After a six-month buildup, Cadillac unveiled the compact ATS sedan at the Detroit Auto Show. Dubbed by Mark Reuss, GM’s North American president, as, “the car to finally challenge the German cars at their own game and win,” the soon-to-be-launched ATS already has some big shoes to fill. To the car’s credit, GM is equipping it with a Magnetic Ride Control suspension (found on the CTS-V, the Corvette ZR1, the Camaro ZL1 and the Ferrari 458 Italia) and has done all it can to reduce weight, bringing the ATS is at under 3,400 pounds.
The engine options announced so far don’t have us convinced the car is a legitimate sport sedan. The base engine is a 2.5-liter Ecotec four, good for just 200 horsepower, while the “enthusiast” choice seems to be a 270-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four. There’s also a 318 horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6, but Cadillac almost seems to be downplaying this option.
We suspect the 2.0-liter turbo four chosen for the ATS is the same engine used in the Buick Regal GS. We’ve driven that car, and the power simply feels adequate, not impressive. Granted, the Cadillac is some 300 pounds lighter than the Buick and drives the rear wheels, not the front, but we have a hard time seeing the ATS as a legitimate opponent to the BMW 335is.
Maybe our opinions will change when we have a chance to drive the car. Until then, color us “cautiously optimistic” and enjoy the fourth video in Cadillac’s “ATS The Journey” series, below.