The BMW 3 Series has dominated the small luxury segment for decades, and it'* easy to understand why. The 3 Series has consistently delivered best-in-class driving dynamics in spite of the competition having over 20 years to play catch-up.
Enter the hotly anticipated 2013 Cadillac ATS. In many ways, it mimics the larger CTS, but with some softer lines up front and along the flanks. The headlamps flow all the way back to the mid-point of the front wheel wells. The rear end employs the trademark Cadillac vertical tail lamps, plus a pair of inset exhaust tips.
There'* little doubt that the ATS is gunning for the 3 Series, and Cadillac is confident that its new sports sedan is a real pavement slicer. The car'* development included plenty of time on the Nurburgring, it boasts nearly 50/50 weight balance, and it features a five-link independent rear suspension; a first for the Cadillac brand. The ATS tips the scales at 3,400 pounds, slightly more than the 3,362-pound BMW 328i sedan. The ATS is also the same exact height as the Bimmer, the wheelbase is within a few tenths of an inch, and the Caddy is about one inch wider.
ats interiorInside, the ATS really steps up its game, with eye-catching color combinations and a choice of real wood or carbon fiber accents. The ATS also features cut-and-sew stitching on the dash and seats, and what appear to be materials that are a step up from the larger CTS. Among the available features are performance seats that offer adjustable side bolstering.
The ATS also features Cadillac'* new CUE technology, which offers Bluetooth, USB, auxiliary inputs and a slot for an SD card. CUE also incorporates an eight-inch LCD touchscreen, which opens up to reveal a large storage area. There'* also a 5.7-inch display nestled inside the gauge cluster, a color heads-up display, and push-button start.
Power is critical in this segment, and the ATS features three engine offerings. The base model uses GM'* all-new 2.5-litre four-cylinder generating an estimated 200 horsepower at 6,200 RPM and 188 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 PRM. The up-level 2.0-liter turbo four might be the most interesting choice, with 270 horses at 5,300 RPM and 260 lb-ft at just 2,400 RPM. The top engine is the familiar 3.6-litre V6, which offers 318 horsepower at 6,800 RPM and 267 pound-feet of torque at 4,900 RPM. The 3.6 and the 2.5 run on regular unleaded, premium is recommended for the 2.0 turbo. Transmission choices include a Tremec M3L TR3160 six-speed manual and a Hydra-Matic 6L45 six-speed automatic.