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