Available in both two and four-door versions, the ATS-V could signal Cadillac’s return to building cars that are truly capable of satisfying the performance-minded driver.
It's the first V-Series Cadillac powered by a V6 - no, not a thundering V8 like the earlier, beastly CTS-V - but a modern twin-turbocharged 3.6-litre V6, that produces a meaningful 464bhp at 5800rpm and 445lb ft at 3500rpm. It sounds properly American, like a small displacement V8, not pleasantly contrived like an AMG nor disappointing like a BMW M4.
Transmission choices are a six-speed manual, with rev-matched downshifting if you like, or a quick-shifting eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission. Cadillac claims the transmission to be faster on upshifts than Porsche’s PDK dual-clutch 'box and shifts do feel dual-clutch quick.
The ATS-V's power reaches the rear wheels through a standard-fit, electronically controlled differential, similar to what’s used by its cousin, the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Brakes are six-piston Brembo calipers up front, with two piece rotors, and four-piston rears. The wheels are 18in forged and machined alloys wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres.
Suspension rates are up 50 percent over the base ATS and the chassis is 25 percent stiffer. Body and wheel movement is controlled by the latest generation Magnetic Ride Control dampers that respond 40 percent faster than before.
The interior is largely unchanged, save for the comfortable and supportive, 18-way adjustable sports seats by Recaro, and a larger diameter steering wheel. In the coupe, those seats take up valuable interior space and render the rear perches even less useful.
As for the standard specification - the ATS-V, in both saloon and coupé, gets launch control, a performance traction control system, a carbonfibre bonnet and aerodynamics, an electronic slip differential, a colour head-up display and Cadillac's infotainment system complete with sat nav, Bluetooth, wireless phone charging, GM's OnStar system and a Bose sound system.
Driving on the back roads of Texas, first impressions are that the ride is both comfortable and well-controlled, compared with the firmer-riding established players in the segment.