BMW 3-Series vs. Cadillac CT5

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 - March 10, 2020

Cadillac continues to search for answers in the battle for sport sedan buyers, which have long flocked to German brands. America’s latest champion is the Cadillac CT5, a reimagined sedan based on the previous CTS.

The CT5 slots between the BMW 3-Series and BMW 5-Series in size, but pricing naturally pits it against the smaller BMW. Can the Cadillac dethrone the reigning champ? It hasn’t quite made its way to dealerships yet, but here’s our preview of the showdown.

See a side-by-side comparison of the 3-Series & CT5 »

What the 3-Series Gets Right

The newest generation of the 3-Series marked a return to form for the “sport” in “sport sedan.” The BMW 3-Series is sharper than ever on the road. While Cadillac has earned some praise for their suspensions in the past, the 3-Series sets a high bar.

BMW has dialed in the rest of the driving experience, too. The 3-Series starts with 255 horsepower compared to 237 in the Cadillac. Despite the power advantage, the 3-Series is far more efficient. With the base engine and rear-wheel drive, the BMW manages an impressive 30 miles per gallon combined, according to the EPA. At best, the CT5 will do 26 mpg combined.

BMW charges luxury prices, but the interior backs up the premium. The 3-Series uses quality materials and comfortable seats to spoil passengers. Although it’s the smaller vehicle, the 3-Series even exceeds the CT5 handily in cargo capacity.

What the CT5 Gets Right

The CT5 has 9 inches of length over the 3-Series, and it puts the extra real estate to work in the cabin. The Cadillac has nearly 3 inches more legroom in the second row, and more headroom to boot.

Cadillac doesn’t ask much for the extra space. In fact, the CT5 starts nearly $4,000 cheaper than the 3-Series. This means buyers can find more features for the same price. The midrange Premium Luxury trim is nearly the same price as a base 3-Series, but Cadillac buyers will find real leather upholstery and wireless charging on the list of features.

Cadillac even has a few tricks that BMW can’t match. The new CT5 uses a 10-speed automatic transmission (the BMW gets eight cogs), and Cadillac’s Super Cruise tech makes freeway life easy.

Price of Admission

If you’re looking only at the features and space, it’s hard to deny the appeal of the Cadillac CT5. Extra interior space and tech rarely go amiss. But sport sedans are about the experience as much as the options list, and that’s why the BMW 3-Series has reigned supreme for so long. BMW still has the best ingredients for drivers, and we predict they’ll continue to dominate the class.

Our Verdict: BMW 3-Series

The CT5 is yet another noble attempt from Cadillac, and we appreciate the new exterior and upgraded technology. But until the Cadillac can back up its looks with an exceptional drive, we’re not convinced that it'll make much headway. We’ll cross our fingers for favorable impressions on the full release of the car, but we wouldn’t bet against the BMW 3-Series.

Take a closer look at the 3- Series »

Take a closer look at the CT5»

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.


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