2013 Cadillac ATS
By Laura Burstein
On Sale: Summer 2012
Expected Pricing: Starting around $32,000
Some things do change. In past years Cadillac and small were contradictions in terms. That ends with the 2013 Cadillac ATS. Unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the all-new, rear-wheel drive luxury sport compact aims to take on a competitive segment long dominated by the German brands.
The 2013 ATS is built on a new platform called Alpha, which, while built from the ground up, borrows many elements from the larger Cadillac CTS. But don't be so quick to dismiss the ATS as the same sausage in a different length. The ATS was designed not only to be smaller, but more agile and spry, with a near-50/50 weight distribution and a wide track. Even the standard 17-inch wheels eschew the Cadillac stereotype, giving us hope that GM's tagline for the ATS of "nimble, quick and fun to drive" will hold true. And like other contemporary Caddys, the ATS was tested and refined on Germany's famed Nurburgring racetrack.
Three direct-injection engines will appear on the Cadillac ATS, including a base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine good for 200 horsepower and 188 pound-feet of torque. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, likely to be the most fuel-efficient ATS, bumps power up to 270 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. A top-of-the-line 3.6-liter V6 puts out 318 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque, and will be available only in North America. A 6-speed automatic transmission comes standard, and the turbo will offer an optional 6-speed manual. The 2013 ATS will be available in rear-wheel and all-wheel drive, with optional Magnetic Ride Control sport suspension.
The Cadillac ATS is aimed squarely at competitors such as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. While the first generation Cadillac CTS was once considered a commensurate alternative to these luxury sport compacts, its larger proportions are better suited to compete with midsize luxury cars such as the BMW 5 Series. With the ATS, Cadillac now offers buyers a choice that's more apples-to-apples. And while it's launching as a sedan, we expect to see coupe and wagon variants of the Cadillac ATS in the next couple of years.
Four trim levels will be offered on the 2013 Cadillac ATS: base, Luxury, Performance, and Premium. Options will include sport seats with power-adjustable bolsters, a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind-spot detection, a rearview camera, adaptive headlamps and collision-sensing brakes. Premium models come standard with an upgraded Bose audio system and satellite navigation. Standard safety features will include anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), traction control and stability control. Options will include adaptive cruise control and a lane departure warning system.
Also noteworthy on the 2013 ATS is the inclusion of Cadillac's latest infotainment interface, CUE (Cadillac User Experience). The system's 8-inch touchscreen display works very much like a tablet computer, allowing users to swipe, pinch and zoom to access data and change functions. CUE also uses haptic feedback, which senses when a user's fingers are near, changing menu options accordingly. A variety of functions can be synched from a mobile device, which virtually eliminates the temptation to pick up the phone while driving. Also on CUE is a voice recognition system that's much improved over previous versions.
The 2013 Cadillac ATS is slated to go on sale in Summer 2012. Pricing hasn't been announced, but we've heard buzz that the 2013 Cadillac ATS will start at around $32,000. By comparison, the new 2013 BMW 3 Series is expected to be priced from $35,000 to $50,000.