If the Cadillac ATS hopes to topple the 3 Series, it must also best other segment stalwarts like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. To find out if the ATS has what it takes, Motor Trend senior features editor Jonny Lieberman pits the V-6 Caddy against six-cylinder rivals BMW 335i and Mercedes C350 Sport on this episode of Head 2 Head.
On paper, the 335i makes the least horsepower at 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque from its turbocharged 3.0-liter I-6, compared to the 321 hp and 275 lb-ft of the ATS’ 3.6-liter V-6 and the 302 hp and 273 lb-ft of the Mercedes’ 3.5-liter. The BMW, however, has proven it’s no slouch when it comes to acceleration testing. But this comparison seeks to evaluate the three cars on criteria other than straight-line speed: interior fit and finish, ease of use, and driving dynamics.
First, the editor takes some time to get familiar with the cars’ interiors. Beginning with the BMW, Lieberman comments on the dark and drab feel of the cabin and notes that the modern iDrive controller is much easier to use than past iterations – even going so far to call the system “the best in the business.” Moving on to the Mercedes, he finds the interior quality to be a little better, but the COMAND interface lags behind the BMW. Finally, Lieberman arrives inside the Cadillac. The color scheme is again dark, but made cheerier with an abundance of chrome trim. Cadillac’s CUE touchscreen system with haptic feedback works well enough when not in motion, but Lieberman finds the interface difficult to use while driving.
For the driving portion of the test, the trio of entry-lux sport sedans goes for a spin on one of the editor’s favorite roads. None of the contenders meet the Goldilocks standard, with Lieberman complaining that the BMW is too soft and the Cadillac is too firm. But in the end, the editor does crown one of the three as the best sports sedan on the market. Check out the video below to find out which one reigns supreme.