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Cadillac: "If the secret sauce is good cars, then what’s all that fuss about?"

Car & Driver magazine

December 15, 2014

Review: 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe; 6-Speed manual transmission.

Article quotes:

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2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe 2.0T Manual
This car should wear laurels.

If an automaker’s success really were just about the cars, as the industry shibboleth has it, Cadillac would be riding high. Take the object of this test, the new-for-2015 ATS coupe. It proved itself a worthy entry-luxury sports coupe by just about every measure imaginable, and it’s one of the most modest Cadillacs you can buy, packing a 2.0-liter turbo four with a six-speed manual gearbox in a compact two-door. Delightful to drive, well appointed, and properly built, it joins the CTS sedan (one of our 10Best Cars winners) as a world-class contender.

And yet, headline after headline is about how Cadillac is “struggling,” its sales volumes down, its leaders stirring new controversies with every pronouncement about how they’re going to “fix” things by moving the marketing team to New York, stripping the wreath from the crest on the badge, changing the naming scheme, pursuing an ambitious higher-price strategy, and investing heavily to expand the range of products. If the secret sauce is good cars, then what’s all that fuss about?

On the evidence of the ATS, Cadillac is making really good cars. Some great ones, even. Aside from its drivetrain, this example was no stripper: It arrived at the test track wearing the range-topping Premium trim, which lifts the MSRP from the base $38,990 to $48,090. Aside from the usual abundance of creature comforts and showy technologies that come with such a designation and another 91 Benjamins, the Premium trim brings GM’s Magnetic Ride Control variable suspension and a limited-slip differential, both useful contributors to the ATS’s superb handling and over-the-road performance.

And the coupe expands on the “fun to drive” elements we found most appealing in the sedan. It has a sweetly balanced, light and lively character with crisp turn-in response, a precise shifter that’s fun to use, brakes that are not only strong but reassuringly easy to modulate, and a controlled ride free of the excesses of roll, pitch, or head-toss.

Cadillac already builds cars as good as (or better than) those from German and Japanese luxury marques. Yes, it could stand for that accolade to spread across a wider range of its products, particularly in the crossover segment, but the past few years suggest that future models in the pipeline should do fine. And yet, there’s all that ill news in the wind. Success must not be only about the cars. If Cadillac has to pay more attention to dealers and marketing and brand-building, okay, so long as it keeps building cars like this ATS. Because making great cars is where it begins, and Cadillac has a strong running start.
 

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Re: Cadillac: "If the secret sauce is good cars, then what’s all that fuss about?"

Cadillac already builds cars as good as (or better than) those from German and Japanese luxury marques. Yes, it could stand for that accolade to spread across a wider range of its products, particularly in the crossover segment, but the past few years suggest that future models in the pipeline should do fine. And yet, there’s all that ill news in the wind. Success must not be only about the cars. If Cadillac has to pay more attention to dealers and marketing and brand-building, okay, so long as it keeps building cars like this ATS. Because making great cars is where it begins, and Cadillac has a strong running start.


Let the party begin. Who will be the first to say that Cadillac paid C&D for this review?

Seriously - When is the last time you read a glowing car review like this one?

Congratulations to all at GM for this fine vehicle! Now, let's just nail down some details, and get that new generation SRX onto dealer lots.
 

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Re: Cadillac: "If the secret sauce is good cars, then what’s all that fuss about?"

Link please.
 

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Re: Cadillac: "If the secret sauce is good cars, then what’s all that fuss about?"

Seriously - When is the last time you read a glowing car review like this one?
Seriously- Almost every time the vehicle is a Cadillac the last couple of years..
 

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Re: Cadillac: "If the secret sauce is good cars, then what’s all that fuss about?"

The secret sauce must include lease deals that are literally 10 percent total cost less than the comparable BMW model.....

NOT 25 percent more to lease than the comparable BMW.....

This is not brain surgery.....
 
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Re: Cadillac: "If the secret sauce is good cars, then what’s all that fuss about?"

Yes, IMO Cadillac is on a roll lately. Just keep it up. Good review here considering the source.
 

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Re: Cadillac: "If the secret sauce is good cars, then what’s all that fuss about?"

The sales won't come until Cadillac adopts bold styling such as the ElMiraj and Ciel. The ATS is a handsome car and beats it's competition in handling etc, however it, and Cadillac doesn't have the snob appeal as BMW and Mercedes has so it needs to have Super handsome styling that says look at me! ElMiraj get's that done in spades!! Do that and watch the sales explode!
 

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Re: Cadillac: "If the secret sauce is good cars, then what’s all that fuss about?"

they have some great products. they are still fighting buyers who are extremely loyal to other brands.

what i never understood is many luxury car buyers lease their cars. if i were to have a new car every 3 years, i would go a for a different brand each time, but i know many who have had 3 or 4 lexus RX suvs already. they say they are reliable, but really every car is reliable for the first 3 years
 

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Re: Cadillac: "If the secret sauce is good cars, then what’s all that fuss about?"

they have some great products. they are still fighting buyers who are extremely loyal to other brands.

what i never understood is many luxury car buyers lease their cars. if i were to have a new car every 3 years, i would go a for a different brand each time, but i know many who have had 3 or 4 lexus RX suvs already. they say they are reliable, but really every car is reliable for the first 3 years
I know a guy who used to have one premium non-German car - a Jeep GC. (before You tell me Jeep is not premium and it's not a car, bare in mind 'SUV' is not used in Europe very often and Jeep is perceived as a premium brand here). He had it for 9 years along his German-trio vehicles he leases every 3 years. And guess what, he claims Jeeps (and all American cars) are unreliable because after 7 years of owning the Jeep he had some issues with it while his Porsche/Mercedes/BMWs 'only had some electrical problems, that were fixed under warranty'. :fall:
 

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Re: Cadillac: "If the secret sauce is good cars, then what’s all that fuss about?"

I looked at and test drove a new Cadillac XTS (yes I know, it is not a "hip" ATS).

In a word: CUE. It was maddening and frustrating. That was the deal breaker.

Numerous auto magazines continue to pan the CUE system. Cadillac needs to change the system to be more user friendly.
 

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Re: Cadillac: "If the secret sauce is good cars, then what’s all that fuss about?"

I was passed by a new ATS 2.0T the other day. My wife commented about how beautiful it looked. She had no idea it was a Cadillac.
 

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Re: Cadillac: "If the secret sauce is good cars, then what’s all that fuss about?"

Making a great car is the first step.
Bumped for truth.

I was passed by a new ATS 2.0T the other day. My wife commented about how beautiful it looked. She had no idea it was a Cadillac.
Styling is a matter of personal opinion of course, but I find the ATS a very beautiful car. I recognize it immediately as a Cadillac, but I pay attention to such things and most people don't.

I was in Manhattan a few weeks ago and saw a black ATS Sedan rolling down Park Avenue South and thought it was gorgeous. A new 3 Series was just a block behind and I can't say the same for it.
 

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Re: Cadillac: "If the secret sauce is good cars, then what’s all that fuss about?"

I know a guy who used to have one premium non-German car - a Jeep GC. (before You tell me Jeep is not premium and it's not a car, bare in mind 'SUV' is not used in Europe very often and Jeep is perceived as a premium brand here). He had it for 9 years along his German-trio vehicles he leases every 3 years. And guess what, he claims Jeeps (and all American cars) are unreliable because after 7 years of owning the Jeep he had some issues with it while his Porsche/Mercedes/BMWs 'only had some electrical problems, that were fixed under warranty'. :fall:
The power to reason among public skool educated US-American hominids is on the decline.

So apparently is appreciation of the DUH factor. :rolleyes:
 

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Re: Cadillac: "If the secret sauce is good cars, then what’s all that fuss about?"

previous-generation CTS coupe was far more distinctive. It was also harder to see out of and the expressive design didn’t result in many sales
Some journalists keep saying this but the CTS coupe sales weren't bad. The question is what are Cadillac expectations regarding ATS coupe and how it's sales will compare to CTS coupe sales?
 

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Re: Cadillac: "If the secret sauce is good cars, then what’s all that fuss about?"

I've purchased 7 new GM vehicles over the last 23 years, so I definitely consider myself pro-GM. I attended the Columbus auto show last spring, and sat in almost every car on the floor. Compared to the IS, BMWs, and Acuras, I thought the Cadillac ATS and CTS interiors came across extremely cheap. Lots of shiny plastic, kind of reminded me of Star Wars toys. The ATS also felt tiny inside compared to the 3 series, but similar to the IS, size-wise. I've never considered myself an interior-obsessed consumer, but the interiors of the Cadillacs alone would keep me from buying one. In my opinion, the rank of "luxury" interiors: Acura>Lexus=BMW>Cadillac (can't remember sitting in an Infiniti). I actually thought the regular Chevy and GMC interiors were more tasteful than the Cadillac's.
 
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