America's answer to the dominance of European sport sedans, the 2018 Cadillac ATS-V offers an outstanding mix of performance, comfort and style. It's a welcome alternative to the high-performance coupes and sedans from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. You'll need to make peace with the ATS-V's few foibles, but the thrills outweigh the flaws, especially for the price.
Blessed with the inherently good bones of Cadillac's sharp-handling base ATS, the high-performance ATS-V — available as both coupe and sedan — ratchets up the car's capability several notches with a twin-turbocharged V6 engine, beefy brakes, and a trick suspension that constantly adapts in microseconds to changing road surfaces (Cadillac calls it Magnetic Ride Control). This suspension gives the ATS-V exceptional control at the racetrack, but also impressive comfort on normal roads and highways. It's easily the sharpest and most agile car in its class.
The 464-horsepower V6 engine generates absurd power for a car of this size, and it comes paired with a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission. Power flows to the rear wheels only, another characteristic that will speak to the enthusiast driver's heart. In our testing, the ATS-V sprinted from zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, yet it still achieves EPA-estimated fuel economy of 20 mpg combined.
Capable and fast, the ATS-V sacrifices some function with its tidy cabin dimensions, cramped back seat and small trunk. We've also found its touchscreen tech interface (called CUE) slow and awkward compared to the competition, although a new-generation system in this 2018 model may remedy that.
Of course, the competition is stiff, but we're happy to see the ATS-V hold its own against its BMW M3 and M4 and Mercedes-AMG C 63 rivals.
trim levels & features
The 2018 Cadillac ATS-V is a high-performance luxury compact car offered as either a four-door sedan that seats five passengers or two-door coupe that accommodates four passengers. Both come in a single, well-equipped trim level. A handful of options can tailor the ATS-V to your preference, such as the Luxury package for audiophiles, the Safety and Security package for its driver assistance features, or the Track package for race enthusiasts.
Power comes from a 3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine (464 horsepower, 445 pound-feet of torque) paired to a choice of a six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The ATS-V is only available with rear-wheel drive.
Key standard features include a carbon-fiber hood, 18-inch alloy wheels, Brembo high-performance brakes, an adaptive sport suspension, an electronically controlled limited-slip differential, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, keyless entry and ignition, leather upholstery and heated front seats. Coupe models come standard with split-folding rear seatbacks; the sedan features a non-folding seatback fixed in place.
Tech features the revamped CUE interface with an 8-inch touchscreen display, OnStar services with 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot (requires data plan), a Bose audio system, satellite radio, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, Pandora internet radio, wireless device charging, three USB ports, an SD card slot, and an auxiliary audio input.
Cadillac's Teen Driver features are also standard. They allow owners to limit certain functions when younger drivers are behind the wheel, such as muting audio until front-seat occupants fasten seat belts or preventing drivers from disabling safety systems such as traction control. Teen Driver can also capture data, including distance driven, maximum speed, overspeed warnings, and hard braking events, and generate a "report card" for owners to review with younger drivers.
The ATS-V offers a handful of stand-alone options and packages. The Luxury package adds xenon headlights, an upgraded Bose surround-sound audio system, a navigation system, a 110-volt, household-style power outlet and, for the sedan, split-folding rear seats. Opting for the Luxury package also gives you the choice of a sunroof.
The Safety and Security package is only available in conjunction with the Luxury package. It includes anti-theft features, automatic high beams and wipers, a head-up display, a lane departure warning and intervention system, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision alert and, for the sedan, rear side airbags.
The Carbon Fiber package adds carbon-fiber exterior trim, black sill extensions and a body-color rear spoiler.
For drivers who pursue motorsports, the Track Performance package includes a race-oriented video and data recorder as well as the features from the Carbon Fiber package. This package first requires that you order the CUE system with navigation and makes certain features ineligible, among them a sunroof or the bundles in the Luxury and Safety and Security packages.
Stand-alone options include a sunroof (requires the Luxury package), red or gold brake calipers, Recaro sport seats, the performance video and data recorder, and microfiber steering wheel and shift knob trim.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2016 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe (turbo 3.6L V6 | 8-speed automatic | RWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current ATS-V has received only minor revisions. As such, our findings remain applicable to this year's model.
noise & vibration
ease of use
getting in/getting out
child safety seat accomodation
audio & navigation
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
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