Cadillac knew that a lightweight chassis was essential if it wanted to create the kind of car that would handle and drive like a world-class sports sedan. A lightweight structure not only benefits handling, but improves acceleration and fuel economy as well. The ATS weighs in at around 3,400 pounds, which is extremely light among luxury cars. This helps it achieve an EPA estimated 33 mpg on the highway when properly equipped.
Engine choices available on the ATS sedan take advantage of its light weight to provide strong fuel economy and acceleration. Three engines are available: a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo making 272 horsepower, a 3.6L V6 producing 335 horsepower, and in the ATS-V, a twin turbocharged 3.6L V6 making 464 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque. The engine is strong enough to propel the ATS-V coupe to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds, with a top speed of 189 mph. The standard ATS comes with a 6-speed automatic, though a 6-speed manual is available with either turbo engine. The automatic transmission option for the ATS-V is an 8-speed. All-wheel drive is optional on the standard ATS, and it is only available with the 2.0L turbo engine or the V6.
In sedan or coupe form, the ATS comes in four different trims: ATS, Luxury, Premium Luxury and Premium Performance. In each trim, sedans and coupes are comparably equipped. Both coupes and sedans come equipped with the 4-cylinder turbo, though the base stereo in the sedan is a 10-speaker Bose surround sound unit, while the coupe features a 12-speaker Bose unit. Both sedans and coupes now come standard with Cadillac's CUE infotainment system, which brings with it an 8-inch color touch screen, Sirius XM satellite radio, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, and voice recognition. Functioning much like an iPad, CUE vastly simplifies the interior of the car, allowing for increased functionality without much of the clutter. It also houses the optional navigation system and includes a suite of apps to support Pandora, iHeart Radio, the Weather Channel and more. Other notable standard equipment includes a leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, a 6-way power adjustable driver's seat, dual-zone climate control and attractive 17-inch wheels (18-inch on the coupe).
On the sedan, the Luxury trim adds leather seating surfaces, 10-way power adjustable front seats, power mirrors, heated front seats and steering wheel, and front and rear ultrasonic parking assist. Luxury coupes also get adaptive HID headlights and performance seats.
Premium Luxury-equipped ATS models include just about everything in the Luxury package, plus the 3.6L V6. Also added are a sunroof, automatic wipers, and advanced safety features like lane keep assist, forward collision alert, blind zone alert, and rear cross-traffic alert.
The top-of-the-line Premium Performance trim also features the 3.6L V6 and adds power tilt/telescoping steering column, a limited-slip differential, run-flat summer tires, and performance suspension with driver-selected Magnetic Ride Control, which actively changes damping to affect ride and handling.
The ATS-V is equipped only one way, with a variety of luxury features found on other upper-tier ATS models. Unique to the V are Brembo high-performance brakes, high-performance sport seats, standard Magnetic Ride Control suspension, launch control, active rev matching when equipped with the 6-speed manual, a carbon fiber hood, and an available aerodynamic package.
Standard safety equipment on the ATS includes anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control, OnStar crash response and front, knee and side-curtain airbags.
The dawdling semi truck goes straight rather than right, meaning I've got the on-ramp to myself. Time to downshift to second, floor the throttle and unleash all 464 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque. When shift lights appear in the head-up display, I shove the precise shifter into third and keep building speed. Yes, even such a mundane operation as merging onto I-275 feels downright heroic at full throttle in the Cadillac ATS-V. It's a car that delivers as much driving pleasure as outright performance. That's why I've loved it so much -- and why I'm saddened the ATS-V is to be no more.
The ATS-V has been on sale for some time and changes for the 2019 model year are few: the sedan is no longer offered, while the coupe now comes with the Carbon Fiber Package visual upgrade as standard. Above all, we know that this car's time is up, meaning this is my last chance to enjoy Cadillac's German sports-coupe fighter.
That powerful engine helps define the ATS-V's aggressive character. Like most of its rivals, the Cadillac uses a six-cylinder mill augmented by a pair of turbochargers, in this case a V6 displacing 3.6 liters. Cadillac says the car gets to 60 miles per hour in 3.8 seconds and goes on to a top speed of 189 mph. Those figures are right on par with the likes of the Audi RS5 (3.7 seconds, thanks in part to all-wheel drive), BMW M4 manual (4.1 seconds) and Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe (3.8 seconds). A claimed top speed of 189 miles per hour makes the Cadillac faster than all those cars.
The Good Satisfying manual transmission, responsive engine and stellar steering feel.
The Bad A cramped interior with some underwhelming materials.
The Bottom Line Cadillac built a world-class sports coupe, and we'll miss it once it's gone.
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No additional details have been offered just yet.
Cadillac's starting the slow social-media tease for the car today.
The Cadillac ATS and CTS are also implicated.
The alphanumeric structure will be used for gas and electric cars.
It's less expensive than the Germans, but not really anybody else.