Cadillac ATS
(1st Gen)

1st Gen Cadillac ATS Front Image
  • Model Year 2013 to 2019
  • Class Compact Executive Car
  • Layout Front-Engine, RWD
    Front-Engine, 4WD
  • Style 2-door Coupe
    4-door Sedan
  • Rating
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Overview

The Cadillac ATS is a compact executive 4-door sedan and 2-door coupe manufactured and marketed by Cadillac and developed at the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. Cadillac assembles the ATS at the Lansing Grand River Assembly plant in Lansing, Michigan. The ATS is based on General Motors' Alpha platform and is offered in either rear or all-wheel drive configurations. The ATS base engine had been a naturally aspirated 2.5 liter I-4 gasoline engine that produces 202 hp (151 kW), until the 2016 model year. Optional engines include a 2.0 liter turbocharged I-4 gasoline engine that produces 272 hp (203 kW) and a naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V6 gasoline engine that produces 321 hp (239 kW). The 2.0-liter engine replaced the 2.5-liter engine as the base engine for the 2017 model year. A diesel engine had been planned to be available in the future. All versions were equipped with a 6-speed GM 6L45 Hydra-Matic automatic transmission as standard until the 2015 model year. An 8-speed automatic transmission was introduced for the 2016 model year. The 2.0-liter turbocharged, rear-wheel drive version can be mated to an optional 6-speed Tremec M3L TR-3160 manual transmission. Cadillac debuted the ATS to the press in the United States in January 2012, placed the ATS into production in July 2012 and began selling the ATS in the United States in August 2012 as a 2013 model. GM began selling the ATS in China in November 2013. Cadillac currently sells the ATS in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East, China, Japan, and South Korea. GM engineers working principally at the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, United States developed the ATS. Prior to the debut of the ATS, Cadillac's smallest vehicle was the mid-size CTS. The CTS was comparable in price to compact competitors like the Audi A4, the BMW 3 Series, the Lexus IS and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class but was comparable in size and weight to the more expensive mid-size BMW 5 Series. Although Cadillac believed that customers would favor a 5 Series sized car at a 3 Series price, that assumption proved to be incorrect. Cadillac's research found that target customers who already owned vehicles like the 3 Series or A4 did not want a larger vehicle. General Motors began development of a smaller car that would satisfy these target customers; that car would eventually become the Cadillac ATS. To establish parameters around which they would design the ATS, GM engineers benchmarked the 1999-2006 BMW E46 3 Series, which ATS chief engineer Dave Masch and his team regarded as the most dynamic and driver-focused iteration of the 3 Series. The engineers emphasized low weight when developing the ATS and their efforts resulted in a finished vehicle that weighs less than the BMW E46 benchmark. To achieve this result, Masch suggested that the engineering team disregarded certain GM product development rules that, had they been followed, would have resulted in a heavier vehicle. Cadillac showed a pre-production styling buck of the ATS to the press on 11 August 2009. Cadillac debuted the production ATS to the press on 8 January 2012. General Motors began selling the ATS in the United States in August 2012 as a 2013 model. Sales in China began on 21 November 2013. Chinese-market vehicles were initially imported from the United States by Shanghai GM. A Chinese-assembled ATS-L was launched in China in August 2014. During the early development of the ATS, GM engineers determined that downsizing the GM Sigma II platform that underpinned the second-generation CTS would result in a vehicle that was too heavy and that using an economical, front-wheel drive platform would sacrifice performance. Under the leadership of Dave Leone, GM engineers created a brand-new platform which was designed to be light and compact, to be capable of handling both rear- and all-wheel drive configurations and to have a near 50/50 weight distribution. The new platform developed by the GM engineers for the ATS is now called the GM Alpha platform. For 2015 model year, the refreshed Cadillac ATS gained most of its styling from its Coupe version, the two-bar grille, redesigned Cadillac emblem, seen on the ATS coupe first, and will eventually be placed on every Cadillac lineup. Exterior tweaks for the 2015 Cadillac ATS front fascia has been lowered, and more exterior paint choices have been made. The ATS interior is a carryover for 2015, but has seen some modest technology updates for 2015 as well. For the 2016 model year, the ATS replaces the 6-speed 6L45 automatic transmission with the new 8-speed 8L45 and the 3.6L LFX V6 is replaced with a new generation 3.6L LGX V6 featuring a cylinder deactivation system. Automatic start-stop technology was added for the 2.0T and 3.6L V6 models using the 8-speed automatic transmission. GM claimed this ultracapacitor-based system boosted fuel economy by 6 percent. General Motors assembles the ATS at the Lansing Grand River Assembly plant in Lansing, Michigan, United States. GM began assembling vehicles intended for sale to customers on 26 July 2012. The Chinese-market ATS-L is assembled by SAIC-GM in Shanghai. The ATS is a compact four-door, five-passenger sedan. A two-door coupe is under development and expected to go on sale in summer 2014 as a 2015 model. Convertible and station wagon variants are expected to be produced, although Cadillac has not yet confirmed those body styles. The ATS has a curb weight of 3,315 to 3,461 lb (1,504 to 1,570 kg), depending on configuration, and a 51/49 front to rear weight percentage distribution. The hood, front suspension and cradle are made from aluminum. The front suspension is a MacPherson strut, double-pivot set up, using a pair of ball joints and lower control links. Third-generation Magnetic Ride Control active suspension is optional on the Premium RWD variant. A mechanical limited-slip differential is standard with the manual transmission variant and is an available on the premium automatic.


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