2017 Cadillac ATS 2.0T – A Quite American
Cadillac ATS 2.0T. The Alpha in the Competition
When you see this Cadillac ATS, you’re bound to get a reality shock, Yes, it’s a smaller-ish size with a very small engine. It’s a Cadillac unlike what we’ve seen in the previous eons. Longer, in fact, a size of a yacht. Huge fin-fenders and glistening chrome detailing reflecting American super-sized tastes. Talk about signs-of-time, talk about forward thinking. This stunning looking baby Cadillac has lots of beef under the hood. We’ll come to that part later but first, let’s discuss the styling. A key point that brings the customers to the showroom floor.
Cadillac ATS saw the daylights back in 2013, the sheet metal design was inspired-off the yet another grandeur Cadillac Ciel concept that was introduced in 2011 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. If Ciel concept was the epitome of design, Cadillac dropped another bombshell in the shape of totally sick Elmiraj coupe concept in 2013 – a pinnacle design. Fast forward to present day and in this standard trim outfit, ATS looks premium and right off the bat, a quite American, indeed.
Cadillac ATS 2.0T arrived in MyRVM garage in glittering Black Raven color. The car was reasonably new with barely 3000 + km on the clock. A fair opportunity for us weigh-in ATS 2.0T through our criteria which include: Appearance, Performance & Handling, Safety & Value or Buyer’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Crisp cutting edge design – 9.0/10
Taking birth from the aforementioned Ciel and Elmiraj concept which was devoid of the long tail fins which hark back to the glam era of DeVille series back late ’50’s and early ’60’s, ATS also reminisces the same. From the signature grill design, with shiny and reflective chrome and tall & vertical head lights ATS strikes a distinctive appearance and is hard to be missed among the sea of many in the similar size and segment. Even when you see the car in the profile you get the feeling as if this baby Cadillac is whizzing thru the air.
Again the rear section of the ATS echoes the similarities from the Ciel concept. The tall blade LED taillights and the big arrow shaped spoiler a signature of Cadillac design also serves as third brake light system perhaps the longest one if not the longest one on the rear deck! And finally, the large round dual exhaust pipes that give the feeling of a performance oriented soul.
Inside our tester is equipped with black leather seating and contrasting stitching. With piano black trim it is the most reflective yet also the most finger print grabbing. Beautifully lit clear instrument binnacle with LCD info center to provide all relevant info as desired by the driver.
From cup holders to space for water bottles and a hidden space, there some essential space and not so much as well. So there’s USB connection for you mobile and this is special storage is meant to keep your mobile away from your reach for distraction-free driving, as ATS comes with the apple car play and android auto. However, it was hard for me to connect the USB through the narrow storage and then once done the iPhone plus doesn’t fit with cable! So you can keep this place for a USB stick and connect the mobile from standard storage console. Which is nice and big for plus size mobile. In the back spaces are bit tight for adults but of course, your kids can sit well. ATS is like a bespoke stitched suite that just fit over your body and thats all.
The Alpha Driving – 8.5/ 10
Now one important technical bit. this Cadillac ATS is based on a newly developed Alpha platform. Which means a front engine and rear wheel drive. This actually reflects the intentions from the ground up as a driver oriented car. Though there are AWD models also available according to the trim level. Unique to the Alpha platform is the four-wheel independent suspension system with a McPherson Strut in the front and a 5-link independent setup in the rear. From outside you can see the front wheels push outward for the dynamic handling, especially with the proportion of body to the steering angle.
One more special feature, visually, this can be challenging to a common eye, however, I can see the new 6th Gen Camaro here which just made breaking news by tearing the Green Hell at blindingly fast at 7:16.04.
Moving towards the driving impressions. So let’s start with the hardware first. This new 2017 Cadillac ATS is fitted with a direct injection 2.0, 4-cylinder turbo charged engine that pumps out a stellar 272 horsepower with 295 Lb.ft of torque. Mated to a smooth shifting ZF 8-speed automatic. The best in the industry! 2017 Cadillac hits 0-60 in 6 seconds flat. An interesting fact here would be that Cadillac has worked hard and actually pitched this ATS against the BMW 3-Series which is an undisputed king car in this segment. Hence, ATS’s 2.0L Turbo delivers 272 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque – more than the similar turbo-4 engines from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Lexus.
Scoring 0-60 is perhaps a juvenile desire, though I admit this spices up a dull day, yet for more pleasure seekers drivers like me (ahem!) I enjoyed driving ATS on my favorite switchback roads through the mountain of Kalba. The ATS felt well planted. The Alpha platform showing its merits here. When there was a need to reduce speed the Brembo equipped front brakes provided fade-free braking. I like the direct steering feel it’s like point and go without any hesitation. By the way, for the geeks, the steering hardware is also supplied by the ZF.
Safety – 8.0/10
The 2017 ATS has achieved standard NHTSA 5-Star all-around and overall crash safety ratings, the highest safety ratings available. Apart from the standard crash protect ATS comes with long list of safety features some of them are select items depending upon the package and trim level.
Buyer’s Guide to the Galaxy – 8.0/ 10
The ATS 2.0T is an ambitious car. From the business perspective, there’s a lot of thought put into it and from the ground up ATS was supposed to win the hearts and minds of customers who think BMW 3 -Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Lexus and Audi are the standard. Be it a driving experience or the feel of the luxury when just being used on a daily basis that becomes a part of your second nature.
Having said that, Cadillac ATS 2.0 has a split personality. the driving experience is certainly optimum and engaging which actually made me forget about the other side and I made a compromise. Our tester is price around AED139000. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride, the Bose premium sound system, sun roof, leather seating. Cadillac CUE touch screen that features satnav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto advanced smartphone integration along with 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. Yet without the reversing camera! Today, I consider certain items as standard in the premium segment, like aircon vented seats (pre-requisite for our Middle East climate), reverse camera (standard safety-must) and Apple Car play or Android Auto. Cadillac opted to miss out on first two items and placed the last one. Even though Cadillac is competitively priced – right in the box. I wish Cadillac to add more.
Anyone who prefers individuality over the other commonly seen premium luxury brands can choose Cadillac ATS 2.0T in a heart beat. There’s no price to keep the heart beat going…