Deputy editor James ponders the safety systems on our long term Cadillac ATS after a near-miss that was a little too close for comfort!
|Date acquired:||May 2014|
|Kilometres this month:||1071|
|Costs this month:||$0|
|L/100km this month:||8.2|
One of the benefits of living where I do is the tranquillity. Outside the main hub of the city as it is, there’s very little in the way of commuter traffic or noise pollution, with the added bonus of the area being Dubai Autodrome-adjacent: weekly track action is just a 10 minute walk or laziness-fuelled car journey away.
There is one issue, however. I’m one of the fortunate few who enjoys underground parking, but the ratio of cars to available on-street parking spaces is a bit one-sided. When I exit the underground parking, there are so many cars lining the road on both sides that I can’t see what is coming, and ultimately, whether it is safe to pull into the road.
The dangers of this daily blind spot were demonstrated rather terrifyingly this afternoon when only avoiding action from myself in the long term Cadillac ATS and an oncoming MINI Cooper S – both blind-sided as we were by the stationary cars – prevented a costly (in every sense of the word) accident. I’m not sure of your identity Mr or Mrs MINI Cooper S, but I shall be forever in debt for your lightning fast reflexes. As I’m sure will Cadillac Middle East.
Eventually my breathing and blood pressure returned to normal, and the near-miss got me thinking about occupant safety in the ATS. The head-up display for instance, while primarily an excuse to sink deeper into the leather pseudo-buckets and ‘aim for the apex’, proves handy for keeping an eye on the saloon’s speed, revs and current gear without taking your eyes off the road. To ensure a safe distance on the highway, adaptive cruise control automatically regulates the distance to the car in front, while the automatic collision prevention system not only warns occupants of a potential impending collision but can automatically apply the brakes.
The list of driver aids goes on and on – high-beam control, rainsense wipers, side blind spot alert, etc – but one of the Cadillac’s more identifiable assistance systems is the Safety Alert Seat, which sends a haptic pulse through the cushion to alert the driver of…well, pretty much everything. It’s an effective – and preferable – alternative to the ear-drum rupturing high pitched warning shriek as used by other manufacturers, since not only does the system alert drivers to impending danger, it also begins the subliminal task of improving your driving: unless you’re overly keen to have vibrations pulsing through your derriere every time you wander out of lane (it’s okay, we’re not here to judge), you soon learn to start using your indicators. These same pulses apply when the rear cross-traffic alert – a method of alerting the driver to oncoming traffic when reversing out of a parking space – is activated. Again, unless vibrations through the seat of your pants are your thing, you’re encouraged to pay even more due care and attention to your surroundings. Something I’m all too aware of now.
But just to be on the safe side, it might be worth having a MINI Cooper S driver with lightning fast reflexes on standby.
|Engine:||V6 / 3564cc|
|Power:||321bhp @ 6800rpm|
|Torque:||275lb ft @ 4800rpm|
|Transmission:||Six-speed automatic / rear-wheel drive|
|Front suspension:||Magnetic Ride Control / monotube struts|
|Rear suspension:||Magnetic Ride Control / monotube shocks|
|Brakes:||Vented discs / 321mm (front) / 315mm (rear)|
|Wheels:||18 x 8in (front) / 18 x 9in (rear)|
|Tyres:||225/40 R18 front and rear|