$27,257 - $56,216

2019 Cadillac ATS Performance Review


Performance: 8.2

The 2019 Cadillac ATS has dynamic handling and a peppy optional V6 engine. However, its standard four-cylinder isn’t quite up to the task, and the car gets below-average fuel economy.  

  • "Luxury sport coupes have long been dominated by BMW and Mercedes. But Cadillac has quietly closed the gap, especially in terms of dynamics. The ATS Coupe 3.6 is competitive on the test track and around town compared to its rivals, and it isn't even the range-topping ATS-V version." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2018)
  • "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 (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The 2019 ATS comes standard with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine that puts out 272 horsepower. A 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 335 horsepower is optional. An eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard, while all-wheel drive is optional. The Cadillac ATS-V has a 3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine that puts out 464 horsepower. This model comes standard with a six-speed manual, and an eight-speed automatic is optional. The ATS with its base powertrain returns 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, which is below average for the class.

The standard engine receives mixed reviews, with some critics thinking that it performs well but others noting that it’s unrefined. The V6 is more potent and delivers satisfying power and acceleration.

  • "The ATS can pull hard, or with grace, from a stop, covering 0-60 mph in 6.0 seconds. Thrust tapers off somewhat at this point, but its passing power is plentiful. Tires will light up if provoked. Optional Sport Exhaust gives the ATS a bit more credit under full load than it deserves. … The ATS is easy to pilot around town. The automatic transmission shifts smoothly in most cases, though gear changes come a bit slower than expected in manual mode. Auto stop-start is noticeable but not too abrupt." -- Edmunds
  • "Now standard is a more invigorating turbocharged 4-cylinder that enables this small Cadillac to hit 60 mph in the mid 5-second range while still being quite efficient. … The V6 provides slightly smoother acceleration, but we think the 4-cylinder is the better choice, given the V6's added cost." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "The 2.0T engine is also a bit coarse and unrefined in feeling and sound, lacking the sophistication demonstrated by most competitors." -- Autotrader (2017)

Handling and Braking

The Cadillac ATS has athletic handling and well-weighted, responsive steering. Ride quality is a bit on the harsh side but not terrible. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional.

  • "On the heavy and vague side in routine driving. Very accurate and responds quickly without being darty. Sport mode adds heft, but no better sense of what the tires are up to. The finish on the wheel itself is too smooth, and it slides through hands a bit more easily than we'd like. … This is a firm sports car ride. Comfort depends on the road surface. Find one with the wrong rhythm of small bumps and it will buck you about considerably. Some bigger bumps will lift you from the seat. Other sport-tuned rides share these qualities, so ride quality is not an immediate deal-breaker." -- Edmunds
  • "And while you may equate Cadillac with comfort, the ATS' suspension is stiffer, befitting its sporty ambitions. The Cadillac's 8-speed automatic transmission is fluid and fast, and though its steering isn't quite as precise as that of a BMW's, its feedback is still credible. We really like the magnetic-ride-control feature, but it's offered only on top-end Premium Performance trims." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "[The] ATS was designed from the ground up to handle like a sports car. Steering response is crisp and direct, while body control is remarkably precise. … 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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