The 2013 Cadillac ATS gets a workout on the 'Ring.Enlarge Photo
Germany’s Nürburgring Nordschleife (or North Loop) has become the darling of automakers from all around the world. The track’s 12.9-mile length contains some 73 corners, numerous elevation changes and plenty of off-camber stretches to test both car and driver.
As Cadillac’s energy and powertrain integration engineer, Dave Mikels, explains, a manufacturer can learn more about a car in one lap of the ‘Ring than by running a dozen tracks in the United States. The elevation change at a corner called “Flugplatz,” for example, will cause a car to momentarily get airborne, just before a 100-mph right-hand corner.
Such a turn tests both car and driver, since you need to brake just enough to slow the car and put a little weight on the front tires. Brake too hard, and the car is likely to rotate, or oversteer, probably putting you into the barrier at near-triple-digit speeds.
If you don’t have enough weight on the front wheels, the car will likely lack front grip and present understeer, which means you get to look straight at the Armco Barrier you’re about to hit. If you get the feeling that the Nürburgring Nordschleife doesn’t leave much margin for error at the limit, you’d be correct.
Perhaps the most revealing part of the video, the third in a series, comes in the closing seconds, when the ATS is said to have lapped the ‘Ring in “28.09.” Presumably, that’s a time of 8:28.09, which makes the new ATS nearly as quick as an Audi S5 or a BMW 335i Coupe.
Which, of course, leaves us wondering what the lap times for an ATS-V version will be. Assuming such an animal is under development, that is.