s beauty that they’ll just skip over that shortcoming? Or that this is a second car, and you take out the Tahoe when you’re going with friends.”

      Probably the last one. What percentage of small “luxury” (ie, 3-series class) cars owned by couples that own multiple cars is NOT paired with a CUV/SUV? I bet it’s single digits. The size of the rear of an ATS would work just fine for me, I need to haul 1 three year old in a forward-facing seat, and a couple times a month haul 1-2 adults <5 miles for lunch. That's it. An ATS does just fine at either of those things. And I bet that's all the owners of these types of vehicles ask of it.

      • 0 avatar
        derekson

        I still think 90% of Cadillac’s issues could be solved by repositioning the ATS as a roomier competitor to the A3/CLS via lower pricing, and putting the CTS back as a roomer 3-series/C-class competitor. Or alternatively they could keep similar entry-level pricing but bundle in more stuff and stop nickel and diming for options the way that the Germans do, so you’d end up with lower prices out the door for typically equipped models without putting massive stacks of cash on the hood.

        They should also put Magnetic Ride Control in all the cars so they can keep the high performance and dynamics that the journalists love while also have the ride quality people expect from a Cadillac.

        Putting the LCD instrument panel from the top level CTS in all CTS and ATS models would be a big help too.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatic

      If I could live with a rear seat this small I’d buy a Mustang. If I want four doors I want a rear seat that works.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    The ATS styling is frackin awful. The added gentle side curves of the ATS with the hard front and rear is not good styling. Previous gen cts coupe was the best of Art and Science, everything since has been awful, especially those stretched headlight corners.

    At this point, Cadillac NEEDS a new styling direction, because they’ve destroyed Art & Science instead of going more F-117A, more angular, and more shaped, they softened it, and it just didn’t work.

    I know the Kia Optima will never drive as good as the ATS, but I would seriously take a Kia Optima over the ATS based on styling both interior and exterior. Hate hate hate the ATS interior and exterior styling.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      The Honda Accord is a far more comfortable, roomy, and far, far more reliable/durable sedan than the disaster that is the overpriced, cramped, uncomfortable, harsh, poorly built, unreliable, unrefined ATS (in any trim level).

      I’m not so sure that the Hyundai Sonata & Kia Optima aren’t better in many respects, at 1/2 the price of the ATS, than the ATS, for similar reasons.

      I’m absolutely serious.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Tell that to my co-worker with his 2010 V6 Accord that sheared and broke it’s lovely 1990’s era anachronistic timing belt thus stranding him in the middle of an intersection. And this is with well under 100K miles. Hopefully this is not an interference engine or he will be spending big bucks on a replacement engine. He now wished he got the 4 cylinder which doesn’t apparently have this issue and uses a chain!

        • 0 avatar
          mechaman

          I recall seeing that Honda had the lowest reported problems on the 2007 Accord .. the 2008 (one of the ugliest Accords, IMO) had the most. The ’10 wasn’t much better.

  • avatar
    windnsea00

    “(I wasn’t so sure that the last-gen M3 and 335i were all that different, by the way.)”

    The 335i was turbo (twin turbo in the earlier versions) inline 6 and the M3 was a 8.4k redline screaming V8, polar opposites engine wise not to mention all the changes made underneath the car.

  • avatar
    Cerbera LM

    (Dear Texans: Please go home. Signed, Everyone.)

    It’s your fault, you shouldn’t have put up billboards reminding all in Dallas to visit Colorado.

  • avatar
    SLLTTAC

    Recently I visited a Mercedes and a Cadillac dealer to see the new C-Class and ATS four-door sedans. I’m shopping for a reliable, well-made, luxurious, fun-to-drive, high-performance sedan. One of my criteria is that a four-door car should be comfortable for four adults. Though I am only about 5’7″ tall, I could enter the rear passenger seat of the ATS only by twisting and contorting myself. Once inside, I found the space barely acceptable. I gave up trying to get into the back seat of the C-Class. I asked the slender, six-foot Mercedes salesman to show me how to enter the back seat. He could not get into the back seat. So, for me, both $50,000 sedans were failures. These sedans are best thought of as 2+2 cars, for two normal-sized adults in front and two very small people in the back.

    By the way, for contrast, I easily entered the back seat of a 2016 Subaru WRX. I am now thinking about a 2017 Audi S4. One more thing, the Mercedes dealer had various brand-new 2014 models for sale.

  • avatar
    jrasero23

    Cadillac has come a long way in my short lifetime ( I am 28). I loved Cadillac’s 2nd gen CTS look and the new Cadillac look is a more square offed Mercedes look. No doubt Cadillac has style, high end materials, and performance that matches if not beats the German’s but there are two problems, one Cadillac is price like the Germans and Cadillac still has that old man stigma. Would I buy a Cadillac no, just too expensive for a car that is priced like a Mercedes but has the resale value of a Lincoln. Would I lease a Cadillac? Yes… well maybe. Since residuals are not great on Cadillac it’s hard to pass up on a German car that tend to overshoot their residuals which allows you to get a really great lease.

    Let’s look at their lineup:
    ATS: competitive of the C class and 3 series the most buy-able car of the bunch
    ELR: a Cadillac Volt at $80k hahaha.
    CTS: Cadillac’s 2nd most viable car. It has become larger and more expensive. Starting price beats the E Class and 5 Series but adding in the essentials for the price category easily levels the price to Mercedes BMW territory
    XTS: High end limo car that will be disc
    SRX: aging and hopefully soon to be refreshed since this is the biggest growing market (CUV). Base is $38K which is higher than it’s competitors but not out of this world but to jump to AWD it is $47k! So $9k extra for AWD am I missing something? Also piss poor MPG and lackluster performance
    Escalade: Starts at around $73k 2WD which sounds good on paper BUT most dealers only carry the AWD and Luxury models at $80K. Excuse me!? $80k, yes this is one the last luxury truck based SUV but I can think of a handful of better options bellow $80K

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    This generation of ATS is unlikely to ever see big sales numbers because:
    – it’s too expensive
    – it’s too small, particularly in the back seat
    – the interior, though it has flashes of goodness, is not up to par with the German competition.

    It’s simply not the complete package that it needs to be to be fully competitive, and the sales figures are proving that.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Those gauges tho

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Cadillac ATS, CTS & XTS sales are absolutely tanking!

    Cadillac is going to have to start running the $0 down $249 (ATS), $299 (CTS), and $349 (XTS) lease specials again, if they want to keep the assembly lines running!

    The problem is that they’ll further tank resale values (right now, Honda Accords are worth more after 3 years than ATSs, and worth more after 5 years than CTSs and ATSs).

    August (Calendar Year-to-Date)
    January – August
    2015 2014 %Change Volume 2015 2014 %Change Volume
    ATS 2,449 2,804 -12.7 16,544 20,296 -18.5
    CTS 1,730 2,592 -33.3 12,934 20,639 -37.3
    XTS 1,531 2,978 -48.6 14,423 16,407 -12.1

    www://caddyinfo.com/wordpress/category/monthly-sales-reports/

    Pathetic sales, and for good reason!

  • avatar
    mechaman

    I feel like a fish out of water even reading this article and the comments, because even if I had the money, I wouldn’t own a Caddy (sit down, DW, I ain’t gettin’ ready to say what you think) or any luxury car mentioned here. Oh, if I had a chance to DRIVE one, I’d take it. But own it? Lease it? Too much money going AWAY from my direction. My dad owned a Caddy (’78). Nice car. He sometimes would have me drive it for him. I just felt like I was wearing a suit that was too big … just couldn’t get used to it, and just before he passed, he gave the car to my wife. Great, except when gas, maintenance and insurance had to be paid. I like looking at this new generation of Caddy – but even if they show up at my door with one of those big checks, I ain’t a-buyin’one.

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    My wife and I began buying Cadillacs in 2006. 2006 CTS-V, 2006 XLR-V, 2010 CTS-V, 2010 SRX Turbo, 2014 ATS 3.6L Premium fully optioned, 2014 ELR fully optioned. The some were/are leased cars; the XLR-V and SRX Turbo were purchased. All were as reliable as a car gets, meaning no problems worth mentioning and none that affected availability. They all also remained solid throughout their presence in our garage — i.e. no rattles developed, there was none of the usual sense of slow deterioration over the years of use. I’m in Los Angeles, btw. We’re long past California maintaining glass-smooth roads.

    The ’14 ATS Premium and ELR are in the family now. Let’s ignore for the moment what kind of cars anyone thinks are appropriate to the brand. The cars are competitive and terrific but they they have their own character distinct from the German and Japanese brands, as they should.

    I’ll sideline a few things I won’t spend many words on:

    CUE – I don’t know what the problem is. It works for me, even without the ’16 update. It helps to read the manual once.

    ATS rear seat – I’m 6’3″ – none of these 3 series-sized cars have a back seat for me, but anyone I’ve had to put in it has fit without a problem. Like *all* cars this size, it fails my “can-I-sit-behind-myself” test. But I can sit behind my wife. I just don’t have to. If the ATS rear seat is tighter than a 3 Series’ or a C Class, I can’t feel the difference.

    ATS Gauge cluster – Get a grip. The last beautiful guage cluster anyone offered me was when Triumphs had Jaegers and Smiths. This cluster is fine, and easy to reference, in an era of screen-based info centers.

    Touch controls – They work for me.

    Trunk too small? Please, carry less stuff, travel more lightly. I haven’t been able to fill it.

    At a time when German interiors are melting toward middlingness, Cadillac is designing a sharp look with very high quality touch points. The ELR interior is above German luxury — more like Maserati before its interiors were cheapened to German levels. The ATS has leather everywhere, impeccable stitching and no interface squeaks or rattles, unlike every comparable Mercedes, Audi, BMW and Lexus I’ve been in. I accept that design and materials choices are in part matters of taste, so rant on if you don’t like it.

    In everything that matters, the ATS is at least as good as anything comparable in other luxury brands. No, I don’t expect a great V6 to feel and sound the same as BMW’s in-line. But power delivery and responsiveness are on point.

    Where the ATS handily exceeds the Germans is in the chassis/suspension/drivetrain choices that determine its dynamics. The ATS is the dynamic leader of the category, and that’s no small thing. With the magneto-rheological suspension it’s nearly magic, but even without (a 29 year old colleague who bought an ATS 2.0L Turbo doesn’t have it), the essential goodness, sharpness and controllability of the car makes it preferable to the Germans. By comparison the C Class wallows. The Audi feels overburdened. The BMW feels a little drunk. The ATS is almost telepathic, and it feels light, tight and tossable to go with its strength and stiffness. If you’re a true *car guy* of either sex, it’s the ATS you want.

    To the extent that anyone thinks the magnetic suspension sport setting is unduly harsh in extended driving, check first to see if your car has run-flat tires. If so, start there, not with the calibration. But again, that assessment is a matter of preference. I’m in my 45th year of driving, and it’s not harsh in any way, to me. Kids these days, you want everything soft and easy….

    And let’s not forget, I am referencing a ’14 ATS. Cadillac has made continual improvements since. Here in Los Angeles, the ATS is a common sight. Drivers run the demographic gamut from Millennials through GenX to Boomers. Drivers who are on their way up and others who are downshifting. The sales figures are what they are, and Cadillac’s inability to stabilize their positioning and marketing are a big factor. I never encounter anyone who gets into our Cadillacs past and present who isn’t impressed, even amazed, by what they experience. The real problem is Cadillac isn’t getting enough people into the cars, but they know they are in the middle of a long rebuild for the marque. It’s Cadillac owners who fill in where GM’s marketing fails, for now.

    The ATS is available in a wide range of configurations at real-world prices from ~$29K – $60k+. I agree the 2.5L engine should be dropped. The 2.0L matched to its transmission is a gleeful gem. The 3.6L is strong and appropriate. The V is, as usual, an animal. None of the configurations fail to assert the ATS’ superior dynamics in the category, and in every other way it is what the size segment can deliver now.

    And for anyone who thinks the ELR is an $80K Volt, you haven’t driven either, nor both.

    Phil

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      How long have you been selling Cadillacs for?

    • 0 avatar
      ZCD2.7T

      With all due respect to your purchase, if you think the ATS’s rear seat space is comparable to the A/S4 or 3 series, then you must not have actually tried to sit in the current versions of the German cars. Forget the EPA measurements, and even the manufacturer’s measurements – try sitting your actual human body back there. There’s no comparison.

      The ATS platform was developed to mimic the previous B-segment models, but by the time it was introduced, the game had moved on.

      • 0 avatar
        Phil Ressler

        I stand by my comment on the rear seat room in the ATS. I have sat in the rear seats of the current German peers to the ATS. I can’t say what any of them feel like to a person of different dimensions than me. I’m 6’3″/185 lbs. None of these cars are spacious — that’s just not what the segment provides. But I did not feel a material difference in space available to make *me* comfortable. All of them fail the “sit-behind-myself” test. I can get into all of them and sit with reasonable comfort behind a sufficiently smaller driver or front seat passenger. I certainly did not feel a sufficient difference in rear seat space for that to drive a buying decision. Others may experience the rear seat differences differently. You may think the game has moved on, but for people my size, the segment never has, and never will have, an uncompromised rear seat. The ATS measures a little smaller. The others don’t feel larger or more accommodating in any practical sense, to me.

        Phil

        • 0 avatar
          ZCD2.7T

          Which is fine.

          At 6’2″ and 195 lbs, 4 guys my size fit used to fit in my 2011 S4 without too much discomfort on anyone’s part.

          To get the same amount of rear seat space/comfort in the ATS requires that the front occupants be 6+” shorter.

          *shrug*

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            ZCD – Everything you stated about the ATS rear seat is absolutely true. I know it’s true because I’ve driven and/or have rode in the cars you mentioned.

            Phil – I’ve driven 3 versions of the ATS, my uncle owns a 1 1/2 year old CTS, I’ve driven or rented an XTS, Escalade, CTS, and SRX.

            The only Cadillac I’ve not driven in the ELR.

            Cadillacs are overpriced, generally unreliable, poorly assembled, mediocre vehicles.

            The only Cadillacs meeting their sales targets are the Escalade and SRX, and in fact, these two models are literally keeping the lights on at Cadillac, as the ATS, CTS, XTS and ELR are such massive sales failures.

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    >>How long have you been selling Cadillacs for?<<

    That time-worn, TTAC canard, again. How long since you've driven a new or very recent vintage Cadillac?

    Unlike you, I post here under my name. Knowing my name and my city, you can easily confirm me for what I am -- a contributor to the software industry, with no connection to the automotive business other than being a consumer of cars.

    Phil

  • avatar
    Les

    The main disconnect here seems to be between the newer generations, who only just barely are aware of Cadillac as a brand, and the older ones who remember when Oldsmobile and Buick were the top dogs and Cadillac was the Nee Plus Ultra.. the untouchable.. the excelsior that you needed to be one of the ‘More equal Animals’ in order to own one. Time, and poor business decisions by GM, have brought Cadillac down a rung or twelve.

    Cadillac has improved, but it still wants to be an aspirational brand. To have Aspirations requires Ambitions, and today’s Cadillac’s ambition is to be ‘almost a BMW’. For the younger generation that may be enough, but for those who maybe can remember when Cadillacs were cross-shopped with Bentleys there is only one word for it, ‘Mediocre’.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      ATS – As a $27,999 Pontiac, it would have met expectations.

      CTS – As a $33,999 Oldsmobile or Buick, it would have met expectations.

      XTS – As a $36,999 Oldsmobile or Buick, it would have met expectations (it is a LaCrosse, after all).

      • 0 avatar
        Les

        Indeed, and while we’re at it can we talk about the styling?

        Oooh, so angular, so angry, so masculine, so BUTCH! Oooooh, grrr *a-choo!* Woops! I’m already dated!

        Nobody asked me, but Imma tell ya anyway. What Cadillac needs to do is kill Art and Science and go with something timeless, something classy, something.. voluptuous. Yes, even Feminine.

        Make no mistake, I am NOT referring to the kind of ‘Feminine’ styling that validates a soccer-mom’s life choices, or that makes a Whole Foods blogger feel like they’re in a ‘Safe Space’.

        No, I mean the kind of Feminine that sits front-row at a classy burlesque show and shares a smile of mutual respect with the performer while the rest of the crowd struggles to decide who to gawk at.

        I mean the kind of Feminine that can make a pack of hyper-alpha fratbros stumble and stammer like a buncha 14-year-olds learning to deal with a third period boner for the first time with just a look.

        I mean the kind of Feminine that can sexually intimidate ancient rich white guys into flushing their viagra down the toilet.

        I mean the kind of Feminine that can look a ‘wimins’ studies’ major dead in the eye and say, “No. No you were not “Totes a Lesbian that one semester”. You don’t get to pull on a whole new identity like a thrift shop overcoat to fit in better with a sub-culture you think is Hip and Trendy. We’re not impressed, the LGBT community isn’t impressed, and that sweet girl with the steel-toed boots and the nose ring you scammed $40 worth of drinks from isn’t impressed. Now either own your sexuality, whatever the hell it is, or get your tail under the porch when Big Dogs ‘r barkin’.”

        I mean the kind of Feminine that’ll summon the spirit of Mae West to come and slap Miley Cyrus’s tongue back into her face.

        ..and I need to stop there before I go off on Anita Sarkeesian and her ghastly hoop earrings.

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    Let’s knock these out in some order:

    1/ Phil – I’ve driven 3 versions of the ATS, my uncle owns a 1 1/2 year old CTS, I’ve driven or rented an XTS, Escalade, CTS, and SRX. The only Cadillac I’ve not driven in the ELR. Cadillacs are overpriced, generally unreliable, poorly assembled, mediocre vehicles.

    Relative to the available alternatives, your view that Cadillacs are “overpriced” is highly subjective. I can’t really contest your perception. I look at and drive what competitors offer and the pricing is fair to me. Especially the real street pricing. The thing is, I don’t place any phantom value on BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus as brands. Having any of those marques on a car is of zero considered value to me, over and above the product itself.

    “Generally unreliable?” When? All I can say is that all of my Cadillacs since 2006 have been paragons of steadfast reliability, and the scant service needed has been perfectly fulfilled by my local dealer. And my acquaintances who own Cadillacs have similar histories.

    “Poorly assembled?” Again, I have no evidence of this.

    “Mediocre vehicles?” We’re not talking about 1990s DTS or Catera. My Cadillacs listed have been fully premium vehicles in the context of their time in every respect.

    2/ The only Cadillacs meeting their sales targets are the Escalade and SRX, and in fact, these two models are literally keeping the lights on at Cadillac, as the ATS, CTS, XTS and ELR are such massive sales failures.

    CTS and XTS aren’t massive sales failures; just short of targets. ATS has had a tough time getting a foothold (though you couldn’t tell that by ATS incidence on the roads of Southern California). ELR was never intended to be a volume car, and its EREV drivetrain continues to be not widely understood in the market. But it is a far different and better experience than reviews suggest — EREVs have their own characteristics that aren’t captured in the usual 0-60, lb./ft., hp paradigm. Sales improved later in its launch cycle, and the ’16 refresh upgrades every essential element of the car. It still won’t be any sort of volume car. ELR is a catalyst, and a bridge.

    3/ Cadillac has improved, but it still wants to be an aspirational brand.

    Yup. Everyone is aware Cadillac has been in a reconstruction phase as a brand, since the 1st generation CTS over a decade ago. The brand had over 40 years of erosion of its brand position from being considered alongside Bentley, to that point of rebound circa 2004. I work in the tech industry where I have the full demographic stack working with me. Overall, I have to say Cadillac as a brand is somewhat at nadir among GenXers (now 40-50 years old). And yet even for them, Cadillac appreciation is mostly a matter of exposure. Many or most don’t consider the brand, so they dismiss it. Those who get close by circumstances rather than choice tend to realize their perceptions are outdated. Millennials on the other hand are totally open to the brand, and they don’t care about — nor want — modern, well-handling versions of Cadillac luxobarges of yore. They don’t have the garage space, the cash, nor the car fetishism. But they tend to think the Cadillac range looks the part and drives well. They are only beginning to buy new cars in a big way.

    In the decade or so I’ve been variously active and standing back on TTAC, I see this audience conveniently asserting brand deficiencies when they want to dismiss good product, and asserting product failures when they want to dismiss a brand. I built my career on marketing, so I am the last person to dismiss the value of an earned brand perception. Yet, I have to say that I have no sympathy nor empathy for someone who decides for or against a car on brand as a primary driver. The product counts too. If you need a BMW, Audi or Merc over a Cadillac (or any other) to make your buying power, social judgment or status legitimate in some circle, I’m not your ally nor advocate. Do what you want, but really — you’d buy a Mercedes over a Cadillac because of the social cred?

    A C Class is not an especially impressive automobile, in the modern context. It’s fine. It’s not a paragon. BMW has entered an age of spreading disappointment. Audis are perpetually compromised by their FWD roots. Is Cadillac a fully restored brand yet? No. Is it premium enough to let the product do the talking? I think yes. There’s a legitimate argument to be had over whether a 3-Series sized car belongs in any truly premium product range. There are no small Bentleys. But that’s a segment that’s established as a means of entry into the premium automotive realm. The ATS is best of segment in important respects, making some trade-offs in its polar graph of attributes. The blander Germans dilute their brands in this segment by playing it safe. The Caddy’s the gem on dynamics and distinctiveness.

    Phil

    • 0 avatar
      Forty2

      Jiminy Crickets, this non-V CTS priced out higher than list of my F30 335i (and I got a substantial discount) and it can’t be had with a manual. No.

      And the only proper six is a straight six.

      “BMW has entered an age of spreading disappointment.” What does that even mean? I am delirious mit joy-joy every time I drive my car. But I came from years of beaters and frugality so what do I know.

    • 0 avatar
      jrasero23

      Thank you Phil for sharing your true review. I don’t agree with it all but I am glad to see someone post their opinion after owning the car in question or at least driving it first. @DeadWeight loves to troll on Lincoln and Cadillac. While these brands aren’t perfect by any means they offer some great alternatives.

      I have driven an ATS as a rental and I really liked it besides the CUE system which reminds me of Ford/Lincolns terrible Sync touch system which I used to have on my previous MKZ. My qualm really isn’t about response time but more so being cumbersome and taking your eyes off the road. Other than that Cadillac needs to kill the pointless base engine and offer a few things standard to get me to switch to Cadillac.

      However for a guy that has bought as many cars as you have you got to own up to the fact that these American Luxury cars like Lincoln and Cadillac are ranked at the bottom of reliability mostly because their terrible systems like Sync and Cue and their residuals are terrible.

      • 0 avatar
        Phil Ressler

        Alright, point-by point:

        1/ CUE – Seems a personal matter. We’re in the age of screens. Programming one surface for multiple purposes is more elegant than single purpose controls. But cars have always been mixed-UI devices, for good reasons. I agree none of these screen-based digital infotainment systems are optimal and polished, and sometimes my first impulse is to want a knob for something. I just don’t find CUE any worse, though it is better than some. I can live with it.

        2/ Owning up to the “facts,” reliability – The only Lincoln I ever owned was a 1998 Mark VIII LSC, which was an excellent large coupe. It was completely trouble free, as all my 1990s Fords were. I can’t say about Ford today. As for Cadillac, if any of their models are “ranked at the bottom of reliability” I have no personal evidence of it, at least since 2006.

        2006 CTS-V: There was a pumpkin pinion gear bearing & seal recall. That’s it. Mine didn’t leak but my dealer replaced it anyway. No other problems.

        2006 XLR-V: Owned 8 years, 100,000 miles. The supercharger belt tensioner had to be replaced, and there was an early software bug in the ECM that was remedied via a software update. That’s it; no other problems. Well, maybe I bought more sets of rear tires than I might have liked ;) .

        2010 CTS-V: No issues whatsoever over 4 year lease. We’re talking about a 556 hp sedan being rock reliable.

        2010 SRX Turbo: It was a short-timer at 3 years, bought for a specific project but it was used for a 170 mile r/t commute with frequent cargo, so miles piled on. Zero issues, trouble or anomalies.

        2014 ATS Premium: Completely trouble-free so far.

        2014 ELR: Completely trouble-free so far.

        I have had fewer problems with my Cadillacs than any of my friends who drove/drive German luxury cars. So when I hear these allegations of unreliability, I don’t know what people are talking about.

        Further, even (especially!) for the Germans, digital and software driven systems are disproportionately present in the owners’ complaint streams, and depress “reliability.” I don’t have trouble with any of my infotainment or control systems in any of my Cadillacs, but if I did, I wouldn’t consider them to render the car they’re in “unreliable.” Reliability deficiencies, for me, are matters that render the car unable to be driven.

        I also have to say that my local dealer and at least two others in my circles of wandering around Los Angeles, are excellent. It’s as easy getting service as any Lexus or German luxury dealer, and so far they always get it right.

        3/ Owning up to the “facts,” terrible residuals – Again, not my experience. On the cars I leased, the residuals negotiated along with the rest of the terms of the leases seemed reasonable to me, with the net finances offered by Ally being comparable with what was available from the German brands. Differences were minor, which is what I expected because all these brands have to be competitive.

        For the cars I bought, retained value isn’t a factor for me. Yeah, in early months, the Caddy drops value somewhat more rapidly than Mercedes and BMW. But I just drive my purchase long enough (and care for the car well enough) that value descent stalls in the same vicinity as, say, an 8 year old German car with accumulated miles. The differences become minor then.

        We agree the 2.5L four is inappropriate for this brand. However, a younger colleague bought a base-configuration 2.0L turbo at a great price, and that is a sharp, fun, balanced, responsive, solid, affordable car.

  • avatar
    gossard267

    So – I was curious and looked on Autotrader. Apparently, by just walking in and paying the asking price, I could purchase a 2014 CTS AWD Luxury 3.6 with under 18k miles for $38,000. I assume the trade in offer price had to be what, low thirties at best? For something that stickered in the fifties? That is some stiff depreciation on what looked like a basically new condition car still under factory warranty…

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I’m gonna help you out. Nationally MY14 in AWD it trades 29,7-35 and 35 is too much. This means the car you’re looking at is maybe worth 32 on average (+1-1.5K as you go up in trims from Luxury which I think is base). The dealer needs to make money but if I were you I would not hand them six grand. Depending on your part of the country and what demand is, these are not a slam dunk sell used so offer them 33 and walk if they scoff at it. You’ll find another one on which someone will deal.

      MY14 Cadillac CTS 3.6 AWD “Luxury” trim.

      09/17/15 PA Regular $29,750 13,205 Below BLUE 6G A No
      09/10/15 DETROIT $33,000 20,522 Above PLUM 6G A Yes
      09/10/15 DETROIT $33,600 20,527 Above PURPLE 6G A Yes
      09/16/15 MILWAUKE Lease $31,800 20,567 Avg SILVER 6G A Yes
      09/10/15 NASHVILL $26,800 21,174 Below BLACK 6G A No
      09/22/15 MILWAUKE $31,750 21,503 Avg SILVER 6G A Yes
      09/15/15 PORTLAND $33,000 22,084 Above GRAY 6G A Yes
      09/22/15 STATESVL $35,000 22,134 Above BLACK 6G A No

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Listen to 28.

      Go to the Cadillac forums and check out what GM Loyalists are being offered on 2012 to 2014 CTSs with low miles, full service records and no accidents (i.e. mint cars); they’re P!SSED consistently being offered trade-in values that essentially track depreciation rates of 12k to 15k per year (so, 2013 CTSs with less than 30k miles that originally stickered for 45k with trade-in offers of 24k).

      It’s going to be even worse as a % with the ATSs and 2014+ CTSs given the large price bumps on the 3rd gen CTSs.

      If someone can deal with awful gauges, poor reliability, awful dealer service, a cramped interior, poor fit and finish, and a generally unrefined “premium” sedan, a several year old CTS could be a bargain.

      My uncle made the tragic mistake of buying a new CTS, and has a friend that just picked up a mint 2013 CTS Luxury 3.6 with 22,000 miles on it for $26,000 (I think original sticker was close to 50k).

      Seriously, check out http://www.cadillacforums.com for specific discussion and rage regarding the massive depreciation.

  • avatar
    stevel321

    I would love to know to what extent commenters have driven these cars?

    We were in the market for a new coupe (I know the article is the sedan).

    We looked at a

    428 – lame interior, lackluster ride, etc. Ridiculous fees to lease.
    228 – fun but couldn’t get past the look of the rear. Childish looking.
    RC – front grille – enough said.
    A5 – outdated exterior

    Decided to look at a 16 ATS coupe.
    Interior is top notch, cue has improved greatly and MSRP was up there but lease came in 400 a month on 15k yr with little OTD.
    No brainer for 36 months.

    Now if the new C coupe or infiniti Q was out, it may have been a different story. By pics, both look beautiful.

    Have a little over 3500 miles on the car and love it.
    Compliments on a weekly basis.

    Live the dream kids.

  • avatar

    What’s the difference with the ATS Luxury edition 2016? i see the price of the car is same with previous version.. uhh


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