2013 Cadillac ATS Track Tested

2013 Cadillac ATS Track Tested

Testing the 272-Horsepower Turbocharged Cadillac

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.

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

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:

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)

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

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


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.


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.

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