New Cadillac ATS 3.6 vs. BMW 335i and Mercedes C350 in MT's 6-Cylinder Rematch

Like the VW Golf, the BMW 3-Series has been dominant for so long, shrugging off one newcomer after another, that it practically defined the premium compact sports sedan segment.

This, of course, makes it not only harder for BMW engineers to come up with something better every time there's a replacement due, but it also makes it the car all rivaling manufacturers have set as their benchmark.

Cadillac has made quite a fuss about its new ATS being a bona-fide, Nürburgring-bred sports saloon that can take on the best – i.e. the brand new, F30 3-Series.

Motor Trend has already compared the two cars in their turbocharged, four-cylinder versions. It was a very close call, but in the end, the BMW won yet again.

This time, MT’s Jonny Lieberman chose to compare the six-cylinder versions of the two cars, the Cadillac ATS 3.6 and the BMW 335i, throwing in the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, in C350 Sport guise, for good measure.

All three cars are fitted with automatic transmissions and according to Lieberman, that’s going to be the most popular choice with the bigger engines. BMW has an eight-speed box while the Benz and the Caddy make do with one and two less gears respectively.

On paper, the ATS is the most powerful, packing 321hp against the Bimmer’s 300hp and the Merc’s 302hp. It’s also the most affordable, with an as-tested price tag of US$49,185, which may be almost identical to the C350’s US$49,245 but is nearly six grand cheaper than the US$55,870 BMW asks for this particular 335i.

Lieberman has set two criteria for declaring a winner. The first is the interior ambience and the usability of each car’s infotainment system and the second its driving dynamics.

You can watch the video that follows right after the jump to find out which is the best 50K sports sedan and you’re certainly welcome to voice your thoughts afterwards…

By Andrew Tsaousis



Alex said... »November 22, 2012

They should have waited and included the new C-class :(

Alex said... »November 22, 2012

"They all four doors"

What an astute observation and useful comparison metric.

john1168 said... »November 22, 2012

Good review but I would have liked some performance numbers on the ATS 3.6. From the ESTIMATES I have seen, although the Caddy is lighter and more powerful than the BMW, it's slower due to gearing. I don't mean 6 speed vs. 8 speed. I mean the actual ratios in the transmission and the rear diff. Hopefully we'll see the new GM 8 speed auto in no more than 2 years. And maybe they'll put the Aisin 8 speed in the ATS sooner like they're doing with the C7. We'll see.

Able said... »November 23, 2012

How close do you think the new C-Class is?

Btw, MotorTrend fire this guy he cannot review cars!

Alex said... »November 23, 2012

The new C-class about 2-3 months away at most

Trey Reid said... »November 27, 2012

I don't get the point of having the C class in this comparo. It is outdated and time for a new one. Even the Lexus IS350 would of been a better option. I love the styling of the ats its an amazing car GM really did there homework on that one. Can't wait to see the coupe/droptop and ats-v variants of the car. And they need to get rid of this guy doing the camparo no one gives a shit about which address you can't find in the nav system just take them to the track and let the cars do the rest. Somebody get Jeremy Clarkson.

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