2020 BMW M4 vs. 2019 Cadillac ATS-V

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The M4 has standard City Collision Mitigation, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The ATS-V offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The M4 offers an optional Side and Top View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The ATS-V only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the M4 and the ATS-V have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available blind spot warning systems.

Warranty

The M4’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the ATS-V’s (12 vs. 6 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the M4 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Cadillac only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the ATS-V.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 12th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 44 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 23rd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 20 places higher in reliability than Cadillac.

Engine

As tested in Road and Track the BMW M4 (base engine) is faster than the Cadillac ATS-V (manual transmissions tested):

M4

ATS-V

Zero to 60 MPH

3.9 sec

4.3 sec

Quarter Mile

12.3 sec

12.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

114.9 MPH

114.7 MPH

As tested in Motor Trend the BMW M4 (base engine) is faster than the Cadillac ATS-V (automatics tested):

M4

ATS-V

Zero to 60 MPH

3.9 sec

4 sec

Quarter Mile

12.1 sec

12.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

119.1 MPH

114.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the M4 Coupe Manual with its standard engine gets better fuel mileage than the ATS-V Manual (18 city/25 hwy vs. 16 city/23 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the M4’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The ATS-V doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

The M4 offers an optional sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The ATS-V doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the M4’s brake rotors are larger than those on the ATS-V:

M4

M4 opt.

ATS-V

Front Rotors

15 inches

15.7 inches

14.5 inches

Rear Rotors

14.6 inches

15 inches

13.3 inches

The M4 offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The ATS-V doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The M4 stops shorter than the ATS-V:

M4

ATS-V

80 to 0 MPH

193 feet

194 feet

Road and Track

70 to 0 MPH

151 feet

154 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

98 feet

103 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the M4’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the ATS-V (F:265/30R20 & R:285/30R20 vs. F:255/35R18 & R:275/35R18).

The M4’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 30 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the ATS-V’s 35 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the M4 offers optional 20-inch wheels. The ATS-V’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the M4’s wheelbase is 1.4 inches longer than on the ATS-V (110.7 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the M4 is 1.7 inches wider in the front and 1.7 inches wider in the rear than on the ATS-V.

The M4 Coupe handles at 1.01 G’s, while the ATS-V pulls only .98 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Chassis

The M4’s standard power retractable hardtop allows a seamless transition from an open car, to a completely sealed coupe. The ATS-V doesn’t offer a retractable hardtop.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the M4 Coupe is quieter than the ATS-V (48 vs. 50 dB).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the M4 Coupe a Compact car, while the ATS-V is rated a Subcompact.

The M4 Coupe has 6.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the ATS-V (90.2 vs. 83.9).

The M4 Coupe has 2.2 inches more front headroom, 1.2 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear headroom, .2 inches more rear legroom and .6 inches more rear shoulder room than the ATS-V.

Cargo Capacity

The M4 Coupe has a larger trunk than the ATS-V (11 vs. 10.4 cubic feet).

With its coupe or convertible body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the M4 offers cargo security. The ATS-V’s non-lockable folding seat defeats cargo security.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just kicking your foot under the back bumper can open the M4’s trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The ATS-V doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

If the windows are left open on the M4 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the ATS-V can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The M4’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The ATS-V’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the M4 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The ATS-V doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The M4 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The ATS-V doesn’t offer headlight washers.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the M4 Coupe to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The ATS-V doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

On extremely cold winter days, the M4’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The ATS-V doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The M4’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The ATS-V doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The BMW M4 comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the Cadillac ATS-V isn’t available as a convertible.

Economic Advantages

The M4 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the M4 will retain 54.18% to 57.02% of its original price after five years, while the ATS-V only retains 43.89%.

Recommendations

The 4 Series was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2014. The ATS has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The M3/M4 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 13 of the last 23 years. The ATS has never been an “All Star.”

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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