Having moved fully into competition with the best of the luxury and performance brands from Germany and Japan in terms of quality--though not yet volume--with the CTS and its many variants, Cadillac now seeks to build its portfolio of world-class cars. The upcoming XTS large sedan will sit above the CTS, but it may be the ATS that does the most to contribute to sales figures and the bottom line--but only if it's a home run.

Why? Because the 2013 ATS faces off against the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, both brand new this year, and both fantastic mid-level luxury sedans in their own right. The ATS will need to be at least as good, if not better, to win customers away and build its own base. From what we can see in this preview, it's off to a good start.

Styled to reflect Cadillac's Art & Science design philosophy while presenting a fresh and unique face, the ATS doesn't copy Cadillac's own cars or anyone elses, instead striking out its own ground, and doing it with bold lines, strong proportions, and elegant details.

According to Cadillac's Don Butler, vice president of marketing, the ATS was also designed with an eye toward sportiness: “Designed with quick, nimble and fun-to-drive dynamics, ATS expands Cadillac’s portfolio into a crucial global segment. For a new group of luxury consumers, this is a car that will fit their lifestyle and challenge the segment’s status quo.”  

OK, so it looks pretty sharp. But what about the hard figures? Those look pretty good, too.

Weighing in at less than 3,400 pounds, it's right on par with, if not lighter than, its core German and Japanese rivals. Weight balance is nearly 50/50, it features a MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear, and it offers driver-adjustable magnetic-ride dampers.

Engine options are perhaps the highlight of the ATS, offering more choices and, in some cases, more power, than rivals with a 270-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, a 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder, and a 3.6-liter, 318-horsepower V-6. Further down the track, a highly-efficient turbodiesel is expected too.

All-wheel drive is also available, as is a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions--though it's not clear if the manual will be available with all-wheel drive. For those that don't opt to drive all four wheels, rear-drive will be standard.

Electronics and features are another important element in the luxury sedan segment, and the ATS offers Cadillac's new CUE infotainment system, which uses an 8-inch LCD multi-touch capacitive screen to interface with the in-car computer, which can store up to 10 Bluetooth phone connections, read SD and USB memory, and interface with MP3 players, as well as respond to voice commands. Keyless entry, push-button start, a 5.7-inch reconfigurable instrument panel LCD display, full-color reconfigurable heads-up display, and more are also available.

Also packaged in the ATS is a host of available safety technology, including adaptive cruise control, brake assist, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, rear-view camera, adaptive lighting, and hill hold/hill start assist, which is standard with manual transmission cars.

For all of the details, including a detailed spec sheet, read the full release on page two.


2013 Cadillac ATS Challenges the Status Quo


  • All-new, lightweight, rear-wheel-drive architecture with one of the lowest curb weights in the segment – less than 3,400 pounds (1,542 kg)
  • Broad lineup of engines, including two four-cylinders and a V-6 for North America, capitalizes on lightweight structure for performance with efficiency
  • Cadillac CUE, a comprehensive, in-vehicle experience that merges intuitive design with auto industry-first controls and commands for information and entertainment data


DETROIT – Cadillac today introduced the 2013 ATS, an all-new compact luxury sports sedan intended to challenge the world’s best premium cars. Developed on an all-new, lightweight vehicle architecture, Cadillac’s entry into the world’s most significant luxury car segment goes on sale this summer.


The rear-drive ATS brings Cadillac’s blend of technologically driven performance, elegance and design to a new audience of spirited drivers. Its sophisticated driving experience is enhanced with Cadillac CUE, a comprehensive, in-vehicle user experience that merges intuitive design with industry-first controls and commands for information and media data.


“Designed with quick, nimble and fun-to-drive dynamics, ATS expands Cadillac’s portfolio into a crucial global segment,” said Don Butler, vice president of marketing for Cadillac. “For a new group of luxury consumers, this is a car that will fit their lifestyle and challenge the segment’s status quo.” 


The Cadillac ATS is a new expression of Cadillac’s Art & Science execution philosophy, built on a foundation of driving dynamics and mass efficiency. It is the most agile and lightweight Cadillac, with one of the lowest curb weights in the segment – less than 3,400 pounds (1,542 kg).


Germany’s famed Nürburgring served as one of the key testing grounds, along with additional roads, racetracks and laboratories around the globe, ATS engineers balanced performance with Cadillac’s trademark refinement. Contributing components and features include:

  • Nearly 50/50 weight balance
  • Cadillac’s first five-link independent rear suspension using lightweight, high-strength steel and efficient straight link designs
  • A multi-link double-pivot MacPherson-strut front suspension with direct-acting stabilizer bar
  • Driver-adjustable FE3 sport suspension with Magnetic Ride Control real-time damping
  • Underbody aerodynamic shields
  • Premium (belt driven) electric variable-effort steering gear from ZF Steering Systems
  • Four-channel ABS with available Brembo performance brakes
  • Available all-wheel drive


“More than just another new entry, the ATS aims to change the status quo of the European-dominated segment,” said Butler. “That is why our approach in all elements of its development is so extensive and focused.”


A broad lineup of engines – including two four-cylinders and a V-6 for North America – delivers strong power to the ATS and capitalizes on the car’s lightweight structure to complement its performance with efficiency. The optional engines include an all-new 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder rated at 270 horsepower (201 kW) and Cadillac’s award-winning 3.6L V-6, estimated at 318 horsepower (237 kW).


At 135hp/L, the new 2.0T is one of the most power-dense engines in the industry, topping engines from European competitors. ATS will offer both manual and automatic transmission options, along with rear-wheel and all-wheel-drive configurations.


The ATS will deliver peak highway fuel economy of more than 30 mpg.


A spirit of lightness and balance


Making the ATS one of the segment’s lightest cars was a fundamental criterion for and the guiding principle during its development, but it was done in a nuanced manner that ensures a refined driving experience.


“Low weight gives the ATS a more nimble and controllable feel, while also optimizing the performance and efficiency of the powertrains,” said David Masch, ATS chief engineer. “But we were careful to manage the weight while maintaining Cadillac’s signature levels of refinement.”


Optimizing the ATS’s mass was the result of a four-pronged philosophy that included strict adherence to original architectural goals, measured load management throughout the vehicle, benchmarking components to see if lighter solutions were available and an overall culture that “weighed” the mass of every component in the car against all aspects of its development.


An aluminum hood, magnesium engine mount brackets and even lightweight, natural-fiber door trim panels contribute to the ATS’s low overall mass – and reflect the systematic approach of evaluating every gram that went into the car. But some weight was deemed not only beneficial, but essential to the ATS’s driving experience. An example is the cast iron differential: Engineers found they could improve fuel economy with a cast iron differential rather than a lighter aluminum version.


And while the rear suspension is mostly steel, the focus on load management and straight links enabled significant weight savings without using alternate materials. This helps offset the weight of the engine and transmission at the front of the vehicle, helping the ATS deliver its near-perfect 50/50 weight balance, while also contributing to lower noise and vibration. A similar approach was taken on the wheels, where extra structural aluminum was strategically added to further reduce vibration.


“We approached development by counting all the grams in the ATS,” said Masch. “We minimized them where we could and put them to the best use where they were needed.”


Tailored design weaves in signature style and refinement

The 2013 Cadillac ATS interprets Cadillac’s Art & Science design language in a new proportion, tailoring the signature styling and refinement cues for the most compact Cadillac while upholding – and advancing – the exemplary attention to detail and technological elements for which the brand is known.


A long, 109.3-inch (2,775 mm) wheelbase and wide front/rear tracks are the cornerstones of the ATS’s firmly planted stance, which is enhanced by short overhangs and taut sheet metal that appears to wrap tightly around the tires. Seventeen-inch wheels are standard and 18-inch wheels are available.


Bold vertical lighting elements – including new LED front signature lighting detail – as well as illuminating door handles and active grille shutters lend technologically advanced style and function to the ATS. The grille shutters close at certain highway speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag and enhance fuel economy.


A driver-focused interior with integrated technology and crafted materials complements the exterior elements and supports the ATS’s driving experience. Everything from the placement of the pedals to the position of the shifter is designed for effortless and intuitive performance driving. Available performance seats have power-adjustable bolsters to optimize lateral support during high-load cornering. 


Contributing to the interior’s intuitive feel is an instrument panel that wraps into the doors and a center stack in the mid-instrument panel that flows into the center console. LED lighting for the bold gauge cluster enables clear, at-a-glance viewing in all lighting conditions, while ambient lighting accents functional elements of the console and doors.


Real wood, plated metal plating and carbon fiber trim and Cadillac’s cut-and-sew cut-and-sew instrument panel, console and doors enhance the emotional connection to the ATS. Choices of many interior color themes, each with unique accent trim material, cover a wide range of flavors – from light, open and warm to black and serious, to bold, technical and sporty.


CUE and ATS technologies

The ATS is offered with Cadillac CUE, a comprehensive, in-vehicle experience that merges intuitive design with auto industry-first controls and commands for information and entertainment data. It is designed to be unique for each consumer, from the “simple user” to the fully connected “super user.”


CUE, which stands for Cadillac User Experience, pairs entertainment and information data from up to 10 Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices, USBs, SD cards and MP3 players with a vehicle infotainment system that reduces complexity through customized information, voice commands and fewer buttons and larger icons. For example, most of today’s luxury cars have around 20 buttons controlling the radio and entertainment functions. CUE has only four.


The heart of CUE is the eight-inch LCD multi-touch sensitive screen, seamlessly integrated into the top of the central instrument panel and a motorized fully capacitive faceplate at the bottom concealing a 1.8L storage area. The vibrant LCD screen displays CUE’s home page, which resembles a smart phone’s screen by using large, easy-to-target icons to execute commands. Capacitive technology refers to using electrodes to sense the conductive properties of objects, such as a finger.


In addition to CUE, the ATS is offered with other technologies, including:

  • Bluetooth phone connectivity with voice recognition
  • USB, auxiliary and SD memory card ports
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio with three-month trial subscription
  • Keyless access and keyless push-button start
  • Reconfigurable 5.7-inch instrument panel cluster display
  • Full-color reconfigurable heads-up display.


The ATS is offered as a well-equipped standard model and in Luxury, Performance and Premium Collections. A Bose® Cabin Surround audio system is offered on the standard model, as well as Luxury and Performance Collections. It is standard with the Premium Collection. A navigation system is also available with Luxury and Performance Collections and standard with the Premium Collection.


‘Control and alert’ safety strategy

Safety in the ATS is based on Cadillac’s “control and alert” strategy that employs advanced technologies – including radar, cameras and ultrasonic sensors – to help prevent crashes.


The safety features bolster driver vision and awareness of road hazards, and intervenes to help the driver avert potential crashes. In some cases, Cadillac’s advanced crash-avoidance systems will act without the driver, such as automatic braking, which will activate based on information indicating potential hazards.


Among the most sophisticated of the features is Front and Rear Automatic Brakes. This relies on short-range radar technology and ultrasonic sensors to help the driver prevent front and rear low-speed collisions via a progression of alerts that extend to complete braking, if necessary.


Optional advanced safety features include:

  • Full Speed Range Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Intelligent Brake Assist
  • Forward Collision Alert
  • Brake Pre-Fill Automatic Collision Preparation
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Side Blind Zone Alert
  • Rear Vision Camera With Dynamic Guidelines
  • Adaptive Forward Lighting
  • Hill Hold/Start Assist (Standard, manual transmission)


The advanced technology safety features complement the ATS’s roster of other safety features, including eight standard air bags (10 with optional features), safety belt pretensioners and load limiters, StabiliTrak electronic stability control system with traction control and four-wheel disc brakes with four-channel ABS.


ATS also features OnStar standard for one year. It can use GPS and cellular phone technology to automatically call for help in the event of a crash. OnStar service also includes myCadillac and OnStar myLink mobile apps, which offer vehicle information, controls and OnStar services via the customer’s iPhone or Android smart phone.


About Cadillac

Cadillac has been a leading luxury auto brand since 1902. In recent years, Cadillac has engineered a historic renaissance led by artful engineering and advanced technology. More information on Cadillac can be found at media.cadillac.com.


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Cadillac ATS Sedan

Body style / driveline:

4-door luxury sport luxury sedan, RWD/AWD


Unitized welded steel body with direct-mounted front cradle and rubber-isolated, multi-link independent rear suspension

EPA vehicle class:

small car

Manufacturing location:

Lansing Grand River Assembly, Lansing, Mich.




2.0L Turbo DI VVT

2.5L I-4 DI VVT

3.6L V-6 DI VVT

Displacement (cu in / cc):

122 / 1998

150 / 2457

217 / 3564

Bore & stroke (in / mm):

3.39 x 3.39 / 86 x 86

3.46 x 3.97 / 88 x 101

3.7 x 3.37 / 94 x 85.6

Block material:

cast aluminum

cast aluminum

cast aluminum

Cylinder head material:

cast aluminum

cast aluminum

cast aluminum


DOHC, four-valves per cylinder, continuously variable valve timing

DOHC, four valves per cylinder, continuously variable valve timing

DOHC, four valves per cylinder, continuously variable valve timing

Fuel delivery:

direct high-pressure fuel injection

direct high-pressure fuel injection

direct high-pressure fuel injection

Compression ratio:




Horsepower (hp / kW @ rpm):

270 / 201 @ 5300 (est)

200 / 149 @ 6200 (est)

318 / 237 @ 6800 (est - gas)

Torque (lb-ft / Nm @ rpm):

260 / 353 @ 2400 (est)

188 / 255 @ 4500 (est)

267 / 362 @ 4900 (est - gas)

Recommended fuel:

premium recommended but not required

regular unleaded

regular unleaded or E85

Maximum engine speed (rpm):




Estimated fuel economy:






Tremec M3L TR3160

Hydra-Matic 6L45


fully synchronized six-speed manual with single overdrive

six-speed, electronically controlled, automatic overdrive with torque converter clutch

Gear ratios (:1):
























Final drive ratio:


3.27 (2.5L, 3.6L)

3.45 (2.0T)


Chassis / Suspension


rear-wheel drive


open (FE2 suspension); mechanical limited-slip (FE3 suspension)


MacPherson-type with dual lower ball joints and direct-acting stabilizer bar; Magnetic Ride Control (FE3)


independent five-link with monotube shock absorbers; Magnetic Ride Control (FE3)

Steering type:

ZF rack-mounted electric, power-assisted and variable assist

Steering ratio:

FE2: 16.8:1

FE3: 15.3:1

Steering turns, lock-to-lock:

FE2: 3.16

FE3: 2.86

Turn circle (ft / m):

FE2 RWD: 36.38 / 11.09

FE3 RWD: 35.99 / 10.97

FE2 AWD: 38.05 / 11.60

Chassis control:

four-channel StabiliTrak w/ brake assist and traction control


Wheel size and type:

17x8-inch aluminum (painted)

17x8-inch aluminum (polished)

18x8-inch aluminum (machined-face)

18x8-inch aluminum (polished)

Tire size:

P225/45R17 90H all-season

P225/45R17 90V run-flat all-season

225/40R18 92V run-flat all-season

225/40R18 88W  / 255/35R18 90W run-flat summer-only

225/35ZR19 88Y / 255/30ZR19 91Y run-flat all-season (LPO)



four-wheel disc with sliding calipers on base; four-channel ABS/TCS w/ DRP; Brembo brakes with fixed calipers on Luxury, Performance and Premium collections

Rotor type and  thickness (in / mm):

Standard front: 11.8 x 1.02 (300 x 26) vented, with Ferritic Nitro Carbunized process for corrosion resistance

Standard rear: 12.4 x 0.90 (315 x 23) vented, with Ferritic Nitro Carbunized process for corrosion resistance

Uplevel front: 12.6 x 1.18 (321 x 30) vented, with Ferritic Nitro Carbunized process for corrosion resistance

Uplevel rear: 12.4 x 0.90 (315 x 23) vented, with Ferritic Nitro Carbunized process for corrosion resistance




Wheelbase (in / mm):

109.3 / 2775

Length (in / mm):

182.8 / 4643

Height (in / mm):

55.9 / 1421

Width (in / mm):

71.1 / 1805

Track (in / mm):

front: 59.5 / 1512

rear: 60.9 / 1548

Curb weight (lb / kg):

less than 3,400 / 1,542 (approx.)

Weight distribution (% front / rear):

51 / 49



Legroom (in / mm):

front: 42.5 / 1079

rear: 33.5 / 851

Headroom (in / mm):

front: 38.6 / 980

rear: 36.8 / 935

Shoulder room (in / mm):

front: 55.2 / 1345

rear: 53.9 / 1370

Hip room (in / mm):

front: 53.0 / 1345

rear: 52.3 / 1328



Seating capacity (front / rear):

2 / 3

EPA passenger volume (cu ft / L):

90.9 / 2573

EPA trunk volume (cu ft / L):

10.2 / 290

Trailer towing maximum (lb / kg):

1000 / 454 (3.6L)

Fuel tank (gal / L):

16 / 60.5

Engine oil (qt / L):


Cooling system (qt / L):

8.1 / 7.7 (2.0T)

7.1 / 6.7 (2.5L)

11 / 10.4 (3.6L)


*SAE certified.


Note: Information shown is current at time of publication.