Revealed: the firm’s latest attempt to crack the ultra-competitive BMW 3 series segment
9 January 2012

The Cadillac ATS saloon is the firm’s latest attempt to crack the ultra-competitive BMW 3 series segment. Revealed at the Detroit motor show, it's based on an all-new lightweight rear-drive platform and features an advanced new turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine in its line-up.

The ATS will go on sale in the US this summer, but UK sales are yet to be confirmed. A General Motors source told Autocar that provisions had been made for right-hand drive. They added that new diesel engines for the ATS were also in development, and it would seem logical for GM to wait until these are ready before launching the ATS in the UK given diesel’s dominance in the segment.

See the official image of the Cadillac ATS, plus a pic from the show

Launch US engine options include the new power-dense 270bhp turbo four, a 200bhp 2.5-ltre four-pot and a range-topping 318bhp 3.6-litre V6. Performance and economy figures have yet to be confirmed. Six-speed manual and automatic transmissions are offered, with all-wheel drive also optional.

At 4643mm long, 1805mm wide and 1421mm high, the ATS is 20mm longer, 6mm narrower and 8mm shorter than the BMW 3-series. Cadillac quotes the ATS’s weight as “less than 1542kg”; the new BMW 320d weighs 1420kg.

Cadillac engineers undertook much of the ATS’s development at the Nurburgring. GM claims the advanced chassis blends “balanced performance with Cadillac’s trademark refinement”.

Features include Cadillac’s first multi-link independent suspension at the rear and a multilink double-pivot MacPherson strut set-up at the front. The suspension is fully adjustable and features Magnetic Ride Control real-time damping. The ATS also features a near 50/50 weight distribution.

Styling wise, the ATS builds on Cadillac’s ‘Art & Science’ design language. It features bold vertical LED lights at the front, and an active grille to help reduce drag. As standard, 17in alloys are fitted with 18in alloys optional.

The driver-focused interior includes Cadillac’s new ‘Cadillac User Experience’ infotainment system, which centres on an 8in LCD touchscreen used to control everything from Bluetooth phone connectivity to the Bose sound system.

Cadillac has yet to confirm pricing, but our source indicated it “needed to be competitive against similarly equipped BMW 3-series, Mercedes C-class and Audi A4 models”.

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Comments
30

8 January 2012

The comparison is between the 3 series but on first impressions, does anyone else think that side-profile shot is a dead ringer for the latest C-Class?

8 January 2012

To suggest that Cadillac ATS will be competitive with BMW 3-Series is ludicrous. One might as well suggest that a Morris Minor "side-valve" is competitive with a Bugatti Veyron. E

8 January 2012

[quote ronmcdonald]does anyone else think that side-profile shot is a dead ringer for the latest C-Class?[/quote] Certainly has a familiar look to it. Not too sure that the "vertical" styling theme front and back works so well on this medium size car rather than the full size US models on which it looked quite good, in my opinion. Here it just makes it look rather too tall compared to the width, if you see what I mean.


Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

8 January 2012

[quote Engelbert]To suggest that Cadillac ATS will be competitive with BMW 3-Series is ludicrous. One might as well suggest that a Morris Minor "side-valve" is competitive with a Bugatti Veyron. E[/quote]

Is this view backed up by your personal experience of driving both cars, the Caddy and the 3?

I haven't driven the latest 3 or the ATS, but the previous Cadillac was very well thought of; even some of the usually "look down theirs nose at US cars" UK mags admitted as much.

8 January 2012

[quote Overdrive]

[quote Engelbert]To suggest that Cadillac ATS will be competitive with BMW 3-Series is ludicrous. One might as well suggest that a Morris Minor "side-valve" is competitive with a Bugatti Veyron. E[/quote]

Is this view backed up by your personal experience of driving both cars, the Caddy and the 3?

I haven't driven the latest 3 or the ATS, but the previous Cadillac was very well thought of; even some of the usually "look down theirs nose at US cars" UK mags admitted as much.

[/quote] Whilst I'm fairly certain a new 3 Series will find a space on our drive, I like the look of this Cadillac. Yes, I'd certainly fancy one if it has a strong engine. If it handles less well than a 3 series, well I'd just slow down a bit. The old Cadillac BLS was dramatically underrated. I loved mine.

9 January 2012

[quote Overdrive]

[quote Engelbert]To suggest that Cadillac ATS will be competitive with BMW 3-Series is ludicrous. One might as well suggest that a Morris Minor "side-valve" is competitive with a Bugatti Veyron. E[/quote]

Is this view backed up by your personal experience of driving both cars, the Caddy and the 3?

[/quote] I drove the first edition of the BMW 3-series back in 1977 - and it was a great deal better than any of the (many) Cadillacs that I've driven since. Frankly, I'd expect you to palm my hand with gold before I'd drive the ATS. E

9 January 2012

[quote ordinary bloke]Not too sure that the "vertical" styling theme front and back works so well on this medium size car rather than the full size US models on which it looked quite good, in my opinion.[/quote] Certainly agree with that. The only time I've seen 3 series sector Caddy in the UK was some years ago whilst looking in Machargs (Arnold Clark) used car supermarket. Had a sit inside just to be nosey - well appointed but very cheap feeling / looking - couldn't hide it's mass produced GM underpinnings. The cars were all low miles, less than a year old and hugely discounted from new. Turned the engine over - sounded like a tractor. Not for my liking but I'm sure it'd made someone feel special driving it. If memory serves me correct I think the day-to-day running costs were pretty high which wiped out it's apparent huge discount from list.

9 January 2012

[quote ordinary bloke]Not too sure that the "vertical" styling theme front and back works so well on this medium size car rather than the full size US models on which it looked quite good, in my opinion. Here it just makes it look rather too tall compared to the width, if you see what I mean.[/quote]

My thoughts exactly Ordinarybloke, the larger models look well but they styling adn proportions do not translate down this far.

Of course I will also say if GM had invested in the existing Saab 9-3 all the money wasted on the doomed BLS and this humdrum underwhelming ATS, then there would feasibly have been a truly worthwhile and individual alternative to the 3/A4/C Tuets.

But then I would say that wouldn't I Ron?

We are Saab, We are Many

outside-saab.com

world rallyes 14/15 January 2012

9 January 2012

[quote Engelbert]To suggest that Cadillac ATS will be competitive with BMW 3-Series is ludicrous. One might as well suggest that a Morris Minor "side-valve" is competitive with a Bugatti Veyron. E[/quote] I'm sure it will be broadly competitive on paper, but both brands are aimed at totally different customer groups. Remember, the current CTS-V outguns the M5 in many areas; Mind you, GM's refusal to adopt diesel shows not even they see Cadillac taking sales from the Germans. Personally, I'd have one in an instant just to have something a bit different, even if the company car tax is a bit higher.

9 January 2012

[quote ronmcdonald]The comparison is between the 3 series but on first impressions, does anyone else think that side-profile shot is a dead ringer for the latest C-Class?[/quote]

Yes, I thought that. I like the proportions side on, particularly the short front overhang.

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