Originally Posted by mhabs
So true. Despite the fact that the E9x M3 is a monster and a joy to drive, I loved my E46 330i. The handling, chassis, road feel, ride, size...so much of it was perfect and sublime and had significantly better driving dynamics vs the F30. The E46 reached the pinnacle of excellence and was so far ahead of its time and the competition. Cadillac was spot on in targeting E46 chassis feel to essentially use BMW "against itself" and beat it at its own game...pretty amazing.
You do have a point, look what I found:
Don Butler, Vice President of Marketing for Cadillac, says the ATS is made to compete with BMW's 3 Series, easily the top dog in the segment.
Butler admits the all-new ATS has not won every comparison, but says it is gaining ground. For Cadillac to hit its targets, ATS sales have to be at least 50 percent "conquest" — winning over drivers of other brands. So far, it is actually beating that goal: GM reported this month that 70 percent of drivers who traded in a vehicle to buy an ATS were new to Cadillac.
Whether or not those buyers traded in other luxury cars is not clear, but the numbers are good for Cadillac either way. Apart from conquest sales, Cadillac is targeting young, first-time luxury buyers, whom it dubs "move-ups."
Among critics as well as customers, it seems the German hold on the compact sedan crown is loosening. Motor Trend compared the sportier iterations of each (the BMW 328i and ATS 2.0 Turbo), and gave BMW the win "by the skin of its teeth." The Los Angeles Times wrote the ATS "is not a better car" than the 3 Series, but that it is nonetheless "a massive step in the right direction." I have not driven a recent 3 Series, but after a weekend in the ATS, I agree.