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      07-23-2012, 10:32 AM   #1
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Post Does the Cadillac ATS Stack Up Against the 3 Series? Reviews Are In

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Does the Cadillac ATS Stack Up Against the 3 Series? Reviews Are In
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Cadillac hasn't had much success in the luxury compact class, with the Cimarron in the 80s as a prime example. Not wanting to be left out of the segment which sees the biggest volumes sold for luxury brands worldwide however, Cadillac has brought the ATS sedan to market to once again take on the 3 Series, C Class, and A4.

How does the ATS fare in that goal? The first reviews are in and here's what the publications had to say about the ATS compared to the 2012 3 Series.

Quote:
The ATS offers everything from optional magnetic shocks to its CUE infotainment system and more to match BMW's adjustable shocks and iDrive and the rest.

While I drove all three variants on the road, I was only able to test the top-shelf V-6. Without a proper dragstrip on hand, I used the front straight at Road Atlanta where our trusty VBox recorded a 0-to-60 mph time of 5.7 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 14.1 seconds at 101.6 mph. That's actually a bit slower than Cadillac predicted. The BMW 335, by contrast, lays down a blistering 4.7-second 60-mph time, though its 300-horsepower rating is suspect, considering that's 426-horsepower Camaro SS 0-to-60 mph territory. I had far better luck in the braking test, where the ATS stopped in just 111 feet from 60 mph, just two feet longer than the 335. The ATS really shone on the skidpad, where it pulled 0.94 g average to the BMW's 0.90.

In all, then, the new Cadillac ATS is a very, very good car. But is it better than the 3 Series? The honest answer is...I don't know yet. Despite driving them less than 24 hours apart, I just can't say without driving them directly back-to-back. Both cars ride, drive, and handle exceptionally well, offer a deluge of technology and sport top-notch materials and build quality. To say that the ATS is as good as 3 Series is a grand compliment by itself, but determining which car is better will have to wait for the inevitable comparison test. It's gonna be a nail-biter. - Motor Trend Review
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We first drove an ATS with the base engine, a 202-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder with direct injection. It’s basically a slightly updated version of Chevy’s workhorse engine and is available only with a six-speed automatic and rear drive. This engine won’t generate envy among any Audi or BMW owners. It delivers no better than adequate performance (claimed 0 to 60 in 7.5 seconds, which we think is about right on the nose) and it feels slower than it is, as the transmission resists downshifting as you toe the throttle.

Next up was the 2.0-liter turbocharged four with 272 ponies and 260 lb-ft of torque. Smoother than the 2.5-liter, it’s still louder at full power than the Audi or BMW turbo fours, but it also can run with them (0 to 60 in the high fives). It comes in three driveline configurations—manual rear-drive and automatic with rear- or all-wheel drive—all of which feel energetic. The manual gearbox is precise, slick, and satisfying; the automatic is well matched to the engine’s torquey output.

On all of the versions, the steering is accurate and nicely weighted, although we’d like more on-center feel. Even so, the ATS feels terrific on a winding road and it’s easy to place it right where you want it on corner entry. The suspension tightly controls body motions and the structure has that carved-from-a-solid-block feeling.

Cadillac’s biggest challenge will be to get buyers of German cars to take serious notice of the ATS. Based on this experience, we think they should give it a shot. - Car and Driver Review
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Taking on the leader in any sport, market or prison yard is ballsy and — for those who aspire to greatness — an excellent strategy. Talking trash, on the other hand, might be a pointless and foolhardy one. Cadillac has done both of these things with its new 2013 ATS compact sedan by throwing down the gauntlet against the BMW 3 Series in its Super Bowl commercial this year.

To use the BMW 3 Series for comparison, there's now a 328i and a 335i, both of which have turbocharged four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines. Cadillac introduces the ATS 2.0L Turbo and ATS 3.6L, named for their turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and normally aspirated 3.6-liter V-6 engines, respectively. The ATS also has a base engine, a normally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder.

If the acceleration estimates are correct, the ATS' more powerful variants essentially match the 328i and 335i sedans, even though the ATS has horsepower and weight advantages over comparable automatic BMWs: The 2.0L has 32 more hp and is 88 pounds lighter than the 328i, and the 3.6L has 21 more hp and is 133 pounds lighter than the 335i. However, the 3 Series' eight-speed transmission is an advantage in its own right. Although I love manual transmissions, I'm lukewarm on the execution with the 2.0L. When you hit the clutch and let off the gas to upshift, the engine speed drops so lazily that it's not rev-matched enough when you let the clutch back out. The transmission bucks back as a result in the lower gears.

Without a doubt, the ATS feels a lot like the recently redesigned 3 Series sedan, with comparable attributes inside as well. The backseat has almost a half-inch more legroom than the 3 Series, but it's snug, and my legs were raised more than I would like. Mostly I noticed the 1.7 inches less headroom, which made it just workable for me at 6 feet tall. The long front-seat travel, however, provided legroom for people taller than me.

Overall, Cadillac seems to have done a good job squaring up against BMW, for better and for worse. For example, you can get an advanced head-up display ... and you can also pay extra for items like leather upholstery and a folding backseat. That's definitely meeting the competition on its own turf.

BMW's compact-luxury king has been "gone after," "gunned for" and "taken on" more than any model in the market, and still his highness remains on the throne, his anteroom littered with bones. We'll need more time with the ATS to know whether it's merely a pretender to the throne. So far it looks as close as any challenger to date. - Cars.com Review
Quote:
We feel the ATS to own is the more potent 3.6-liter V6. Unfortunately, this is where the trouble starts. At $42,290, the V6 ATS is within $895 of its larger brother, the CTS sedan. Throw in a $1,295 Navigation and Surround Sound package, a $600 Cold Weather package, a $395 Advanced Security package and an $845 Driver Awareness package with lane departure warning and you have our $47,325 tester.

Let's be clear: This isn't the car to waltz up and dot BMW's eye. The lackluster entry four-cylinder and loftily priced V6 are stumbling blocks on that path, but knock-out aesthetics, truly world-class technology and a well-executed chassis make the ATS worth a look. Buyers will undoubtedly respond to those attributes, especially given the fact that the 2.0-liter starts within spitting distance of a topped-out Honda Accord.

There are certainly hitches in this sedan's giddy up, but the ATS is an impressive effort from a brand still struggling to shake off the cobwebs of the past three decades. Once GM figures out the engine bay, the 3 Series may have something to worry about. Until then, the ATS will find favor with the crowd that always wanted a CTS but couldn't come up with the cash. - Autoblog Review



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      07-23-2012, 10:43 AM   #2
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"BMW's compact-luxury king has been "gone after," "gunned for" and "taken on" more than any model in the market, and still his highness remains on the throne, his anteroom littered with bones."

^^ Love this line!
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      07-23-2012, 10:59 AM   #3
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The ATS is most definitely several grand cheaper than the 3 Series, so if they are comparing it so closely with the 3, I guess they hit the mark. I feel the G37 sales will go to the Caddy since they are probably gonna be priced about the same and the G37 has crappy fuel economy.
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      07-23-2012, 11:04 AM   #4
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From Autoblog:

http://www.autoblog.com/2012/07/23/2...-review-video/

we feel the ATS to own is the more potent 3.6-liter V6. Unfortunately, this is where the trouble starts. At $42,290, the V6 ATS is within $895 of its larger brother, the CTS sedan. Throw in a $1,295 Navigation and Surround Sound package, a $600 Cold Weather package, a $395 Advanced Security package and an $845 Driver Awareness package with lane departure warning and you have our $47,325 tester.

Let's be clear: This isn't the car to waltz up and dot BMW's eye. The lackluster entry four-cylinder and loftily priced V6 are stumbling blocks on that path, but knock-out aesthetics, truly world-class technology and a well-executed chassis make the ATS worth a look. Buyers will undoubtedly respond to those attributes, especially given the fact that the 2.0-liter starts within spitting distance of a topped-out Honda Accord.

There are certainly hitches in this sedan's giddy up, but the ATS is an impressive effort from a brand still struggling to shake off the cobwebs of the past three decades. Once GM figures out the engine bay, the 3 Series may have something to worry about. Until then, the ATS will find favor with the crowd that always wanted a CTS but couldn't come up with the cash.
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      07-23-2012, 11:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by achopra View Post
The ATS is most definitely several grand cheaper than the 3 Series, so if they are comparing it so closely with the 3, I guess they hit the mark. I feel the G37 sales will go to the Caddy since they are probably gonna be priced about the same and the G37 has crappy fuel economy.
I dunno about MSRP man, I priced out a few configs and felt it was a few k more expensive than a comparable performance 3.

But GM is known to discount 10% without batting an eye, so with that taken in, you may be correct.
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      07-23-2012, 12:05 PM   #6
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As a current e92 M3 owner, and a previous e46 M3 owner, I'm looking forward to see what they do with the V version of the upcoming coupe if they keep the weight down. The M3 keeps getting bigger and bigger and the next generation F30 based will be no different. I'll miss my V8 as they're moving towards a turbo 6 and his may be a chance for the ATS to pounce with a NA V8 (probably 5.5L from the C7 vette). GM makes good V8 engines. The LS7 puts out 505 hp, is light, and is more fuel efficient than the 4.0L S65.
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      07-23-2012, 12:09 PM   #7
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Nice.

I applaud Cadillac and GM for what they've accomplished over the past few years, coming back from the brink.

These initial reviews bode quite well for the ATS.
The 2.0 turbo will likely be the performance to dollar winner, and should nicely match up to the 328i.

However, the V6 may not have enough to compete with the 335i.
As one article mentioned, the 335i's 4.7 to 60 run, puts it in accel territory of an over 400HP Camaro.
The N55 may be rated at "only" 300/300, but it delivers almost all of that to motivate the car.

It's nice to read that the ATS MT works well. I'm very excited and interested to test out the ATS.

If this ATS is starting out as nice as these initial reviews claim, I'm REALLY interested to see what an ATS-V will look and drive like. Should be a great addition to the sport sedan slug fest.
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      07-23-2012, 12:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by achopra View Post
The ATS is most definitely several grand cheaper than the 3 Series, so if they are comparing it so closely with the 3, I guess they hit the mark. I feel the G37 sales will go to the Caddy since they are probably gonna be priced about the same and the G37 has crappy fuel economy.
The G37 also weighs a lot more too. It's like 300lbs heavier than the 335i. Maybe Nissan/Infiniti will finally wake up and either drop some weight or drop in a V8.
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      07-23-2012, 12:26 PM   #9
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wow, so all the reviews are uniformly positive. Exciting times for cadillac. I will def cross-shop this vehicle next year (maybe MY 2014) when replacing the e90. the V-6 does not sound like a winner, esp compared to the N55, but the 2.0t sounds right on the money. I heard GM is releasing a new 8sp AT within 1-2 yrs, so prob worth the wait for that.
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      07-23-2012, 12:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by achopra View Post
I feel the G37 sales will go to the Caddy since they are probably gonna be priced about the same and the G37 has crappy fuel economy.
def agree with that - esp the V6 models; but i think the 2.0T model has a decent chance to cut into 328i / a4 2.0t sales.
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      07-23-2012, 12:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by batislav View Post
From Autoblog:

http://www.autoblog.com/2012/07/23/2...-review-video/

Until then, the ATS will find favor with the crowd that always wanted a CTS but couldn't come up with the cash.
That's a stupid comment from that writer.
Do we buy 3's because we can't come up with the cash for a 5?
I don't think so.

Some drivers want smaller sedans, not bigger ones.
I've liked the CTS since it came out, and the CTS-V has been awesome.
But, the current 5 is too big of a car for me, just like the last 2 generations in comparison to the 3's offered at the same times.
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      07-23-2012, 12:36 PM   #12
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I'm glad that Cadillac is producing slightly less tacky looking cars, but absent of any other advantages, I'll stick with BMW style.
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      07-23-2012, 12:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RPM90 View Post
That's a stupid comment from that writer.
Do we buy 3's because we can't come up with the cash for a 5?
I don't think so.

Some drivers want smaller sedans, not bigger ones.
I've liked the CTS since it came out, and the CTS-V has been awesome.
But, the current 5 is too big of a car for me, just like the last 2 generations in comparison to the 3's offered at the same times.
+1

also, just priced a premium trim 2.0T and it came out to $46.8K!! that's expensive, right on par with a well equipped 328i. but it comes with a mechanical LSD, which is cool.

Of course, I just priced a 328i msport with similar options - tech, premium, camera, sport auto, dynamic handling and it came out to 51K. crazy.
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      07-23-2012, 12:44 PM   #14
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First of all, I'm very pissed that Cadillac used my initials (and username) to name their new car without my authorization.

Regarding the car itself, I would never consider an american car as serious competition to any european car. Don't care how fast or how well built they might say it is, I'm sure the quality will be MILES away from BMW or any other european competitor.

I have no doubt that behind the skin they used a bunch of low quality parts from lesser GM models, which will inevitably fail as time goes by. Just look at what happened to Mercedes during their Chrysler years.

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      07-23-2012, 12:58 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by achopra View Post
The ATS is most definitely several grand cheaper than the 3 Series, so if they are comparing it so closely with the 3, I guess they hit the mark. I feel the G37 sales will go to the Caddy since they are probably gonna be priced about the same and the G37 has crappy fuel economy.
Good point!
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      07-23-2012, 01:03 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATX78703 View Post
+1

also, just priced a premium trim 2.0T and it came out to $46.8K!! that's expensive, right on par with a well equipped 328i. but it comes with a mechanical LSD, which is cool.

Of course, I just priced a 328i msport with similar options - tech, premium, camera, sport auto, dynamic handling and it came out to 51K. crazy.
I looked it up on Caddy's website, they have more detailed info on what you get.
For $47K is has the magnetic ride suspension, LSD, HUD, NAV/CUE, BT/USB/iPod, etc...
Loaded.
As you said, it actually costs less than an equally optioned 328i once you load up the 328i.

But, Cadillac's ordering line up looks more convoluted and less customizable than BMW's.
I wonder how well Cadillac will do with customer ordering?
That's the one thing that I love about BMW.
BMW doesn't mind custom orders and still gives us an opportunity to get what we want as long as we are willing to wait a couple of months.
I once asked a Caddy dealer about custom ordering a CTS and iirc, the answer was something like forget it or it would take months.

If a manufacturer is going to offer options and packages, then they better have a way for a customer to order what they want and get their car in a reasonable time frame, especially in the "premium" car category.

Ford is one of the WORST with this. I remember a few years back when I was test driving the Mustang GT. There are a number of options that Ford offers, a lot in fact. BUT, there really is now way to get what you want as the dealers steer you away and tell you that it will take much too long.
Either it really does suck to custom order, or they just want to sell what's on the lot. However, the dealership I was at only had like 2 Mustangs on the lot and neither were GT's, so he wasn't trying to sell me.
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      07-23-2012, 01:03 PM   #17
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Is the Cadillac ATS still an American car??... Oh it is, hmmm... in that case I still don't want it..
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      07-23-2012, 01:09 PM   #18
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With Cadillac, how does one know with which car to compare? The ATS, XTS and CTS sedans all seem to be comparable to the F30 more or less in terms of size and price. Indeed, looking at Cadillac's website, it wasn't clear to me why one would choose one of these models over the other.
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      07-23-2012, 01:15 PM   #19
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I strongly considered the ATS before I put my order in on my 2013 328i Xdrive which should be showing up towards the beginning of September. I currently have a 2010 Camaro SS and traded it in because I wanted a premium all wheel drive car. I have always bought GM and I love my Camaro. I ultimately went with the BMW because I was truly blown away by the quality, the test drive, and the dealer experience. The ATS is a good car but I know first hand GM has a long way to go before it rivals BMW's buying experience. Just look at the dealerships and their staff. Every time I've visited a GM dealership I felt like a sheep running from the wolves. When I ordered my BMW I can honestly say it was the best buying experience in my life. I didn't feel like just another customer. They truly gave me the respect all customers deserve. This could just be my dealer. Baron BMW in Merriam, KS (Kansas City). Either way having gone through servicing at various GM dealers through the years I can honestly say BMW's dealers are WAY better! I enquired about an ATS before I ordered my 3 via email and I have yet to receive any response and I emailed over a month ago. I emailed about a 3 and I got a response next day. Perfect example right there.
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      07-23-2012, 01:19 PM   #20
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BMW should start bulding M upgrade stores where you can bring you car in and they will throw a 8/10/12 NA/Turbo in your car along with all the performance goodies with a matching motorport warranty. This way they can differentiate the luxury vs track crowd. Open these stores in a regional set up so the store is available to more people. Then BMW can better differentiate what we want in the M and nonM or partial M set ups.

Lightweight + CFRP a plenty + 9000+ rpm limit + mechanical steering + mechanical LSD + manual is the norm with dct being difficult to get

On the other hand the ATS is nice for those who roll Cadlillac... but I think these are for those who live that chevy runs deep. Yes throw a LS in it.
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      07-23-2012, 01:21 PM   #21
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Cadillac wants to compete in the olympics and their strategy is to try to keep up with the fastest runner. Boring. It's the same old song and dance year after year. Mismanagement, incompetence, and unable to compete. BMW has invested heavily in R&D year over year to become competitive and relevant in their industry. The results are reflected in their corporate profits bottom line (indisputable). GM executives have neglected R&D year or year in lieu of pocketing over paid compensation, bonuses, and stock options. The result of R&D neglect has resulted in an impotent company that had to be bailed out by the US government and held the US taxpayers hostage to their incompetence. Yes you and I paid for their multi-million dollar salaries year over year while they laughed all the way to the bank. Honestly they should have been allowed to fail. It's called capitalism. Survival of the fittest. Why should taxpayers bail out incompetent businesses? To this day, they are still not competitive and will continue to rely on US taxpayers to bail them out while they continue to neglect R&D and run their business into the ground.

The only way GM can survive is to produce a product that offers better performance and at a better value then the leading competitor (BMW maybe?). The company is so bankrupt that they can't even afford to baseline R&D. It takes years of investments in R&D before it even begins to produce the fruits of its capital.

Until GM can produce a better performance product and at a better value, this whole discussion about BMW and ATS is stupid.

Vent is not directed at the OP or anyone else on this thread. Just wish GM would $h!t of get off the pot. They need to get serious and can incompetent management. Don't hold the taxpayers hostage to executive compensation. Seriously!!!

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      07-23-2012, 01:35 PM   #22
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Although pictures hide it well I think the XTS is Caddy's new large flagship and definitely not to be cross-shopped against the 3 or the ATS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tony20009 View Post
With Cadillac, how does one know with which car to compare? The ATS, XTS and CTS sedans all seem to be comparable to the F30 more or less in terms of size and price. Indeed, looking at Cadillac's website, it wasn't clear to me why one would choose one of these models over the other.
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