Ready to take on a formidable cadre of world-class compact luxury sedans, the all-new 2013 Cadillac ATS debuted in Detroit and will hit showrooms here this summer. Available in base, Luxury, Performance and Premium trims, and with four or six-cylinder power, this sophisticated rear-drive/all-wheel drive four-door expands the division's portfolio into a critical market segment that should pay major sales dividends.

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Exterior styling on the new Cadillac ATS reflects the latest iteration of the division's signature Art & Science design language. The car's crisp angular sheetmetal is set off by equally bold vertical lighting elements that include LED detailing, front and rear. A long (109.3-inch) wheelbase, wide track dimensions and short overhangs give the car an aggressive, well-planted stance which is reinforced by the fitment of a standard 17-inch wheel/tire package or optional 18-inch/19-inch upgrades. The ATS also features wind-cheating underbody fairing and active grille shutters that automatically open and close as required to help tidy up its aerodynamics and improve fuel economy.

Inside, the Cadillac ATS shares basic design cues with its siblings while introducing several unique elements to the formula. Leather interfaces with real wood, plated metal and carbon fiber to add character to a driver-focused environment that features highly legible LED-style main gauges, logically arrayed control switchgear and available power-adjustable sport seats. The Cadillac ATS also will offer a host of other standard/optional comfort/convenience touches highlighted by Cadillac's new CUE (Cadillac User Interface) infotainment system first seen on the new 2013 Cadillac XTS flagship sedan unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. Other items of note include a Bose Cabin Surround audio system, navigation system, OnStar with myCadillac/myLink mobile apps, a full-color head-up display, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth and USB/AUX/SD card ports.

On the safety side of the ledger, the ATS comes with eight standard airbags (or 10 optional) and Front and Rear Automatic Brakes that prevent low-speed impacts while offering a host of additional advanced technology choices. These range from Full-Speed Range Adaptive Cruise Control, Adaptive Forward Lighting, and a rear-vision camera to Lane Departure Warning, Side Blind Zone Alert and Brake Pre-Fill Automatic Collision Preparation.

To ensure it measured up favorably with key rivals like the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Cadillac engineers took great pains to create a package that would effectively "challenge the segment's status quo," according to Don Butler, vice president of marketing for Cadillac. A key part of that thinking involved properly matching drivetrain and chassis elements. To that end, the ATS will offer three engines in the U.S. market, starting with a 188-horsepower/2.5-liter four that makes 200 horsepower. Optional are Cadillac's well-proven 3.6-liter V6 rated at 318 horses and GM's all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged four that churns out 270 ponies - a stunning 135 per liter. Each engine can be matched with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

Underpinning the 2013 Cadillac ATS is a new GM global architecture that combines steel and aluminum to yield a structure that is impressively light - less than 3,400 pounds - but remarkably strong. It provides a solid foundation for the car's sophisticated multilink suspension system that's geared to match ride refinement with outstanding control. Further helping the dynamic cause are a 50/50 weight balance, variable-effort electric power steering, StabiliTrak traction/stability control, an antilock disc brake system with available Brembo upgrade and the availability of the driver-adjustable FE3 Magnetic Ride Control package.


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