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 current family of compact luxury vehicles, as well as to its CT# replacement. 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, our own founder happens to own an ATS (2015 2.0T Premium, six-speed manual).
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 is the eighth item on our list: repositioning of the exhaust pipe on the model with the base 2.5L engine.
If you’ve seen a Cadillac ATS with the base 2.5L I4 LCV engine, you may have noticed a certain awkwardness about its exhaust. To whit, the vehicle has a single, off-center exhaust tip that looks awkward and goofy… like it doesn’t belong there. And that’s being nice.
As we mentioned three years ago, it’s not the exhaust tip that looks bad (the large round tip actually looks nice), but rather its location: it’s off to the (left) side, but not far enough to be on its own. It’s also not centered/ in the middle, either. Instead, the outlet is in no-man’s land.
The circumstance seems to be a result of cost-cutting: to move the tip more to the left, Cadillac would have had to reword the location and/or configuration of the exhaust system — namely the muffler. Doing so would also call for a new lower valance with the cut-out for the exhaust tip further to the left. By contrast, the single tip currently occupies the same spot as the left tip of ATS models with dual exhaust systems — namely the 2.0L Turbo and 3.6L V6. So, while the dual exhaust setup looks good, the single outlet looks terrible due to its strange location, while also reeking of cost-cutting measures.
So, we’re proposing for Cadillac to move the outlet farther to the left — as we have photoshopped below — or that it equips the base ATS with dual exhaust — something that is currently available as an official Cadillac accessory for a mere $950.
Another option, which is somewhat more radical, is to discontinue the 2.5L I4 LCV engine on the ATS altogether, and make the 2.0L Turbo I4 LTG the standard motor across the board, while reconfiguring the pricing and trim level structure. Not only would this address our issue with the exhaust on the ATS 2.5 (since the ATS with the 2.0 Turbo has dual exhaust standard), but it would also give the ATS a more potent engine. That said, this might not be entirely necessary.
What we wish for: that on the ATS with the base 2.5L engine, Cadillac either:
- Makes dual exhaust standard (it already offers such a system as an official accessory), or
- Moves the exhaust tip several inches further to the left, or
- Discontinues the base 2.5L I4 in the ATS altogether, making the 2.0L Turbo the standard motor (which has dual exhaust standard)
Why we wish for it: because the position of the single exhaust outlet on the ATS 2.5 looks very awkward, cheap, and unrefined. The current setup has the tip in no-man’s land — not far enough to the left, but also not exactly in the center, while serving as a constant reminder of laziness and cost-cutting that is simply unacceptable on a luxury vehicle such as the ATS. This does not do the vehicle any favors in the eyes of potential cross-shoppers from BMW, Audi, or Mercedes-Benz.
Who to look to for examples:
- To BMW and Audi for how to offset a non-dual exhaust, and
- To Cadillac’s own dual exhaust kit for the 2.5L ATS on how to equip the vehicle with a dual exhaust system