Reviews

2013 Cadillac ATS – Challenge Accepted

Long-Term Update: Summer 2013 Array Miles to date: 0

The ATS feels alive in your hands while the Q50 feels artificial.

Our Four Seasons 2013 Cadillac ATS faced a challenge this month from a new competitor, the 2014 Infiniti Q50.

The Infiniti Q50 is a significant and interesting car in its own right. It replaces the successful Infiniti G37 and introduces fascinating self-driving technologies. You can read our full review of it here. We should also note that the Infiniti was a preproduction model, which precluded a thorough comparison of the cars’ interiors. For the purposes of our long-term test, we were nevertheless curious as to what the Q50 told us about our ATS.

Just looking at the Infiniti shines a new light on the ATS. Editors had been noting that this latest Cadillac offers — for better or for worse — a warmer take on the decade-old “Art and Science” design language.

“I’m normally turned off by Cadillac’s boxy, angular design language, so I’m attracted to the ATS’s slightly softer lines,” notes Annie White, associate editor at our sister site, JeanKnowsCars.com.

With the 2014 Infiniti Q50 in the lot, however, it suddenly seems preposterous to think Cadillac design is going soft. The Q50’s sheet metal looks to have been adapted from a painting — all soft, voluptuous lines. The ATS, in comparison, could still have been drawn with a razor blade, even if the edges were then sanded down.

But if the Q50 looks more organic than the ATS, it certainly doesn’t feel that way.

“The ATS feels alive in your hands while the Q50 feels artificial,” notes deputy editor Joe DeMatio, adding, “The Cadillac feels smaller and far more athletic.”

This says a lot about Cadillac’s chassis development team. But it says even more about the ATS’s mission. The cars share the same goal — to peel away buyers from established bestsellers like the BMW 3-Series — but they go about it in a very different way.

“The new Infiniti Q50 seems to be about the technical wizardry, including the world’s first production “steer-by-wire’ system and a mild level of autonomy. Cadillac, by contrast, has used the 1998 to 2006 (E46-chassis) BMW 3-series as its bench mark, recreating the pinnacle of 3-series steering feel and feedback,” says executive editor Todd Lassa. “The Q50 wears its technology on its sleeve, whereas the ATS wears its sportiness,” confirms DeMatio.

There is a lot going for Infiniti’s new formula. It struck DeMatio as the roomier, more comfortable car. “Perhaps some will prefer its interior ambience and its more voluptuous styling,” he says. Lassa adds that the 2014 Infiniti Q50 reflects where most luxury sedans — even sporty ones — are headed. And yet we’re thankful Cadillac is prioritizing driving dynamics.

“For those who seek a genuine, rear-wheel-drive performance sedan experience, the 2014 Infiniti Q50 provides little competition to the 2013 Cadillac ATS, which feels smaller and far more athletic than the Infiniti,” concludes DeMatio.

Overview

  • Body style 4-door sedan
  • Accommodation 5-passenger
  • Construction Steel unibody
  • Base price (with dest.) $47,590
  • Price As tested $49,735

Powertrain

  • Engine 24-valve DOHC V-6
  • Displacement 3.6 liters (217 cu in)
  • Power 321 hp @ 6800 rpm
  • Torque 275 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
  • Transmission 6-speed automatic
  • Drive Rear wheel
  • EPA Fuel Economy 19/28/22 (city/hwy/combined)

Chassis

  • Steering Electrohydraulically assisted
  • Lock-to-lock 2.7 turns
  • Turning circle 36.0 ft
  • Suspension, Front Strut-type, coil springs
  • Suspension, Rear Multilink, coil springs
  • Brakes F/R Vented discs
  • Wheels 18-inch aluminum
  • Tires Bridgestone Potenza RE050A
  • Tire size 225/40R-18 88W/255/35R-18 90W

Measurements

  • Headroom F/R 38.6/36.8 in
  • Legroom F/R 42.5/33.5 in
  • Shoulder room F/R 55.2/53.9 in
  • Wheelbase 109.3 in
  • Track F/R 59.5/60.9 in
  • L x W x H 182.8 x 71.1 x 55.9 in
  • Passenger capacity 90.9 cu ft
  • Cargo capacity 10.4 cu ft
  • Weight 3461 lb
  • Weight dist. F/R 51.5/48.5%
  • Fuel capacity 16.0 gal
  • Est. fuel range 350 miles
  • Fuel grade 91 octane (premium unleaded)

Equipment

  • standard equipment

    • Adaptive suspension dampers
    • Limited slip differential
    • Stainless-steel dual exhaust
    • Brembo performance front brakes
    • 18-inch aluminum wheels w/performance tires
    • Leather-trimmed interior
    • Power front seats
    • Split-folding rear seats
    • Cue w/8.0 –inch touchscreen
    • Navigation
    • Bose surround sound audio system
    • SiriusXM satellite radio w/3-month trial subscription
    • Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob
    • Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity
    • Magnesium paddle shifters
    • Aluminum pedals
    • Automatic dual-zone climate control
    • Auto-dimming rearview mirror and exterior mirrors
    • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
    • Keyless entry and ignition
    • Front and rear parking assist
    • Dark-chrome grille
    • Rearview camera
    • Hill-start assist

Options

  • Power sunroof $750
  • Cold weather package
  • $600
  • Heated steering wheel and front seats
  • Rear spoiler $480
  • Front license plate bracket $15

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