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      03-16-2014, 12:57 PM   #1
CarReviewBMW
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Had the pleasure of test driving an ATS and a 335I for 3 days each. Review inside.

2014 CADILLAC ATS 2.0L I4 RWD
Price(Everything included) 40,000



2014 BMW 3 Series 335i Sedan
Price(Everything included)54,000


Exterior:
This is where BMW really falls behind for me and it is incredibly frustrating. The previous generation BMWS screamed raw aggression and power. Pure speed and performance. Since than, the beloved Brand has embarked on a journey of conservative design and softer tones. The 2014 335i looks elegant and refined, but it lacks the flash of cars such as the ATS,IS,Q50,and even the CLA. The ATS in red(the color of my test Sedan) looked utterly amazing. Beautiful to behold and was a eye catcher everywhere I drove it. I got literally 10 times the stares driving in the new ATS than I did in the BMW. This is all subjective, but every one of my friends said the ATS looked 'flashier' than the BMW and the opinion is well shared.
Score:
ATS:10/10
335I:6/10


Interior:
Both cars had average interiors for 40,000+ sedans. Now everyone knows luxury is more of a Lexus/Mercedes thing and the ATS/335I isn't really focused on that. So both cars get passes from me. The lack of space beneath the nav screen in the 335I is a bit annoying, since I really like to put my cell phone at that spot. Overall design is elegant with a dash of sport. Nothing too roomy or uncomfortable. The ATS's front dash/steering/seat design is not to my liking but it does give you something different from the BMW/Mercedes or Lexus mold. I guess I have been so used to driving BMW/Lexus/Mercedes cars that the American Luxury style is still a bit new to me. Leg room is an issue in the ATS(as it is in the 335I)
Score:
ATS: 7/10
BMW:7/10


Performance:
BMW 335I delivers as it always does. Great fun and with the right blend of RPM, it realy does feel like a true sports sedan. Most readers here are pretty well versed with the 335I'S performance so I won't go too much into that. The car I will like to talk about is the ATS. I was suspicious of the glowing praises lavished upon the ATS and I was right. Although it performed well, it falls behind that of the 335I and the Lexus IS 350. I will not even rank it as high as the old G37 Sedan in regards to overall fun,action,handling,and driving experience. It is NOT a true driver's car. It does have power and speed. So does a 23,000 dollar Ford Mustang. So does a 25,000 dollar Chevy Camaro. 335I hands down in this area.

Score:
ATS: 7/10
335I:9/10


Is it worth the money?
Taking into account GM'S past history, the ATS is always going to be a risk factor after 60,000 miles. The 335I isn't the most reliable of cars but I will trust the BMW Brand over the Cadillac Brand any day of the week in regards to long term. That being said, we are looking at 50,000+ for a 335i. That is 10,000 dollars more expensive than the ATS. It's a tough call, because if you are going to spend 50,000+ on a car, there are many more options out there for you to push. My end conclusion?

Purchase: If I must PURCHASE one of these cars? Cadillac ATS and keep that 10,000 dollars I saved for 'future issues'.


Lease: If I must LEASE one of these cars? BMW 335I.
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      03-16-2014, 01:10 PM   #2
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The new BMW's do nothing for me. They have strayed too far away from what they were known for just to compete with Mercedes. The new 3 series in particular looks terrible. What were they thinking? Did they not have an ATS with the 3.6 and sport pkg? I like the ATS and cant wait to see the upcoming ATS-V.
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      03-16-2014, 01:18 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by swanson View Post
The new BMW's do nothing for me. They have strayed too far away from what they were known for just to compete with Mercedes. The new 3 series in particular looks terrible. What were they thinking? Did they not have an ATS with the 3.6 and sport pkg? I like the ATS and cant wait to see the upcoming ATS-V.
In a way, finally getting the #1 US luxury sales crown was bad for BMW fans but great for the company.
Prior to BMW getting that #1 spot, they never cared about volume sales the way they did now. They were very happy to be top 3 and gather a huge fanbase and buying consumer base of loyal fans that loved them for their performance and pure raw aggressive fun. After getting the 'Luxury Crown', they started caring about making sure they are #1, trying to chase down Mercedes in a way they never tried with Lexus and is now all about volume selling. Once again this is very good for the Brand, just bad for the fanbase that was attracted to the 'Old BMW style'.
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      03-16-2014, 01:28 PM   #4
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will you be comparing the BMW 320i with a loaded Cadillac ATS 3.6 in your next review?
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      03-16-2014, 01:40 PM   #5
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will you be comparing the BMW 320i with a loaded Cadillac ATS 3.6 in your next review?
That's not a real BMW.
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      03-16-2014, 01:55 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by CarReviewBMW View Post
In a way, finally getting the #1 US luxury sales crown was bad for BMW fans but great for the company.
Prior to BMW getting that #1 spot, they never cared about volume sales the way they did now. They were very happy to be top 3 and gather a huge fanbase and buying consumer base of loyal fans that loved them for their performance and pure raw aggressive fun. After getting the 'Luxury Crown', they started caring about making sure they are #1, trying to chase down Mercedes in a way they never tried with Lexus and is now all about volume selling. Once again this is very good for the Brand, just bad for the fanbase that was attracted to the 'Old BMW style'.
I disagree. Its good from a money stand point, but not from a product stand point. The cars are watered down and there are way too many models now. Its non sense. They used to be about a balance of luxury and performance, now they are ugly, heavy, overpriced, look-a-likes that no longer perform as they once did. And by performance I mean chassis dynamics and steering. Thats what they've always been know for. All the way from the 3 series on up the line. I used to love BMW. I've had a few and so have many of my family members, but todays BMW sucks.
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      03-16-2014, 03:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarReviewBMW
Quote:
Originally Posted by quiksi View Post
will you be comparing the BMW 320i with a loaded Cadillac ATS 3.6 in your next review?
That's not a real BMW.
I believe Quiksi was throwing sarcasm at your review, since you're comparing an I4 to an I6.
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      03-16-2014, 05:22 PM   #8
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I spent a much longer time and miles in a 2013 ATS 2.0T (auto trans) and 2-weeks later in a 2012 BMW 335i (AT non-sport package). Both cars had under 20,000 miles on them. Both were dealer loaners. I had both cars over 7 days and drove each over 950 miles on my normal commute (170 miles/day) that I've driven my E90 325i over 200,000 miles on (so I know the roads quite well). The roads I drive consist of excellent central Virginia mountain roads, some straight dual-lane highway, and Route 66 into Northern Virginia with out traffic and with heavy traffic.

I found the ATS a much, much better driver's car than the 335i. Yup, the 335i was faster, but the 8-speed shifts too much on the back roads and the manual shift just doesn't match a true 3-pedal car (both the ATS and BMW). And yeah the I6 turbo is a powerful engine, but it has none of the magic of a BMW NA I6; the engine is either on or off, combined with the trans, it sucks IMO, and combined with the standard 335i suspension, just a poor driver's car.

Now the ATS, it found it far better handling, and more dynamic on back-country roads; its a car that BMW used to build. The ATS I had felt more connected and more controllable than the 335i.

As far as the interiors, I'm not much on video screens and I-drive crap; I really just don't see the point. The I-drive is the better system; the CUE is not useable when the car is in motion. Cadillac, like all GM cars, doesn't dim the dash lights enough for me. Out on a dark back-country road it makes a difference.

Soon afterwards I test drove a 320i w/sport package (closer to the ATS 2.0T pricing) and the ATS was FAR SUPERIOR to that version of the F30.

That's my review. I've been driving a BMW 3-series as a DD since 1988 and have over 450,000 miles behind the wheel of various 3-ers.

I'll take the ATS. And I think GM reliability is better than BMW, many reports confirm this as well.
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      03-16-2014, 05:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skhmund
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarReviewBMW
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Originally Posted by quiksi View Post
will you be comparing the BMW 320i with a loaded Cadillac ATS 3.6 in your next review?
That's not a real BMW.
I believe Quiksi was throwing sarcasm at your review, since you're comparing an I4 to an I6.
Yeah... i.e. Try comparing apples to apples next time
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      03-16-2014, 06:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Efthreeoh View Post
I spent a much longer time and miles in a 2013 ATS 2.0T (auto trans) and 2-weeks later in a 2012 BMW 335i (AT non-sport package). Both cars had under 20,000 miles on them. Both were dealer loaners. I had both cars over 7 days and drove each over 950 miles on my normal commute (170 miles/day) that I've driven my E90 325i over 200,000 miles on (so I know the roads quite well). The roads I drive consist of excellent central Virginia mountain roads, some straight dual-lane highway, and Route 66 into Northern Virginia with out traffic and with heavy traffic.

I found the ATS a much, much better driver's car than the 335i. Yup, the 335i was faster, but the 8-speed shifts too much on the back roads and the manual shift just doesn't match a true 3-pedal car (both the ATS and BMW). And yeah the I6 turbo is a powerful engine, but it has none of the magic of a BMW NA I6; the engine is either on or off, combined with the trans, it sucks IMO, and combined with the standard 335i suspension, just a poor driver's car.

Now the ATS, it found it far better handling, and more dynamic on back-country roads; its a car that BMW used to build. The ATS I had felt more connected and more controllable than the 335i.

As far as the interiors, I'm not much on video screens and I-drive crap; I really just don't see the point. The I-drive is the better system; the CUE is not useable when the car is in motion. Cadillac, like all GM cars, doesn't dim the dash lights enough for me. Out on a dark back-country road it makes a difference.

Soon afterwards I test drove a 320i w/sport package (closer to the ATS 2.0T pricing) and the ATS was FAR SUPERIOR to that version of the F30.

That's my review. I've been driving a BMW 3-series as a DD since 1988 and have over 450,000 miles behind the wheel of various 3-ers.

I'll take the ATS. And I think GM reliability is better than BMW, many reports confirm this as well.
Me too. Great post overall. I really do feel that the ATS is more 'money for the bargain' than the 335I.

I'm getting out of my 5 this year and unless BMW can do something about their Brand and the direction they should be heading in..I will not be coming back.
BMW became too obessed with trying to be #1 in the American Luxury Market instead of just being top 3 and delivering an awesome product. I never saw BMW doing this during the years they were behind Lexus. The moment they outsold Lexus, they seem to have caught an 'addiction' to it and now it's all about the sales numbers. I think once they proved they could actually be #1 in sales after more than a decade of not finishing as top dog, they started trying to do everything to maintain that spot.
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      03-18-2014, 02:25 PM   #11
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Why did you test the base Cadillac against the top of the line 3-series? Not a fair comparison.

I also take issue with your point that the previous generation BMW screamed "raw aggression and power". The F30 is much more aggressive looking and handsome than the E90, and this is coming from a guy who really likes the E90. I think BMW did a great job on the new sedans.
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      03-18-2014, 05:14 PM   #12
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As being mentioned, it's not really fair to compare the ATS 2.0T to the 335i and IS350. Better competitors would be the 328i and IS250.... Or if you wanted a 335i competitor, go for the ATS 3.6.

I love the ATS. And I will note that my dads E90 335xi is being referenced when I mention BMW as I haven't driven the F30 yet. The exterior is nicely done. At first I was disappointed because I have gotten use to the A&S theme being edgy so I initially thought the more mature design of the A&S theme with the ATS was bland. But, as time marched on I started to appreciate the ATS's design. In matter of fact, the 2nd gen CTS's front end has aged horribly( in regular form, CTS-V still looks good as does the side and rear profile of the sedan and coupe's) and looks horrible right now to me, IMHO. I think the 3rd gen of the A&S design will age better than the 1st and 2nd gen. The ATS looks better than the 3 series( including the F30 since I don't have to drive it to compare exterior design)

I like the ATS's interior better too. It definitely has more style to it over BMW's function over form sense. CUE in its original form was a disappointment when I first drove the ATS back in October 2012 when ATS's started to hit the lots. It was easy to use, but it was laggy and animation was slow. But, the latest version has been improved greatly. Not iPad smooth yet, but it is usable now and isn't frustrating. I am not a fan of the beige or grey interior with the wood trims though as those colors give the interior a more luxury look to an overall sporty interior design, IMHO. So I don't personally think those colors go with the ATS's interior design. But, I love the morello red interior with the carbon fiber trim and the jet black interior with the aluminum trim. The only thing I do object to the ATS's interior is the instrument cluster. It looks cheap as crap and owners can't get the awesome LCD cluster that is in the new CTS and XTS.

The ATS drives better as well. I have driven the ATS in RWD and AWD form( where our E90 has xDrive). With the RWD model of the ATS, you can get GM's magnetic ride control suspension. That is just an amazing suspension. Not sure how BMW's adjustable suspension compares since I haven't driven a RWD 3 series with it. Sport mode stiffens up the suspension, but it is still comfortable( for me at least), but the car becomes more athletic and the car is well planted even going over a bump mid-corner. Overall, if you live in an area that doesn't get snow, pony up the money for MRC as it is worth it. With AWD, you do lose the chance to get MRC, but the standard suspension is still very good. Still gives you a better driving experience, but also more comfortable ride than the E90. As going over bumps, it doesn't seem to jar you as the E90 does.

The one thing the E90 is better than the ATS 3.6 is the power train. The N54 with the 6 speed ZF automatic is just an amazing power train. The power is always there when you want it and just pulls and pulls. The ZF automatic transmission shifts smoothly and quickly. But there is one caveat to it. The 335xi has to be in sport mode or in manual mode. In regular D, the 335xi isn't engaging. It feels a bit boring. Touring mode isn't as bad in the ATS as regular D is in the 335xi. But once in sport or manual mode, the 335xi comes to life and that engine is amazing. The LFX in the ATS isn't a bad engine and it is a bit unfair considering the N54 has twin turbo's enabling it to have that awesome power where the LFX is NA so you have to rev it to get the power. The 6 speed auto in the ATS isn't a bad transmission either. The shifts are smooth and quick as well, but the ZF is just that much better. Shoehorn the N54+ZF 6 speed into the ATS, and you really have the perfect sports sedan. The ATS's chassis is just superb, add that wonderful power train, and you have perfection.

And to touch on GM's quality/reliability, my family have been completely satisfied with our 5 GM products( not including our latest one as it is too new to say. Read on to see what is our 6th GM product). No major problems with any of them. My dads E46 and E90 have given us more problems than our GM products.

Overall, I like the ATS over the E90 335xi. It's more fun to drive on the back roads. In matter of fact, a 2014 Cadillac ATS Premium 3.6 AWD is in our garage right now replacing the E90. My dad liked the ATS as well so he bought it to replace the E90 which is going to my brother right now because the E46 has become too time consuming to maintain.

Last edited by quagmire; 03-18-2014 at 05:45 PM.
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      03-19-2014, 10:53 AM   #13
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And to touch on GM's quality/reliability, my family have been completely satisfied with our 5 GM products( not including our latest one as it is too new to say. Read on to see what is our 6th GM product). No major problems with any of them. My dads E46 and E90 have given us more problems than our GM products.
I agree, I don't know where you're getting info on GM cars having issues after 60k miles. My family has always had and only had GM cars (chevrolet specifically, mom has a cadillac CTS) and haven't had any issues really. My grandpa is starting to have issues with his buick but it has 350k+ miles. So outside basic maintenance and purchase of fixer-upper/non cared for cars we haven't had any issues. I've actually had more issues with my 135 in less than a year of ownership than my brother's 6 or 7 GM vehicles over a span of 5 yrs.
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