Cadillac is aiming to make a real impression in the premium segment with its newest model, called the ATS. It’s completely new from the ground up and will be arriving in the UK late next year to take on the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class.
But we’ve heard all about Cadillac taking on European premium manufacturers before – think back to the BLS, for example. The difference this time, they say, is that the ATS really can topple the best in this class.
In the American market, engines range from a naturally aspirated 2.5-litre engine with 199bhp to a 3.6-litre V6 with 316bhp. The big-sellers in the UK will be an as-yet unannounced diesel model and the 2.0-litre turbo with 268bhp which is driven here.
On the move the engine is smooth and punchy, with enough power to launch the rear-wheel drive model from 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds. As it stands, the turbo is the pick of the range.
Drivers can pick between standard springs or an optional suspension set-up with magnetic dampers. This can change the system from its softest settings to its hardest in the space of five inches, travelling at 60mph. The result is a car that is very comfortable at a cruise and very impressive on a twisty back road too.
In terms of interior quality the ATS fares quite well against its European rivals, especially when you consider the Cadillac User Experience (CUE). It’s a huge screen with sensors that react as you move your hand towards the display, complete with haptic feedback that allows you to feel when you’ve ‘pressed’ a button.
GM engineers have worked long and hard on tuning the ATS, with lap after lap of the Nurburgring and getting the cabin just right too. For the first time in a long time it feels as though all that hard work is really going to pay off. When a diesel, right-hand drive model arrives Cadillac will finally have a contender poised to do battle with Audi, BMW and Mercedes.