Today’s edition of B/D/B is a little different than the norm. Usually, we ask you to choose from competing cars from three different marques all on sale in the same year.
This time we’re asking you to pick a Buy from among three different two-door Cadillacs, all of which cost about the same in 2021.
Tesla continues their aggressive plans for dominance in the EV market. As we reported last week, the company has ambitious plans to enter the Indian market next year. While that market will certainly require a cheaper model than what the company sells now, Tesla’s on it. The brand intends to drive toward EV adoption with better, longer-lasting batteries and less expensive models.
And on Friday, word leaked of a deal over in Germany that’s an important part of Tesla’s expansion plan.
If you’ve ever wanted to own a hot Cadillac with a manual transmission, best get in line with those other three guys. The 2019 Cadillac ATS, which ditches its familiar four-door format for a coupe-only proposition, is both the last ATS and the last stick-shift Caddy. Soon, it, the CTS, and XTS will bite the dust as Cadillac makes room for two new sedans — vehicles scheduled to arrive in a market fully obsessed with crossovers and SUVs.
Good luck with that.
While the ATS coupe carries over seemingly unchanged for 2019, the blistering ATS-V variant sees two significant additions. One has to do with appearance; the other, price.
Several months ago, I wrote on these digital pages we would never see a base-model pony car in this series, and I’m sticking to that edict. After all, two-door muscle cars shunting their power to the rear wheels should have a V8 under the hood, just as nature and Carroll Shelby intended.
The thing is, though, I freely admit this view is rapidly becoming more antiquated than a digital dashboard from the ‘80s. Four-cylinder mills now routinely crank out nearly 300 horsepower, a full 75 more than the Fox-body V8 Mustangs of my youth. Bolted to a well-fleshed-out chassis, the driving rewards are often vast.
What to do, then? Good thing the General had the foresight to make a two-door Cadillac on the same platform as the Camaro.
Countless hours of development, design and construction. Exacting details wrought in boardboardrooms and wind tunnels. Exotic materials, experimental engine designs, hand crafted bodies. The goal?
Simple. Make the fastest car in the world.
But even if a designer or firm achieves that goal, they don’t necessarily have a winner on their hands. Even when the facts and figures support one supercar design over another, intangibles often decide which one will be a success.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some superlative automobiles over a few decades and see how fate played out.
You don’t mess with the Johan.
Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen isn’t known for sitting back and letting armchair analysts pontificate on General Motors’ luxury brand.
In reply to The Detroit Bureau’s August 25th piece about Cadillac’s future product plans — which includes details on Cadillac’s aboutface on a planned flagship sedan — de Nysschen jumped into the comments and set the record straight.
Last week, Opel teased its upcoming GT Concept by saying: “You will see Opel with a fresh pair of eyes.”
That’s just lovely.
But let’s take a step back, look at General Motors’ Alpha platform with a fresh pair of eyes and wonder aloud together: Is it all Alpha from here on out?
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.
As Tested Price:
* 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.
There will be big things for Cadillac next year, but they may not come in small packages, Automotive News is speculating.
In their series of what could be coming up for automakers, writer Mark Colias details a few models to be expected for Cadillac in the coming year. There may be not be a subcompact crossover next year, but there could be refresh for the ATS, including a Vsport variant.
Next year for Cadillac could be marked by its more traditional entries with new names.
It’s not secret that General Motors is depending on China to ensure a rosy future for its Cadillac brand. However, the imported ATS, complete with pinched-off rear seating and thirsty turbocharged engine, isn’t cutting the mustard. No surprise, then, that GM will be building the ATS locally in the future, with one very important change.
It’s been decades since Cadillac produced the “Cadillac” of anything. However, when car buffs dismiss the only American luxury brand left, they fail to see Cadillac’s march forward. 2002 brought the first RWD Cadillac since the Fleetwoood. A year later the XLR roadster hit, followed in 2004 by Cadillac’s first 5-Series fighter, the STS. Not everything was rosy. The original CTS drove like a BMW but lacked charm and luxury fittings. The XLR was based on a Corvette, which made for excellent road manners, but the Northstar engine didn’t have the oomph. The STS sounded like a good idea, but the half-step CTS wasn’t much smaller and ultimately shoppers weren’t interested in a bargain option. That brings us to the new ATS and CTS. Ditching the “more car for less money” mantra, the ATS has been created to fight the C/3/IS leaving the CTS free to battle the E/5/GS head-on. Can Caddy’s sensible new strategy deliver the one-two punch fans have hoped for? I snagged a CTS 2.0T for a week to find out.
When one thinks of General Motors’ relationship with China, Buick flashes into the mind like a brake light in the Beijing smog. Sometimes, Cadillac comes up, as well. However, with Volkswagen preparing to slingshot past them in a manner akin to Danica Patrick being flung toward the front of the pack with help from Tony Stewart, CEO Dan Akerson is planning to aggressively push Chevrolet through the choking air, and into as many Chinese garages as he can find.
BMW’s 3-Series is always the benchmark, always the target, and always on a pedestal. So when GM announced Cadillac would once again “complete head-on” with BMW’s money-maker, the world yawned. Then an interesting thing happened, publications started fawning over the ATS, proclaiming the 3-Series has met its match. Could such a thing be true? Even our own Michael Karesh was smitten by the ATS at a launch event. To find out how the ATS matches up with its German rival, Cadillac tossed us the keys to a loaded ATS 3.6 AWD. Can Cadillac beat BMW at their own game? Let’s find out.
I should start by saying that I thoroughly enjoy the pure and unadulterated experience of TTAC. I also enjoy poking fun at you because you are a Mark VIII diehard, while I am a huge fan of the Gen-8 Riviera, which you have described as having an exterior full of “unrefined lumps and curves.” I suppose they’re both great personal luxury coupes–the Riv’s just a better one. (Tongue out!)