Cadillac brings 455 horses to the LA Auto Show

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

LOS ANGELES -- The new 2016 Cadillac ATS-V is all sharp angles and raw anger. The high-powered variant of the ATS is currently the closest thing to a true successor to the Cadillac CTS-V (despite being a bit smaller) and the American luxury brand's challenger to BMW's M3 and M4. We checked it out at the 2014 LA Auto Show.

Behind the enlarged grill, you'll find the automaker's 3.6-liter V-6 has been augmented with a pair of turbochargers. To help it deal with the increased demand and internal pressures, the V-6 has been upgraded with stronger, lighter pistons and connecting rods; its direct-injection system has been tweaked; and its compression ratio slides to 10.2:1. Cadillac claims that even the oil pan has been "track-optimized."

The twin turbochargers feature a variety of tweaks of their own to help the powerplant to build power quickly and consistently. The snails use lightweight internals (including titanium turbines) and each features its own vacuum-actuated wastegate, the combination of which should keep the Caddy's throttle responsive.

Turbocharged engines often use some sort of intercooler to chill the intake air before it's crammed into the cylinders -- cool air is more dense and nets more power when combusted. Rather than a traditional air-to-air intercooler, the ATS-V features Cadillac's new, patented low-volume charge-air cooling system. This is essentially a water-to-air intercooler that's integrated into the manifold, reducing the amount of pipes and ducting required to cool the intake charge. Shorter pipes mean less volume of air between the turbo and the cylinders which, in turn, means the driver gets more responsive power delivery with less lag.

When all is said and done, the twin-turbo V-6 is good for a stated 455 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque. That's more power and torque than the 2015 CTS Vsport, which uses a similar twin-turbo V-6 setup. The torque high tails it to the rear wheels via either a six-speed TREMEC TR6060 manual transmission (from the CTS-V) or an 8-speed Hydra-Matic 8L90 automatic gearbox with paddle shifters. Choose the automatic you'll hit 60mph from a standing start in 3.9 seconds. The manual is a few ticks slower, but probably more fun around a course.

More hardcore than the Vsport, I think the ATS-V is the true successor to the CTS-V.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Outside of the engine bay, nearly all of the ATS-V's body panels are unique when compared to the standard ATS. From wider fenders and rocker panels to lower and more aggressive fascias at the front and rear ends, we're assured that there's a function to the Caddy's sharper form. The nose features larger intakes to cram air through the radiators and into the engine and the hood features venting to help draw out heat and keep everything running coolly. The suspension, wheels, tires, and more have all been given a performance tweak as well to keep up with the engine.

We expect tech similar to that of the standard ATS sedan and coupe and see evidence of Cadillac's use of a head-up display. Check out our full review to learn more and stay tuned to our continued coverage of the 2014 LA Auto Show.