If you think Detroit can't build a performance car as well as the Germans, you need to take a spin in the Cadillac ATS-V. The ATS-V builds on the bones of the very capable ATS, adding a 464-horsepower twin-turbo V6, a tighter suspension with GM's Magnetic Ride Control shocks, big Brembo brakes and an electronic limited-slip differential. It's as quick to 60 mph as a BMW M3 and feels just as much at home on an open road or a closed-circuit racetrack.
Like the regular ATS, the ATS-V is impressive in other respects. Its cabin is classy, if not quite as luxurious as that of its rivals from Mercedes and BMW, and the ride is surprisingly comfortable and compliant, especially when you consider the ATS-V's incredible track prowess. A tight back seat and small trunk are definite downsides, as is the fussy CUE infotainment system, but we're willing to make these sacrifices for a car that goes as fast and looks as good as the ATS-V.
Current Cadillac ATS-V
The Cadillac ATS-V is available in both coupe and sedan body styles. There's just one trim level, and it comes well equipped with leather upholstery and heated, power-adjustable seats with memory. Heavily bolstered Recaro seats are available as part of the Carbon Black package, although they may feel tight for larger drivers. Cadillac offers additional comfort and convenience options as well as active driver safety aids as part of the Luxury Package and Safety and Security package. Though if you want the latter, you'll need to buy the former as well.
The ATS-V's engine is a 3.6-liter V6 with two turbochargers that boost its output to 464 hp and 445 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices include an eight-speed automatic or a six-speed manual; the latter offers a rev-matching feature (which automatically raises the engine speed as you downshift) and GM's No Lift Shift, which allows you to upshift while keeping the accelerator flat on the floorboard. The footwork takes some getting used to, but once mastered, it's a lot of fun. We've timed an automatic ATS-V Coupe from zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, identical to the time we clocked for a BMW M4. EPA fuel economy estimates are respectable, with a 19 mpg combined rating for both manual- and automatic-transmission cars.
The ATS-V is very quick, with the engine delivering loads of torque like a V8 but without the thunderous soundtrack. Handling is excellent, too, as the ATS-V feels sharp and poised on challenging roads. What's all the more surprising is the ride quality. We credit the multiadjustable Magnetic Ride Control shocks that react quickly to changes in road conditions.
The ATS-V gets a number of interior upgrades compared to the regular ATS, including liberal use of carbon-fiber trim. Quality is generally good, though the instrument panel looks a bit low-rent. We're not fans of Cadillac's CUE infotainment system, which doesn't have a very logical layout for its on-screen buttons and is slow to respond. The ATS-V sedan's back seat is tight compared to those of rivals such as the BMW M3 and Mercedes C63. The coupe is even worse in this regard, but we imagine this is less of an issue for two-door buyers. But both body styles have a very small trunk, and sedans don't have a folding back seat, which limits practicality even further.
Used Cadillac ATS-V
The Cadillac ATS-V made its debut in 2016 in both coupe and sedan forms. For 2017, Cadillac improved the CUE infotainment system and introduced a new Carbon Black option package.