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The past few years, Cadillac has been on a quest to show they can compete with the Germans. Whether it was introducing new and improved models such as the ATS and CTS, commercials that show one of their vehicles on the ‘green hell', or bringing in people from German automakers to lend their expertise. With all of these changes, how is this working out for the brand? I spent a week in a 2015 ATS4 2.0T Coupe to find out.

 

The ATS Coupe is mostly a carbon copy of the larger, last-generation CTS coupe. The difference is the overall ATS coupe design isn’t quite as sharp as the CTS, a good thing in my book. The ATS coupe follows the basic guidelines for a coupe design; a long front end, lower roofline, and a very short rear end. Little design items such as the vertical headlights and exhaust tips mounted in the middle make the coupe quite the standout. One quibble I have with the ATS Coupe is the new emblem. Cadillac says this is to help bring in younger buyers, but I think it might backfire. I just think there is something missing on it, like a wreath.

 


2015 Cadillac ATS4 2.0T Coupe Premium 10


Moving inside the ATS Coupe, it feels quite snug thanks to the lowered roofline and high beltline. But once you get settled in, it becomes quite comfortable. My tester came with brown leather and piano black trim which I believe adds a nice touch of class. The front seats provided adequate comfort and were able to hold me in place during exuberant driving. There are a number of power adjustments that anyone can find a comfortable position, along with heat to keep you and a passenger warm. The back seat is best left for show as there isn’t enough room for anyone to feel comfortable sitting back here.

 

Infotainment duties are taken care of by Cadillac’s CUE system. Now this system has been maligned for a number of reasons ranging from slowness of the system to crashes. I want to say this system has seen some improvements since the last time I used it, but unfortunately I cannot. The capacitive touch buttons still take a few tries to recognize that they have been touched; performance of the system is still quite sluggish; and I had no maps appear on the navigation system for a few minutes. I’m beginning to wonder if it would be in the best interest for GM to scrap CUE and start over with a new system.

 

Engine, Ride, and Specs on the next page


 

Unlike the ATS sedan, the Coupe is only available with two powertrains. The base is the 2.0L turbocharged four, while the 3.6L DI V6 is an option. My tester came with the 2.0T which produces 272 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. This can be paired to a six-speed manual or my tester’s six-speed automatic. The 2.0T fixes one of the biggest problems I had with the ATS sedan I drove almost three years ago. In my review, I said the 3.6 had to be worked to reach all of the power it was capable of. Not so with the 2.0T. With torque arriving between 3000 - 4600 rpm, the 2.0T makes the ATS go like a rocket. Power comes on immediately and quite smoothly. It can almost fool someone into thinking you’re driving a six-cylinder, not a four. The six-speed automatic is smart in its shifts and is quite smooth. Rear-wheel drive comes as standard, but I had the optional all-wheel drive system. This system came in handy during a brief snow fall where the ATS was able to get going through the snow with no problem. Fuel economy for the ATS4 2.0T is rated at 20 City/28 Highway/23 Combined. I got 20.3 MPG during my week.

 


2015 Cadillac ATS4 2.0T Coupe Premium 7


The ATS has been praised for the way it drives around corners - providing something akin to an automobile from Germany. This holds true for the coupe. Equipped with a sports suspension (but not with Magnetic Ride Control, that’s only available on the rear-drive model), the ATS Coupe showed excellent poise. There was no hint of body roll and it felt flat when going through corners. Steering was quick to respond, but I was wishing for a little bit more weight. Maybe Cadillac could do something with adjustable steering with the different drive modes that are available on the ATS. Now the flipside of the sports suspension is a jarring everyday ride. Even with the vehicle set in the tour mode, bumps and potholes are transmitted quite clearly. Now I expect the ride to be a bit worse if you keep the standard 19-inch wheels with the paper thin tire sidewall, but I was lucky to have the optional 18-inch wheels which gained a tiny bit more sidewall and made the ride a little bit more bearable. Road noise is noticeable, but wind noise is kept to a decent level.

 

The ATS Coupe shows all the hard work that Cadillac has been putting in. From the distinctive looks to a punchy turbo-four, the ATS brings a bit of freshness to the luxury coupe class. If you are one of those people who cares about the way a coupe performs, then give the Cadillac ATS a hard look. If you happen to be one of those who cares about looks and wants something a bit more comfortable, then you might want to look at the Germans. Never thought I would say that.

 

Disclaimer: Cadillac Provided the ATS4 Coupe, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

 


Year: 2015
Make: Cadillac
Model: ATS4
Trim: Premium 2.0T
Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DI VVT Four-Cylinder
Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 272 @ 5500
Torque @ RPM: 295 @ 3000 - 4600
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/28/23
Curb Weight: 3,418 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Lansing, MI
Base Price: $48,205
As Tested Price: $51,345 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

 

Options:
Kona Brown with Jet Black Accents - $1,295.00
18-inch Polished Aluminum Wheels - $850.00


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Silly bickering of the day: grille needs the 3-bar design of the CTS and CT6 :P

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I've spent small bit of time in one of these with the bordello red interior.....  If only my automotive needs were different, I would own one.

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Great write up very informative. Who is that in the rear view mirror? ;)

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Oh, the last line, "If you happen to be one of those who cares about looks and wants something a bit more comfortable, then you might want to look at the Germans" made me laugh aloud, being of German heritage.   So the question that arises from my mind is, just how well can this Caddy keep up on the autobahn? 

 

What kind of bothered me from looking over this design is the visibility of the front windshield.  Looks to be at a funny angle, but maybe that is just me.

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Oh, the last line, "If you happen to be one of those who cares about looks and wants something a bit more comfortable, then you might want to look at the Germans" made me laugh aloud, being of German heritage.   So the question that arises from my mind is, just how well can this Caddy keep up on the autobahn? 

 

What kind of bothered me from looking over this design is the visibility of the front windshield.  Looks to be at a funny angle, but maybe that is just me.

 

It can keep up just fine. It has more power than a similarly priced 4-series or A4.

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What kind of bothered me from looking over this design is the visibility of the front windshield.  Looks to be at a funny angle, but maybe that is just me.

 

I thought the same thing, but visibility out front is decent. I wished the side and rear visibility was better, along with blind spot monitoring which is apparently an option and not ticked on my tester.

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I really am in love with the ATS in either form but no way I can buy one considering the back seat lack of room.  With a fam, I gotta have more space.

 

I hope Caddy gives this car a new interior.

 

This is a coupe I would consider otherwise, to eschew a sedan.

 

My notion is always reinforced of how nice a step up the new CTS is for only a bit more money while big discounts on 14's are available.  It's still light and not huge, but at least takes care of the back seat issue.

 

I'll get bludgeoned for saying this, but on the sedan, still having the 2.5 available due to mpg it gets vs the turbos, is still a good thing IMO.  Even if its sales are not much the mpg of the turbo 4 and v6 are not fabulous.  To have one ATS in the stable that can get bigger mpg in case gas tops 4 bucks again soon is nice to have in the back pocket.

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I am not a fan of high belt lines, and a lot of cars do it, some are really bad like a Chrysler 300.  I like having a more open feeling and being able to see out of the car, something that older cars seem to be better at compared to new ones because of safety regs.

 

They should probably scrap CUE and just buy something from Apple or Android.

 

I miss the wreath, the old logo looked better.  But if they want younger buyers to buy the ATS, they should put 4 rings on the grille.

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I wouldn't mind having a coupe again...I'm so used to 4drs, though..they are so much easier to get in and out of (shorter doors) and easier to put stuff in the back seat..

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But if they want younger buyers to buy the ATS, they should put 4 rings on the grille.

You've got that backwards!

 

Feb A4 sales : 1743 (down 21%)

Feb ATS sales : 2028

 

Audi needs a Crest on it's grille!  :neenerneener:

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The current A4 is 7 years old, nearing the end of its current generation, so the sales are down...

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http://autoweek.com/article/car-news/long-wheelbase-cadillac-ats-l-launch-august

 

ATS-L1.jpg?itok=ninu3M_Y

 

 

If i were Cadillac, and the ATS will be dead someday, I would try to make the most of it the next 3-4 years or whatever.  I would make the ATS-l the ATS sedan here, replace the interior and fix CUE.  And then bring in some powertrains prior to the next car coming in to test them out.  I would also work to give the best value in the ATS range as far as packages and equipment for the money.  Bring a lot of value to the entry offering and get new owners in the fold set up for the next wave 4-6 years down the road.  No wasting any time,  just get it done now.  Switching to the long WB platform might even allow you to use the CT3 name.

 

ATS-L2.jpg?itok=GtlmVBDq

 

http://blogs.youwheel.com/2014/08/01/side-profile-comparison-the-2015-cadillac-ats-vs-ats-l/

 

 

2015_Cadillac_ATS-L_1.jpg

 

 

2015_Cadillac_ATS-L_2.jpg

 

 

 

if the CTS all wheel drive is the CTS4.....what is the CT6 AWD?  CT6-4?

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Why not just buy a CTS, or another brand?

 

Once again- ATS has the same total legroom as the NEVER complained about audi A4. It has 9" more total legroom than the exact same overall length MBCLA.

There is NO need for an ATS-L because there is the CTS, and AFAIK, there is no other sedan in this segment with an 'L' version on the US market AND the ATS is wholly competitive in legroom in this size segment. An 'L' version sets up a 'tweener' scenario because the CTS's wheelbase is only a mere 5" longer. Overlap & confusion. Pointless, also.

 

It's also not going anywhere in 3-4 years; you missed the idea that the NAME is slated to change. Still outselling the A4 to boot.

 

Interior is one of the nicest in its segment, certainly no glaring deficiencies. CUE I have not experienced so cannot address.

A small diesel would be a nice addition, tho I note the A4 has only ONE engine avail. and the same price class (non-AMG) CLA has all of ONE engine avail, whereas the (non-V) ATS offers THREE.

 

These non-issues pointedly point to one underlying factor; this is not the car for YOU.

 

- - - - -

On another point, there seriously needs to be a de-coupling of the 'AWD' designator from models names. There's already more than enough alpha-numerics going on in general that adding a '4' or 'X' to it all only makes the 'system' that much easier to hate. Decouple.

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I do have to laugh when people complain about rear seat space in a compact sports sedan; these aren't family sedans. They are for singles and dinks. If you need to lug around a family, get a minivan or CUV.

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It's not so much the specs of rear seat legroom but how this platform handles the floor pan back there. If you look in the back seat of the ATS the floor pan juts out into where your feet would go effectively reducing what little space is available. Just because this car is compact does not give it a free pass for no space back there. The touch capacative crap needs to go along with Cue, the turbo and 3.6 should be getting better MPG numbers than they do and the price of this car is just too high. It would be a cold day in hell before I shelled out 51 large for a small cramped coupe with a 4 cylinder engine that drinks gas like a V6 even with the 4 wheel drive!

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"cramped coupe" : you aren't talking about rear seat room/ floor pans in a coupe, are you?? You want to put full-size people in the back, get a sedan; no coupes are roomy in the rear.

FRONT legroom is better than an A4 (in the ATS sedan) as it is.

 

RWD/2.5L ATS sedan starts at $34K, not $51K. If you want an ATS sedan, there's no reason you have to pay $51K. And we're still talking MSRP- no one pays sticker price even for a mercedes S-class!

 

ATS ~ 2.0T / 6A : 21/30

A4 ~ 2.0T / 8A : 24/32

A difference, but certainly not "like a V6". I would post the 6-cyl audi A4 MPG numbers, but it doesn't offer a 6. :(

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It's not so much the specs of rear seat legroom but how this platform handles the floor pan back there. If you look in the back seat of the ATS the floor pan juts out into where your feet would go effectively reducing what little space is available. Just because this car is compact does not give it a free pass for no space back there. The touch capacative crap needs to go along with Cue, the turbo and 3.6 should be getting better MPG numbers than they do and the price of this car is just too high. It would be a cold day in hell before I shelled out 51 large for a small cramped coupe with a 4 cylinder engine that drinks gas like a V6 even with the 4 wheel drive!

 

But the you would if it had 4 rings or a 3-pointed star?  That's the point Balth is making here.  Why are there complaints about Price per Interior Space on the ATS when the smaller competition doesn't get the same complaint.

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"cramped coupe" : you aren't talking about rear seat room/ floor pans in a coupe, are you?? You want to put full-size people in the back, get a sedan; no coupes are roomy in the rear.

FRONT legroom is better than an A4 (in the ATS sedan) as it is.

 

RWD/2.5L ATS sedan starts at $34K, not $51K. If you want an ATS sedan, there's no reason you have to pay $51K. And we're still talking MSRP- no one pays sticker price even for a mercedes S-class!

 

ATS ~ 2.0T / 6A : 21/30

A4 ~ 2.0T / 8A : 24/32

A difference, but certainly not "like a V6". I would post the 6-cyl audi A4 MPG numbers, but it doesn't offer a 6. :(

 

Some specs you missed:

 

ATS ~ 2.0T / 6A : 21/30 - 272hp - 295 lb-ft - Regular fuel okay, premium recommended

A4 ~ 2.0T / 8A : 24/32 - 211hp - 258 lb-ft - Premium fuel required

 

Any fuel cost savings gained by the extra mpgs in the Audi are reversed and then pushed into the negative by the Premium fuel requirement..... even if you did run regular fuel which isn't recommended, your mpg will suffer substantially.  The Cadillac ATS 2.0T can run regular fuel 100% of the time and you'll just see a small performance decrease. 

 

This is also where the Cadillac 2.5 liter comes in. It runs regular fuel just fine and has almost the same HP as the Audi 2.0T though a lot less torque... and gets the 22/33 mpg

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"cramped coupe" : you aren't talking about rear seat room/ floor pans in a coupe, are you?? You want to put full-size people in the back, get a sedan; no coupes are roomy in the rear.

FRONT legroom is better than an A4 (in the ATS sedan) as it is.

 

RWD/2.5L ATS sedan starts at $34K, not $51K. If you want an ATS sedan, there's no reason you have to pay $51K. And we're still talking MSRP- no one pays sticker price even for a mercedes S-class!

 

ATS ~ 2.0T / 6A : 21/30

A4 ~ 2.0T / 8A : 24/32

A difference, but certainly not "like a V6". I would post the 6-cyl audi A4 MPG numbers, but it doesn't offer a 6. :(

 

Some specs you missed:

 

ATS ~ 2.0T / 6A : 21/30 - 272hp - 295 lb-ft - Regular fuel okay, premium recommended

A4 ~ 2.0T / 8A : 24/32 - 211hp - 258 lb-ft - Premium fuel required

 

Any fuel cost savings gained by the extra mpgs in the Audi are reversed and then pushed into the negative by the Premium fuel requirement..... even if you did run regular fuel which isn't recommended, your mpg will suffer substantially.  The Cadillac ATS 2.0T can run regular fuel 100% of the time and you'll just see a small performance decrease. 

 

This is also where the Cadillac 2.5 liter comes in. It runs regular fuel just fine and has almost the same HP as the Audi 2.0T though a lot less torque... and gets the 22/33 mpg

 

 

Except, in the real world, none of that really holds up.

 

As premium is recommended for full power with Cadillac's 2.0t, those numbers are achieved using premium. The Audi's engine is well documented as being under-rated, and it shows. What looks like a massive difference in horsepower simply doesn't materialize in reality. Performance data shows the the A4 and ATS as having nearly identical acceleration times, both generally around 5.8 seconds. It's the same thing with the 328i, which also looks to be at a disadvantage on paper, yet is the quickest of the bunch by far. Edmunds even dyno'd the ATS and 328i back to back, finding the the BMW had an ever so slight advantage in power. It also happens to achieve the best fuel economy, also on premium. There is a slight cost savings using regular in the Cadillac, but it's not that big a difference, especially after factoring in real driver's actual MPG (to be honest, there's very little data on fueleconomy'gov's website, but owner's forums seem to back up that data after a quick search). 

 

So yes, on paper, the Cadillac looks like a winner. In reality, they're all about the same. Not such a bad thing, and honestly, the Germans set themselves up for it by under-rated everything. 

Edited by blackviper8891
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The ATS and the CTS out BMW what BMW's used to do...now that BMW's are big and soft, and heavy. It's baffling to hear all magazine critics proclaim this proudly and gush over the ATS/CTS year after year, yet it doesn't translate into sales.

 

Why? Many reasons, but terrible marketing so no one has recognition of what an ATS or CTS are is a huge reason. Show them beating a BMW...show those quotes saying it...make the car sound incredible on a sound clip...something that makes you go "whoa, what is that?"

 

Car people can appreciate how high performance this platform and the cars off it are. But the buying public needs to know that too, so they want to buy them.

 

The ATS is not exactly the most comfortable car, but is a performer top to bottom.

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BMW may have lost some touch due to the electric steering and bigger vehicles, but they BMW buyers keep coming back.  I seem to remember a Car and Driver comparison and they said the ATS had the best chassis and best handling but the 0-60 time and fuel economy were worse than the BMW, and C/D didn't like the 6-speed automatic transmission or the CUE system.  The ATS doesn't do enough other things well to topple the Germans.

 

Advertising and marketing are a problem, but so is image.  Cadillac still has a lousy image with a lot of buyers.  They could make the ATS out handle the Z06, it still won't help it get sales, the rest of the car needs to exceed what the Germans are doing to get people to look at it.

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BMW may have lost some touch due to the electric steering and bigger vehicles, but they BMW buyers keep coming back.  I seem to remember a Car and Driver comparison and they said the ATS had the best chassis and best handling but the 0-60 time and fuel economy were worse than the BMW, and C/D didn't like the 6-speed automatic transmission or the CUE system.  The ATS doesn't do enough other things well to topple the Germans.

 

Advertising and marketing are a problem, but so is image.  Cadillac still has a lousy image with a lot of buyers.  They could make the ATS out handle the Z06, it still won't help it get sales, the rest of the car needs to exceed what the Germans are doing to get people to look at it.

99% of the ATS out does both MB and BMW. Just too many Badge snobs with their heads buried in the sand like an Ostrich and poor marketing / advertising to get people to check out the superior product.

 

Cadillac would do well to have MB and BMW identically equipped auto's on hand to allow real comparison to their ATS and CTS and this is where you will see the separation of the Curds from the Whey!

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"cramped coupe" : you aren't talking about rear seat room/ floor pans in a coupe, are you?? You want to put full-size people in the back, get a sedan; no coupes are roomy in the rear.

FRONT legroom is better than an A4 (in the ATS sedan) as it is.

 

RWD/2.5L ATS sedan starts at $34K, not $51K. If you want an ATS sedan, there's no reason you have to pay $51K. And we're still talking MSRP- no one pays sticker price even for a mercedes S-class!

 

ATS ~ 2.0T / 6A : 21/30

A4 ~ 2.0T / 8A : 24/32

A difference, but certainly not "like a V6". I would post the 6-cyl audi A4 MPG numbers, but it doesn't offer a 6. :(

 

Some specs you missed:

 

ATS ~ 2.0T / 6A : 21/30 - 272hp - 295 lb-ft - Regular fuel okay, premium recommended

A4 ~ 2.0T / 8A : 24/32 - 211hp - 258 lb-ft - Premium fuel required

 

Any fuel cost savings gained by the extra mpgs in the Audi are reversed and then pushed into the negative by the Premium fuel requirement..... even if you did run regular fuel which isn't recommended, your mpg will suffer substantially.  The Cadillac ATS 2.0T can run regular fuel 100% of the time and you'll just see a small performance decrease. 

 

This is also where the Cadillac 2.5 liter comes in. It runs regular fuel just fine and has almost the same HP as the Audi 2.0T though a lot less torque... and gets the 22/33 mpg

 

 

Except, in the real world, none of that really holds up.

 

As premium is recommended for full power with Cadillac's 2.0t, those numbers are achieved using premium. The Audi's engine is well documented as being under-rated, and it shows. What looks like a massive difference in horsepower simply doesn't materialize in reality. Performance data shows the the A4 and ATS as having nearly identical acceleration times, both generally around 5.8 seconds. It's the same thing with the 328i, which also looks to be at a disadvantage on paper, yet is the quickest of the bunch by far. Edmunds even dyno'd the ATS and 328i back to back, finding the the BMW had an ever so slight advantage in power. It also happens to achieve the best fuel economy, also on premium. There is a slight cost savings using regular in the Cadillac, but it's not that big a difference, especially after factoring in real driver's actual MPG (to be honest, there's very little data on fueleconomy'gov's website, but owner's forums seem to back up that data after a quick search). 

 

So yes, on paper, the Cadillac looks like a winner. In reality, they're all about the same. Not such a bad thing, and honestly, the Germans set themselves up for it by under-rated everything. 

 

 

But again, the point we're talking about here is that even when specs are identical, people complain about the Cadillac spec but not the equal spec from the Germans. 

 

I do wonder what the ATS performance will be once it gets the new 8-speed in August. 

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      The suspension setup is stiff and you’ll feel all of the road imperfections except on the most glass-smooth of pavement.  That is the tradeoff for having very nimble handling.  It is rather fun to push this small front driver into the corners. My tester came with 20-inch wheels rather than the standard 19-inchers.
      This is not one of those cars that is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. The interior is definitely snug and I wouldn’t recommend the driver’s seat to anyone much larger than my 5’10” frame. Because of the lower roof, headroom suffers, especially in the rear. Cargo room is small, but if you’re in the market for a car this size, it is to be expected.
      Still, in spite of its lack of size, the X2 is a comfortable place to sit with bold leather seats in Magma Red. The controls are well placed, though with a large number of buttons. BMW’s iDrive is here too, which always takes some getting used to.  Android Auto is not an option and BMW offers Apple CarPlay as a subscription service.  This is one thing I can’t get my head around as both are offered for free on much less expensive vehicles.
      Because of the smaller dimensions, rearward vision isn’t great and there are a few blind spots that can make things tricky.
      The BMW X2 competes with the likes of the Volvo XC40, Audi Q3, Range Rover Evoque, Cadillac XT4, and the Mercedes-Benz GLA.  All of those, save the GLA, feel roomier inside, making the X2 a more ideal fit for someone of diminutive size. However, the M35i can out power all of them except the GLA AMG 45.
      The as-tested price of my X2 M35i is estimated at $50,400 MSRP. Whether you can stomach $50k for a compact crossover with 302 horsepower is up to you.
    • By Drew Dowdell
      Cadillac released the pricing for the upcoming CT4 sedan for 2020. Ringing up at $33,990 for the base 2.0T RWD model with an 8-speed automatic, the CT4 undercuts the price of the outgoing ATS by a few grand.  This makes the CT4 roughly $7,000 cheaper than the same size 3-series or C-Class sedan or just $1k more expensive than a smaller A-Class Sedan.  Adding AWD will add about $2,500 to the price.  Buyers who want a bit more can opt for the Premium Luxury package with the 2.7-liter Turbo-4 making 309 horsepower and 348 lb.-ft of torque and a 10-speed automatic, brings the price to $38,490, adding AWD to that costs $3,200. 
      If you're most interested in the V model with more power, 325 horsepower and 380 lb.-ft of torque, that will cost you $45,490. That gets you a RWD model with Brembo front brakes, a rear limited slip differential. Adding AWD to the V-series brings the price to $46,590.
      The CT4 goes on sale early next year. 
       

      View full article
    • By Drew Dowdell
      Cadillac released the pricing for the upcoming CT4 sedan for 2020. Ringing up at $33,990 for the base 2.0T RWD model with an 8-speed automatic, the CT4 undercuts the price of the outgoing ATS by a few grand.  This makes the CT4 roughly $7,000 cheaper than the same size 3-series or C-Class sedan or just $1k more expensive than a smaller A-Class Sedan.  Adding AWD will add about $2,500 to the price.  Buyers who want a bit more can opt for the Premium Luxury package with the 2.7-liter Turbo-4 making 309 horsepower and 348 lb.-ft of torque and a 10-speed automatic, brings the price to $38,490, adding AWD to that costs $3,200. 
      If you're most interested in the V model with more power, 325 horsepower and 380 lb.-ft of torque, that will cost you $45,490. That gets you a RWD model with Brembo front brakes, a rear limited slip differential. Adding AWD to the V-series brings the price to $46,590.
      The CT4 goes on sale early next year. 
       
    • By William Maley
      The last-generation Lexus LS felt a bit lost. It had many of the qualities of previous LS models, but it could not fully compete with the likes of Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8, and BMW 7-Series. People pointed out the somewhat plain design, lackluster performance of the V8 engine, or the confounding infotainment system as possible reasons. But I think the reason comes down to Lexus not having something that made the LS stand out. How do you right the ship of what many considered to be at one time, the best luxury sedan on sale? If you’re Lexus, that means making some very drastic changes.
      Lexus has tended to play it safe with the LS’ design to fit with the general idea of a flagship sedan - providing a presence without shouting. But this new generation decides to stray away from that idea. The front end features a lot of inspiration from LC coupe with a wide grille, protruding cutouts for the faux vent, and a lowered hood. A set of Z-shaped LED headlights help the LS stand out from other Lexus models. The rest of the design looks to be an evolution of the previous model with slightly wider fenders and a new trunk lid design. 
      One of the places that LS surprised me was the interior. The layout is quite attractive with a flowing dash and contours on the door panels. A clever touch is the horizontal slat pattern used on the center part of the dash that somewhat disguises the center vents. Material quality is top-notch with leather, real wood, and metal used throughout. 
      This particular test vehicle was equipped with perforated leather upholstery which had a unique snakeskin pattern. I quite liked it, but some who rode in the vehicle found it to be a bit gaudy. This seat pattern is only available on the F-Sport, all other LS models have a plain design. The front seats are quite comfortable and provide numerous power adjustments, along with heat and ventilation. Rear seat passengers will find plenty of legroom, but tall passengers will be annoyed by their heads touching the roof liner, a major downside to the lower roofline.
      The interior also houses a big disappointment; Lexus Remote Touch. The touchpad controller is still confounding and distracting to use as you need to be precise with your finger movements to correctly select the function you want. Otherwise, you’ll end up on another screen and want to scream. This is disappointing considering that Lexus Enform has improved a lot. The system is noticeably quicker in various functions and can use Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa.
      Despite the 500 designation, there is not a 5.0L V8 under the LS’ hood. Instead, Lexus is using a twin-turbo 3.5L V6 engine with 416 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. A ten-speed automatic routes power to either the rear or all four wheels like in my test vehicle. The twin-turbo V6 is disappointing when leaving a stop as there is a considerable amount of turbo lag between pressing the accelerator and the engine responding. Once you get past this, the V6 provides plenty of scoot. Never once did I think that the V8 would be better whenever I need to merge or speed out of a corner. It is also noticeably quieter and more refined than the old V8.
      Fuel economy is rated at 18 City/27 Highway/21 Combined if you opt for AWD. Stick with RWD and the numbers rise to 19/30/23. My average for the week landed at 20.2 mpg on a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving.
      Picking the F-Sport trim will get you a revised suspension setup and uprated brakes. It will not transform the LS into something like an Alpina B7 or a Mercedes-AMG S63, but it does make the vehicle feel a bit more poised on a winding road. When put into S+ mode, Body roll is kept in check and the steering is quick to respond. The coil springs used on the LS F-Sport are a bit stiff, which will provide a more choppy ride. An optional air suspension is reportedly better at dealing with bumps and other imperfections, but I will need to try it out before saying it is better or not.
      This drastic move by Lexus with the new LS could have gone wrong, but it pulls it off. The new model is more interesting to look at, luxurious and offers improved driving dynamics when ordered with the F-Sport package. There are still some thorns Lexus needs to extract such as the poor initial performance of the twin-turbo six and the mess that is Remote Touch. If you’re willing to deal with these issues, then the 2019 LS is a very viable alternative to the Germans.
      How I would configure an LS 500: Most likely I would build one similar to the one seen here, although I would get it in red as I think the paint really makes the design pop. 
      Alternatives to the LS 500
      Mercedes-Benz S-Class: The S-Class is still considered by many to be the best of the best. Considering its wide range of engines, very smooth ride, and impressive interior quality, it is tough to argue this. But the LS comes very close to matching the S-Class's interior quality, along with a more eye-catching design. It doesn't help that the S-Class is about $7,000 more than the LS. Genesis G90: Still the bargain in the flagship sedan class with a base price of $69,350 and coming with almost every feature you would expect. The twin-turbo 3.3L V6 offers better off-the line performance than the 3.5 found in the LS. But the LS offers higher quality interior materials than what is available in the G90. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the LS 500, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2019
      Make: Lexus
      Model: LS
      Trim: 500 F-Sport
      Engine: 3.5L Twin-Turbo 24-Valve DOHC V6
      Driveline: 10-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 416 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 442 @1600 - 4800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 
      Curb Weight: 5,027 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan
      Base Price: $84,420
      As Tested Price: $88,605 (Includes $1,025 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Mark Levinson Audio System with 23 Speakers - $1,940.00
      24-Inch Heads-Up Display - $1,220.00

      View full article
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