$22,387 - $53,410

2018 Cadillac ATS Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Cadillac ATS was new.


Performance: 8.4

The 2018 Cadillac ATS is a genuine sports sedan that gives Germany's best a run for their money. Acceleration is brisk and satisfying with any of the three engines, though the twin-turbocharged V6 in the ATS-V is especially grin-inducing. Fuel economy is mediocre, but you likely won't care because you'll be too busy carving through canyons to notice.

  • "The ATS is a dynamically impressive car that stacks up very well against its main rivals—namely the BMW 3-Series and 4-Series. It has excellent steering feel, plenty of grip, and pleasing power from the turbocharged 4-cylinder and V6 engines." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Handling is the ATS' strength. It carves corners with more agility and precision than BMW's 3 Series, long the class benchmark." -- Edmunds
  • "The 3-Series feels and sounds more sporty, even though it's down on power. The C-Class is far more luxurious, but slower. Sure, there might only be 10 people who take any of these cars to the track, but I'd like to think the ATS could outfox both of them at a real circuit." -- Autoweek (2016)

Acceleration and Power

There are three engines available for the ATS, starting with a 272-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that feels quick and lively. Like the other engines in the lineup, this four-cylinder comes standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Some trim levels also come with the choice of a six-speed manual transmission. Criticisms of this engine are not with acceleration, but with refinement, as it can feel loud and coarse in some circumstances. It also has a below-average fuel economy rating of 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

If you want more oomph, step up to the naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V6. Included in the Premium Luxury and Premium Performance trims, this 335-horsepower engine is more robust than the four-cylinder. It lowers fuel consumption through cylinder deactivation, automatically shutting off a portion of the engine when you aren't accelerating. This active fuel management system helps the V6 earn a 20 mpg city/30 mpg highway fuel economy rating, which is respectable for a V6 engine.

The ultimate in ATS performance lies in the V-Series. Its 464-horepower 3.6-liter V6 employs twin turbochargers and is capable of reaching 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds.

  • "Though the ATS is not quite as quick as some rival luxury coupes, acceleration from the 2.0-liter is respectably quick." -- Edmunds
  • "The manual-transmission ATS 2.0T with its standard limited-slip differential is a real hoot, especially with the optional magnetically controlled adaptive suspension aboard. And although the V6-powered ATS is available only with an automatic, it nevertheless ups the driving fun further." -- Autotrader (2017)
  • "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 (2016)

Handling and Braking

Standard components of the ATS include rear-wheel drive, Brembo performance brakes, and a sport-tuned suspension. A number of performance enhancements are offered, including all-wheel drive and GM's rapidly adjusting Magnetic Ride Control suspension system. Responsive steering and agile handling are hallmarks of the ATS, though some may find its suspension system too firm for road trips.

  • "The ATS' personality is dominated by its cornering ability, which is as good as that of the segment leaders, and even better in some situations." -- Edmunds
  • "There is no 'soft' suspension with the 2017 Cadillac ATS Sedan and Coupe, just varying degrees of firmness. The ATS corners and accelerates as well as any BMW, although the steering feel isn't as precise." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • At the same time, ride quality is pretty good -- especially with those magnetic dampers -- but it's not as supple as what you'd get in rival luxury sedans. The ATS definitely skews toward the sporty side of the spectrum, which might not be to everyone's liking." -- Autotrader (2017)

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