$16,790 - $35,014

2016 Cadillac ATS Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Cadillac ATS was new.


Performance: 8.5

Test drivers say the 2016 Cadillac ATS' base engine provides decent power, but they recommend one of the optional engines if you want rapid acceleration. Critics add that the ATS' eight-speed automatic transmission shifts quickly and seamlessly. Fuel economy is on the low end for the class. Auto writers praise the Cadillac ATS' agile, confidence-inspiring handling and its strong brakes. While some test drivers think its steering is quick and responsive, others say steering feedback is lacking compared with its rivals.

  • "I wasn't expecting to enjoy this 3.6-liter-powered coupe as much as I did, but it really surprised me. The driving experience was where this car really thrives." -- Autoweek
  • The V treatment for the ATS uses a heavy hand to pack the car with performance parts and engineering that make it a legitimate threat to those Ms from BMW." -- Cars.com
  • "That the 2016 Cadillac ATS-V deftly communicates an imminent slide at 90 mph on a racetrack belies its ability to be a perfectly reasonable daily driver." -- Edmunds
  • "This is an honest-to-goodness performance sedan that will give any rival 4-door a run for its money." -- AutoTrader (2015)

Acceleration and Power

The 2016 Cadillac ATS sedan has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that provides 202 horsepower. A 272-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is available in the sedan and standard in the coupe. A 321-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 is available in both models. The all-new ATS-V has a 464-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 engine. All 2016 ATS models come standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission; a six-speed manual is available in turbocharged models. The EPA estimates that the base 2016 Cadillac ATS earns 22/32 mpg city/highway, which is low for the class.

Test drivers report that the Cadillac ATS' base engine provides a good amount of power but say it may not satisfy drivers who want quick acceleration. Reviewers recommend any of the optional engines for more robust power, and they say the all-new ATS-V's engine is incredibly powerful, delivering rapid acceleration from a stop. Auto writers agree that the new eight-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and quickly.

  • "I don't know what Cadillac did to the 2016 ATS' V6 compared to the '15, but this one feels much smoother, and the power is there for sure." -- Autoweek
  • "The eight-speed transmission makes few compromises in either environment, and on the street when demands are light, it glides seamlessly between gears in a way that makes most dual-clutch transmissions seem utterly gratuitous." -- Edmunds
  • "There's a lot to like in the ‘go’ department with the ATS-V's 464-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V-6 that can propel an automatic-equipped ATS-V to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, a tick faster than the M3/M4's times with automatic transmission. The Cadillac's turbocharged V-6 is an extremely responsive, potent engine that's well-suited to the 3,700-pound ATS-V." -- Cars.com
  • "The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder in base sedans gets the job done with 202 horsepower, but isn't for enthusiasts. At the higher end is the new 3.6-liter V6 with 333 horsepower. A V6-powered ATS has ample power, but it's up against a tough alternative within its own lineup: the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. That smaller engine has terrific balance of power and efficiency." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

According to test drivers, the 2016 Cadillac ATS offers nimble handling and takes on turns with confidence and little body lean. The ATS can be equipped with Magnetic Ride Control, which can automatically adjust suspension stiffness to improve ride and handling, and some reviewers say the system provides even more secure handling. While some auto writers say the 2016 ATS' steering is swift and communicative, others report that its steering isn't quite as sharp as that of some rivals. Its brakes are strong, they add. The 2016 Cadillac ATS has standard rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is available.

  • "Its steering redirects the machine without hesitation, provides ample feedback about front grip and is quick enough for track duty." -- Edmunds
  • "Of all the performance goodies on the ATS-V, the braking system stood out as extremely capable of slowing the car down from high speeds confidently lap after lap without degradation." -- Cars.com
  • In corners the ATS is lithe, though its steering feel isn't as spot-on as a BMW's." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Thanks to the Magnetic Ride Control dampers that adjust quicker and with more bandwidth than traditional adaptive shocks, a single compression and rebound quells every body movement." -- Car and Driver

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