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Photo Comparison: F30 BMW 3 Series vs. Cadillac ATS

3-Series, Featured Posts | January 12th, 2012 by 32
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The 2012 Detroit Auto Show hosted the world premiere of the Cadillac ATS. The first compact Cadillac joins the midsize segment to take on BMW’s …

The 2012 Detroit Auto Show hosted the world premiere of the Cadillac ATS. The first compact Cadillac joins the midsize segment to take on BMW’s top-seller, the 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Cadillac ATS will be offered with both rear-wheel and all-drive options, and the company describes it at “nimble, fun and quick,” traits typical of a midsize, sport and luxurious car.

Our own Hugo Becker shared his first impressions of the ATS:

Photo Comparison: F30 BMW 3 Series vs. Cadillac ATS

And Cadillac has taken the approach of a direct assault. The new ATS is within fractions of being the same physical size of the F30 3er. It uses a set of four cylinder and one six cylinder engines to power it (V6) and it is available with a manual transmission.

We had a chance to spend a few moments with Tom Prevost, the interior designer of the ATS, on the show floor. The mix of materials in the interior looked good, especially the exposed stitching. They have a good mix of wood, leather and chrome (on real metal – not plastic, the heat transfer when hand touches metal is there), and it looks good.

The interior uses premium materials, the stitching details are real (not embossed, as on some premium pretenders). They use real wood and we got a pleasant surprise when we touched the metal trim. It felt cold, meaning it was real metal, not shiny plastic. The seats felt good, but not as firm as BMW’s. The The is a large navigation display in the center stack plus an interesting hideaway cubby hole behind the HVAC controls. You can stash your iPod/MP3 player behind it (there is a USB port at the rear of the compartment).

It is a different approach than BMW and conforms to Cadillac’s Art & Science approach to design.

As always, BMWBLOG gives you a photo comparison between the two competitors.

Photo Comparison: F30 BMW 3 Series vs. Cadillac ATS

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  • InvincibleM5

    The ATS’s exterior is bland because it lacks of lines and shapes other than square-ish and too simple design which is not my taste. The interior is like of the CTS, and it has the sense of a Korean car in it. Also not my kind of thing. However though, it’s still a very good one.

    So my choice goes to the BMW 3 Series. It has a much more ‘modern’, sophisticated and contemporary exterior design, although the body doesn’t look as strong as the ATS. The interior is where it gets very good. The BMW interior has always got me for many, many years and the new one is obviously my favourite interior of all. It’s just so nice and comfortable to be in.

    I’m not drawing out the ultimate conclusion yet, but for the design it seems like the 3 Series fared me better than the ATS, but not by a large margin. We’ll see how it drives. The ATS, like the CTS will be a tough challenger to these German carmakers.

  • Porscheblows

    The front end of the 3 series blows, seriously, it looks far too plasticy. 

    • LaMa

      I agree 100% ! The weakest link in the 3 is the front end styling. Weak and shabby lines, not a clear line in sight, the missing space between the grille and headlight is confusing and obstructive.
      The rest of the car flows well and interior is a nice one.

      The Cadillac however nailed it. Its truly a nice car and excellent interior. Serious competition to the BMW now.

      • Terry Jansen

        I would agree with you on the front end styling of the BMW. Weak is the correct word, the area where the hood meets the headlight, just awful, it looks like a committie designed it. Connecting the headlight lens to the grill, lame, it makes the car look so cheap. I must say the interior of the ATS is not hateful.

        • Fredyschiftan

          The front looks great its a matter of taste .  It looks very BMW which is a grest thing, all those cars there go by public opinions  but BMW is and will be RECOGNIZABLE !!!!!!  THAT IS THE GAME!!

    • Dude

      Dunno how BMW manage to make their cars look – uh – weird on photos and great when seen live. Wait and see til you see them driving around. The F30 looks great!

  • Badger

    Honestly, these are two different cars. It was stupid for caddy to say it was going after the BMW 3 series. I mean, they taken a whole different approach and created something different. 

  • M3power

    Well call me bias, but what do you expect on a bmw blog? Of course I favor the 3 series design-wise. But, the real question is the performance and handling, and that is what really counts here.

    • LaMa

      No, this question was for styling and design. Not performance and handling. That you can not do from behind a keyboard.
      This was a simple and easy pure question – which one looks better inside/outside.

      performance is a subjective matter anyway. 99% of the buyers will not care weather the car does the test track under x minutes or so. Why does it matter to the majority of the people who never goes even close to a race track ? It has to be comfortable and roomy enough, good fuel economy, safe, reliable, etc. Those are the factors most buyers of the 3 series and ATS will look for.

    • BMW Fan

      that’s my point M3power, that’s where you know who is the top gun here.

  • Pingback: Photo Comparison: F30 BMW 3 Series vs. Cadillac ATS – BMW BLOG (blog) | B.M.W

  • Mrmaxiz

    If BMW wouldnt had messed up the headlights it would be a nice car.

  • Anonymous

    Cadillac = Fugly inside out

  • Bobby

    ATS in a landslide, the 3-Series looks dated inside and out.  BMW’s interior designers and UI developers need to flush out the current mess and start all over again.

  • Ac11

    The color of BMW used is not upto mark for comparision.

  • kcsnyud

    I swear, does the ats remind you of the previous generation camry?

    • Bobby

      More like a Ford Taurus.  Nothing should ever be compared to the butt ugly Camry.

  • Alex

    This comparison is so stupid. I wonder whether your idea is to belittle the 3 series. These are two different cars to anyone who knows anything about cars.

  • Horatiu

    Actually in person the ATS looks pretty good, but of course, it’s still to early to tell if it’s a compelling product. The driver experience will have to be nearly perfect to match the 3er.

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  • Zack

    BMW has for as long as I can remember built boring, bland, soulless, and uninspiring interior in all of their vehicles. Its really quite sad when something like a new Hyundai or Kia has a better looking interior.

  • Cadillac???

    The only comparisons I see are the ones GM desperately continues promoting. I truly believe this is simple a comparison that exists in media only. Yes, i agree with “M3Power” about the bias, but the truth is I actively sought out a CTS_V because i found it suspicious, though possible, that cadillac could be catching BMW, Audi, Mercedes, etc. In any case, I’m not about to down play what Cadillac has done. Nice care!…fast, comfortable, and handles well, though i found the interior….well inferior. Long story short, there isn’t anything so impressive that i would consider changing out of my M5 !. Its ridiculous. My advice is to drive a one of the two for two days, then rent the second for a weekend, then go back to the first choice for another day. Doing this forces change in your expectation and behavior with the car, after becoming familiar.
    BMW is very far ahead of Cadillac. Maybe Cadillac is catching them on the 1/4 mile, or slalom or whatever, but the feel of ride and the confidence in the control and maneuvering is not even in the same class. Finally, the interior is a level up in the appearance and ergonomics. Come on already!
    Ok the Cadillac radio sounds good. So if that’s the first item on your list for a high performance sedan……go for it ! Wait….i still pick BMW’s radio. ;)

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