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2013 North American Car of the Year- Cadillac ATS


It is a well-known fact that I am an unabashed Buick fanboy; I love the tri-shield like no other.

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Then I drove the new ATS. First off, this car is like a spaceship. The sharp, dramatic lines are stunning, The interior is flatout incredible, and driving it, oh man, this car is so much fun to drive.

The ATS is a real car, meaning it is rear-wheel drive, and seeing as how it tips the scales at less thn 3400 pounds, the ATS is a a lightweight speed demon. Under the hood are 3 options- a 2-liter turbo making 272 hp (same engine as the Buick GS), a 2.5 liter I4 with 202 ponies, and the 3.6 liter V6 that pumps out 321 horsepower, one of the most powerful production V6 engines on the market. This potent 6-banger builds 11.5 compression, but it is rated for regular-grade gasoline. When coupled with the 6L45 6-speed automatic in paddle-shift mode, the ATS is pure fun to drive. 5th gear is an overdrive at .85:1, 6th gear drops the revs significantly with its .67:1 ratio. The manual 6-speed gearbox is a single overdrive, at .80:1 in 6th. Weight distribution is a near perfect 51.5/48.5 bias, and drifting the ATS through the corners is easy as can be.

The rear suspension is an IRS design with an optional limited slip. One of the coolest technologies to come out of GM in a long time is the magnetic shock control, and the ATS puts it to good use. We put the Caddy through the ringer and it just begged for more. As crazy as it sounds, you don’t need a V8, the 321 horsepower V6 has more than enough power to haul the ATS into the 150-MPH range with ease. While we would certainly not balk at an LSA-powered ATS, it would be overkill on a collosal scale. I might actually leave the traction control on if it had a V8…

The upper-end models get Brembo brakes, and if you want to drive hard, you need them. Most Cadillac buyers are not after the ultimate driving machine, but Cadillac has finally reinvented itself. The CTS-V platform has been extremely popular, the new ATS continues that performance heritage to the masses with a more affordable model that can still fit a family of four comfortably.

On that note, however, 5 people do not fit. Even putting a small 8 year-old in the middle seat is no fun. The problem here is the driveline tunnel, it takes up all the leg roo for the rear center passenger. But that only effects those that need to haul 5 at a time.

If you watched a television in the last 6 months, you have likely seen the ATS vs. the World campaign. This series of commercials took the ATS around the world to some of the coolest and craziest roads in the world, and took the ATS to the edge and beyond. This is serious driving machine, one that will give anything else on the road a run for its money.

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