Cadillac has gotten close in the past, but the 2013 Cadillac ATS is the first truly viable American alternative to the small European import sport sedans that have dominated the market for decades. And with a variety of trim levels and options, it can be tailored for the price conscious or those wanting all the bells and whistles.
The base ATS is powered by a 2.5 liter four-cylinder engine with 202 horsepower and 190 foot-pound of torque. While this engine is somewhat underpowered, there are other options: a turbocharged 2.0 liter inline four-cylinder engine cranking out a mighty 272 horsepower and 260 foot-pound of torque, and a 3.6 liter V6 producing 321 horsepower and 274 foot-pound of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel-drive is available on trim levels that offer engine upgrades. Fuel economy is respectable: the 2.5 liter engine produces 22 mpg city and 33 mpg highway, while the turbocharged four-cylinder and the V6 engines come in at 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.
Cadillac has done a great job on the interior of the ATS. It features a variety of options, but the layout is sensible and features quality trim materials. The display screen is easy to use and has a pleasant pulse when you touch one of the display buttons. The seats are comfortable and headroom is good throughout, but legroom in the rear seats is limited. The trunk, however, is surprisingly small for a sedan; split-folding rear seats help ease the burden of larger loads.
While the ATS is not a BMW, it does offer superior handling through the corners, agile steering, and responsive brakes. The ride is surprisingly smooth, and even the roughest streets are handled with ease. The base 2.5 liter engine has disappointing acceleration, but available engine upgrades make upgrading an easy choice: the turbocharged inline four-cylinder and V6 options are worthy options.
Built on the same platform as the 2.5-liter, the 2-liter Turbo features a turbocharged engine with 272 horsepower and 260 foot-pound of torque. Rear-wheel-drive is standard, as is a six-speed automatic touch-shift transmission. All-wheel-drive and a six-speed manual transmission are available upgrades. Standard features on the 2-liter Turbo include all of the 2.5-liter's standard and optional features, as well as run-flat tires.
The 2-liter Turbo Luxury features the turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine with rear-wheel-drive and a six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel-drive and a six-speed manual transmission are available. The 2-liter Turbo Luxury features the same standard features and options as the 2.5-liter Luxury trim level. A notable exception is the inclusion of a rear differential with limited slip and an extra-capacity cooling system included on all 2-liter models.
The 2-liter Turbo Performance trim level features a turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine. Rear-wheel-drive and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard. All-wheel-drive and a six-speed manual are available as upgrades. The 2-liter Turbo Performance includes the same features as the standard 2-liter Turbo with several notable additions: a 10-speaker Bose audio system, eight-way power front seats, memory settings for the driver's seat, an upgraded grille, rear park assist, a rear-view backup camera, rain-sensing wipers, forward collision alert, a lane departure system, a driver awareness package, and aluminum alloy pedals.
Options are 18-inch aluminum wheels, paddle shift, and the CUE navigation system.
The 2-liter Turbo Premium is the range-topping ATS. It features a turbocharged 2-liter inline four-cylinder engine, rear-wheel-drive and a six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel-drive and a six-speed manual transmission are available upgrades. Based on the Luxury platform, the Premium adds: 18-inch wheels, split-folding rear seats, a color display screen, a sport-tuned suspension, and CUE navigation.
Options are the same as for the 2-liter Turbo Luxury.
The base level 2.5-liter model features a four-cylinder engine with 202 horsepower and 190 foot-pounds of torque. Rear-wheel-drive and a six-speed automatic transmission with tap-shift control are standard. Other standard features include: dual-zone climate control; six-way power front seats with power lumbar; a 5.7 inch display console; 17-inch alloy wheels; Bluetooth; OnStar; a seven-speaker Bose audio system; a satellite radio; an iPod interface; and an auxiliary audio input jack.
Options include: a rear-view backup camera, Cadillac User Experience (CUE), 17-inch aluminum wheels, a 10-speaker Bose audio system, and heated front seats.
The 2.5-liter Luxury has a six-speed automatic transmission with tap-shift control and rear-wheel-drive. Other features include: keyless entry, keyless ignition, run-flat tires, eight-way power front seats, remote engine start, parking assist, split-folding rear seats, leather seats, a rear-view camera, a high-definition radio, Bluetooth audio streaming, the CUE interface, and driver seat memory settings.
Options on the 2.5-liter Luxury include: a navigation system, 18-inch wheels with run-flat tires, a 10-speaker Bose audio system, rain-sensing wipers, a forward collision alert system, lane departure warning, and a driver awareness package.
The 3.6-liter Luxury is based on the 2.5-liter Luxury, except that it features the V6 engine with 321 horsepower and 274 foot-pound of torque. The six-speed automatic transmission with tap-shift controls is standard, as is rear-wheel drive. All-wheel-drive is available, but the six-speed manual transmission is not. All standard features and options are the same as for the 2.5-liter Luxury trim level.
The 3.6-liter Performance features the V6 engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel-drive as standard equipment. All-wheel-drive is an available upgrade. Standard features and options match those available on the 2-liter Turbo Performance, with the exception of the optional six-speed manual transmission, which is not available with the V6. However, paddle shifting is a standard feature on the 3.6-liter Performance.
The 3.6-liter Premium is the top-of-the-line model with the V6 engine. Rear-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard, and all-wheel-drive is available as an upgrade. The 3.6-liter Premium has the same standard features and options as the 2-liter Premium, however paddle shift controls are also standard on the 3.6-liter Premium.
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|Build & Price|
Excellent driving experience with a powerful engine, but options are pricey and interior space is limited
Available all-wheel-drive, dependable engine with great fuel economy, but interior layout is awkward
Multiple trim levels and models, handles well in tough conditions, but smaller and more expensive.
Dynamic handling and robust V6 engine, but noticeably louder driving experience and lacks in the luxury department