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Friday, January 15, 2016

The 2016 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe Sends Germany Back to the Drawing Board: Review

BOLD RIDE

Copyright © 2016 Bold Ride LLC.
 
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At one point in time, the Cadillac ATS-V was a sketch between a single manilla folder. It was a specs sheet strewn out across a whiteboard in a Detroit boardroom. It was nothing more than an idea—an idea that no one really could imagine would be the world’s next great performance vehicle.
 
…I’m getting ahed of myself. Ahem–this is the 2016 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe. It has a twin-turbo V6, a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds, and it’s quickly turning into BMW’s biggest nightmare.



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Lighter, Better
 
It takes a lot of cojones to want to up and take on ‘ze Germans. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi have all been building luxury performance coupes for decades–some of the best. But Cadillac isn’t afraid to shy away from the competition.

With the ATS-V, it was a direct jab at anyone in their way. A 464-horsepower, twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 was the first place to start. Gone are the archaic ways of GM yore. A lighter, more refined V6 replaces any sort of V8 that might have originally been mentioned.


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It pumps out the aforementioned 464 horsepower, and from a standstill will get you to 60 mph in about 3.8 seconds by Cadillac’s standards. It’s addictingly quick, and the wide, sticky tires on the back ensure that you’ll get to that 3.8 second estimate. Hit a corner with just the right oomph, though, and the back end kicks out willingly, but in a refined sort of way.

All that power and refined performance comes paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission (or 6-speed manual). The automatic we tested was most definitely refined and well engineered, but occasionally would have to search for the right gear.


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Dynamically Dynamic

There’s plenty to look at on the specs sheet—0-60 times, quarter miles, top speed (185, limited). But none of that really matters until you actually have your hands on the steering wheel and your rear firmly in those Recaro seats. The chassis on this car is beyond phenomenal. It just reacts perfectly to your every movement.

The steering is neither too heavy nor too light. The flat cornering is something more akin to a race car. And the general feeling of cultured performance oozes out of every sharply-angled edge. It’s a car engineered with a German beatdown in mind.

To be fair, the one we were testing was fitted with an optional $6,195 Track Performance package, which trimmed a few pounds with a carbon fiber hood and carbon fiber side skirts. Not that it really matters.

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Edgy Level: Teenager

For what it’s worth, the Cadillac ATS-V is a much prettier car in person than it is on any website (though our pictures are pretty great). Instead of a soft, subtle approach like many of today’s modern sports cars, Cadillac designers continued the classic angular design style in a way that feels classier than any Cadillac before it.

It’s edgy—and not in a bad way. You sort of get the feeling that designers melded cues from a stealth bomber and a multi-million dollar yacht for inspiration, what with it’s aggressive fascia, sharp rear end, and crafted angles. Quad exhaust tips definitely help the whole aggressive theme as well.


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Damn You, CUE

Everything about the Cadillac ATS-V’s style and performance is superb. Literally, everything. But the constant, nagging issue with any Cadillac is the fitment of its outdated CUE infotainment system.

It’s not the worst thing we’ve ever tested (See: previous-gen Ford Sync)—heck, it had 4G LTE wi-fi—but it definitely takes away from just how good the rest of the car is, if even just slightly. Its only saving grace is that many new Cadillacs are coming fitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This system seriously needs it.


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The Verdict

“The world’s next great performance vehicle” is big sentiment for a company that’s so young in the performance segment relative to its competition. But nonetheless, the Cadillac ATS-V Coupe easily outshines cars like the M4 and S4. It’s edgier, it’s more enjoyable, and it’s just about as quick (if not faster).

The Cadillac ATS-V starts at $61,460, which makes it relatively affordable too. Opt for the one we were testing, though–with the $6,000+ performance package and loads of other options—and you’ll be paying $78,035. Ouch.

Still, for what it’s worth, the Cadillac ATS-V sends the Germans back to the drawing boards.

Specs

Engine: 3.6L Twin-Turbo V6
Horsepower: 464
0-60: 3.9 Seconds
Price (base): $61,460


Positives

Superb Driving Dynamics
Aggressive Styling
Refined Engine


Negatives

CUE System is Just Bad
Gearbox Searches At Times



Photo Credit: Jeff Perez for BoldRide