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2013 Cadillac ATS: First Drive

 
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2013 Cadillac ATS

The 2013 Cadillac ATS is off its media embargo, and not a minute too soon. Since late June, we've been waiting to spill all we know about the new compact sport sedan, and frankly, we've been expecting that some other outlet would break the mutually agreed-upon curfew.

It's a small miracle that didn't happen, since there's a huge story here--that Cadillac has nailed the BMW formula for handling that's eluded all the competition. It's elbowed aside the Infiniti G37 as the challenger most capable of displacing the 3-Series as the luxury segment's benchmark four-door. It's picked the most difficult lock in the industry.

Yes. It's that good.

No single thing spells the demise of the 3-Series' iron grip. The ATS just accumulates win after win. There's exterior styling that's admittedly a watered-down version of the aggressive Art & Science theme that rocked Cadillac back into existence in the early 2000s. It's clearly Cadillac, but in silhouette it's a ringer for the BMW as well as the Benz. The ATS' cabin clocks them both, with rich materials and a cohesive looks dominated by CUE, the iPad-like controller that lets go of myriad knobs and buttons and replaces them with a glowing, haptic touchscreen. It frames the Cadillac argument neatly: it's BMW, but beyond.

Without the right running gear, in fine tune, the ATS would fall as flat on its face as the Catera--the Caddy that zagged right into automotive history's footnotes, complete with a laugh track. Consider that passage erased. The ATS is brilliantly composed, with electric power steering and a multi-link suspension that know each other intimately. It's clear from only a mile or two of driving, that this is the most tossable, responsive Cadillac ever built--and that's before you tap the 272 horsepower of the mainstream version's 2.0-liter turbo four, or the throaty 321 hp of the available 3.6-liter V-6. (If you're choosing the base 202-hp 2.5-liter four, you're not even reading this.)




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Comments (5)
  1. Yeah, great but is there a convertible? Didn't think so...
     
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  2. It's obvious you're a bit clueless on the topic Tom. A convertible as well as a coupe are coming and has already been reported on dozens of times.

    And when has any automaker launched sedan, convertible and coupe variants of a luxury model all at the same time?
     
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  3. good to see we finally getting back into the luxury game with a winning formula.
     
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  4. This car looks almost perfect. If I'm happy with the way it drives, I think I might buy one once my current lease runs out. Great job GM.
     
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  5. Come on Cadilac against BMW 328 exdrive 2013 , any time . Detroiter will race any GM car ! I have new 328 exdrive 2013. Ordered and received in Aug. it's got all toys with Sport package. The only GM car close is Vette.
     
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