This article is part of the GM Authority Wish List series for the Cadillac ATS — a collection of changes, updates, and modifications we’d like to see made to the family of compact luxury vehicles. The purpose of the Wish List is very simple: to create awareness of the issues we have found with the vehicles so that Cadillac can address them in the future, whether via a refresh or a next-generation model, all in an effort to make the best luxury cars on the market, bar none.
The GM Authority staff has collectively spent a significant amount of time with the ATS, both as drivers and as passengers, in both Sedan and Coupe body styles, with all four engines, all five trim levels, and with various degrees of features and equipment. In other words, this wish list is not the result of a knee-jerk reaction after a day or two with the car. It’s the result of living with the cars, sometimes for several months. In fact, one of our founders happens to own a 2015 ATS 2.0T Premium with the six-speed stick.
We should note that at times, the Wish List series might appear like nitpicking, as it will point out the smallest features, characteristics, or components. If it seems that way, it’s for a reason, since we believe that the devil is in the details, especially when it comes to prestige luxury vehicles. As such, we honestly believe that addressing these issues will improve the product, grow the brand, and — ultimately — lead to an uptick in Cadillac sales. And as journalists who also happen to be GM and Cadillac enthusiasts, few things would make us happier. If nothing else, it would result in a Cadillac we’d be proud to buy, to own, and to show off to anyone willing to look and listen.
Keeping in mind that this wish list is by no means in order, here goes our the second item: the gauge cluster.
The gauge cluster on the current Cadillac ATS is the least attractive, least luxurious in its class. There, we’ve said it.
That isn’t to say that the cluster is ugly. But with all half-moon-style readouts set on a sea of black, it simply strikes us as uninspired; not a good way to describe an element of the car that the driver will look at and interact with each time the car is driven. Luckily, change is in the air, and the 2017 Cadillac XT5 crossover introduces an all-new gauge cluster design that’s infinitely more attractive than that of the ATS family. But having a new and attractive cluster in the XT5 doesn’t help the ATS, does it?
The solution can be two-fold: the first is to entirely redesign the ATS’ gauges along the lines of those in the XT5. The second is to replace the analogue cluster with the high-definition, all-digital unit offered in the CTS. Not only is the 12.3-inch digital cluster infinitely more attractive, but it also can be configured in different ways, such as Balanced, Enhanced, and Performance for different driving scenarios.
What we wish for: a new gauge cluster that’s heaps more attractive than the current unit.
Why we wish for it: because the current gauge cluster isn’t very pleasing to look at, despite being something the driver looks at and interacts with each time the car is driven.
Who to look to for examples: Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW. Or, better yet, the gauges in Cadillac’s own XT5 crossover.