MPG-o-Matic 2013 Cadillac ATS 3.6L Premium Review Summary: Is the 2013 Cadillac ATS a shot across the bow of the European sedans, or is it a swing and a miss? Designed to compete with the Audi A4, the BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the ATS hits the mark with a distinctively American flavor.
Caddy’s smallest sedan might have what it takes to go toe-to-toe here in the United States today, but it’ll take a turbo-diesel to be truly competitive across the pond.
The 2013 Cadillac ATS is available with three different engines: a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter inline four, a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four, and a 3.6-liter V6. We tested the V6, which produces 321 horsepower (HP) and 274 foot-pounds of torque. While the 2.5-liter four and 3.6-liter V6 are only available with a six-speed automatic, the 2.0-liter turbo can be fitted with a six-speed manual. (The turbocharged 2.0-liter puts out 272 HP and 260 foot-pounds of torque.) Rear-wheel-drive (RWD) is standard on all models. All-wheel-drive is available with the 2.0 Turbo and V6.
The official fuel economy estimates for the 2013 Cadillac ATS 3.6 Premium are 18 city / 26 highway miles per gallon (MPG) in RWD trim. The 2.5-liter is rated at 22/33, while the 2.0 Turbo is rated at 20/30.
In our week-long test with a RWD Crystal Red Tintcoat 3.6 Premium review unit, we landed in the neighborhood of the official mileage estimates, scoring an average of 28.5 MPG on the Interstate highway and 20.9 MPG combined with temperatures ranging from the low forties through the high fifties. Temperatures for highway testing were in the mid-fifties.
At a 68 miles per hour (MPH) steady state, the V6 runs at approximately 2000 RPM (revolutions per minute).
Interstate Mileage Testing:
- Cruise control set to 68 MPH, A/C off, windows up: 28.3 MPG
- Cruise control off, target speed 60-72 MPH, A/C off, windows up: 28.8 MPG
Our test vehicle was equipped with 18-inch machine finished aluminum alloy wheels, clad with Bridgestone Potenza RE050A RFT maximum performance summer tires: 225/40RF18 front and 255/35RF18 rear tires, and was delivered with under 2000 miles on the odometer.
Highway driving range is reasonable. The 2013 ATS is fitted with a 16 gallon fuel tank and the 3.6-liter V6 is designed to run on either regular unleaded gasoline or E85.
The four-wheel-disc ABS brake system uses 12.6 x 1.18 vented rotors and Brembo calipers on the front and 12.4 x 0.90 vented rotors at the rear. The ATS 3.6L RWD weighs in at 3461 pounds with a 51.5 / 48.5 weight distribution between front and rear. Weight reduction steps include an aluminum hood, magnesium engine mounts, a laminated windshield, and door trim panels made from “natural fibers.”
Straight line acceleration is strong. We were able to knock out the 0-60 MPH run in just under six seconds.
Cadillac hit the mark with regard to ride and handling. Magnetic Ride Control works its magic. GM touts that the ATS is the “lightest luxury sport sedan in the world.” If a Caddy could be nimble, Jack would drive an ATS.
While the beefy leather wrapped steering wheel includes magnesium Tap Shift paddle shifters (with a performance algorithm), I can’t help but want to drive a manual-equipped 2.0-liter turbo.
Styling is sharp and distinctively Cadillac, perhaps a bit too much so. If I owned an ATS, the first thing I’d do is shave the over-sized emblem on the nose. I might swap out the front grill for something more sinister and subdued, as well, if it didn’t contain active grille shutters for improved aerodynamics. Other fuel-efficiency focused aerodynamic touches include belly-pans and a third brake light that acts as a rear spoiler. GM touts a coefficient drag of .299 for the ATS, which is admirable, but nowhere near Mercedes-Benz’s claim of .23 for the upcoming CLA250.
The interior is crisply designed and packed with amenities. The 3.6L Premium includes three-level heated front bucket seats with eight way power adjustment, two-way power lumbar support, and a heated steering wheel. The driver’s seat has power side bolster adjustment and the front seat head restraints provide four-way adjustment. We’d hope to see four-way power lumbar and heated rear seats added in the next model year.
Safety is a huge selling point. Forward Collision Alert, Front Park Assist, Lane Departure Warning and a configurable heads-up display are included in the Premium level. Adaptive Cruise Control is optional. The Driver Awareness Package pulsates the driver seat to alert the driver to traffic hazards. The Safety Alert Seat’s pulsation can be a bit disconcerting the first time you experience it.
The Color Driver Information Center underneath the speedometer can be configured to display a wide array of data, including Average and Instantaneous Fuel Economy, Speed Limit, and Fuel Range, along with audio and phone information.
The Premium edition includes a ten-speaker Bose audio system with the Cadillac User Experience Information and Media Control System – or CUE for short. The Navigation system includes 3D mapping, integrated Doppler radar, and the requisite backup camera. Gramp’s ElDorado never had it so good.
A pair of USB inputs, an auxiliary audio input, and a SD card slot are located inside the center console. A third USB input is located in the hidden compartment behind the flip-up CUE screen. There are 12-volt outlets located at the base of the dash and at the rear of the center console.
CUE looks better in commercials than it does in practice. Pinching and scrolling an LCD screen while driving is a distraction. The voice controls are welcome, but the processor seems sluggish.
The rear seats are comfortable and include a center armrest, but are a tad tight, providing 36.8 inches of headroom and 33.5 inches of legroom.
The trunk allows for 10.2 cubic feet of cargo area. The rear seat is 60/40 split folding and includes a center pass through that works for a set of skis, but is too small for snowboards.
All-in-all, the Cadillac ATS sedan is a splendid effort. While some folks might never consider Cadillac as a suitable contender to the more svelte European sedans, the times they are a changing. To compete in Europe, however, a torquey fuel-efficient turbo-diesel must find its way under the bonnet.
Bumper-to-Bumper – 4 years/50,000 miles
Power train – 6 years/70,000 miles
Roadside Assistance – 6 years/70,000 miles
Parts Content Information:
U.S./Canadian Parts Content: 65%
Major Sources of Foreign Parts Content: Mexico 17%
Final Vehicle Assembly Point: Lansing, Michigan
Country of Origin:
Transmission: United States
2013 Cadillac ATS 3.6L V6 Premium Review
– by Daniel Gray
January 21st, 2013
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