For enhanced safety, the Cadillac ATS Sedan’s rear seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Audi A4 doesn’t offer comfort guides on its rear seat belts.
Both the ATS Sedan and A4 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The ATS Sedan has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The A4’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The ATS Sedan V6 offers optional Rear Automatic Braking which use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The A4 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
Both the ATS Sedan and the A4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.
Cadillac’s powertrain warranty covers the ATS Sedan 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Audi covers the A4. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the A4 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
Cadillac pays for scheduled maintenance on the ATS Sedan for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Cadillac will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Audi only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the A4.
There are over 3 times as many Cadillac dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the ATS Sedan’s warranty.
The ATS Sedan’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 20 more horsepower (272 vs. 252) and 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 273) than the A4’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The ATS Sedan’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 83 more horsepower (335 vs. 252) and 12 lbs.-ft. more torque (285 vs. 273) than the A4’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.
An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the ATS Sedan V6’s fuel efficiency. The A4 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Cadillac ATS Sedan uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended with the 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. engine for maximum performance). The A4 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
The ATS Sedan’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the A4’s standard 50 series tires. The ATS Sedan’s optional 255/30R19 rear tires have a lower 30 series profile than the A4’s optional 35 series tires.
Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the ATS Sedan can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The A4 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
The ATS Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.1% to 49.9%) than the A4’s (56% to 44%). This gives the ATS Sedan more stable handling and braking.
The ATS Sedan handles at .94 G’s, while the A4 Premium Plus Quattro pulls only .92 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
For better maneuverability, the ATS Sedan FE3’s turning circle is 2.1 feet tighter than the A4’s (36 feet vs. 38.1 feet).
The ATS Sedan is 3.3 inches shorter than the A4, making the ATS Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The front grille of the ATS Sedan uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The A4 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the ATS Sedan AWD is quieter than the A4 Prestige Quattro (39 vs. 42 dB).
The ATS Sedan Auto offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The A4 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
The ATS Sedan’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The A4 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
The A4’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The ATS Sedan Premium’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.
When the ATS Sedan with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The A4’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.
The ATS Sedan offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The A4 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the ATS Sedan is less expensive to operate than the A4 because typical repairs cost much less on the ATS Sedan than the A4, including $373 less for a water pump, $30 less for front brake pads, $206 less for a starter, $97 less for fuel injection, $294 less for a fuel pump, $260 less for front struts and $37 less for a timing belt/chain.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Cadillac ATS Sedan will be $594 to $2393 less than for the Audi A4.
A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the ATS as the 2013 North American Car of the Year. The A4 has never been chosen.