Is the Cadillac ATS-V what the BMW M3 should have been?

BMW M3 | August 8th, 2015 by 6
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Cadillac ATS-V or BMW M3: Which one is the best midsize sports car?

There has been some talk floating around lately of the Cadillac ATS-V being not only better than the BMW M3, but the car BMW should have made the M3 be in the first place. It’s been said that the ATS-V is more of an M3 than the current M3. This is interesting, as the ATS-V is very similar to the M3, in terms of design and performance, so maybe it’s true. But maybe it’s not.

The current F80 BMW M3 has been criticized for being too brutish and numb, not like the precision and tactile instruments that

previous M3s were.

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In some ways, these critics have a point. The current M3 is the most powerful and torquiest of the bunch, having a much broader and more aggressive powerband than any M3 before it. It’s also bigger, faster and turbocharged. So, in many ways, the M3 has grown up and become a bit more brutish. But that doesn’t necessarily make it a brute.

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The Cadillac ATS-V has been said to be more of a precision instrument than the M3. Yet, that’s an odd statement, as the ATS-V has almost an identical engine setup, more power, is faster to 60 mph, its powerband is far more sudden due to the increased turbo lag over the M3 and it’s heavier. So I wouldn’t necessarily call the ATS-V the Mohammed Ali to the M3’s Mike Tyson.

Now, maybe the M3 doesn’t have the tactility and feedback of the E46 M3 or the screaming and charismatic V8 of the E92. But it’s still one hell of a sharp instrument. Watch any video of a proper driver taking the M3 around a track and you can see immediately that any driver worth his salt can work the M3 like a laser-guided weapon specifically designed for attacking apexes. Calling the M3 something of a German Muscle Car is incredibly far from the truth.


The ATS-V’s twin-turbocharged V6’s powerband comes in like a sledgehammer, as the lag in the beginning belies the true ferocity of the engine. So when the boost comes on, the power delivery kicks thrusts you back like an ACME rocket. Sure, it’s handling is sharp and the suspension is very good. But is the M3’s handling is sloppy or suspension wooden? Absolutely not. In fact, the M3 is one of the hottest performing cars on the road.


I have no doubt that the ATS-V is a fantastic car and is probably equally as good as the M3. It may even be the more engaging car, as the Germans have gone more toward cold-hearted tactility over heart racing fun these past few years. But the ATS-V isn’t more of an M3 than the M3 is. BMW knows what the M3 needs to be, the ATS-V is just a different interpretation of it. If the BMW M3 is Emmitt Smith of the Dallas Cowboys, the ATS-V is Emmitt Smith of Dancing With The Stars. Equally as impressive and talented, just in different manner.

[Source: R&T]

6 responses to “Is the Cadillac ATS-V what the BMW M3 should have been?”

  1. CREAMTEAM says:

    Great article!

  2. Kaisuke971 says:

    The M4 is more of an M3 than the E92 imo… It directly follows the heritage of both E46 and E36.

    • Armenierr says:

      i feel that is true if your talking about the whole i6 engines, but then you could get into a huge argument over engines. I havent driven the new f80 but have had the luxury of driving a 06 zcp e46 m3 and a 13 comp m3 both mt coupes. I love both of them and find them to SOUND and APPEAR to be more attractive. The v8 is the best “exotic” engine that has ever been fitted into the m3 and WILL PROBABLY be the best sounding one for a long while [ along with the e46 (if u like rasp) ]. All my friends who own f80 m4’s dont HATE the car but STRONGLY DISLIKE the engines EXHAUST NOTE ( even with a nice exhaust like a akrapovic) . Simply put…..its just not the same.

  3. Garrett Newberger says:

    I think this is a great article. I think it’s close, but the I still think the M3 takes the cake, overall.

  4. Vernon Price says:

    What a hilariously biased article. The ATS-V is better in every way than the M3. Read every review, watch every video. Over and over and over again, the same comments come up; the ATS-V is the better driving car. Time to stand up and take it in the face, boys – your ass got beat this round.

    The sentiment expressed in this article is basically “Yeah the ATS-V is good but I think the M3 is still better”.

    It isn’t. Not subjectively, not objectively.

    “The Cadillac ATS-V has been said to be more of a precision instrument than the M3. Yet, that’s an odd statement”

    Why? That statement comes from both amateur and professional drivers who have driven both cars back to back, in direct comparison. What do you know that they don’t? Oh right. Nothing. The ATS-V IS more of a precision instrument than the M3. The end. No excuses. I mean seriously, you’re trying to taker the fact that the ATS-V is faster and turn it into a negative somehow. If the M3 were faster, you would be crowing about that until the cows came home. But because the Cadillac is faster, now it’s suddenly a BAD thing to be faster.

    God damn hilarious. Be a man, take your beating.The ATS-V won this round, the end. Get over it.

  5. Michael_Ham_Dallas says:

    Cadillac wins this head to head comparison against the M3. Simply take an ATS-V test drive and any doubt you may have had will be blown away by the muscular caddy. It makes me especially proud that the USA and her workers are leading the world in a manufactured product once again.

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