2013 Cadillac ATS: First Drive

Cadillac ATS / Reviews / 2013 Cadillac ATS: First Drive

Taking on the leader in any sport, market or prison yard is ballsy and — for those who aspire to greatness — an excellent strategy. Talking trash, on the other hand, might be a pointless and foolhardy one. Cadillac has done both of these things with its new 2013 ATS compact sedan by throwing down the gauntlet against the BMW 3 Series in its Super Bowl commercial this year.

Wasn't the underachieving CTS sedan supposed to compete in this space? Well, it was always larger, and in preparation for the ATS, which starts at $33,990 (including an $895 destination charge), Cadillac has discontinued the base CTS sedan, which for 2012 was priced at $36,810. For 2013 the CTS sedan line starts with the Luxury trim, priced at $39,990. We reported the ATS' pricing earlier.

To use the BMW 3 Series for comparison, there's now a 328i and a 335i, both of which have turbocharged four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines. Cadillac introduces the ATS 2.0L Turbo and ATS 3.6L, named for their turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and normally aspirated 3.6-liter V-6 engines, respectively. The ATS also has a base engine, a normally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder.

All engines mate to a six-speed automatic transmission, but only the 2.0L offers a manual as a "delete option" that knocks $1,180 off the price. All-wheel drive is optional on the 2.0L and 3.6L. The 2.5L is rear-wheel drive only. In addition to the base ATS, the car comes in Luxury, Performance and Premium trim levels, or "collections," as Cadillac calls them. I drove almost every combination.

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