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All Tests
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Cadillac ATS

You can read about the history of this American legend here. We'll be dealing here, with the cold reality of the present time, to be more precise, with the Cadillac's competition against the BMW 3 series. Yes indeed, they can be compared, since in 2003, with the STS, Cadillac has returned to the rear-wheel drive principle, after having boasted about being the first ones to have a V8 with front-wheel drive in their programme.

Since 2010 Cadillacs can again be had in Germany, apart from the ATS, also the CTS, SXR and the Escalade. The ATS Coupé, which is very new, will have to compete against the BMW 4 series and the Mercedes-C Coupé. This is what a restrained, but still aggressive design looks like, stretched over the wheelbase and the length of the saloon.

This is the one that we'll be dealing with mainly. Of course, it's hard for Cadillac, as an importer from very far away (Michigan, USA). There are three differently fitted out models and then also, only a few optional extras, whereas the optional extras for the BMW fill almost 50 pages.

Despite this, we are hoping for a certain amount of excitement in the comparison battle. The yardstick has been set high. Of course, a look at the prices is important. Indeed, although one expects a more reasonable solution from an American car, at first glance they would appear to be about level. One must consider the name 'Cadillac', in the USA it's also an upper price-range car.

Both are offered with a starting price of about € 40.000. For this price, they both offer a two litres turbo-charged four-cylinder engine. Cadillac has, the same as BMW, a six-cylinder up their sleeves, however theirs is a V6 instead of a straight-six. It will however, only be sold on the home market and not in Germany.

Now it starts getting interesting, because BMW is a little more expensive, therefore, they offer an eight-speed- instead of a six-speed automatic transmission. Over and above, the BMW engine produces 23 kW (31 HP) less and can still achieve a speed of 250 km/h against the 240 km/h of the ATS. We don't intend to favour the top-speed here, but the air resistance of the Cadillac shows it in a bad light.

Let's continue in this vein, since the nominally much weaker engine has the same maximum torque and then still a further RPM-range, they should at least be about evenly matched in day-to-day driving. The Big-Bang however, is the CO2-value, which is a full 40 g/km higher than that of the BMW. Whereby the Americas are oh so proud of their new direct injection engine (see video No. 3).

Unfortunately however, the cost of the BMW also outdistances the ATS, which is not surprising considering the list of optional extras. Thus, in the end, the American car is indeed the more reasonable one, however, with the restriction of not being able to keep up as far as modern assistance-systems are concerned:

Fatigue detection
Front collision warning
Traffic sign recognition
Adaptive cruise control
Lane keeping assist
Multi-collision protection

Now, what's it like to drive a 2012 American car? As expected good when driving slowly, and it's capable of a strong spurt when accelerating. The engine-sound is modified, then transferred into the interior through up to 10 Bose speakers. It would have been better, if they had taped the sound of a V8 beforehand.

The speed-sensitive steering from ZF is praised by the testers, the handling less. Particular worth mentioning, is the charging of a cell-phone in a magnetic field, thus without any cables lying around the founder's coat of arms should be done away with and the rest should be made wider. Oh yes, the above shown logo is, in the meantime, somewhat outdated. The wreath around. 10/14

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