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1308 2013 Cadillac Ats August Update
four seasons long-term tests

2013 Cadillac ATS - Challenge Accepted

Martyn Goddard
2013 Cadillac ATS reviews to date
The ATS feels alive in your hands while the Q50 feels artificial.

Our Four Seasons 2013 Cadillac ATS faced a challenge this month from a new competitor, the 2014 Infiniti Q50.

The Infiniti Q50 is a significant and interesting car in its own right. It replaces the successful Infiniti G37 and introduces fascinating self-driving technologies. You can read our full review of it here. We should also note that the Infiniti was a preproduction model, which precluded a thorough comparison of the cars' interiors. For the purposes of our long-term test, we were nevertheless curious as to what the Q50 told us about our ATS.

Just looking at the Infiniti shines a new light on the ATS. Editors had been noting that this latest Cadillac offers -- for better or for worse -- a warmer take on the decade-old "Art and Science" design language.

"I'm normally turned off by Cadillac's boxy, angular design language, so I'm attracted to the ATS's slightly softer lines," notes Annie White, associate editor at our sister site, JeanKnowsCars.com.

With the 2014 Infiniti Q50 in the lot, however, it suddenly seems preposterous to think Cadillac design is going soft. The Q50's sheet metal looks to have been adapted from a painting -- all soft, voluptuous lines. The ATS, in comparison, could still have been drawn with a razor blade, even if the edges were then sanded down.

But if the Q50 looks more organic than the ATS, it certainly doesn't feel that way.

"The ATS feels alive in your hands while the Q50 feels artificial," notes deputy editor Joe DeMatio, adding, "The Cadillac feels smaller and far more athletic."

This says a lot about Cadillac's chassis development team. But it says even more about the ATS's mission. The cars share the same goal -- to peel away buyers from established bestsellers like the BMW 3-series -- but they go about it in a very different way.

"The new Infiniti Q50 seems to be about the technical wizardry, including the world's first production "steer-by-wire' system and a mild level of autonomy. Cadillac, by contrast, has used the 1998 to 2006 (E46-chassis) BMW 3-series as its bench mark, recreating the pinnacle of 3-series steering feel and feedback," says executive editor Todd Lassa. "The Q50 wears its technology on its sleeve, whereas the ATS wears its sportiness," confirms DeMatio.

There is a lot going for Infiniti's new formula. It struck DeMatio as the roomier, more comfortable car. "Perhaps some will prefer its interior ambience and its more voluptuous styling," he says. Lassa adds that the 2014 Infiniti Q50 reflects where most luxury sedans -- even sporty ones -- are headed. And yet we're thankful Cadillac is prioritizing driving dynamics.

"For those who seek a genuine, rear-wheel-drive performance sedan experience, the 2014 Infiniti Q50 provides little competition to the 2013 Cadillac ATS, which feels smaller and far more athletic than the Infiniti," concludes DeMatio.

2013 Cadillac ATS Specs
  • Overview
  • powertrain
  • chassis
  • measurements
  • equipment
  • options
Body style 4-door sedan
Accommodation 5-passenger
Construction Steel unibody
Base price (with dest.)$47,590
Price As tested $49,735
Engine 24-valve DOHC V-6
Displacement 3.6 liters (217 cu in)
Power 321 hp @ 6800 rpm
Torque 275 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Drive Rear wheel
EPA Fuel Economy 19/28/22 (city/hwy/combined)
Steering Electrohydraulically assisted
Lock-to-lock 2.7 turns
Turning circle 36.0 ft
Suspension, Front Strut-type, coil springs
Suspension, Rear Multilink, coil springs
Brakes F/R Vented discs
Wheels 18-inch aluminum
Tires Bridgestone Potenza RE050A
Tire size 225/40R-18 88W/255/35R-18 90W
Headroom F/R 38.6/36.8 in
Legroom F/R 42.5/33.5 in
Shoulder room F/R 55.2/53.9 in
Wheelbase 109.3 in
Track F/R 59.5/60.9 in
L x W x H 182.8 x 71.1 x 55.9 in
Passenger capacity 90.9 cu ft
Cargo capacity 10.4 cu ft
Weight 3461 lb
Weight dist. F/R 51.5/48.5%
Fuel capacity 16.0 gal
Est. fuel range 350 miles
Fuel grade 91 octane (premium unleaded)
Standard Equipment
  • Adaptive suspension dampers
  • Limited slip differential
  • Stainless-steel dual exhaust
  • Brembo performance front brakes
  • 18-inch aluminum wheels w/performance tires
  • Leather-trimmed interior
  • Power front seats
  • Split-folding rear seats
  • Cue w/8.0 –inch touchscreen
  • Navigation
  • Bose surround sound audio system
  • SiriusXM satellite radio w/3-month trial subscription
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob
  • Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity
  • Magnesium paddle shifters
  • Aluminum pedals
  • Automatic dual-zone climate control
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror and exterior mirrors
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Keyless entry and ignition
  • Front and rear parking assist
  • Dark-chrome grille
  • Rearview camera
  • Hill-start assist
Packages & Options
  • Power sunroof
  • $750
  • Cold weather package
  • $600
  • Heated steering wheel and front seats
  • Rear spoiler
  • $480
  • Front license plate bracket
  • $15
ATS for me 
Infiniti/Nissan only knows how to make ugly cars, I don't know how they sell anything. The ATS is small and cramped but I would take it over the Infiniti. And how do they come up with a $47,590 base price for the ATS? Thats about 20 grand more than the car is worth.
I'm sorry.  I can't say anything for how it drives, but something about the Q50 reminds me of Angry Birds...an odd mix of the bird characters and the pigs.  I just can't get Angry Birds out of my head when I see it.  It is the least attactive C segment Infiniti yet.  The old Gs looked much better. 
Please note the Q50 does not compete with the 2014 CTS as the new CTS will now compete with the 5 series, A6, and E-Class.  There will be consumers who will try to cross shop between the two vehicles but Cadillac is definitely going up market with the new CTS.  The new Q50 (size wise) is in danger of becoming the new 'tweener' that the 2nd generation CTS (2008 - 13)  used to be.
Eduardo E Elida
Another point to think of both is what about when Warranty expires cost and maintainance after that
Both of them use gas.... I love my Volt!
Kevin Green
It could depend on whether you plan on having adults you want to remain close to in the back seats. A Honda Civic has a bigger back seat than the ATS. The ATS has better lines and handling but if you routinely carry others, the Q50 would solicit fewer complaints from a room/comfort point of view. Cost would depend on options but the Q50 would start higher based upon engine alone.
The Infiniti Q50 is an all-around better car. Attractiveness and road appeal, pure power (328hp) and performance, incredible breakthrough technology, tried and true manufacturing and craftsmanship, spacious and crafty interior, and a beautiful InTouch system featuring TWO large touchscreens!! While I totally agree that the ATS is a wonderful car and very nice, I surmise this author hasn't fully experienced the Q50 drive and handling; this review screams bias.
ATS is boss, and, oh what is that ugly piece of crap on the right?
The Q50 IS a bigger car than the ATS, so why the comparo?  A CTS vs Q50 might be better.  However, I'm still not gungho over a four cylinder Caddy no matter how atheletic, sculptured or tossible it may be in the corners!  Buyers also tend to forget, the more complicated the car (electronics for everything) the more expensive to maintain and repair -- and forget most upgrading!
Kenneth Tsai
ATS for me....no problem!!
Tim Nofullname
Infinity looks better.
Ennar Quimbo Nopnomoma
U wanna ride....Q50
What is the white Optima doing in the picture with that beautiful Caddy?
Lee Klein
Cars aside, that's a very nice photograph. I always enjoyed Martyn's photography way back in the day of CAR. He still has a nice eye. I hope people don't miss this. Nice!
Jesús Ocampo Reza
Infiniti the best japan.
Greg Lane
Caddy. It looks less like the rest of the cookie cut cars out today.
Chris Perrin
KJ Newman
That Infiniti looks phenomenal
Bill Veit
ATS no question!
Steven M. Myers
ATS all the way. Cleaner styling, Team U.S.A.
Alex Rosa
Q50! But why compare it with the ATS, a compact. Where the Q is a mid-size. Shouldn't we be comparing it to the new CTS???
Stanton Slocum
Robert Cossaboon
A 1960 Cadillac or anything German
Jerry George
Fonzo Ro Ma
Let's see…..Would I rather have a Cadillac a brand that for over 100 years has earned a place in the world as The Standard…. or a what did you say that ugly thing on the right is?
Masih Sky
Waleed Amin
روعة وقبادة ورفاهية
Cire Yemar
net profits to Japan or USA, you decide- just don't complain about our economy if you choose to support another country..
Brian Munzer
From the styling standpoint, the Cadillac. The Infiniti has too many odd styling quirks just for the sake of styling. The kinks in the rear quarter are really bizarre. Although, the Infiniti from the driving standpoint, is probably a better experience.
Manuel Solo Rolo Mendoza
*Lincoln MKZ
Gaetan Junior Tshis
infiniti is good
Manuel Solo Rolo Mendoza
I wud take The KINCOLN MKZ
Matt Dowdall
Caddy!! Not even a question. Infiniti couldn't design an uglier piece of trash than the Q50. It literally can't get any worse
Al Lebo
Jonerey Erazo
Luxury American? No such thing, entry level luxury... Pfffft, caddys are not luxury be quiet foo!
Jonerey Erazo
Mohamed Ahmed Hamdy
The 2013 Cadillac ATS ;))
Martin Earl Kucinski
Dong Truong
Cadillac ATS
Andrey Lobko
infiniti hands down. ATC has less power and cadillac drops its value faster.
Tony Schum
Caddy for shiz
Alfonso T. Alvarez
@Q50Sport No, that's your bias doing the screaming.  Sorry, the Q50 looks Korean generic and has the driving dynamics of a potato.  Sorry, them's the facts!
Van K
@BigBlock45 Which is why there is a V6 option...
Alfonso T. Alvarez
@carnut122 I thought it was either an Optima or a Sonota - not a very flattering view in that pic for sure ...
@Fonzo Ro Ma yeah i think it should be called infinity crap/shit50
From a driving standpoint? I think this article pretty much summed that up. The Q50 is numb by comparison, the ATS more athletic and engaging.
@Matt Dowdall You sound silly.
@da_Machine Drive a Q50 and then report back. I've driven several cars in this segment, including BMW 3 series & Lexus IS, and to say the Q50 is "numb" in any aspect is totally insane. 328hp of pure power generated by the impressively reliable VQ37HR engine is a far cry from "numb". Plus, the Q50 is quite "engaging" with the series of breakthrough technology that blows the ATS out of the water. Oh yea, InTouch is mountains and valleys ahead of the CUE.
I've driven neither, but the Automobile staff has tested both. It's no secret that the ATS has been praised for its driving dynamics. It has been preferred over all those cars you've mentioned by most magazines. So how exactly does the Q50 blow the ATS out of the water? "The ATS feels alive in your hands while the Q50 feels artificial" Quoted from this article...

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