2013 Cadillac ATS Track Tested

Testing the 272-Horsepower Turbocharged Cadillac


  • 2013 Cadillac ATS - Action Front 3/4

    2013 Cadillac ATS - Action Front 3/4

    Our test driver noted that the ATS is "pointy." | December 21, 2012

8 Photos

Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

The 2013 Cadillac ATS was born under the enormous shadow of the BMW 3 Series. It's a tough spot. BMW has owned this segment for decades now and despite attempts from every corner of the globe, nobody's managed more than a flash-in-the-pan usurping.

But despite the formidable task, this is exactly where Cadillac wants to be. With the 2013 ATS, Cadillac isn't trying to redefine a segment; it's meeting BMW (and Audi and Mercedes) head-on with the ATS.

This fight starts with a thoroughly modern powertrain consisting of a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that produces 272 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. That power is routed to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission and a mechanical limited-slip differential. Further ammunition in Caddy's performance quiver is the driver-adjustable magnetorheological shocks with Sport mode.

But you know all of this. You read the 2013 Cadillac ATS Introduction when we added this sport sedan to our Long-Term fleet. Now see what it did on the track.

Vehicle:
Odometer: 1,692
Date: 12/4/2012
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $51,510 as tested

Specifications:
Drive Type: Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed automatic
Engine Type: DOHC, turbocharged inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,998/122
Redline (rpm): 7,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 272 @ 5,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 260 @ 1,700
Brake Type (front): 12.6-inch one-piece ventilated steel discs with four-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): 12.4-inch one-piece ventilated steel discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front): Independent MacPherson struts with dual lower ball joints, coil springs, driver-adjustable two-mode magnetorheological dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink (double wishbone + toe link), coil springs, driver-adjustable two-mode magnetorheological dampers, stabilizer bar
Steering type: Electric speed-proportional power steering
Tire Size (front): P225/40R18 (88W)
Tire Size (rear): P255/35R18 (90W)
Tire Brand: Bridgestone
Tire Model: Potenza RE050A
Tire Type: Asymmetrical summer run-flat
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,515

Test Results:

Acceleration
0-30 (sec): 2.2 (2.8 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 3.9 (4.6 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 6.4 (7.1 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 6.0 (6.7 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 9.4 (10.3 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 14.5 @ 94.1 (15.1 @ 93.8 w/ TC on)

Braking
30-0 (ft): 29
60-0 (ft): 114

Handling
Slalom (mph): 67.3 (66.7 w/ TC on)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.87 (0.87 w/ TC on)

Db @ Idle: 41.2
Db @ Full Throttle: 71.0
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 64.5

RPM @ 70: 2,000

Comments:

Acceleration: A profound difference with generous pedal overlap, but too much generates runaway wheelspin that just wastes time. Auto upshifts are quick and reasonably gentle. There's a little bit of a torque deficit at the very bottom of the rev range, but it quickly disappears as the tach swings past 2-3K rpm. I generally like the "feel" of the engine, but it doesn't have what I'd call a personality — or if it has, it's sort of rough and coarse-sounding. It works but it's not pretty.

Braking: Firm pedal, little dive and near zero fade; best stop on fourth attempt and admirable (not astoundingly short) and tightly packed distances. Predictable and early jump-in, linear progression. Average-to-good brakes; not great brakes.

Handling:

Skid pad: The steering is not what I'd call communicative, but it isn't "noisy" or syrupy either. I get just enough information about the front tires' grip and the precision remains. There's only a little bit of turbo surge complicating the process, but it's entirely manageable and throttle response is acceptable.

Slalom: Crisp response, pointy at the front end without unnecessary weight in the steering effort. Nicely sculpted/contoured wheel. Very good balance overall with a delicacy and precision that is sadly becoming a rarity. As before, Sport mode is too firm and the car skips over the bumps rather than enveloping them. Tour is the better choice almost all the time. Eventually, the tires give up in unison and on this day it was at an impressive 67.3 mph which is good, not great.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.

Comments

  • empoweredbc empoweredbc Posts:

    Good handling numbers, but the BMWs will lose it in the straights.

  • 7227haley 7227haley Posts:

    I HATE this new format!!

  • tempesting_ tempesting_ Posts:

    50k for this small-a** car? very nice but I'd look at somewhere else.

  • sharpend sharpend Posts:

    I miss Inside Line.

  • manual4 manual4 Posts:

    BMW 335I IS JUST OVER $42K or an AUDI S4 AROUND $47K ARE THE SUPERIOR CHOICE. KUDOS TO CADILLAC FOR GREATLY IMPROVING ITS PRODUCT OVER ALL BUT IT STILL HAS SOME PROVING TO DO AT LEAST FOR PEOPLE LIKE ME. ALSO THE RESALE VALUE OF A 3 YEAR CADILLAC IS HARDLY THAT OF THOSE 2 COMPLETION MENTIONED ABOVE. ARTIFICIALLY INFLATING THE PRICE TO MAKE THE THE PRODUCT MORE EXCLUSIVE IS RIDICULOUS AND SHORTSIGHTED. WE'LL SEE.

  • cz_75 cz_75 Posts:

    Edmunds blows.

  • loseit loseit Posts:

    My god this Edmunds interface is terrible. And, I love this new Caddillac. The price hurts a little, though....not gonna lie.

  • 06speed6 06speed6 Posts:

    $51K for the same power I paid $29K in my reliable '06 Speed6. No thank you.

  • cr_driver cr_driver Posts:

    Sharpend We`ll really miss it when January the 10th comes! =(

  • hotpass105 hotpass105 Posts:

    Focus Titanium did better than this on the track and you praise the ATS and trash the MKZ. Such bias.

  • vo1_ vo1_ Posts:

    one of the first tests Ive seen of the turbo with the automatic, the time is slower than expected, even for edmunds.

  • financeman2 financeman2 Posts:

    $51,000 seems like a chunk of change for something that is attractive, but excels at little. For example, for about $10,000 less you can purchase at slightly dated 2013 Infiniti G37 that is much faster, brakes better, handles nearly as well, and will likely be far more reliable with less depreciation.

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    I think this car proves something I have suspected for the last few years. Car performance has reached a plateau created by increasing weight, demands for better economy and the limits being reached in electronic engine tweaking. Be fair, a car with this performance would have been treated like the second coming not 15 years ago.

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    WTH? I can comment on a track test but not on a full test like the A8. What mastermind thought that up at Edmunds.

  • wlm26 wlm26 Posts:

    I find it strange that there is no mention of the Infiniti G37. Considering just the numbers, the G37 thoroughly trounces the ATS. And the cost factor, $51k vs $45K (well loaded) cannot be denied. The ATS is nice to look at, but I would put my money on a car that would thoroughly leave it in the dust, and save me a pretty penny for other things. Just MO.

  • wlm26 wlm26 Posts:

    I find it strange that there is no mention of the Infiniti G37. Considering just the numbers, the G37 thoroughly trounces the ATS. And the cost factor, $51k vs $45K (well loaded) cannot be denied. The ATS is nice to look at, but I would put my money on a car that would thoroughly leave it in the dust, and save me a pretty penny for other things. Just MO.

  • wlm26 wlm26 Posts:

    And I agree about the Edmunds format. It's extremely clunky and outdated compared to insideline. Moving on to LeftLane: http://www.leftlanenews.com/

  • wlm26 wlm26 Posts:

    And I agree about the Edmunds format. It's extremely clunky and outdated compared to insideline. Moving on to LeftLane: http://www.leftlanenews.com/

  • ctizzle ctizzle Posts:

    Car= good...new format = *Charles Barkley Voice* Just Terrible!

  • parichey parichey Posts:

    51K for a 4 cylinder Cadillac ? Audi A4 and BMW 328i are both cheaper and faster than this. This is just sad for Cadillac ATS: 0-60 - 6.4secs A4: 0-60 - 6.2secs 328i: 0-60 - 5.9secs Link:http://www.insideline.com/bmw/3-series/2012/2012-audi-a4-vs-2012-bmw-328i-vs-2012-mercedes-benz-c250-comparison-test.html

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    $51K is the as-tested price which no doubt includes a number of options (a foolish move on Caddy's part - for these track tests, best to provide a stripper since all that is being tested is performance). Sure a BMW may start for less, but the air in the tires is an extra cost option on those so you'll quickly get up to the same price for a half-decently equipped model.

  • ryster ryster Posts:

    When will comments be available on the Long-Term blog???? Why do all of the long-term blog entries have a link to read more and comment, yet there is no way to comment? This new format will kill this website quickly.

  • tbone85 tbone85 Posts:

    I wish I could give 7227haley a thousand thumbs up. This is awful. I should be able to see the comments before making a comment. That will add redundant comments and clutter.

  • jederino jederino Posts:

    tbones85 - the "comments" button is on the upper right of the article. Took me awhile to notice it, too.

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