Underdog: Cadillac ATS-V

US carmaker Cadillac is already struggling for years to gain foothold in Europe and battle German domination in the premium D, E, and F-segments. And while their underperformance was somewhat understandable five years ago, with every new model Cadillac seems to get closer to the competition. A personal favorite of mine is the Cadillac ATS-V, and therefore it seems right to spend some time talking about it. Because it certainly deserves more than it’s getting on the continent.

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Cadillac positions the ATS-V as a competitor for the BMW M4, Audi RS4 (yet to be announced) and Mercedes C63 AMG. Therefore, its a premium d-segment car. The CTS(-V) operates a level higher, and the brand new CT6 is top of the line. The Americans certainly invested time and money to make their bid as good as possible; with an attractive and aggressive exterior (which I personally think is a job well done), modern interior, and sophisticated mechanics.

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Engine wise, there is a biturbo V6 sporting 470 hp, which hurls the ATS from 0 to 100 in 3.9 seconds. It only stops accelerating at 304 kph. This is on par or better than the competiton. Cadillac really tried to appeal to European buyers, who prefer sophisticated and smooth engines over naturally aspirated V8s with enormous displacement. Where it still lags behind a bit, is the gearbox. The 8 speed automatic isn’t as refined and quick as the one in the BMW M4, its most important nemesis. But it compensates with very good handling, caused by direct and engaging steering and a well balanced chassis and suspension. Magnetic Ride Control is Cadillacs term for adaptive dampers, and it works great. It causes the American to keep up with the BMW, a very important feat. Where that never was the case with ‘old’ Cadillac due to sluggishness, rolling over, and unresponsive steering the Bavarian now encountered an equal.

When it comes to interior quality, the ATS-V is adequate, but not great. All modern systems are there, but it still doesnt ooze the same quality as its German counterparts. Things are better than previous years, though.

The biggest challenge for the ATS-V is not to win from its rivals in terms of performance; it already did. But the price tag is simply too steep. In the Netherlands, the car is available from 127 grand. That is more than the BMW; which means most European customers will most likely go for the M4. If GM is serious about their luxury brand selling decent numbers over here, it would be better to position the different models slightly below the competition. When an ATS-V suddenly costs 90 grand, there is a real chance BMW, Audi, and Mercedes customers want to save 10 or 20 thousand and go for the alternative option. For now, the ATS-V is only interesting for the used market, since it depreciates quickly and makes for a nice deal in a few years. A sad, and undeserved, truth.

 

 

Configurator: Porsche Macan (pt.1)

In this new series, we from AutoExperience use the online configurator of a specific car brand and model in order to get the nicest overall package. To get the best price / performance and price / equipment is the ultimate goal. Prices are according to the Dutch configurator, but we’ll advise on how to convert this to your own country.

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In this first episode, we go into a relatively new car, namely Porsche’s offering in the mid-size SUV segment, the Macan. Based on the Audi Q5 (also recently renewed) Porsche is offering an attractive and sporty exterior with powerful engines and top notch interior quality. This definitely makes the car an expensive piece of steel, so it’s not for everyone. Potential buyers? Think:

  • Porsche customers wanting more practicality
  • Porsche customers who think the Cayenne is too mondane, large, or pricy
  • German SUV buyers wanting to step up their game when it comes to dynamic driving and overall quality
  • German SUV buyers who just like the Porsche brand more than the obligatory Audi, BMW, or Mercedes

There are always additional specific demands when shopping for a new car. Some want it to be as business-fit as possible, other like a more daring design. Same goes for diesel versus petrol. In this case; we’re not being too difficult a customer. We are owners of a small company and have the budget to afford a bit more than the usual lease-A6. The wife already has her own (practical) car, so we don’t need to think about that either. Because the Macan will be our (only) daily driver, it needs to well equipped but not too tinhorn since it might give the wrong impression at work. Mileage is no issue, so petrol is our preference.

Starting off with the engines, we opt for the Macan Turbo. There is also a Macan (regular) and a Macan S, but we’re a bit disappointed with their performance. Acceleration of these models is comparable to the common Volvo V60 D6 plugin and the Mercedes C350e plugin, and we wouldnt want that with a car costing >30k more. The premium for the Turbo is hefty but not unreasable and already contains some goodies we want anyway. Exterior is also more modern for the Turbo, while its not as screaming as the GTS. The Turbo performance package is overdone for an SUV, according to us.

Technical:

  • 3.6 litre biturbo V6 with 440 hp / 550 Nm
  • 0-100 in 4.8 / top 266 (enough to safely beat cars limited at 250)
  • PDK dual clutch automatic transmission
  • 1900 kg

Additional specification:

  • ‘Agate Grey’ metallic (sporty, but decent)
  • 21 inch ‘911 Turbo’ alloys (more distinguished and elegant than stock wheels)
  • ‘Turbo’ Exterior pack (matte black accents)
  • Nature leather ‘Espresso’
  • Adaptive Sport Seats
  • LED lights with PDLS+
  • Park Assist front + rear (no cam needed, its not a limo)
  • Panoramic Sunroof
  • Roofrails matte black
  • Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus PTV+ (rear differentials)
  • Sport Chrono
  • BLIS / LDWS / ACC
  • Heated Seats front
  • Side Airbags rear
  • Gauges Luxor Beige

…To be continued!