Let’s be honest. I’m never all that excited about cars that 99.999% of the people on this planet typically buy. Instead, I belong to the 0.001% of the population that love gas guzzling, unreasonably expensive and incredibly unreliable cars that destroy marriages.
I’m the kind of guy that environmentalists, conservationists and significant others love to hate. In fact, when a husband or wife or sees me with their loved one, they try to get rid of me as fast as humanly possibly to prevent me from tainting their minds.
Unfortunately for them, it doesn’t work.
I was born this way. When I’m around people that even have the slightest interest in cars, I feel compelled to encourage them to make one of the worst decisions of their life: drop thousands of dollars into something which will essentially be a worthless piece of junk several years from now.
Recently, I found that not one, but two of my friends were about to purchase new-to-them used cars. One of them had an older 2003 Altima that was ruined by someone flooring the gas pedal while in “R” thinking the transmission was in “D” (true story), and the other one was just itching to buy a car because of a new job that significantly bumped up his pay.
I thought to myself: “YES, this is the perfect opportunity - I will convince one of them to buy a 911 Turbo S and the other a CTS-V and then I’ll get to drive their cars whenever I want. Hahaha. I’m a genius!”
Alas, my diabolical scheme didn’t work as I completely and utterly failed to achieve my objective. Instead of being excited about soon finding myself behind the wheel of a glorious 556 hp supercharged beast, I ended up with both of my friends taking the practical route and spending money on…shall we say…more reasonable cars?
Through a remarkable coincidence, both of them happened to pay almost the same amount of money on cars that look virtually the same on paper!
Here are the cars:
2013 Cadillac ATS - 3.6L V6, 321 hp, 274 lb-ft of torque; weighs ~3400 lbs; loaded with all the goodies like sunroof, navigation etc.; 4-yr 50K mile factory warranty + certified pre-owned warranty up to 100K miles. Total price ~ $27K
2013 Infiniti G37 - 3.7L V6, 328 hp, 269 lb-ft of torque; weighs ~3600 lbs; loaded pretty much with the exact same things as the ATS, 4-year 60K mile factory warranty + a certified pre-owned as well with a warranty up to 100K miles. Total price ~ $28K
Time to compare the two...
The ATS looks like something a sales person would pull up in. You can totally picture a guy getting out of the car ready to sell you Cutco knives so that you can cut your shoe into two pieces.
I would consider the looks somewhat edgy with the headlights being my favorite part of the design. It’s clear that Cadillac is desperately trying to shed its image as the ultimate car for the newly retired 65 year old gentleman headed to the golf course - but for now I don’t think it has quite succeeded.
I just can’t see this car being all that appealing to younger folks. The ATS looks too bulky and boxy, although I think that people who have always been fans of Cadillacs probably love the new design now more than ever.
As much as I wanted him to get the CTS-V, he ultimately made the right decision with the ATS because it really does deliver incredible value.
For most people, it is kind of ridiculous to get a CTS-V when you can get a perfectly reasonable and quick CPO 2013 ATS for $27K with an excellent warranty.
But where’s the fun in that!??
Oh wait. He does have two kids.
The ATS will work well for as long as his kids are young. Once they’re bigger, they will hate to be shoved in the back because it’s so cramped! For the practical 4-door sedan that this is, there is almost no room to fit comfortably back there for anyone that’s above 4 ft’ 3”.
If the front passenger and driver push their seats back all the way, your legs will almost certainly get squished turning a normal car ride into a nightmare. My suggestion is don’t lose at paper-rock-scissors and end up in the backseat if you’re about to take a ride in an ATS.
The interior certainly looks nice from a distance but there is just way too much shine in the cabin. It’s the “cheap” kind of shine that covers the dash, center stack and the wood grain.
In addition to all the shiny things, the technology in the car is ruined by The Cadillac User Experience (CUE) which is a complete disappointment. There was way too much lag on the touch screen when you try move around icons or change radio stations...everything takes at least 2-3 seconds to respond. The interface is not intuitive at all and frustrating to use.
You can blame GM for that. It just so happens that my colleague, who worked on the hardware and software that goes into these things, informed me that the delay is due to incredibly slow processors that no one did anything about. And because nobody at GM cared, we are now stuck with aggravating technology that should work way better than it actually does considering it’s 2015.
There were, however, a couple cool things about CUE though: one is when you touch the various controls on the center stack - climate control for example - you’ll feel a vibration to indicate that you’ve initiated that specific functionality.
The other is a hidden compartment. Thanks to all the electronics Cadillac uses in CUE, there is no need for a whole bunch of mechanical parts which means there’s actually some unexpected storage space.
All you have to do is touch the fake chrome at the bottom of the main panel at which point it lifts up dramatically revealing a very useful space for your phone, sunglasses and whatever deep, dark secret you want to hide in there.
The ATS was great to drive and felt solid the entire time with sharp handling in “sport mode”. Having 320+ hp was nice when driving around town and especially when merging onto a freeway.
It’s a perfectly fine sedan that’s powerful, quiet and luxurious with the glaring flaw being a lack of enough legroom in the backseat. That and all the frustrations you’ll have to experience dealing with CUE.
Let’s move onto the G37 now, shall we?
This car, just like the ATS, was a fantastic deal: it was fully loaded and the dealer had recently replaced the tires and brakes.
My biggest gripe with the car is that even after all these years, almost nothing has changed with the looks. Infinti has managed to keep the exterior basically the same for the past 500 years and so everything about it looks dated. This means that when you buy the 2013 G37, you can’t help but feel that you’re purchasing a car that’s 10 years old even though it’s only a two year old car.
The interior, similar to the exterior, hasn’t changed much over the years. However, compared to the ATS, the G37 interior is much more aesthetically pleasing. Additionally, everything is intuitive and actually works like it’s supposed to! The touch screen works so much better than the one in the ATS.
Sometimes, packing a car full of technology that doesn’t work well actually makes things worse and takes away from the user experience.
By the way, the G37 suffers the same backseat problem as the ATS! So much for practicality with these “practical” 4-door sedans. The other problem with the G37 is that you’re perched up higher in the back leaving very little headroom.
Just like the ATS, the G37 was quite a bit of fun drive as well. The difference with the G37 is that you can actually hear the engine. Even though it’s not the best noise and actually sounds worse at higher rpms, I didn’t mind since I was having fun tossing the car around on curvy roads. I really wish I was driving a manual though!
Although, the G37 is less refined and noisier, it is a great car to drive with an interior that looks nice and works well. The ATS is quieter and more luxurious but CUE is sure to make you want to pull your hair out. To me, the G37 seems to be the logical choice assuming that you can put up with the fact that it’s basically the same car that’s been around forever.
I guess it really comes down to personal preference. Either way, you can’t go wrong for what you’re paying.
If you have your mind set on a similarly equipped CPO BMW 3-series, be sure to drive the G37 and ATS first because you may end up saving a whole bunch of money!