Does this mean that no one wants Cadillac's M3 fighter?
Last summer we heard that Cadillac was having a tough time selling its ATS sedan and coupe. Even though many reviews said that it was as good as its German rivals, GM was forced to slash prices and offer a free performance driving school to boost even the high-performance ATS-V. A new ATS-V sedan starts at around $61,000 (for a 2016 model), and the coupe is slightly more at around $63,000. This makes it less expensive than the M3 and M4 by around $2,000. However, these are just MSRP prices; the real world prices are very different.
We ran a search for new Cadillac ATS-Vs as well as for new BMW M3s and M4s. For both cars, there were both 2016 and 2017 model years available at dealerships, but we couldn't believe some of the markdowns on the Cadillacs. For the M3 and M4, the least expensive new models we saw were around $66,000 for an M4, or around $2,000 more for an M3. For the ATS-V, the least expensive car we found was around just $55,000 for a coupe and about $3,000 more for the sedan. Most of the cars in this $50,000 price range had MSRP prices of over $70,000. This means that Cadillac is now selling brand-new ATS-Vs with over $20,000 worth of discounts.
So maybe that just means Cadillac is trying to get rid of some old 2016 inventory to bring in the 2017s. That's why we also looked to see how the ATS-V is doing on the used market. The ATS-V has only been on sale since 2016, so we limited our search to 2016 models. We only found a few 2016 M3 and M4 used models that have dropped below $60,000. The least expensive one we found was a 2016 M4 with 27,000 miles and a manual transmission for $55,993. By comparison, the cheapest ATS-V we found was a 2016 coupe with 11,000 miles and a manual transmission for just $46,877. Does this mean that the ATS-V could eventually be a huge bargain on the used market?
We all know that BMW M cars notoriously lose their value on the used market and eventually become quite affordable. However, it looks like the Cadillac is going through this depreciation much faster. Even though the Cadillac is slightly less expensive than the M3, it really wouldn't be worth it to purchase one unless you receive at least some of the huge discounts we mentioned, or you take advantage of the insanely cheap used prices. We have a feeling we know why the ATS-V is having so much depreciation; it's all the second generation CTS-V's fault. When the ATS-V first came out, we couldn't keep it out of the back of our minds that they would not hold up on the used market compared to the old CTS-V.
We couldn't understand why Cadillac was suddenly offering a car with a 464 hp twin-turbo V6 for around the same price that it used to sell a larger car with a 556 hp supercharged V8. We think that the ATS-V is a pretty good car, but if we had the choice on the used market, we think that the more powerful CTS-V would be the better purchase. In fact, we wouldn't be surprised if the ATS-V gets even cheaper. If the ATS-V starts to drop below $40,000, it could be a really nice bargain. As more tuning companies start to offer packages for the 3.6-liter V6, a used ATS-V could be a fantastic value. We will pay attention to ATS-V prices, because a good bargain seeker may want be on the lookout.