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Car Review: 2013 Cadillac ATS 3.6L Premium

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As the world at Cadillac continues to evolve, the expectations from buyers will also come to expect dynamic new products, which have to be the goal for any luxury car nameplate. The all-new Cadillac ATS 3.6L Premium was delivered to us at Bullz-Eye for a week of testing and admiration for what should be the new direction of Caddy and a shot across the bow at her competitors. Developed on an all-new, lightweight rear-drive architecture, the ATS reflects a new expression of Cadillac’s Art & Science execution philosophy, centered on a foundation of driving dynamics and mass efficiency. Germany ’s famed Nürburgring served as one of the key testing grounds, along with additional roads, race tracks and laboratories around the globe, where ATS engineers balanced performance with Cadillac’s trademark refinement.

EXTERIOR

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. Although the 2013 Cadillac ATS 3.6L Premium skin doesn’t stand out all that much from the CTS, it’s clear that this new Cadillac was designed for performance over everything else. A long, 109.3-inch (2,775 mm) wheelbase and wide front/rear tracks are the cornerstones of the ATS’ firmly planted stance, which is enhanced by short overhangs and taut sheet metal that appears to wrap tightly around the tires. 17-inch wheels are standard and 18-inch wheels are available.

Bold, vertical lighting elements, including new LED front signature lighting detail and illuminating door handles and active grille shutters, lend technologically advanced style and function to the ATS. The luxury feel of the exterior is clearly enhanced with the lighting from all angles of the ATS, including the sleek door handles. The grille shutters close at certain highway speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag and enhance fuel economy. High-intensity discharge headlamps with Adaptive Forward Lighting made our driving experience that much better. Exterior colors include: Radiant Silver Metallic, Black Raven, Black Diamond Tricoat, Crystal Red Tintcoat, White Diamond Tricoat, Thunder Gray ChromaFlair, Opulent Blue Metallic, Glacier Blue Metallic, Silver Coast Metallic and Summer Gold Metallic. Our test model looked incredible in Black Diamond Tricoat that somehow looked as clean after a week as it did on day one.

INTERIOR

After taking in the striking good looks of the 2013 Cadillac ATS 3.6L Premium’s body, Cadillac really needed a top-notch cabin to keep the first impression strong, and they delivered with a morello red combined with a jet black hand-crafted cut and sewn interior seating that was off-the-charts good. A driver focused interior with integrated technology and crafted materials complements the exterior elements and supports the ATS’ 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, metal plating and carbon fiber trim and Cadillac’s 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. The ATS also boasts OnStar’s RemoteLink Mobile App, wjocj allows smartphone users to control vehicle functions, access vehicle information and send directions directly to the vehicle. A new opt-in service called FamilyLink allows subscribers to stay connected to loved ones by checking the location of their vehicle online or by signing up for vehicle location alerts.

Other standout features included an eight-inch full-color touch display with Bose surround sound, Sirius XM radio, leather-wrapped steering wheel with shifter, sport alloy pedals, rainsense windshield wipers, universal home remote, LED vertical accent lighting, keyless push button start, adaptive remote vehicle start, front and rear parking assist and a midnight chrome accent grille. The ATS is offered with Cadillac CUE (with or without navigation), 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 (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 smartphone’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.

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PERFORMANCE

The award-winning 3.6L V-6 is rated at 321 horsepower (239 kW) and 275 lb.-ft. of torque (373 Nm) with a six-speed transmission, including the Hydra-Matic 6L45 automatic with tap-shift control. We were lucky to test the 3.6L, because other than the four doors on the 2013 Cadillac ATS 3.6L Premium, you feel that you’re driving a sports car when behind the wheel. The performance is that good my friends and we feel this car is s major accomplishment for the folks at Cadillac, as they now have a true global competitor in the segment. Proportion and balance are on the ATS’ side, with a low curb weight of less than 3,400 pounds (1,542 kg) and power-dense powertrains that are also lightweight to achieve a 50/50 weight distribution and a greater power-to-weight ratio. They complement wide front and rear tracks – 59.5-inch/1,512mm (front) and 60-inch/1,548mm (rear) – for a lower center of gravity that promotes greater stability. Low vehicle mass and optimal brake sizes are expected to give the ATS braking performance that is among the best in the segment, with Brembo brakes contributing to 60-0 performance of approximately 129 feet (39.3 meters). Up front, a multi-link MacPherson strut suspension uses a double-pivot design for a more precise feeling of control, including more linear and communicative steering, and a smoother ride. It also improves impact isolation on bumps and rough surfaces.

The double-pivot system incorporates a pair of ball joints and lower control links that replace a conventional wishbone at each wheel. The optimal balance of ride and handling is achieved via a suspension geometry that decouples road inputs by integrating a soft fore/aft “ride link” that provides greater isolation from impacts and a stiff, laterally positioned “handling link” for a more direct steering feel and quicker lateral response. The control arms, the spindle and the body form an effective four-bar link for each side of the front suspension, creating virtual pivot points for reduced spindle length, significantly reducing steering wheel feedback due to wheel impacts and imbalance. There is also a direct-acting stabilizer bar. The front suspension’s design enables a shorter spindle and positive-offset steering geometry for optimal steering control, excellent straight-line stability and a more refined ride. High-durometer rubber and hydraulic bushings are used with the front suspension for an excellent balance of ride comfort and precise response when cornering.

At the rear of the ATS is the first five-link independent suspension in a Cadillac. It’s a design that helps reduce roll center motion, enables positive lateral control, reduces “squat” during acceleration and promotes excellent dynamic stability. In short, it helps keep the tires planted on all surfaces and during all hard-cornering maneuvers. Four handling links (upper and lower control arms) are used at each side to control wheel motion, and a toe link at each wheel provides additional horizontal control – particularly during hard cornering. The upper and lower links create an effective double-wishbone design, although the links are mounted independently. As with the front suspension, the five-link design creates virtual pivot points that the ATS’ engineers used for geometry optimization. The stiff links are mounted on a cradle that contributes to a smoother, quieter and more isolated ride. The cradle is made of steel (with hydroformed side rails) to help optimize the car’s structural stiffness and mass. Set on a pair of 18-inch machine -finished aluminum wheels, the 2013 Cadillac ATS 3.6L Premium looks very sharp while eating up the road!

OVERVIEW

Cadillac really went for the homerun with the 2013 Cadillac ATS 3.6L Premium, and we must give them kudos, because this is one of the finest cars we have tested. At a price of $52,405 as tested, the ATS Premium can compete on everything (including price) with the top competitors in the world, and that is a huge advancement for Cadillac. We also found ourselves very satisfied with fuel efficiency, which came in at 19mpg in the city and 28mpg on the highway – excellent considering the amount of power you have at your disposal. The level of enjoyment when driving the 2013 Cadillac ATS 3.6L Premium compares only to the top in her class and beyond!

  

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