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  1. #1
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    Default A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience

    Back in the middle of November '14, I wrote an article for the V-Net about the technical side of the coming ATS-V. I got about a third of the way into researching that story and had one of those "come to Jesus moments" where I was, like...damn, this is going to be one f'ing bad-ass of an American sports sedan. This was before I went looking on Cadillac's media site for pictures, too. Once I had some imagery of the ATS-V, wow. I was hooked.

    Since first of the year, I've been thinking about selling my Wife's Chevy HHR. It's eight years old and has served us well in 125,000 miles but the Fairest Sandra the Red, Duchess of Goleta, is tired of driving a "truck" and is ready for something new which is a little more classy and a lot more sporty. Plus, I'm thinking that with 125K on the odo, if we want to avoid increased maintenance costs which can come with high-mileage vehicles, now was the time to sell the trusty HHR.

    Corvettes are our thing–we have four of them, but we've been suffering with parking problems for a couple of years. At home, we have the covered parking required by our classic car insurance policies for three, so we've been storing the fourth in a relative's garage about five miles away. I was growing tired of that arrangement, plus the Vette in question, because of its age (it's a '95 ZR-1) was going to need new weatherstrip and I was not looking forward to that task. Finally, to be honest, with two other, newer Vettes, both Z06es which are better cars, we were't driving the '95 that much.

    Continuing this thought process, I was, like...sell the HHR and the ZR-1 and we'll have a fat downpayment for an ATS-V. I'm looking at some more of Cadillac PR's ATS-V imagery wjhich was recently posted on the V-Forum. Liking my idea even more.

    Now back in the day, my Wife used to own a BMW but the evil ex-husband made her trade it for–oh, this guy was cruel–a Oldsmobile station wagon. She's always longed for another one, but she works for the local Cadillac dealer so a BMW is, so not going to happen, plus the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate but, when it comes to bimmers, with due respect to Swift; I won't shake it off. I'm totally a hater. Bimmers are over-priced cars for hipsters, few of whom can truly drive the "Ultimate Driving Machine", anyway. Heck, why do you think BMW puts 155-mph speed limiters on all of them–including the M-cars?

    Worse yet, I think BMWs have crappy reliability/durability and they're engineered with the typical German philosophy of: why make a performance car elegantly simple, when you can make it obscenely expensive, onerously complicated and difficult to maintain. My opinions of Mercedes are pretty much the same, well...except for the additional negative that in Europe, most taxicabs are Benzes. Why would I want to pay way too much money for a taxi?

    If Sandy and I are gettin' into a high-end compact sports sedan, it's gotta be a Cadillac ATS-V, most likely in Crystal White. Made in America. With a 185-mph top speed, not limited by safety nazis but by aerodynamics. With a 450-hp engine by the folks at GM Powertrain who brought you the LS-series V8s in the CTS-Vs. In a car engineered by people with some common sense about how complex high-end performance cars really need to be. I mean, hey, these guys will let you order an ATS-V without GM's pricey and not-well-executed navi, without all the extra electronics which help poor or distracted drivers change lanes without hitting something and without rain-sensing wipers for dumb asses who can't switch them on when they see drops on the windshield.

    Off I went, down to our local dealer and my Wife's employer, Bunnin Chevrolet/Cadillac in Santa Barbara, California. I sat down with Bunnin's Juan Miller, the guy who orders all the cars. With Juan's help, I learned the base price of a V sedan is $61,460. One with an over-abundance of common sense (uh–that's not me) would pause at a car the size of a Chevy Cruise costing more than a Vette. Looking at some of the options for which pricing is available, add the little-V's CF package and a few other options and with destination charge, tax and license, you're at 80 large in no time. Uh...maybe my idea ain't so good for the wallet. (sigh)

    I had Juan print me out a list of standard equipment then went back home to study. I needed to wade though the list, pick-out only the stuff I really "needed" and see if I could build an ATS-V for a "reasonable sum".

    So...as I write this, I'm on GM's media site ATS-V pages looking at imagery and wondering, "Do I want the carbon fiber package–consisting of a more aggressive CF front splitter, CF hood vent trim, composite (non-CF) rocker extensions and a rear diffuser? The stuff looks pretty cool in pictures. The accountant in my asks, "Do I want it bad enough to pay five grand?"

    Let me know what you think.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Tuna's Avatar
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    CF - Do you (or Sandy) need the extra downforce on your ATS V for the driving conditions it's going to get?
    Do you plan to track it some?

    If the cool factor is enough, then spend the extra money. I'm sure you and Sandy know better than to use the nose as a curb feeler.
    Tuna
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  3. #3
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    CTS V-Sport sounds like a helluva bargain by comparison ...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuna View Post
    CF - Do you (or Sandy) need the extra downforce on your ATS V for the driving conditions it's going to get?
    Do you plan to track it some?

    If the cool factor is enough, then spend the extra money. I'm sure you and Sandy know better than to use the nose as a curb feeler.
    Nah...no tracking for the ATS-V. When we do track days, we have another car for that which is even better suited.

    Interestingly CFZ on the C6 Vette I bought in '12 had about the same parts–splitter, rocker extensions and a bigger rear spoiler–but was a thousand bucks less. Amazing that just the addition of some CF hood vent trim bumps the price another grand but then...it's a Caddy, right? If I have to ask "how much" M
    Maybe I'm just not ready to "swim with the Tuna" in the luxury market.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ~tc~ View Post
    CTS V-Sport sounds like a helluva bargain by comparison ...
    Yeah, but the CTS is a bigger heavier car and doesn't have the 450-hp V6tt and MR.

  6. #6
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    The way I read your post, 30 HP and gen II MR might be worth $20k to you since you are very sensitive to pricing and aren't going to track it.

    Hell, throw a Trifecta tune in there and be UP 20-30 HP for $19k less than your optioned ATS-V.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Tuna's Avatar
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    You can always "step back" to a standard ATS Premium or Performance with the 2.0 T and AWD and still have a nice ride. Save a few bucks also.
    We like our ATS 2.0T AWD. Then again we have the 427 Vette and the CTS V Wagon in the garage also.
    Tuna
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ~tc~ View Post
    The way I read your post, 30 HP and gen II MR might be worth $20k to you since you are very sensitive to pricing and aren't going to track it.
    I want the 500 less pounds of the ATS platform. I want the 30 more horses. I also want the FE4 suspension pieces, MR and the brakes.

    Hell, throw a Trifecta tune in there and be UP 20-30 HP for $19k less than your optioned ATS-V.
    The LF3 and the LF4 are similar engines in that they have the same CR and, presumably the same camshafts, but I've been doing my own calibration work for a while and know enough to understand that there are no free lunches. The 30 extra horses is likely coming from more boost and that makes me wonder if the LF3 and the LF4 have different charge air coolers or maybe the LF3 in the CTS doesn't have one.

    Nah...I'm set on the ATS-V with the automatic and, likely, without CFV.

  9. #9
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    Default A Little-V Blog: The ATS-V purchase and ownership experience

    What I have read leads me to believe ATSV is running more boost 15 psi vs 12, but I don't think that explains 30 HP.

    I am curious about the actual differences myself ... And hoping that ATSV bolt ons and tuners work on the CTS Vsport

  10. #10
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    I'm in MI right now on business and tomorrow I have a meeting at Powertrain with the people responsible to high-feature V6es.

    I'll ask them specifics of LF3 vs LF4 in CTS V-sport vs ATS-V.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Tuna's Avatar
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    The latest update is 464 HP for the ATS V. So, 39 HP diff.
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  12. #12
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    At Detroit Metro, I'm sitting at the gate for my Southwest flight home after spending a day with folks at GM Powertrain discussing the new Cadillac V6es and the LS7 V8 used in Corvettes and Camaros.

    For the time I was here, the GMC people were kind enough to loan me a spanking new Yukon. It's been a while since I drove a GM full-sized SUV and man what a luxurious truck. Plus the 6.2L V8 with cylinder de-act and the 8-speed gets amazing gas mileage. I drove from Metro airport up to Pontiac, all around Pontiac for almost two days then back to Metro all on 1/4 tank of fuel.

    This Yukon has GMC's version of GM's current navigation system and, actually, I'm changing my tune on the latest of GM navies. The unit in this GMC was pretty good.

    I just might change my mind on what level of entertainment system I want on my ATS-V. Originally, I was just going to take the base system which comes with a 1SV equip. package because I was not a fan of the OE navi, but maybe I'll step up a notch. I guess I can afford it since I'm going to pass-up CFV.

    What do you guys think of the navi in your late model V's compared to, say, a new Garmin handheld?

    At the hotel I stayed at in Pontiac Magna Powertrain was having a supplier meeting and had a couple of Magna-equipped vehicles on display. One was a new CTS-V 4-door which had been wrapped in eLSD graphics. Apparently, the eLSD Cadillac will be using is a Magna product. It looks suspiciously like the stuff on the C7 Vette so maybe Magna supplies that, too.

    I'm going back to the Caddy dealer this week or early next to talk more about ordering. I hope these dealers have pricing info. I don't get it on that...the Cadillac Communications contact, Dave Caldwell, keeps telling me Cadillac has released pricing but then the dealer says he has no pricing info for options. WTF? It's frustrating going to a dealer wanting to order a car because the mfg. says pricing info has been released then find the info has not been released.

    What are the Cadillac dealers in your area saying about ATS-V options pricing?
    Last edited by Hib Halverson; 03-25-2015 at 11:23 AM. Reason: spelling

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ~tc~ View Post
    What I have read leads me to believe ATSV is running more boost 15 psi vs 12, but I don't think that explains 30 HP.

    I am curious about the actual differences myself ... And hoping that ATSV bolt ons and tuners work on the CTS Vsport
    Yesterday, I interviewed Rick Bartlett, Assistant Chief Engineer for HFV6es and asked him that question.

    He said the 44-hp difference is all in the turbos, specifically the compressor wheels and the boost level which is higher because the turbos are more efficient at high engine rpm. Otherwise the engines are the same except for the Ti rods.
    Last edited by Hib Halverson; 03-25-2015 at 11:28 AM. Reason: added content

  14. #14
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    Yeah, so you could bolt the new turbos on a VSport?

    I don't understand the complaints about Cue navigation - works great for me, a lot better the Garmin/Kenwood system in my last car.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Tuna's Avatar
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    Hi Hib,
    Susan and I have never used any navigation system other than the stuff GM puts in our Corvettes and Cadillacs. The CUE system works pretty well and has some features we like better then the older systems on our other cars.
    Street address entry is a little more time consuming on the CUE system that the older systems in our C6 and V2.

    Since we have never used any of the aftermarket NAV systems, we can't comment on whether what we have is better or not.

    Oh, I did try navigating once using a SmartPhone - spent too much time looking at the phone than the road. Didn't care for that aspect.
    Tuna
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