Review: 2013 Cadillac ATS

Posted on 23. Jul, 2012 by in Auto News

Smaller grille than CTS, but clearly a Cadillac.

Size and weight are a large part of GM-DNA. They beat Ford not a frontal attack on the wagon, but by a larger, heavier, flashier car. They thought they could do the same with BMW. But as Bayern looked packed on the pounds and inches, car buyers are "in the know", the extra size and weight of the Cadillac as a sign that the general either no technical skills or just do not "get it." Well, maybe the "new GM" is really different. With the 2013 Cadillac ATS, the company has pulled all the stops to directly challenge the BMW 3-Series with a rear-wheel-drive, which is-surprise a few tenths of an inch smaller and a few pounds lighter. Could the people who have tried to sell us the Cimmaron get this right?

Standard 17-inch wheels.

From looking at the ATS, one would never guess that GM was swinging for the fences, because the external designers. Instead, they were instructed to bunt. CTS was the first to carve a sassy yet largely successful attempt by Cadillac, a new visual identity. The second of the first smoothed the edges, but his muscular fenders and grille enlarged oozed swagger. Many people loved it, but some hated. The ATS slimmer, trimmer and less dramatic body sides are better for aero grille, packaging efficiency, and not deter buyers who looks to blend in. The longer you look at it, the better it will, but how subtly elegant sheet won t " ATS sell all by itself. Instead, it could maximize the number of people who are willing to consider, the rest of the car. This is contrary to the previous practice GM, which was often the hope that dramatic styling would entice buyers to to overlook the rest of the car.

Red interior with real carbon fiber trim.

Crack the door open boarding, and the ATS is a strong second impression. Nothing crazy here either, but the design and materials are at least as good as the others in this segment. No direct competitor fully padded upper surfaces of the instrument panel and doors. This cover has a closer, more precise fit than in the CTS. Seven different interiors are available, and all are attractive, some markedly. The large screen of the touch-based "CUE" infotainment system (standard on all but the base trim), vivid graphics that combine the visual punch Ford system with the superior usability Chrysler. I noticed only a part of the interior, which seemed cheap, a faux chrome starter button. They are already planning to change the destination.

Black interior with aluminum trim.

It has over the hood and the driving position could not be better. The dashboard shows the lower and less massive than in a BMW, the A-pillars, almost delicate by today's standards, and in some refreshingly original thinking, the armrests are in different barrels to support the left arm while steering and the right arm while displacement. The steering wheel has a smaller diameter than the standard GM Tiller, and its edge is not overly padded. The front seats could be better. With headrests in front and back and side set reinforces that on top of two of the four trim adjust, and from the right boxes were checked. But even at full tight the pads offer mediocre lateral support. They lower size and the center of the seat back feels slightly convex instead of concave. As the exterior, GM has avoided driving away any potential buyers (in this case are the widest). You could more aggressively strengthened seats as a standalone option, instead they have offered "sport buckets" mandatory on the top two trim levels, but this would be to build combinations (more on that later) driven.

Front seat set for 5'9 "driver. Can back 2-3 centimeters longer.

Go from the front seat to the back, and if you are over six feet tall (thankfully I'm not) you wish you did not have it. Second row legroom is not far off that in a Mercedes-Benz C-Class or Audi A4, but the latest BMW 3-Series features vaulted far ahead of the field in this area. Several ATS team members confided that they did not provided the 3 Series always so much bigger than her car. When I pointed out that the F30 only three-tenths of an inch longer than the ATS, 182.5 vs. 182.2, and so far from CTS region (191.6), is one of them pointed out that the total length does not best indicator, as the small Cadillac has more pointed ends. The BMW is much longer wheelbase, 110.6 vs. 109.3 and the extra inch-plus seems completely gone in rear seat legroom.

Suspension and intrusive gooseneck hinges.

But back seat room is not the greatest weakness ATS. The Cadillac trunk volume exceeds barely ten cubic feet. This is a good way behind the previous generation 3 twelve (adjusted by the C-Class and A4), and far less than the new seventeen. What happened? Judging from the intrusiveness of the rear axle, GM could have given much higher priority than driving and cargo volume at compromise.

Note holes punched to save weight.

Actually, there is no question that the use of the team's top priority. They wanted to beat the 3-series in direct competition by better on what it does best, and the BMW does not dominate the segment for three decades with the largest trunk. The ATS team designed each excess gram from its body structure and employed a considerable quantities of high strength steel, aluminum and even magnesium get the curb weight to 3315 pounds with a 201-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder base engine, 3373 with the 272-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder and 3461 with the 321-hp 3.6-liter turbocharged V6. A CTS with the same V6 weighs nearly a quarter-ton more. A 240-hp BMW 328i Automatic weighs 3410 pounds, a 300-horsepower 335i weighs 3555. The ATS team is justifiably proud of this victory. In addition, curb weight, equipped the team BMW-like double-joint front developed Cadillac's first five-link rear axle (only 30 years after the pioneering W201 Benz), optimizes the angle of all the beautiful alloy handlebars and front electric power steering (EPS) unit from ZF (which also supplies Audi and BMW) rack mounting. Then called the same people. Emphasis CTS-V dance to fine tune the half-ton lighter-new car

Many of aluminum.

Go back to the front office to evaluate their own work, and you'll find a well-balanced, high-precision, very agile handling and overall pleasant car. Damping seems much better than in the past, loose 3-series without the FE3 suspension of Magnetic Ride Control shocks, and especially with them. With rear-wheel drive and a limited-slip rear differential (included with the FE3 suspension with either the manual transmission or suspension), the rear end turned to be progressive, with the throttle like the CTS. (As in the larger car, it helps the stability control OUT switch its bit too conservative standard mode.) The front brakes are strong Brembos with all but the base trim 2.5. This is an easy car to drive fast on a winding road.

What you can not find that address by a combination of EPS and the desire to mainstream luxury car buyer is the steering, which communicates every nuance go of what, where the rubber meets the road. I guess they withheld this for future V. Even as it stands, the Cadillac feels moderately light steering at least as good as the Audi or BMW, much less the hopelessly deaf Mercedes. It is a precision instrument, not only open mesh.

Five Links.

On the streets of north Georgia, the ATS rode well, even with the firmer FE3 suspension. Strives for the greatest road imperfections, I failed to elicit a tough response. But the largest road construction project in northern Georgia imperfections are not very big. A more thorough evaluation will have to wait a week-long trip test in Michigan. Noise levels are not the lowest, but they are fairly low, partly through active noise reduction (through the speakers). How many cars, rough concrete is the toughest challenge.

It's tempting to write off 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (a new generation Ecotec) than for people who care nothing for suitable performance. But, in view of the low expectations, it actually works well enough in the ATS that the north Georgia hills, I do not think I want one of the other. Refinement is also very good for a four-and better than the 2.0-liter turbo (also new, not the same engine found in the Buick Regal GS).

The increased engine definitely feels stronger, but not to the extent of the specifications, or stopwatch (5.7 vs. 7.5 seconds to 60) proposed, and it sounds buzzier when revved. It's not the kind of racket from previous GM fours, just a soundtrack better suited to basic transportation produces. A car that costs as well and performs as much as the ATS earns less pedestrian sounding engine. The V6 feels even more strongly when revved (GM claims 5.4 seconds to 60, and it makes a bigger difference than 60), but it lacks the midrange punch of increased winning the Audi S4 and BMW 335i. The V6 has a much throatier sound than the fours, but could also be more like well-tuned high performance engine (the previously unmentioned Lexus IS gets a victory in this area) sound. All three engines are passable, but none is the way the chassis is doing. If you want the good running gear, then make your decision between the three motors is made for you. The base four and V6 are auto-only.

Far far away, for 50-50 weight distribution with a manual gearbox.

EPA ratings with the three engines, automatic transmission and rear wheel drive is 22/33, 22/32 and 19/28, respectively. The fours are close to the admirable figures of the newest BMW, the V6 does not get this far. GM states that the ZF transmission in the BMW has two other indicators, for a total of eight, but there is more to the story than this. The far heavier CTS tests nearly as good, 18/27. Somewhat accurate real world numbers require more time in the car. Hustling one ATS 2.0T four-wheel-drive through the mountains, I observed low twenties to the onboard computer. In straight highway in all-wheel-drive V6, I observed the 26th While the automatic functions take in the performance, it needs more ratios deliver class-leading fuel economy.

Atlanta Motorsports Park

So, how much the padded inner lining, fancy suspension bits and expensive alloys are you going again? The Cadillac ATS will start at $ 33,990. Add $ 1,805 for the turbo (available from all four trim levels), but deducted $ 1,180 for the manual transmission. Add $ 2,000 for all-wheel drive, which can not be paired with the manual transmission or the base engine. For leather, you choice of interior trim (wood, aluminum, carbon fiber), a folding rear bench seat, CUE (Optional trim on the base), additional equipment and the possibility of adding the V6 for an additional $ 1,800 on top of the turbo four, step trim up to $ 38,485 of "luxury". For the sports bucket, xenon headlights, and paddle shifters, you must decide to trim the $ 42,790 "performance". This price also includes the formerly optional turbo four, Bose surround sound and a basic security package. The last contains forward collision warning and lane departure warning that vibrates the seat instead of the beep-less disturbing. But the folding rear seat is lost. To the folding rear seat back and add Magnetic Ride Control shocks, quicker steering, stiffer FE3 tuning and a head-up display, you have to trim the $ 45,790 "premium" ($ 1,475 deduction for instructions). This price also includes 18-inch wheels and navigation, both on the optional mid-level trim. In other words, to get the best deal you will need to get with ATS also the most expensive ATS.

Sound like BMW territory? Close, but not quite. A 2012 328i starts almost exclusively with the ATS 2.0T, $ 35,795, but contains less standard equipment. Equip your BMW at the same level, and lists for $ 2,545 more than the Cadillac. But for remaining feature set differences with True Delta car price comparison tool, and the Cadillac benefit is only $ 1,290. Put on both cars, and this advantage is still significant, with a sticker of $ 47,440 compared to $ 52,310 BMW. (A difference of $ 4,870) The setting for the feature differences are negligible. Competitors also cost less than the BMW. The Infiniti G37 will play the commercial segment.

Tan interior with real wood trim.

Overall, the Cadillac is not priced low enough to sell based on price alone is not priced so high that even those who prefer to be to opt for the much more established BMW … unless you happen to most sports suspension, and little else. In this case, the BMW for over $ 5,000 less with a manual transmission and about $ 6,500 less with an automatic. Yes, the Cadillac over $ 7,000 in mandatory additional features, but some enthusiasts they will not.

I pressed a number of ATS team members about this inflexible packaging. Their reply was that they keep the build combinations very low, 915 had to be exact. GM feels that BMW would match the 1.2 million build combinations significantly driving costs and damages quality. I believe that they believe in it, but I am still skeptical. How about contribute significantly to install cost or quality always nav when you install the FE3 suspension? I have no doubt that reducing manufacturing complexity helps, but I do not think any additional build combinations are just as harmful (like GM math required).

Another basic principle makes more sense. A team member said she. For adaptive shock absorbers and other bits FE3 undercharging Since these are deleted when AWD is added, gives some simple math a $ 900 price. This is cheap. To make this affordable to low price, forcing them to, in a highly optioned (and more profitable) car to get there. Personally, I would much rather see the cost FE3 suspension on smaller apertures, even though it had more then. Until then, I would advise not interested in all the premium features (or at least uninterested in paying $ 45,000 +) to settle for a FE2 car. I drove the two suspensions along the same road, and better during FE3 car handles much of the difference is night and day. The character of the vehicle remains the same.

Apart from the rear seat room, trunk volume and the option package that meets Cadillac ATS approaches or exceeds the 3-series in every area. The car curb weight could be just a little lower than the BMW, but this also represents a seismic change for GM. Made a large number of details correctly suggests a well-functioning team, which is the market intensely. Interior design and handling are clear strengths. I was hoping for a visceral driving experience, but luxury car manufacturers typically keep such an experience for outstanding performance variants with stratospheric price tags. When I made the cars that are actually available in the segment had to choose, this would be the only one.

Cadillac provided the cars tested, fuel, insurance, flight to Atlanta, one night in a nice hotel, very good food, and five laps at Atlanta Motorsports Park (two of them with a driver far more skilled than I am).

Michael Karesh operates, an online source for car reliability and real-world fuel economy information.