The ATS-V Coupe’s aggressive looks plus a nimble chassis and powerful high-tech V-6 make it a match for BMW’s M, blogs Dan Scanlan.
The base ATS has a 202-horsepower 2.5-liter Four, with a 2-liter turbocharged Four with 272-horsepower and a 335-horsepower V-6 available. But the compact Caddy king is our test coupe’s 464 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque through the rear wheels, below. You get a six-speed manual with rev match, no-lift shifting (keep the pedal down for full turbo boost as you change gears) and launch control. Or you can have our coupe’s eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shift. The only issue – some second-to-first downshifts clunked.
Inside, active noise cancellation quiets down the interior, but Cadillac also funnels augmented exhaust noise inside to make the V-6 sound snarlier. Full throttle sounded like a meaty little V-8 with some V-6 snarl, and a nice overrun exhaust crackle. Sport and Track modes also blip the throttle on fast downshifts, and power is there almost anywhere across the band with no turbo peakiness. As for fuel mileage, we calculated about 15 mpg on premium.
Magnetic Ride Control’s Sport or Track settings firm up suspension and steering feel, speed up throttle and engine response and lessen traction and stability control parameters. Touring gave us the most compliant ride feel, firm but with a softer edge over bumps during quickly managed rebound. In Sport, there was a firmer edge, but it still had a nice buffer on quick rebound over bumps.
Or tap the steering wheel button to disable stability and traction control and smoke them if you want to. But even then, the balanced chassis and responsive throttle plus quick steering could catch the tail. The data recorder showed 1.25 Gs in lateral grip in the skidpad in second gear.
The 10-speaker AM/FM/SiriusXM Bose surround sound system was powerful and free of distortion. It can pair entertainment and information data from up to 10 Bluetooth-enabled devices, with two USB slots, an MP3 input and SD card slot under the center armrest. The back seat is tough to get to past front seatbacks that don’t flip all the way and leave a shoulder belt to step over, the form-fitting seats offering minimal adult head and leg room. The seat backs split and fold to expand the narrow trunk, where the battery lives for weight balance.
What about that Performance Data Recorder? Slip an SD memory card into a slot in the small glove box, and a camera mounted behind the rear-view mirror captures on-board video with data overlays of speed, gear position, rpm, lateral G-loads, throttle and turbo boost, even 0 to 60 mph, 0 to 100 mph, quarter-mile and 0-100-0 times. It can record racetrack lap times. Pop out the card and watch your "hot laps" anywhere, or on the screen when parked. A 32 GB card promised 787 minutes recording time.
For more information about Cadillac’s world challenging V-Series models, please visit http://www.cadillac.com/v-series.html