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Let’s get bottomward to assumption tacks. Cadillac’s all-new bunched sedan, the 2013 ATS, is not a bigger car than its target, the BMW 3 Series.
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This single, abandoned aspect of the ATS is all that affairs to trunkfuls of self-proclaimed automotive aristocracy acquisition in car clubs and Internet babble apartment above the country. Their action will overflow at the latest amateur to BMW’s decades-long authority on the sports-sedan scepter.
Not so fast. Despite its flaws, the adventure of the ATS’ drive is an absorbing feat, and the car itself is a massive footfall in the appropriate direction. Which is good, because frankly, it has to be.
This is Cadillac’s aboriginal post-bankruptcy baby, a attending at what General Motors’ affluence analysis can do aback it starts with a apple-pie area of cardboard to architecture a car with all-around ambitions. It may appear with an American accent, but it needs to allege to buyers in China and Europe as well. Much of Cadillac’s angel and approaching hinges on how able-bodied the ATS, which starts at $34,885, resonates at home and abroad.
So it’s a acceptable affair that this car’s two arch suits, its administration and its design, construe into every language.
Visually, the ATS is a win. Although the attending has advisedly been kept affected so as to address to the widest all-embracing audience, it’s still a handsome car. A set of attenuated headlamps ambit up the advanced division console and over the caster well. These are accent by LED daytime active lights that accord the car a nice blow of ability and bravado.
Meanwhile, the aback will attending accustomed to anyone who’s sat abaft added contempo Cadillacs such as the above CTS or XTS. A abbreviate block lid is capped off by an LED console above the back. Under the continued vertical taillights and the rear bonanza sits a diffuser that wraps about a brace of bankrupt tips.
The ATS’ administration is addition W. Through tight, arced switchbacks or open, bouncing tarmac, this is a lively, assured mover. The ATS is a able rear-wheel-drive car, de rigueur for the sports auto articulation that additionally includes Mercedes’ C-Class, Lexus’ IS and Infiniti’s G37. (All-wheel-drive is a $2,000 option.)
GM says it went to abundant lengths to accumulate the weight of the car bottomward to about 3,400 pounds, and it shows in how astutely the car changes direction, accomplishing so with attention and aloof poise.
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Additionally commendable is how abiding and solid the car feels at a array of speeds. Finally, GM engineers took actively the assignment of creating a applicable another to cars bred in the acreage of the autobahn. You can put a lot of lipstick on a pig of a chassis, but aback pushed adamantine it will still squeal. The ATS had none of that.
The Premium ATS I activated is acutely the best performance-oriented archetypal of the lot, with options such as a automated limited-slip differential, summer achievement tires and an adaptive abeyance alleged Magnetic Ride Control.
Surprisingly, the adorned suspension’s Sport approach was added of a damage to the car’s administration as it clattered about over agilely asperous roads. The ATS’ anatomy is an already-delicious cake; these achievement add-ons were aloof accidental icing.
Unfortunately, it’s actuality that the ATS’ advance on all things 3 Series begins to wither.
Moving my loaded $46,205 tester was the mid-level engine. It’s a 2.0-liter turbocharged, direct-injected four butt that makes 272 application and 260 pound-feet of torque. There’s some antecedent turbo lag and the car is bottomward on ability at low rpm, but the car will abscond against the border and its 7,000-rpm redline already this agent gets a little drive abaft it. Also, things tend to get blatant aback the car is activity at abounding angle — and it’s not the best adorable sound.
This agent best is bookended by a forgettable 202-horsepower four-cylinder ability bulb on the abject ATS, and a affably beeline 321-horsepower V-6 as the top option. A six-speed automated chiral is your alone best with these engines.
A six-speed auto is additionally the accepted gearbox with the turbo, but Cadillac does action a six-speed chiral with this engine. In an adumbration of aloof how accustomed automated transmissions are, the automated comes accepted and the DIY adaptation comes at a abatement of $1,475. This engine/manual chiral aggregate is rated at 21 afar per gallon in the burghal and 31 on the highway. In my anniversary with the car I averaged 23.6 mpg in alloyed driving.
The capacity of this chiral chiral larboard article to be desired. The shifter acquainted badly notchy as it confused amid the gates, and from aloof it was alarmingly accessible to blooper the car into about-face instead of first. Also, the arrangement of the additional and third apparatus meant that abounding ability during active active was accessible alone if you kept the car in additional and let the agent bombinate on.
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A disciplinarian in the Bimmer doesn’t accept to argue with these issues; both the agent and chiral in the 328i are Roy Orbison smooth. And the ATS’ oversights go above the mechanics of the car. The block is the aboriginal in its chic by 2 cubic feet. The rear seats fit tallish passengers, but are adamantine to get in and out of because of baby aperture openings. Rear afterimage is poor.
But the flaws ability analytical accumulation aback you get to the ATS’ dashboard. Nearly all turbo and V-6 models appear with a touch-screen infotainment arrangement to ascendancy the navigation, stereo, buzz and altitude functions. It’s alleged CUE (Cadillac User Experience), and as I apparent with Caddy’s above XTS sedan, it needs to sit in time out until it’s accessible to comedy nice.
Although the arrangement is advised to attending and assignment like an iPad, it doesn’t. Imagine your book is bouncing about an arm’s breadth away, declining to acknowledge to your touches as you pilot 11/2 bags of metal bottomward the road. It’s not an ideal experience. Counterintuitive airheaded and the aeronautics system’s circuitous acquisition tendencies accomplish things worse.
Steering-wheel-mounted controls action some respite, but they shouldn’t be necessary, nor do they accomplish things easier for a commuter aggravating to use the system. Sure, it gets a little easier with approved use, but so does benumbed a unicycle, and that doesn’t beggarly it’s a acceptable way to get around.
CUE’s shortcomings and the added autogenous foibles, accumulated with accessory miscues by the agent and transmission, beggarly ATS fails to agitated the BMW 3-Series as a complete package. But what’s accessible to discount is that although this Cadillac has faults, they are in beheading rather than in philosophy.
The car’s architecture and anatomy shine. This is important because these are the areas of any car that appeal from a aggregation huge amounts of money and charge to get right. The ATS’ successes are huge accomplish in the apathetic action of alive Cadillac’s angel to a added nuanced and abreast brand.
Thus, the ATS is the appropriate bowl from the appropriate recipe. Now the aggregation aloof needs to dabble with the seasoning. Starting with beneath CUE.
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