The Cadillac ATS-V: A Better BMW M3 Than the M3
The Cadillac ATS-V fears nothing except, perhaps, its own shadow.
I am going to describe a car, and then, you’re going to say which car comes to mind. Okay?
It has five doors; a powerful, twin-turbocharged, six-cylinder engine; big wheels and tires; a track-ready sports suspension, and the obligatory quartet of tail pipes.
If you said “BMW M3” you would be absolutely…Wrong.
This is the Cadillac ATS-V, a car Cadillac is hoping consumers will cross-shop with the M3. You know what they say: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But is this just an imitation? Or, as I suspect it may be, is the Cadillac ATS-V actually better than the M3? Let’s find out.
Since its inception, the BMW M3 defined, and continues to define the sports sedan segment. It’s the benchmark in it’s class. So, naturally, it’s the benchmark to which the ATS-V must be compared.
The M3 has always been described as a driver’s car, offering an engaging driving experience with sharp steering, a stout engine, agile handling and practicality to match. However, the current M3, known internally as the F80 chassis, is a bit different. It has seemingly given up on that engaging drive in pursuit of numbers and stats. Horsepower figures, 0-60 claims, and, crucially, interior volume: All of these seem to dictate what the BMW M3 has become. However, at the expense of all of this, the M3 has become numb. The steering is numb, and ride quality is numbing, and the engine? Well, it sounds numb, too, as if it’s been given a big dollop of Novocaine.
Don’t get me wrong, the M3 isn’t a snoozefest. In fact, it’s the fastest M3 ever, and by a large margin. However, in pursuing the objective performance that wows the stat nerds, BMW has lost that special subjective wow factor that made older M3 models so good, and so revered among car enthusiasts. This brings up the question: In chasing the M3, has Cadillac followed in the same footsteps?