The Cadillac ATS comes in just a two-door model for 2019, but if you like fast and sexy cars you won’t mind. Especially if you pick the ATS-V, a world-class performer that can hit 60 miles per hour from a standstill in less than four seconds.
Fortunately for me, the test car this week was the rear-drive ATS-V, and I had a blast ripping around town in this sporty coupe from Cadillac, obeying posted speed limits of course. Seriously, with its Recaro high-performance racing seats and a 3.6-liter twin turbocharged V6 that cranks out 464 horses, this car longs to be on a racetrack. The ATS-V is one of those rare rides that you can drive to the track, then take it out on the track and blow away many other cars out there.
The regular ATS coupe has a choice of two engines: a 2.0-liter turbo that develops 272 horsepower and 203 lb.-ft. of torque, or a 3.6-liter that kicks out 335 horsepower and 285 lb.-ft. of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard, and an 8-speed automatic is optional. The ATS-V has a standard 6-speed manual transmission with the 8-speed automatic as an option.
When you push the start button and the big cat ATS-V growls to life, be prepared for lies ahead. More than 445 lb.-ft. of torque twists the rear wheels, which in turn can snap your head to the headrest. The smooth 8-speed automatic in the test car nicely distributes the power of this amazing turbocharged V6.
A beefed-up suspension system with magnetic damping virtually eliminates body roll in hard cornering and results in sure-footed and confident handling. I took the sweeping curve from Interstate 10 onto Interstate 12 at 65 mph, and the car stayed flat as a 3-day old Diet Coke on the kitchen counter. Yellow Brembo performance brakes bring the car to a stop right now.
The other beauty of this beast is its styling. It’s got an aggressive front end with a prominent Caddy shield logo and a functional hood scoop that allows the engine to gulp fresh air. The car looks muscular, but not like a body-builder on steroids with bulges everywhere.
The cabin of the ATS-V is upscale, but not all that roomy. The front seats are heavily bolstered, which is something you’ll appreciate more on a track than on a long ride on the Interstate. The rear seats are small and can be difficult to get into and out of, especially for those of us on the wrong side of six decades. Headroom in Row 2 is just over 35 inches and legroom is 33.5 inches. Of course, not many buyers are looking to use the ATS-V as a people-hauler, they’re looking to use the ATS-V to haul, um…something else. For two front-seat adults looking for some spirited driving excitement, this ATS-V makes it happen.
The regular ATS coupe starts at $39,900, and my ATS-V test car started at $67,795. The ATS-V and its powerful engine might surprise you when it comes to fuel economy. My test car was EPA-rated at 25 mpg on the highway, 17 mpg in the city and 20 mpg combined.
When it comes to safety, neither the 2019 ATS nor the 2019 ATS-V have been tested by the government nor the insurance industry. The 2018 version of the ATS-V was rated at four overall safety stars by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If you’re planning to wait until 2019 safety scores are in, you might be waiting a long time. Low-volume cars like the ATS-V are often not tested at all.
My 2019 ATS-V test car had a full complement of airbags including knee airbags, anti-lock brakes and all the required stability and traction control systems. An optional ($1,800) safety and security package added safety technologies like a heads-up display, rain sensing wipers, lane change alert with side blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, intelligent high beams, forward collision alert and rear cross traffic alert.
2019 Cadillac ATS-V
Engine: 3.6-liter twin turbo V6
Horsepower/Torque: 464/445 lb.-ft.
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Price: $67,795 ($80,775 with options & freight)
EPA Mileage Estimates: 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway/20 mpg combined
Estimated Highway Range: 400 miles