2013 Cadillac ATS: Audio Review
April 15, 2013
Our long-term Cadillac ATS in Premium trim comes with a 10-speaker Bose surround sound system (that's three more speakers than the base system from Bose). On lower-trimmed models, this system is paired with the CUE interface and will set you back $1,350. Is the upgrade worth it?
Short answer: probably.
The CUE interface is decent enough. It's not nearly as aggravating as the MyFord Touch system, though that's a decidedly low bar. CUE does take a couple of seconds to respond when you skip to the next song, but at least you have an indication that your command was registered (haptic feedback on the screen and the music cuts out).
The proximity sensor on the touchscreen is a neat feature, though I really don't see how useful it is. Normally, the screen looks like the shot above. As soon as you hand gets close to it, more information (shown below) appears. The steering wheel audio controls are acceptable, but not praiseworthy. Reaching the inboard skip buttons require changing your hand position.
In terms of audio quality, well, it won't exactly impress you. The staging is pretty good, and the options for driver and centered focus allow the music to surround you. The bass is pretty weak, unfortunately, with the big hits felt primarily through the floor, not in your gut. I gave the bass a little boost in the tone adjustments, but then it all started getting muddy. The highs were all right, but certainly not crystal clear.
Browsing for a specific track or artist was easy, for the most part. The menus are well organized and you can actually scroll through the selections fairly quickly. I also like the sharpness of the graphics and even the super glossy screen doesn't bother me too much. It's a lot like the shiny screens on the current Apple products.
If the sound quality of the system were improved, even just a little bit, I'd change my "is it worth it?" answer to "definitely."
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 6,662 miles