2013 Cadillac ATS
2013 Cadillac ATS – all-new sedan has caught up with the German brands
Cadillac has introduced the all-new ATS sedan, a formidable competitor to the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, with the only challenge being the combined heritage and reputation of the German trio. In this case it’s not about comparing apples to apples, but more so what orchard your apples came from. Cadillac will certainly win over curious buyers, yet will have a challenge with German loyalists, especially those that adore the number “3”! Since this is one of two all-new vehicles launched in three years, Cadillac has to continuously educate the public about their ATS offerings, which include a base model, Luxury, Performance, and Premium packages.
The fresh architecture for the four-door, RWD (optional AWD) ATS is oriented towards driving dynamics first. With a choice of three engines and two transmissions, pricing will start from $33,990. The base engine is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder with 202-horsepower and 191 lb.-ft. of torque and built in RWD form only. It is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission with manual shift and moves from 0 to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds. In our experience the mid-level $35,795 2-liter 4-cylinder Turbo was the most exciting of the three choices, especially on the track. It kicks out 272-horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque between 1700-5500 rpm’s and moves from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. Buyers can choose the 6-speed auto with manual shift or a 6-speed manual and either RWD or AWD.
The automatic comes with large magnesium butterfly shifters and holds gears until redline when engaged in “Sport” mode. This combo gives you a very focused drive and quick shifting when necessary such has downshifting into a turn or upshifting on a straightaway. The last engine of choice for the ATS is GM’s bread and butter 3.6-liter V6 ($42,090). In this iteration it puts out a commendable 321-horsepower and 275 lb.-ft. of torque and moves from 0 to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. The 6-speed automatic is available with either RWD or AWD. Acceleration is good for everyday driving but lacks excitement.
One of the ATS’ top innovations and probably our favorite technology is CUE (Cadillac User Experience) which debuted on the 2013 XTS. The touchscreen multi-media interface incorporates OnStar with automatic crash response, navigation, weather reports, audio, Bluetooth, climate control, and Pandora Internet Radio.
The interior, just like in the XTS, is inviting and finessed with multi-layered materials and trim like wood and leather. There are actually seven interiors to choose from such as the Morello Red with Jet Black accents and carbon fiber trim or Jet Black with Jet Black accents and brushed aluminum trim. Full color head-up display is optional as is the $600 Cold Weather Package that adds heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. The Safety Alert Seat is novel as well. It vibrates during certain acts — for example — when the vehicle veers out of its lane. Bose has incorporated its noise cancellation technology into the ATS for concert style audio. If you’ve experienced their QC15 headphones on a plane then imagine this custom designed 7-speaker audio system on the road. The only drawback with the overall cabin configuration is the lack of space in the back row, especially when larger people are occupying the front seats.
Back on the road, we admired the playful skills of the ATS. An adjustable sport suspension with Magnetic Ride Control allowed the car to adapt instantly to the roadways turns and elevations. It will be interesting to see how the BMW 3 Series face-off goes. I’m always up for a good challenge. And so is Cadillac! For more information, see your local Cadillac dealer or visit Cadillac.com.
By Vince Bodiford and Kimatni Rawlins
TheWeekendDrive.com & AutomotiveRhythms.com