New 2018 Cadillac ATS Sedan New 2018
Cadillac ATS Sedan

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KBB Editor's Overview

By KBB.com Editorial Staff

The 2018 ATS is the gateway into Cadillac, representing the American luxury brand's least expensive model. Available as a sedan or coupe, the 2018 Cadillac ATS competes with popular entry-level executive cars like the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and Lexus IS. While those rivals are more established and better known, the Cadillac ATS has done an admirable job of not only matching their talent, but in some instances beating them at their own game. The Cadillac's standard engine, for example, is more powerful than those of its rivals, while its sub-$36,000 starting price slots in below most. Far pricier and far more powerful is the 2018 Cadillac ATS-V, a BMW M fighter that we review separately.

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You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for an American-luxury alternative to the more familiar German and Japanese nameplates, check out the 2018 ATS. In addition to bringing more power and features at a lower price than rivals, it does so with standout looks and impressive technology.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While the Cadillac ATS can match or beat rivals in the performance and features department, its badge may not have the same appeal as that of a Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, BMW or Audi. With the exception of Lexus, those competitors also offer convertible variants of their entry-level luxury cars.

What's New for 2018

Only minor changes are in store for the 2018 Cadillac ATS lineup. Among them is an update to the Cadillac-user-experience (CUE) infotainment system that, in addition to featuring CarPlay and Android Auto, has a more intuitive layout. The ATS also receives GM's Rear Seat Reminder technology.

Driving It

Driving Impressions

When ATS dropped the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder last year that formerly served as its base engine, it said adios to one of this model's weakest links. Now standard is a more invigorating turbocharged 4-cylinder that enables this small Cadillac to hit 60 mph in the mid 5-second range while still being quite efficient. Unlike more and more rivals, you can still get a manual transmission, and it's a crisp one that enthusiasts will enjoy. The V6 provides slightly smoother acceleration, but we think the 4-cylinder is the better choice, given the V6's added cost. And while you may equate Cadillac with comfort, the ATS' suspension is stiffer, befitting its sporty ambitions. The Cadillac's 8-speed automatic transmission is fluid and fast, and though its steering isn't quite as precise as that of a BMW's, its feedback is still credible. We really like the magnetic-ride-control feature, but it's offered only on top-end Premium Performance trims.

Favorite Features

VALUE FOR THE MONEY
Unlike some rivals, even the least expensive Cadillac ATS sedan comes out the gate filled with a strong engine and a long list of amenities. From its standard CarPlay/Android Auto integration and Bose audio system to its Brembo brakes and built-in 4G LTE with Wi-Fi, the Cadillac ATS is an impressive value.

STYLISTIC COUPE
The 2018 ATS Coupe carries its own sense of style and athleticism. It's the latest in a line of Cadillac coupes that look dazzling, and in the ATS' case, its design looks far more expensive than its sub-$40,000 price tag.

Vehicle Details

Interior

Whether sedan or coupe, the 2018 Cadillac ATS has a sophisticated, well-appointed interior. Leather seating is standard in most models, while base trims use faux Leatherette. Available wood or carbon-fiber trim also makes the ATS look and feel like a luxury car. Front-seat legroom is adult-sized, but headroom can get cramped with the sunroof. Rear-seat legroom is tight in the 5-passenger sedan, and more so in the 4-passenger coupe. The available CUE touch-screen system looks sleek, but some of its hard-touch controls can be finicky to operate, especially when moving. Rear visibility in the coupe is compromised from the sloping roof.

Exterior

The Cadillac ATS' angular bodywork and elongated, LED-infused headlight treatments give it an edge. With the exception of those boomerang headlights, our eyes think it all works pretty well. The 2018 Cadillac ATS Coupe has the same 109.3-inch wheelbase as the sedan, but is slightly wider, lower and longer. Most trims of the ATS sedan roll on standard 17-inch wheels, while 18-inch wheels come on the coupe version and on the top trim of the sedan. A variety of 19-inch wheels is also available.

Notable Standard Equipment

As noted in Favorite Features, even the least expensive ATS is surprisingly well equipped. Included are power front seats, Brembo performance front brakes, dual-zone automatic climate control, Qi wireless-charging phone cradle and GM's OnStar communications system with 4G LTE connectivity and Wi-Fi (a subscription is required after a 3-month trial). Cadillac's CUE infotainment system bundles 8-inch touch screen, Bose premium audio system and Apple CarPlay and Android integration. Stepping to the Luxury trim adds leather interior, heated front seats and steering wheel, 60/40-split folding rear seats, front and rear parking sensors, navigation, and universal-garage remote.

Notable Optional Equipment

Continuing the climb to the Premium Luxury trim brings the V6 engine, sunroof, high-intensity headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers and active safety features like blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist and forward-collision alert. The Driver Awareness Package that comes on this trim will literally vibrate the seat to warn you of dangers like being too close to an object when parking. Top-line Premium Performance models add a limited-slip differential, head-up display, performance tires, magnetic-ride control and performance suspension. Optional is a system that can automatically apply the brakes in both forward and reverse if a collision seems imminent, and adaptive cruise control.

Under the Hood

The 2018 Cadillac ATS compact-luxury sedan and coupe offer a choice of two engines. The two lower trims, simply called ATS and Luxury, come with an excellent 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder good for 272 horsepower and a stout 295 lb-ft of torque. The two higher trims, called Premium Luxury and Premium Performance, have a standard 3.6-liter V6 good for 335 horsepower and 285 lb-ft of torque. All ATS models have rear-wheel drive (RWD) as standard, with all-wheel drive (AWD) optional. If you want a manual transmission, it's found only on 4-cylinder rear-drive models. The rest get a smooth 8-speed automatic. Of course, if you want a seriously high-performance ATS, you can step up to the ATS-V (reviewed separately) with its twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 good for 464 horsepower.

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
272 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/31 mpg (RWD, automatic), 22/30 mpg (AWD, automatic), 20/29 mpg (RWD, manual)

3.6-liter V6
335 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
285 lb-ft of torque @ 5,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/30 mpg (RWD), 19/27 mpg (AWD)

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Pricing Notes

With a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just under $36,000, the 2018 ATS Sedan is the least expensive Cadillac. The ATS Coupe starts a few thousand higher. At the high end of the spectrum, a 2018 ATS can reach the mid-$50,000 range. A base ATS Sedan is in line with rivals like the Audi A4 and Infiniti Q50, and below others like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Lexus IS. The Acura TLX starts lower, as does the Volvo S60. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. The Cadillac ATS' resale value is expected to be below average, and far below that of the Lexus IS and Audi A4.

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