The Cadillac ATS is a four-door, five-passenger compact luxury sedan designed, engineered, manufactured, and marketed by Cadillac. Cadillac developed the ATS at the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, United States. Cadillac assembles the ATS at the Lansing Grand River Assembly plant in Lansing, Michigan, United States. The ATS is Cadillac’s smallest vehicle, slotting into the Cadillac vehicle line under the larger Cadillac CTS.
The ATS is based upon General Motors‘ Alpha platform and is offered in either rear- or all-wheel drive configurations. The ATS base engine is a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter I-4 gasoline engine that produces 202 horsepower (151 kW). Optional engines include a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 gasoline engine that produces 272 horsepower (203 kW) and a naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V6 gasoline engine that produces 321 horsepower (239 kW). A diesel engine will be available in the future. All versions were equipped with a 6-speed GM 6L45 Hydra-Matic automatic transmission as standard until the 2015 model year. An 8-speed automatic transmission was introduced for the 2016 model year. The 2.0-liter turbocharged, rear-wheel drive version can be mated to an optional 6-speed Tremec M3L TR3160 manual transmission. Depending upon specification, the 2014 ATS ranges in price from US$33,065 – US$58,760.
Cadillac debuted the ATS to the press in the United States in January 2012, placed the ATS into production in July 2012 and began selling the ATS in the United States in August 2012 as a 2013 model. GM began selling the ATS in China in November 2013. For the 2016 model year, Cadillac sells the ATS in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East, China, Japan, and South Korea.
GM engineers working principally at the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, United States developed the ATS.
Prior to the debut of the ATS, Cadillac’s smallest vehicle was the mid-size CTS. The CTS was comparable in price to compact competitors like the Audi A4, the BMW 3-Series, the Lexus IS and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class but was comparable in size and weight to the more expensive mid-size BMW 5-Series. Although Cadillac believed that customers would favor a 5-Series sized car at a 3-Series price, that assumption proved to be incorrect. Cadillac’s research found that target customers who already owned vehicles like the 3-series or A4 did not want a larger vehicle. General Motors began development of a smaller car that would satisfy these target customers; that car would eventually become the Cadillac ATS.
To establish parameters around which they would design the ATS, GM engineers benchmarked the 1999-2006 BMW E46 3 Series, which ATS chief engineer Dave Masch and his team regarded as the most dynamic and driver-focused iteration of the 3 Series. The engineers emphasized low weight when developing the ATS and their efforts resulted in a finished vehicle that weighs less than the BMW E46 benchmark. To achieve this result, Masch suggested that the engineering team disregarded certain GM product development rules that, had they been followed, would have resulted in a heavier vehicle.
During the early development of the ATS, GM engineers determined that downsizing the GM Sigma II platform that underpinned the second-generation CTS would result in a vehicle that was too heavy and that using an economical, front-wheel drive platform would sacrifice performance. Under the leadership of Dave Leone, GM engineers created a brand-new platform which was designed to be light and compact, to be capable of handling both rear- and all-wheel drive configurations and to have a near 50/50 weight distribution. The new platform developed by the GM engineers for the ATS is now called the GM Alpha platform.
For 2015 model year, the refreshed Cadillac ATS gained most of its styling from its Coupe version, the two-bar grille, redesigned Cadillac emblem, seen on the ATS coupe first, and will eventually be placed on every Cadillac lineup. Exterior tweaks for the 2015 Cadillac ATS front fascia has been lowered, and more exterior paint choices have been made. The ATS interior is a carryover for 2015, but has seen some modest technology updates for 2015 as well.
For the 2016 model year the ATS replaces the 6-speed 6L45 automatic transmission with the new 8-speed 8L45 and the 3.6L LFX V6 is replaced with a new generation 3.6L LGX V6.
General Motors assembles the ATS at the Lansing Grand River Assembly plant in Lansing, Michigan, United States. GM spent US$190 million to upgrade the Lansing Grand River Assembly plant for ATS production and hired a second shift of workers. GM began assembling vehicles intended for sale to customers on 26 July 2012.
The Chinese-market ATS-L is assembled by SAIC-GM in Shanghai.
The ATS is a compact four-door, five-passenger sedan. A two-door coupe is under development and expected to go on sale in summer 2014 as a 2015 model. Convertible and station wagon variants are expected to be produced, although Cadillac has not yet confirmed those body styles.
The 2013 ATS ranged in price from US$34,000 to US$52,000, about US$1,800 less expensive than the entry level 2012 BMW 328i. The 2014 ATS ranges in price from US$33,065 – US$58,760.
The ATS has a curb weight of 3,315 to 3,461 lb (1,504 to 1,570 kg), depending on configuration, and a 51/49 front to rear weight percentage distribution. The hood, front suspension and cradle are made from aluminum. The front suspension is a MacPherson strut, double-pivot set up, using a pair of ball joints and lower control links. Third-generation Magnetic Ride Control active suspension is optional on the Premium RWD variant. A mechanical limited-slip differential is standard with the manual transmission variant and is an available on the premium automatic.
The ATS is available in either a rear- or all wheel drive layout, has four available engines and two available transmissions.
The ATS base engine is a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter I-4 gasoline engine that produces 202 horsepower (151 kW). Optional engines include a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 gasoline engine that produces 272 horsepower (203 kW) and a naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V6 gasoline engine that produces 321 horsepower (239 kW). GM has committed to offering a diesel engine for the ATS, but has not specified an availability date.
The 2016 model year ATS replaces the 3.6L LFX V6 with a new generation 3.6L High Feature V6, the LGX.
EPA estimated fuel economy for the 2.5-liter I-4 is 22 mpg-US (11 L/100 km; 26 mpg-imp) city and 33 mpg-US (7.1 L/100 km; 40 mpg-imp) highway. The 2.0-liter turbo I-4 is rated at 21 mpg-US (11 L/100 km; 25 mpg-imp) city and 31 mpg-US (7.6 L/100 km; 37 mpg-imp) highway when paired with the automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive, and 20 mpg-US (12 L/100 km; 24 mpg-imp) city and 30 mpg-US (7.8 L/100 km; 36 mpg-imp) highway with all-wheel drive. When equipped with the manual transmission, the 2.0-liter turbo achieves 19 mpg-US (12 L/100 km; 23 mpg-imp) city and 30 mpg-US (7.8 L/100 km; 36 mpg-imp) highway. The V-6 is rated at 19 mpg-US (12 L/100 km; 23 mpg-imp) city and 28 mpg-US (8.4 L/100 km; 34 mpg-imp) highway in rear-drive form; when equipped with all-wheel drive, the respective figures are 18 mpg-US (13 L/100 km; 22 mpg-imp) and 26 mpg-US (9.0 L/100 km; 31 mpg-imp).
All versions of the ATS were equipped with a 6-speed GM 6L45 Hydra-Matic automatic transmission as standard until the 2015 model year. The 2.0-liter turbo, rear-wheel drive version can be mated to an optional 6-speed Tremec M3L TR3160 manual transmission.
The 2016 model year ATS replaces all uses of the 6-speed 6L45 with the new 8-speed 8L45 automatic transmission.
In North America, at the time of the model’s introduction, the 2013 ATS was available in four trim levels: Standard, Luxury, Performance and Premium.
In China, at the time of the model’s introduction, the ATS is available in five exterior colors and two interior colors over four trim levels: Standard, Luxury, Elite and Comfort.
The 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe debut at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show. The new two door Cadillac targets Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe and the BMW 4 Series. It will go on sale in the summer of 2014 as the 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe. The ATS coupe is wider than the sedan. At the moment only 18 inch wheels are available but buyers can opt out for Brembo brakes. Two models will be available at launch. One will offer a 2.0L four-cylinder engine with 272 HP with 295 ft (90 m) of torque. The other model will offer 3.6L engine with 321 hp (239 kW) with 275 lb·ft (373 N·m) of torque. Buyers have a choice of six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission, and the option of all wheel drive or standard rear wheel drive. The 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe is the first production model to wear Cadillac’s newly revised brand emblem which goes away from the laurel wreath, and was first shown on the Cadillac Elmiraj concept car. Inside the ATS Coupe, the styling is similar to ATS Sedan. The car gets a handful of new technologies, that will roll across Cadillac’s 2015 models. Some technologies include 4G LTE connectivity with a WiFi hotspot. The CUE interface with Siri Eyes Free, and a Bose stereo with 12 speakers.
In July 2014, Cadillac announced that it would be producing a long wheelbase version of the ATS for the Chinese market known as the ATS-L. The ATS-L is approximately 3.3 inches longer than the standard wheelbase ATS sedan and will be manufactured in China by Shanghai GM. Previous ATS vehicles had been imported to China from GM’s Lansing manufacturing facility in Michigan. The ATS-L has a starting price of 270,000 Chinese Yuan, or about $43,600 US dollars.
The Cadillac ATS-V is a compact sports sedan/coupe from Cadillac. The sedan with the automatic transmission can reach 60 mph (97 km/h) in 3.7 seconds and can achieve a top speed of 189 mph (304 km/h). Motor Trend conducted a comparison between the BMW M3, ATS-V, and Mercedes-AMG C63-S. The Cadillac managed to accelerate faster than both Germans, stop quicker and was the fastest around Willow Springs International Motorsports Park, it was also the least expensive in the test. The ATS-V is RWD and powered by a 3.6L twin turbocharged V6 producing 464 horsepower and 445 lb·ft (603 N·m) of torque.
Cadillac showed a pre-production styling buck of the ATS to the press on 11 August 2009. Cadillac debuted the production ATS to the press on 8 January 2012. General Motors began selling the ATS in the United States in August 2012 as a 2013 model. Sales in China began on 21 November 2013. Chinese-market vehicles were initially imported from the United States by Shanghai GM;. A Chinese-assembled ATS-L was launched in China in October 2015.
For the 2016 model year, Cadillac sells the ATS in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East, China, Japan, and South Korea.
Testing conducted by the United States National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration scored the 2013 and 2014 ATS, in both rear- and all-wheel drive variants, at five stars in frontal crash, side crash and rollover protection, resulting in five stars overall, the highest possible score. The NHTSA notes the availability of three NHTSA recommended technologies on the ATS: electronic stability control, forward collision warning and lane departure warning.
In 2012, the 2013 ATS was chosen as „Car of the Year“ by Esquire, „Luxury Car of the Year“ by Popular Mechanics magazine and „Vehicle of the Year“ by the Motor Press Guild.
In 2013, a jury composed of 49 journalists from the United States and Canada named the 2013 ATS the North American Car of the Year.