Thanks to an early embargo break, we were able to publish photos and data of the ATS prior to the Cadillac press conference tonight, which was held at the Taubman Center — a building donated by General Motors to the College for Creative Studies. And from our impressions, the first-ever Cadillac ATS is much more striking in person than it is in the photos (even in awful lighting), especially when it isn’t red.
We were treated to charcoal and silver hues as well as the red ATS you have already seen in the press photos. And while the black isn’t exactly good for photos, it’s definitely the perfect color for the sub-3,400-pound BMW 3-Series fighter. As GM North America President Mark Reuss addressed the members of the media, you could hear the passion and sincerity in his voice. It’s a product he’s truly proud of. And while design is of course always subject to taste, the spec sheet draws up a much clearer picture.
As mentioned before, the new ATS slots in at below 3,400 pounds, and is 8 inches shorter than the elder CTS. 3,400 pounds might just be a number to some of you, but Reuss hypes the car’s weight as being the most mass efficient car in the segment. And when looking at the amazing competition set forth by BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and even Lexus and Infiniti, that’s saying something. The weight loss has in part to do with the use of magnesium in the vehicle’s chassis, rather than heavier steel. Additionally, the maximum power rating of the ATS will not be 318 horsepower, but above 320 — closer to that of the Chevy Camaro V6.
On paper, the all new 2013 Cadillac ATS has the power. It has the looks, and it has the tech. But in a time when Germany is rolling out eight-speed double-clutch automatic transmissions, and even triple-turbocharged engines (rumored with the new M3), the new Caddy has a lot to prove with its normal six-speed gearbox configurations and less-than-triple-turbo engine offerings. Yes, the Cadillac ATS has a lot going for it with segment exclusives like a Magnetic Ride Control real-time suspension system, and CUE seems to be a home run waiting to happen. Real wood, even real carbon fiber grace the interior. But in this market, it’s not about who’s got the latest whatever, it’s about how well they can make it work. Cadillac ATS, we’re looking forward to driving the hell out of you.