Cadillac’s ATS-V May Be GM’s Answer to BMW

2012 Cadillac ATS

We told you a bit about Cadillac’s upcoming ATS in October of last year, and rumors about the new car have been all over the Internet in abundance. Now it appears that retooling for the ATS will begin in July, as the STS ends its run.

The new car should appear as a 2013 model and will feature a twin-turbo V6 with around 380 hp and a 0-60 time of less than 5 seconds. According to Leftlane, a hotter ATS-V may follow with the 6.2-liter LSA V8 and 470 hp. “Riding on GM’s new Alpha chassis, the ATS has been described as a smaller CTS-like vehicle. GM intends it to be a true competitor to the BMW 3-series. [sic]

Some well-disguised mules have been seen testing, strongly resembling the CTS, but it’s not clear what the final version will look like. Above is Car and Driver‘s guess (from one year ago). Sedan, coupe and, later, convertible are in the works, all built on the alpha platform.

ATS convertibleThe question of what will power the ATS-V could well determine how the new V-series cars can compete with the Germans. Surely they will beat them in price. Leftlane notwithstanding, reports keep coming that the LSA engine will not be used, as the V6 provides better fuel economy, and it may be better to start small. Cadillac is going to offer 4-cylinder engines in some models.

But if Cadillac’s objective, as it has stated, is to beat the M3 (confirmed to have a next-generation inline turbo six), what better way than with 90 more hp and a lot more torque?

So the ATS-V has many people drooling, but the real test will probably come first with public acceptance of the ATS cars under V6 power.

What Cadillac has accomplished in the last ten years is truly remarkable. A recent Kelley Blue Book survey gave three top spots to the brand, and it was the CTS, in my opinion, that led the way.

If the new car can repeat that success, then the M3 crowd may finally stop resting on its laurels.

Which engine finally will find its way into the ATS-V—the V6 or the V8?


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  1. If I where Cadillac ATS V development team; I would try to buy a BMW M3 fully loaded and drive that baby around and see what make it tick. Then I would look at the ATS -V prototype and see how it compares. Retune it until is is a little better in all areas especially handling on turns; that is GM major weakness follow by the interior. If they can get an Audi or even a Ferrari interior in the ATS V; they will win hands down.

  2. Gosh, do you actually take anything you see on Top Gear seriously? You need a reality check. And regardless of what you might think, GM does most of it’s vehicle development at the GM Proving Grounds in Milford, Michigan, especially the Cadillac V-cars.

  3. Juckily GM does its vehicle development outside the US nowdays maybe their designs will improve they seem to be doing so already Top Gear Aus has posted faster lap times on their track in Holdens rather than M cars

  4. By the way, that’s always GM’s answer– more horsepower at a lower price. Not better steering, handling, transmissions or brakes. BMW sets performance targets and engineers to that point, GM sets marketing targets and engineers to that point. The result is a world class BMW and a mediocre wanna-be Cadillac with a great electronics package.

  5. Having spent a lot of track time in an M3 and Cadillac products, I can tell you that BMW has nothing to worry about. GM simply doesn’t have the engineering or development talent to produce a world class sports sedan. (or anything for that matter)

  6. It should get a base v6 with turbos, v8 would be too typically American, they should mix up and develop a better, more efficient v6 like Japanese and European cars

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