WASHINGTON — Small luxury sedans are a tough sell these days, and the Cadillac ATS sedan is no different. So this year will be the last year for this fun-to-drive car. The ATS has a special version called the ATS-V, a sports car with four doors.
What sets apart the V series ATS is a twin turbo V6 with 464 hp, and it really makes this small sedan fly. It might not sound as good an Alfa V6 but you can get into some serious trouble if you’re not careful. The ATS-V sedan is a terrific handling car that will impress on the street and on a racetrack. The Magnetic Ride Control helps, allowing the car to be docile for everyday driving or select track mode, and this turns into a tight, stiff ride.
The handling limits are very high and the track is the best place to explore what this sedan is really capable of. I was surprised by just what this car can do. Large Brembo brakes haul this car down with authority. The ATS-V comes with a standard manual transmission, a rarity today, or you can pay an extra $2,000 for the 8-speed automatic that my car came with.
The automatic was very good and there are magnesium paddle shifters. Fuel economy isn’t the best for this powerful coupe, as I managed 19 mpg of premium for my week, under the 20 mpg the sticker says.
The style of the ATS-V is aggressive, with a lowered, hunkered-down stance that looks ready to pounce. This V sedan has the looks enhanced with the $5,000 Carbon Fiber package with a front-end splitter and hood vent up front that looks cool. It also adds some lower body composite extensions, a rear wing and a carbon fiber rear diffuser.
The 18-inch wheels might seem a bit small, but it fits this car very well and the summer tires and the gold-colored brake calipers say serious performance car. The Phantom Gray metallic paint, a $625 premium color, wears a little too conservative for this car. It’s a good thing there are six other colors to choose from.
The Cadillac ATS-V starts at a reasonable $61,595 but with all the options the price swells to $79,360. I’m thinking the inside is not up to that price tag. The optional Recaro High Performance seats are great at keeping you place in the corners. Still, larger drivers might find them too tight. Those front seats take up some of the limited rear seat leg room making it a tight fit for adults. The ATS-V falls a bit short in family hauler duty with limited trunk space; so pack lightly.
The materials are mix of high-quality looking and feeling materials and some cheaper trim pieces which are mostly kept low and out of sight. The instrument panel is out of place in this Cadillac. I swear it looks like an old Pontiac with a mix of analog and digital display, it just doesn’t fit the modern look.
The Cue audio system works quicker than before, but still there are no knobs for radio controls. A Wifi hot spot, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay help integrate smartphones into the touch-screen.
The Cadillac ATS-V sedan is a serious sporty machine. If the top priority is a small luxury sedan that excels on the track this could be your ride. Don’t dilly because this ATS-V sedan will set off in the sunset after this year.