Who doesn’t love an underdog? Everyone secretly roots for one, thinking of the splash it would make as it rises to the top passed cemented leaders. The 2016 Cadillac ATS-V isn’t only an underdog, it’s the newcomer when facing Germany’s finest. Yes, the Cadillac CTS-V has been around for three generations, but the ATS-V is the first crack at a proper M3/M4 rival.
So, is V the new M? Not quite yet, according to Car and Driver’s most recent comparison test. The publication rounded up a BMW M3, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG and the hometown-hero Cadillac ATS-V, and put them through their sport-sedan paces. The Germans invented this segment, but Cadillac wants to redefine it.
What held the 2016 ATS-V back? Things we’ve echoed all along. The LF4 twin-turbo V6 engine lacks low-end grunt, and will never sound as nice as the burly V8 stuffed in the Benz. The interior is an utter letdown when drooling over the shape of the exterior design. Hard, shiny plastics and dull gauges distract from the overall package. And, of course, there’s CUE. Oh, CUE.
But, we say it placed third in the best way possible because Cadillac is on par. The chassis is sublime in the 2016 ATS-V, the seats are comfy and well bolstered, and all the engineering details are done so right, it’s a shame the little things couldn’t have been executed in the same way. But, for a first go, it’s a fine automobile.
Cadillac is on par but, echoing C&D, we think after this current generation the ATS-V will be more of a hole-in-one.