Having (recently) driven all three of the serious contenders here (Audi, BMW, Cadillac), I can tell you that:
The BMW is overall probably the better car. The Cadillac is close. A lot (obviously) comes down to preferences, but the BMW's engine+transmission is just so much better than the Cadillac's, that I would give the nod to BMW. The Cadillac's steering feel is better, though. To clarify -- you can't go wrong with the Cadillac. But having driven a manual 328i Sport back to back to a an ATS 2.0t, the 328i did it for me. But both are really wonderful cars.
The Audi is also a great car, but it feels a bit sloppy and dated. And it's time to update the 2.0t. It is a great powerplant, but compared to BMW's new N20/N26, it feels about a decade old.
Last edited by SchnellFowVay; 01-24-2013 at 03:03 PM.
Last edited by vrsexxy_GTI; 01-24-2013 at 03:08 PM.
As for the engine arguement, the BMW one might be slightly better than the ATS stock vs stock, but I have first hand experience as to how good the GM 2.0T can be. My friend has a Cobalt SS that with bolt-ons and a tune that can really run. I cannot ever leave well enough alone so that is always a consideration on my part.
Last edited by silverlegacy; 01-24-2013 at 03:19 PM.
I must be the only person that doesn't like the ATS. I haven't driven them all (not the newest iterations anyway) but I have been in all of them at several auto shows so far. The ATS interior is the worst to me. I wouldn't want to spend any amount of time in that car. The center stack and wood used on the dash just look cheap to me. The rear ingress/egress is the worst by far due to the rear fender well. I'm sure it drives well but with the others being nearly equal in performance, I'd choose any of them over the ATS.
For someone with my vehicular needs, the rear door opening isn't a big deal. My needs could be met by a coupe, but I like sedans. My Saab has a similarly tight lower rear door opening. The only person that has ridden in the back of it who had ingress/egress issues was my 92 year old grandfather. He likes sitting in the back of cars, I don't get it, but he's 92 and he can do what he wants.
Honestly, the thing I like best about the ATS is that you can get it in blue. I know color's kind of trivial, but when most entry level luxury cars are black/grey/silver/white blue seems special. I've wanted a blue car since I fell in love with the Viggen 14 years ago. The blue looks great, is well coordinated with the dash lighting, and really just makes me happy. The 6-speed/turbo four combo is also so un-Cadillac-of-yore too.
There is one car left off this list though that I probably wouldn't take over the ATS, but would probably take over the rest. It's easily forgotten, also American(ish), and has a lot of the same pluses as the ATS: The Buick Regal GS. The bodywork looks great, the bones are good, the interior looks really nice, it comes in red with a six speed manual(but FWD), and it's a bit cheaper than the rest... It's also better looking than the rest, but that's just like, my opinion, man.
Yes, I am 22 years old and I just said I would take a Cadillac AND a Buick Regal over an Audi, a BMW, an Infiniti, a Lexus, and a forgettable Mercedes.
Last edited by BattleRabbit; 01-24-2013 at 03:49 PM.
1998 VW Golf Mk.III 5dr/1989 Saab 900 Sedan/1960 Porsche 356B T5/1980 Honda CM400E
Lots and lots of money spent...
None of them with the base motors (except maybe the Q50) does anything for me, so I suppose I would pick that if I couldn't move up to the next motor on the list.
If I could pick other engine options in the non-ultra high performance category (non-M or RS models), I'd probably go for the S4 over the others. Seems like an excellent car when equipped with the tq vectoring rear diff. The 335 would be a close second and then you have the others. I don't want a 4-cyl turbo in my sports sedan, so the ATS would be out because the V6 isn't available with a manual. The IS bores me in all versions except the much higher performance F model (but it also doesn't have a manual which would probably kick it out of contention anyway). The the Q50 is a bit of a mystery as far as optional engines and performance versions are concerned. Reading about this vehicle on the Motor Trend app, it doesn't look like a manual will be offered, so if that's the case, I would never consider one regardless of the engine or the price.
1st choice: Mercedes C class
2nd choice: BMW 3 series
3rd choice: Lexus IS
ATS for me. Might go test drive one this weekend if I get time. Most likely will be in some sort of Cadillac for my next car anyway.
I thought the F30 was good. Would like to drive a 328 Sport 6-speed as the 4 cylinder is really fun in that car. I think the 335 would be overkill despite me having one now. I could move down.
Those are my top two choices.
This is what I don't understand. The new BMW N20/N26 propels the portly F30 0-60 in 5.6 seconds (E36 M3 speed with gobs more torque). It only produces about 35 less whp than the 335i, and it weighs less. Also it's cheaper and gets better mileage. And the 335i goes 0-60 only a smidge faster (5.2-5.3 seconds).
Compare it to the N52 (the old 230hp straight-six in the previous 328i). That car went zero-60 in ~6.7 seconds (eons slower than the turbo four), was a bit of a bore to drive, and go pretty bad mileage. It did sound a bit better, I will give you that.
Why the hate of the four cylinder? It boggles the mind.
And yes, if I were to get a new 3-series in place of my 135i, I would get the 328i in a second. With a JB4, the performance is no that far off of an N55 to make the difference worth it, at least to me.
The Lexus and Infiniti are atrocious both inside and out. Caddy is just okay, I don't much like their center stack layout. Lived with a prior gen Caddy for a week and it just wasnt my style. Audi looks better outside as they finally maybe start to figure out how to make the LED not so goofy. BMW still my favorite inside, which I care most about, but the nose is just awkward.. not a deal breaker for me though. Probably the BMW, possibly the Audi.
I'm just a regular Joe, with a regular job. I'm your average white, suburbanite slob.
You could not pay me enough to own another Ford or another hybrid ever again.
I voted 3 series, and would probably choose the A4 second followed by the Q50. After sitting in the ATS at the Philly Auto Show the interior lets what is otherwise a really solid entry attempt by Cadillac.
Out of interest, is the Q50 coming with a 4-banger this time or just the V6 again?