So, you’ve made up your mind to buy the fun-to-drive Cadillac ATS Turbo for supple interior, 272 horsepower, 296 pound-feet of torque, and vast array of luxury amenities. Or maybe you’re buying it for the badge. The point is, do you get the ATS with the automatic, or the manual? After all, both transmissions have six speeds (for 2014 and 2015 model years, we’ll see about the 2016 ATS), and both are no-cost options for both the ATS coupe and ATS sedan.
Now, this would be the spot where we would convince you to get the manual because… because fun. And since you’re getting the ATS, you’re probably looking for some degree of fun in your driving experience. The stick makes driving the ATS more engaging and fun, but the automatic is simply more convenient and can probably shift faster. We see the dilemma. Luckily, the differences between the stick and the auto go deeper than fun vs. convenience.
For instance, the automatic allows you to do a remote start using the key fob or the OnStar app, while vehicles equipped with manual transmissions don’t have that luxury. Similarly, only ATS models with the automatic transmission can be equipped with all-wheel drive and adaptive cruise control, the latter being part of the $3,805 Driver Assist Package that also adds other driver aids. And must we mention the fact that only the automatic transmission gets you those fancy-pants magnesium paddle shifters.
On the other hand, the stick isn’t riddled with the automatic’s power-sapping torque converter — meaning that you can squeeze more power from the 2.0-liter I4 LTG motor, while shifting however you darn well please. By comparison, the auto can deny shifts when you’re using the paddles or the gated shifter… which is probably a good thing for the engine’s health and longevity, but we digress.
|6 SPEEDS||6 SPEEDS|
|MORE FUN||LESS FUN|
|SHIFTING SPEED DEPENDS ON SKILL||SYSTEMATICALLY-FAST SHIFTS|
|NO RARE METALS IN THE CABIN||MAGNESIUM PADDLE SHIFTERS|
|NO REMOTE START||REMOTE START VIA KEY FOB AND ONSTAR APP|
|NO SAFETY GIZMOS||ALLOWS FOR ADAPTIVE CRUISE CONTROL|
|CAN DOWNRIGHT SUCK IN TRAFFIC||MORE CONVENIENT IN TRAFFIC|
|RWD ONLY||AWD OR RWD|
|DIRECT POWER DELIVERY||POWER-SAPPING TORQUE CONVERTER|
|SHIFT WHENEVER, WHEREVER||SHIFTS CAN BE DENIED|
|DIY SNOW/WET MODE||BUILT-IN SNOW/WET MODE|
So, which would you pick — the stick or the auto? Vote in the poll and sound off in the comments below.