New & Used Cadillac ATS: In Depth
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The Cadillac ATS is the luxury brand's newest entry-level car in the Cadillac range, launched as a compact four-door sedan in 2013. The ATS lineup acquired a second model, the ATS Coupe, for the 2015 model year. Competitors for the ATS include--at least nominally--the BMW 3-Series, Infiniti Q50, Lexus IS, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
The ATS has a base price of just under $34,000, although a fully trimmed out V-6 ATS model with all-wheel drive will total more than $56,000. A high-powered ATS-V version is also expected to be added into the lineup within a year or two.
Just as the Cadillac CTS has done for more than a decade, the smaller ATS sports the latest evolution of Cadillac's dynamic Art & Science design vocabulary. Here, the angular forms of the first CTS have been toned down, with more gently integrated headlamps and softer character lines along the body. That lets the ATS blend in more easily with its luxury competitors, while still standing distinctively on its shorter wheelbase. The ATS' interior focuses on the driver, with a flowing design highlighted by ambient lighting and a range of interior trim, from wood to metal to carbon fiber.
The ATS rides on a new platform that will eventually spin off other body styles for Cadillac, and may also lead to a replacement for the Chevy Camaro. In its first iteration, the 2013 ATS sedan comes in rear- or all-wheel-drive form. The base powerplant is a 2.5-liter direct-injection four-cylinder with 200 horsepower and 188 pound-feet of torque; a turbocharged version of this engine is rated at 270 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The top engine choice is GM's 3.6-liter direct-injection V-6, rated at 318 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque.
Six-speed manual and automatic transmissions are available. Cadillac estimates the base model will deliver fuel economy of 22/32 mpg, and 0-60 mph times of 7.5 seconds. It's pegging the same fuel economy for its turbo four, while 0-60 mph times drop to 5.7 seconds; for the 321-hp V-6, 60 mph arrives in 5.4 seconds, and gas mileage should check in at 19/28 mpg. In part, the strong fuel economy and acceleration figures are due to the ATS' relatively light curb weight of 3,400 pounds. The suspension is fully independent, and the ATS' weight is balanced at 50:50, and handling is not just on par with its primary German competition--we think it's superior in many ways.
Like the large XTS sedan also being introduced for the 2013 model year, the ATS will feature Cadillac's new CUE infotainment system. CUE uses an 8-inch capacitive touchscreen on the dash and a 5.7-inch reconfigurable screen on the gauge cluster to control everything from navigation and audio, to climate control and vehicle settings. Like Ford's MyFord Touch, CUE can be operated by voice commands as well. The instrument panel also has touch-sensitive buttons that can control main audio and climate control functions quickly. It's a controversial setup that has its glaring flaws and technical hiccups.
The ATS backs up the in-cabin tech with a myriad of safety features including eight standard airbags and StabiliTrak. The IIHS hasn't yet rated the ATS--but the NHTSA gives the new luxury sedan five stars overall, an excellent score for a compact sedan. Optional technology includes full-speed, range-adaptive cruise control, Intelligent brake assist, brake pre-fill automatic collision preparation, and much more. With all this optional technology available, Cadillac is not only looking towards the technology and driving-enthusiast crowd, but the safety-conscious crowd as well.