Cadillac ATS-V: America’s M3 rival at 2014 LA motor show

Published: 19 November 2014

We’ve published snaps of a disguised version pounding round the Nurburgring earlier this month, and now here’s the finished article: the Cadillac ATS-V, an American supersaloon that could be a genuine rival to the cream of Europe’s performance saloon crop.

What’s under the Cadillac ATS-V’s hood?

No good ol’ boy V8, that’s for sure. The ‘V’ label has been applied to a few go-faster Caddies over the years but this is the first one with six cylinders and turbochargers. It’s a 3.6-litre twin-turbo V6, with a healthy 455bhp and 445lb ft of torque making their way to the rear wheels.

More power than a BMW M3 (431bhp) then, and a bit less than the upcoming C63 AMG (462bhp).

It’s enough to get the ATS-V from 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds and on to a top speed north of 185mph – sounds like this is a supersaloon that really deserves the label.

A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, with automatic throttle blipping software on downshifts. Cadillac also promises launch control and ‘no-lift shifting’, which sounds fun. An eight-speed auto with paddle shifters will be available too, and that’s the version that achieves those eyebrow-raising acceleration stats.

Can it go round corners, though?

All the right ingredients are there: magnetic ride dampers (with selectable ‘Touring’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Track’ modes), a 25% increase in structural stiffness, an electronic limited-slip diff and Brembo brakes, fitted, says Cadillac, with track day abuse specifically in mind.

Wheelbase remains the same as the basic ATS but track front and rear has been widened, and the bonnet is made from carbon fibre to help lower the centre of gravity.

Track day use is a recurring theme in the car’s spec, with an on-board data recorder able to capture high-definition video of the driver’s heroics with data overlays to share with the world later. The 18-inch wheels are smeared in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres of a compound developed for the car specifically for the best possible trade-off between outright grip and tyre life.

A specific Track Pack option is available too, including carbon bodywork addenda which can achieve genuine downforce, a lighter battery and even the deletion of the floor mats to save weight.

Four doors or two?

Both four-door saloon and two-door coupe flavours are available. Whichever you go for you’ll get 16-way adjustable Recaro seats up front with body-hugging bolsters and all the ATS saloon’s usual Bluetooth and USB connectivity features.

When can I buy one?

Ah. Well. At the moment there aren’t any plans to offer the ATS-V in the UK. In fact Cadillac, doesn’t really do British sales at all anymore, so if you really fancy one you’ll have to start reading up on import regs.


By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, occasional racer