2013 Cadillac ATS – Initial Impressions

2013 Cadillac ATS - FirearmsOn Friday, Cadillac dropped off an example of the 2013 ATS for the Caddy Edge to review. Our example is a Thunder Grey V-6 with automatic equipped with the Performance trim.

Key options on top of the standard equipment are 18″ machined wheels with low-profile performance all-season rubber, navigation (on top of the standard CUE system), and the cold-weather package. Interestingly, this makes this the first non-V we’ve driven not equipped with all-wheel drive.

We are on record as not appreciating the 3.6l V-6 both in its earlier non-direct injection and its current DI forms. The reasoning being that, especially at altitude (we start our testing at over 5000 feet and go up from there), the engine cannot overcome the mass of a modern Cadillac – especially one with sporting pretensions (and isn’t that most of them now?).

Well, given that the CTS and SRX, both in all-wheel drive trim, are packing over 4100 lbs and 4400 lbs respectively – that’s a lot of weight for a normally aspirated engine to push around.

Well, the ATS, in rear-drive trim is a svelte 3461 lbs with the same 321hp. Yes, boys and girls, that’s just a load of groceries shy of 1000 lbs lighter than the SRX. This makes as big a difference as you would think. Our ATS with its wheel-mounted paddle shifters was every bit the canyon carver and gladly took on every switch back thrown its way.

Inside, the CUE system is both an amazing improvement over infotainment systems in Cadillacs of even a year ago, but it also has some rough edges (mainly in its responsiveness).

So, we expect there will be a bit to say about this car after we’ve had some more time behind the wheel…stay tuned for our full review soon.