It wasn’t too many years ago that Cadillac was known for making floaty land barges that had no purpose on a race track — but times have definitely changed. Today, the company’s storied crest decorates some of the best sports sedans on the planet, and the way Cadillac has brought the fight to the Germans is reminiscent of how Lexus — and its game changing LS 400 — upended the luxury industry nearly 30 years ago.
But BMW has built its famously devoted following by releasing incredibly capable sports sedans, and nothing in its DNA indicates it would ever back down from a fight with General Motors. So while the somewhat confusing naming shakeup in the company’s M line — the M3 now has four doors, the M4 has two — might prove puzzling to many fans, its Motorsport division remains as committed as ever to delivering driver’s cars. So let’s see how the ATS-V Coupe and the M4 stack up.
2017 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe vs. 2017 BMW M4 Interior Comparison
While its big brother the CTS-V features a cabin that deftly balances brute force and bling, the ATS-V, though still a comfortable place to be, doesn’t capture the same feel. Discerning eyes will see bits from downmarket GM product sprinkled about, which contributes to a lack of cohesiveness.
In comparison, the M4’s environs feel meticulously crafted, and betray the sporting ambitions — and storied history — of the model. Simply put, the BMW has more of a cockpit feel, which enthusiasts will likely love.
2017 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe vs. 2017 BMW M4 Exterior Comparison
Subtlety has never been Cadillac’s strong suit, and that tradition continues with the ATS-V. The car is all lines and right angles, which contribute brilliantly to its aura of slightly tamed menace. It’s the look that’s defined the modern Cadillac, and every indication says it will age well.
The BMW, in contrast, is far more about the details. If you choose a staid exterior color — which we’d generally advise against — non-enthusiasts will likely miss some of the M4’s high-performance cues, like the flared fenders, aggressive air intakes, and pronounced hood bulge.
2017 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe vs. 2017 BMW M4 Performance Comparison
Let’s start by saying neither of these vehicles is under powered. The Cadillac is motivated by a 3.6-liter turbocharged V-6 engine pumping out 464 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque. The BMW wrings 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of twist out of a slightly smaller 3.0-liter straight-six. At 3530 pounds, the M4 is around 300 pounds lighter than the ATS-V, which is likely why both accomplish the sprint to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds.
Fortunately, both vehicles can be optioned with a proper six-speed manual, though track rats looking for a true dual clutch will have to opt for the BMW. One trick the Cadillac has up its sleeve is GM’s trick magnetic damper system. It’s so good it was licensed by Ferrari, and helps inspire confidence in the bends.
2017 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe vs. 2017 BMW M4 Feature Comparison
Cadillac has taken some heat over the usability of its CUE infotainment system, but promised improvements for 2017 — along with the availability of Apple CarPlay — give us plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the latest iteration.
Both vehicles are loaded with tech, from more mainstream features like heated seats and keyless entry, to newer ones like WiFi and wireless charging. So there’s going to be a lot to love about either car in regard to luxury touches. The best way to tell which one you’re going to like better is to make an appointment at your local AutoNation dealer and spent some quality time in both.
2017 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe vs. 2017 BMW M4 Overall Comparison
Both these vehicles are modern wonders in that they’ll be able to handle the rigors of daily driving and the high-octane afternoons at the track with aplomb.
For those expecting to spend more sessions chasing lap times, the BMW will likely prove the better option, if only because of its lightning-fast DCT transmission option. But either the Cadillac or the BMW will be a hoot on some twisty back roads, without the bone-jarring ride sometimes associated with high-performance driving. Fortunately, there’s no wrong choice here, so anyone comparing these two stunners should make sure to enjoy the ride.