Sharp Handling - 2013 Cadillac ATS Long-Term Road Test

2013 Cadillac ATS Long-Term Road Test

2013 Cadillac ATS: Sharp Handling

July 23, 2013

2013 Cadillac ATS

One thing that really stood out when we used our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS in a three-way comparison test was the car's handling abilities. As author Mike Magrath wrote: "Whereas the [Lexus] IS 250 turned in decent handling results and then got walked on the road, the Cadillac took everything we dared to throw at it regardless of the venue."

Our ATS does have some truly impressive handling limits. I've driven it quickly through turns and the thing just sticks. Credit the car's suspension design, balance, relatively light weight and Bridgestone summer tires. The steering does lack feel, but it's appropriately quick and suitable to the sporty character of the car.

For me, this is one of the car's best attributes and why I'd tell somebody to buy one. The term "sport" gets used so much in automotive marketing these days that it sort of loses its meaning, but the ATS certainly fits my description of a "luxury sport sedan."

Speaking of sport, the ATS's Sport mode, which dramatically firms up the adaptive suspension dampers, seems like overkill to me. On a race track it'd probably be useful, but on the street this mode takes away so much suspension compliance that I find it to be a hindrance.

I just leave the Cadillac ATS in its default Tour mode.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 11,012 miles


  • legacygt legacygt Posts:

    This car is such an interesting move for Cadillac. The ATS seems to emphasize handling over everything. Over comfort. Over power. This is great. But it's also not what the brand is known for. Even during the last decade of improvement, Cadillac has improved the handling of its sedans without making it the number one attribute. Is it smart? Even those familiar and comfortable with the current Cadillac lineup may be shocked that the ATS isn't larger or more powerful. It's a bold move and it indicates that the ATS may be part of a long term plan to re-position the brand. This is reminiscent of BMW maybe 20 years ago or more. BMW is now offering lots of luxury, lots of power and lots of tech. But its thriving as a brand based on a reputation for prioritizing fantastic handling that was more evident in the past than in its current lineup.

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    that was a pretty good blog post as far as being informative. it looks like multiple editors are feeling pretty good about the ATS and it sounds like it has accomplished its goal of targeting the BMW 3 series dynamics to a high level.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    As the article on the 3 Series coupe and last night's Top Gear pointed out, the "sport" button just makes the ride worse so people think they got what they paid for. A jittery ride doesn't mean good handling but don't tell that to the people who grew up modifying their mom's Civic by removing the suspension and slapping a big exhaust tip on it.

  • jederino jederino Posts:

    Great as the chassis is, the steering needs more cowbell.

  • @stovt001 - I used to disagree with a lot of your posts (not actively, just in my head, lol), but for the last couple of months you've been hitting nothing but home runs. Did you change somehow, or did I? :P

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