In today’s Showdown segment, we’re going to compare the Cadillac ATS Coupe (4 cylinder base engine) with the BMW 228i. These two cars compete in the luxury sports coupe segment, but do so in very different ways. Those differences will be highlighted in our comparison and should make for an interesting overview of how different automakers approach the luxury coupe market.
Fast VS Facts
|Contenders:||2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe||2014 BMW 228i|
|Strong Point:||Beautiful Interior||Great Handling|
Sport and Performance
ATS Coupe: 4 | 228i: 5
When comparing the two four-cylinder power plants that are offered here, the Cadillac has the clear win on paper, but in reality, the heavier ATS does not have the same amount of off-line go-power as does the 228i. The ATS has a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine producing 272 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The 228i is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine producing 240 horses and 255 lb-ft of torque. Both cars (as we drove them) were rear-wheel drive.
The difference is a combination of the Cadillac’s greater weight and the two extra speeds the BMW has in its transmission. Those two gears can mean a lot when the transmission is sport-tuned and it shows in the way the 228i feels off the line and powering up to highway speeds.
Daily Driver Ergonomics
ATS Coupe: 4 | 228i: 4
In this metric, we’re calling it a draw. The Cadillac ATS Coupe has a wondrously lush interior with plush seating, beautiful color palette, and a lovely texture. Everything here is luxurious without becoming gaudy. By contrast, the BMW 228i has a stark, Teutonic interior that is fitted with wonderful sport seating, ergonomic controls, and quality materials. In most ways, the two cars couldn’t be more different inside. Yet driving them on the highway for long distances or just around town, they offer similar comfort levels for the daily driver. Where the Caddy is plush, the Bimmer is comfortable. Where the BMW has functional luxury, the Cadillac has eye-grabbing appeal. The differences are a matter of taste.
ATS Coupe: 4 | 228i: 4
Again, we have a draw. Removing questions of performance for speed or highway cruising, we find that the ATS Coupe and 228i are very similar in their handling and road cushion. They both have the rough ride of a sports coupe, but cushion it enough to make it livable, even enjoyable for the luxury car owner. There is enough stiffness and road response to keep the performance driver happy, but not so much that the car comes uncomfortable when driven daily.
ATS Coupe: 5 | 228i: 4
On the outside, the two cars are very different. The Cadillac ATS Coupe is a more modern, but distinctly Cadillac design with refined edges and American haunches. The BMW 228i, however, is a more dated design with a lot of Old World in its European look. The appeal of each, of course, will largely be a matter of taste. In our mind, the ATS is just a more unique and modern design when compared to the less daring German look.
In the end, the choice between the American car and the German one is about the driver’s tastes. The BMW 228i is a performance coupe with luxury fittings while the Cadillac ATS Coupe is a luxury coupe with performance fittings. This is most starkly illustrated when considering the interiors of the two cars, side-by-side. The Caddy mixes no fewer than four colors and even more tones to creates a textured palette of interior finish. The BMW, on the other hand, mixes a subtle three-tone look carefully to create a spartan yet luxurious interior that is focused on the driving experience rather than the driver. It’s a good illustration of how the luxury coupe market is splitting, with performance being one focus and luxury being the other.