BMW 3-Series vs. Cadillac CT4

By

Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


, Automotive Editor - May 13, 2020

Cadillac has been chasing a slice of the sport-sedan pie for years, but they’ve often seemed a step behind. Their latest effort is the 2020 Cadillac CT4, a compact sport sedan designed to take on the likes of the BMW 3-Series.

The 3-Series was redesigned in 2019 and re-established itself as the reigning champ among luxury sedans. Does the CT4 have what it takes to dethrone the king?

See a side-by-side comparison of the BMW 3-Series & the Cadillac CT4 »

What the 3-Series Gets Right

The BMW 3-Series is slightly shorter than the new CT4, but you wouldn’t know if from the inside. A long wheelbase and clever packaging give the BMW an extra 1.8 inches of rear leg room over the Cadillac. The difference is even more pronounced in the trunk, where the 3-Series has 17 cubic feet of space against the CT4’s 10.7.

The 3-Series commands a premium, but it comes with a premium feel. The interior exudes quality, and the materials are top notch.

The 3-Series comes with standard lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking. The CT4 makes both optional, which is a surprising move – these features are increasingly common, even on economy cars.

BMW built the 3-Series on the driving experience, and the newest generation is no different. Suspension wizardry and willing powertrains make the 3-Series enjoyable in nearly any trim. The outgoing ATS was sharp in the corners, but it remains to be seen whether the CT4 can keep up.

Finally, the 3-Series holds a minor advantage in efficiency. With an EPA fuel economy rating of up to 30 miles per gallon combined, the 3-Series is a few mpg thriftier than the new CT4, which gets 27 mpg combined at its best.

What the CT4 Gets Right

The 3-Series has a long legacy, but it makes buyers pay for access. The Cadillac CT4 starts nearly $8,000 cheaper than its German rival.

This means that even though the 3-Series gets more standard features, CT4 buyers have extra cash to spec up. They can spend it on fancier Cadillac extras like massage-capable seats, or opt for more performance in the spirited CT4-V.

The CT4-V (and its 325-horsepower engine) still cost only a few thousand more than a base 3-Series. That makes the Cadillac a performance bargain, especially when its transmission has two extra cogs over the BMW.

Cadillac has also stepped up its warranty game, offering an impressive six-year/70,000-mile warranty. That’s two years and 20,000 miles more than BMW.

Budget or Establishment?

These two sedans are close in size but will likely appeal to different buyers. The Cadillac CT4 is a better place to look for value. The trim is cheaper, but the starting price leaves plenty of room to spec up. The 3-Series isn’t cheap to start, and BMW’s options list will push price up in a hurry.

If luxury and polish are the priorities, the 3-Series is still the winner. The BMW interior is more spacious and refined, and the driving dynamics are hard to beat.

Our Verdict: BMW 3-Series

We’re rooting for Cadillac. American sport sedans have gone unappreciated for too long, and the new CT4 looks like a worthy challenger. All the same, the BMW 3-Series owns this segment for a reason. It remains the prototypical sport sedan, and for buyers who don’t want to compromise, little else will do.

Take a closer look at the BMW 3-Series »

Take a closer look at the Cadillac CT4 »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


Privacy Policy|Do Not Sell My Personal Information|Terms of Use|Cookie Policy|Disclaimer
COPYRIGHT 1999-2020 MH Sub I, LLC dba CarsDirect.com