Taking aim at the BMW 3-series.
General Motors put all of its engineering know-how into the new Alpha platform on which the rear-wheel-drive ATS is built, and, in fact, the new lightweight vehicle architecture will go on to underpin the next-generation Chevrolet Camaro and Cadillac CTS. To bring home the message that the ATS will be a driver’s car, Germany’s famed Nürburgring served as a key development ground. Powering the ATS are three available engines. The base powerplant, which is quite smooth, is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder rated at 200 hp. The most powerful is the same 3.6-liter V-6 found in the CTS and other GM products that is known for its strong and smooth power delivery; here it is rated at 320 hp. The third engine is all-new and was specifically developed for the ATS: a 2.0-liter turbocharged in-line four-cylinder that produces a BMW 328i–besting 270 hp. Manual and automatic transmissions are offered, both with six speeds. Rear-wheel drive is standard, as befitting a performance-oriented sedan; all-wheel drive is an option. As far as styling goes, Cadillac’s Art & Science design language has been toned down here with fewer angles and more traditional proportions, but the ATS is still unmistakably a Cadillac — and one that proves to be very entertaining to drive, as well.
new for 2013
Cadillac engineered the ATS sport sedan from the ground up, starting with extensive work on its new Alpha rear-wheel-drive platform, a luxurious interior with the touch-capacitive CUE infotainment system, and a handsome exterior. Smaller than the CTS, the ATS takes direct aim at the heart of the luxury sport sedan market — the Audi A4, BMW 3-series, Infiniti G37, and Mercedes-Benz C-class.
Front, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; stability and traction control; rear parking sensors; OnStar with automatic crash notification and emergency services; and a tire-pressure monitoring system are standard. Lane-departure warning, forward-collision alert, a vibrating Safety Alert Seat, blind-zone alert, automatic braking, and adaptive cruise control are optional.
Small back seat
Base Price Range: $33,990–$48,690
DRIVE: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel
TRIM LEVELS: ATS, Luxury, Performance, Premium
BODY STYLE: Sedan, 5-passenger
ENGINES: 2.0L turbo I-4, 270 hp, 260 lb-ft
2.5L I-4, 200 hp, 188 lb-ft
3.6L V-6, 320 hp, 267 lb-ft
TRANSMISSIONS: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic
PASSENGER VOLUME: 90.9 cu ft
CARGO SPACE: 10.2 cu ft