All-new Cadillac ATS: Head-to-Head with Europe’s Best
Zurich – Nimble, quick and great fun to drive: the Cadillac ATS is an all-new sports sedan designed and engineered to challenge the elite in Europe’s premium midsize segment.
On sale in Europe this month (October), it gives Cadillac access to the world’s biggest-selling premium vehicle segment and demonstrates the brand’s abilities to deliver cars that can change the status quo in markets around the world.
Leveraging the benefits of a completely new lightweight, rear-drive vehicle architecture, the ATS range combines outstanding driving dynamics with distinctive design and cutting-edge technologies, including two industry firsts.
Headline features of the Cadillac ATS include:
- Near perfect 50/50, front/rear weight distribution
- Vehicle weight among lowest in class
- Class-leading specific power output from 276 hp/203 kW, 2.0 turbo engine
- Signature Cadillac Art & Science design language debut in premium midsize segment
- Revolutionary CUE (Cadillac User Experience) driver interface and infotainment system with world-first controls
- Driver Awareness and Assist packages featuring short and long range radar, cameras and ultrasonic sensors, as well as safety alert seat haptic warnings
- Double-pivot MacPherson front struts and new, five-link rear suspension
- Magnetic Ride Control, world’s fastest-acting active suspension system
- Generous equipment levels, with many ‘options’ fitted as standard
“The ATS ticks all the right boxes for European customers,“ says Wolfgang Schubert, Cadillac Europe Managing Director. “It is stylish, quick, nimble and great fun to drive. We are very excited to be expanding our model line-up with the addition of this superb vehicle. It has all the credentials necessary to seriously challenge the established order in its class.”
Four model variants are offered - Elegance, Luxury, Performance and Premium. In true Cadillac tradition, each is generously equipped, including standard features that usually appear on the options lists of competitors.
Highly competitive pricing for European markets is exemplified in Germany, where prices range from just 37,500 euros for the ATS Elegance with manual transmission to 50,970 euros for the top-of-the-line ATS Premium with all-wheel drive.
The all-new vehicle architecture at the heart of the ATS is focused on saving weight without compromising structural strength or running refinement. Combined with a lightweight powertrain, it gives the ATS a curb weight as low as 1540 kilos, which is among the very lightest in its class.
Low weight is a key requirement for nimble handling responses, a favorable power-to-weight ratio and minimized fuel consumption. Managing the needs of load and space – what engineers call topology – ensured that mass efficiency was integral to the ATS’s structural design. Body sections and components were evaluated gram-by-gram and are precisely tailored to fulfill their function, without incurring unnecessary weight or bulk.
Mass is primarily reduced by the strategic incorporation of high-strength steels and the use of aluminum for the hood, front sub-frame, front strut mounts, both bumper beams and suspension components. Even the engine mountings are in weight-saving magnesium.
An optimal weight distribution is another desirable for well-balanced handling. And here the ATS boasts a near-perfect weight split between its front and rear axles: 50.1%/49.9% for cars with a manual gearbox and 51%/49% for those with automatic transmission.
Chassis dynamics are further enhanced by the use of double-pivot, MacPherson strut front suspension – for improved steering, ride and noise isolation – and the installation of Cadillac’s first five-link, independent rear suspension, giving excellent stability through restricted roll center motion.
High-performance Brembo front brakes, premium ZF variable-effort, electric power steering and StabiliTrak electronic stability control are all fitted as standard across the range. A mechanical limited-slip rear differential also comes as standard with manual transmission.
Magnetic Ride Control, the world’s fastest-acting active suspension system, is included with Premium specification and is also part of an optional Sport Suspension pack.
All chassis components have been optimized through exhaustive testing on the fabled Nürburgring Nordschleife in Germany, where many of the ATS chassis engineers were involved in the development of the highly-acclaimed Cadillac CTS V-Series.
Highly efficient power
With 276 hp/203 kW on tap, the all-new aluminum 2.0-liter turbo engine packs more power per liter than any powerplant in the ATS’s class. Light and compact, it makes a perfect partner for the car’s agile chassis.
This highly efficient, four cylinder motor propels the ATS from zero to 100 km/h in just 5.9 seconds and delivers impressive combined cycle fuel economy of 8.2 l/100 km (6.0 sec and 8.6 l/100 km respectively with manual transmission).
The engine utilizes state-of-the-art technologies, including direct fuel injection, continuously variable valve timing and a twin-scroll turbocharger. Running refinement and fuel economy are enhanced by a series of measures that have reduced frictional losses by an average of 16 percent compared to GM’s current generation of turbo fours.
On the road, the driver enjoys easy, instant access to strong pulling power. Maximum torque is a plentiful 353 Nm and, equally important, the torque curve hits its peak at a low 1,700 rpm and holds steady all the way to 5,300 rpm. As a result, the ATS offers plenty of pulling power over a wide range of engine speeds for swift and relaxed driving.
Power is delivered to the rear wheels through a choice of six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. The former comes with a limited-slip differential and the latter – featuring magnesium steering wheel shift paddles – is also available with all-wheel-drive.
Sleek good looks and a low, well-planted stance give the ATS a distinctive presence that reflects its sporty, fun-to-drive character.
Its clean, sharp-edged lines bring Cadillac’s Art & Science design language to the premium, midsize segment for the first time. The taut bodywork wraps tightly over 17 or 18-inch aluminum wheels, while signature Cadillac motifs include vertical light units, a V-form center crease in the front and rear styling – and a new iteration of Cadillac’s textured grille.
The ATS is designed to cleave the air as efficiently as possible. Active grille shutters close automatically at highway speeds to reduce drag and extensive paneling is used to smooth airflow under the car. The distinctive trunk lid stop light is also neatly shaped to function as a rear spoiler. Exhaustive wind tunnel testing has resulted in an impressively low 0.299 Cd figure.
Inside, the ATS cabin features an ergonomic, driver-focused layout and the use of premium quality materials. Soft, tactile surfaces and cut-and-sewn wrapping, including French-stitched seams for the seats, instrument panel, doors and console, give the cabin a quality feel that goes beyond mere decoration.
Leather upholstery is included across the range, apart from Elegance specification, and the refined cabin ambience can be extensively customized through a wide choice of color and trim. In true Cadillac tradition, décor inserts for the doors and front fascia are made of authentic materials: real wood, real carbon fiber and real metal plate.
Onboard storage includes a useful, 1.8-liter closed compartment, complete with USB socket, which is accessed via a lift-up faceplate in the center stack.
Innovative Infotainment on CUE
Advanced infotainment functions are offered by CUE, the Cadillac User Experience, which is fitted as standard across the range. It includes breakthrough technologies in connectivity, control and convenience.
An 8-inch LCD touch-screen in the center stack incorporates industry-first smartphone-like functionality – such as finger gesturing – and haptic, sensory finger-tip feedback. Voice recognition also enhances command functions.
CUE combines a user-friendly interface with an advanced platform capable of pairing up to 10 Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices, USB media, SD cards and MP3 players. While most of today’s premium cars have around 20 buttons controlling radio and entertainment functions, CUE has only four.
Core functions include: AM/FM radio; smartphone connectivity; an integrated media player and play list indexing for MP3/iPod; a navigation system with 3D imaging; vehicle personalization settings; voice recognition and hands-free calling.
All ATS variants also come with a configurable color driver display, electrically-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, keyless ignition with push-button start, an electric park brake and electrically-powered windows.
Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL) with xenon headlamps is standard for Performance and Premium models, and a color, configurable Head-Up Display is standard with Premium and optional for Performance specification.
Sophisticated safety aids
State-of-the-art safety functions – the most advanced to be fitted to a Cadillac – are deployed in the ATS to assist the driver and help prevent a crash occurring.
Radar, cameras and ultrasonic sensors provide a hazard detection shield around the outside of the car which is second to none in the ATS’s segment. And in-car warnings include a haptic seat alert system, which uses directional seat cushion vibrations as an alternative to audible alarms.
The Driver Awareness package – with forward collision, rear cross traffic, blind spot and lane departure warnings – is optional for Luxury and standard with Performance and Premium specifications. The Driver Assist package, which adds automatic braking intervention and full speed range Adaptive Cruise Control, is an option for Performance and Premium models.
The ATS also includes comprehensive crash impact structures and is equipped as standard with a full complement of occupant restraint systems.