Cadillac ATS-V goes head to head with sports sedans

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The soon to be released Cadillac ATS-V will compete against vehicles such as the BMW M3/M4, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG and Audi RS 5.

The ATS-V for 2016, features rear-wheel drive and will go into production in the spring. It will be available in sedan and coupe styles. Cadillac says the ATS-V will include a 3.6 liter V-6 twin-turbocharged engine – the first offered in a Cadillac V-Series car – and new design and performance systems to boost performance. Cadillac says the car is track-ready from the factory floor and offers a sophisticated luxury driving experience on the road.

“Cadillac’s V-Series is the best example of Cadillac’s emerging product substance – and the purest expression of the passion at the core of the brand,” Cadillac’s new president Johan de Nysschen said.

Cadillac ATS-VCadillac ATS-V

GM’s luxury brand rolled out its high-performance V-Series in 2004, and the ATS-V is the first of the next-generation V-Series vehicles for the luxury brand. Cadillac is expected to show a new CTS-V early next year.

Cadillac is offering the smaller V-Series as a niche product, but knows it is important as it works to attract younger and more-affluent buyers. CTS-V Series sales represent about eight percent of overall CTS sales.

The ATS-V’s twin-turbo is rated at 455 horsepower and 445 foot-pounds of torque. Cadillac says the engine is tops in the segment for six cylinder output, traveling from zero to 100 km/h in around four seconds and has a top speed of more than 230 km/h. The engine is mated to a six-speed manual or a paddle-shift eight-speed automatic.

Engineers redesigned the chassis, suspension and drivetrain for the ATS-V. The car includes Brembo high-performance brakes, third-generation Magnetic Ride Control and is stiffer structurally. It has touring, sport and track driving modes, an available track aerodynamic package and rides on specially developed Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.

The ATS-V will have GM’s performance data recorder available, allowing drivers to record high-definition video, with data overlays of their driving performance.

Designers changed nearly all exterior panels of the car including fascias, fenders, the lightweight carbon fiber hood with vent and rear spoiler, to support capability and aerodynamics.

“All of the design elements have a purpose,” Andrew Smith, executive director of Cadillac global design, said. “They contribute to lift reduction, enhanced cooling, reduced mass or all of the above.”

The interior features available 16-way adjustable Recaro seats in the front and cut-and-sew Cadillac elements throughout.

Analysts say the ATS could benefit from a special model to boost appeal. Cadillac rolled out its ATS compact luxury sedan in fall 2012 as a 2013 model and this fall began offering a Coupe version. But sales have stalled and are down nearly 19 percent this year through October.

“As the CTS and ATS struggle in sales, product clearly isn’t the issue,” Akshay Anand, a Kelley Blue Book analyst, said. “As Cadillac continues to undergo its brand transformation, staying in the limelight will be key as it attempts to take down German luxury marques. The ATS could really use a halo vehicle, especially since all its competitors have performance variations as well.”

On paper, this Cadillac concept looks as if it could be the halo vehicle required. My only misgivings lie with the fact that it looks too much like the Chevrolet Cruise.