Cadillac introduced the 2013 ATS, an all-new compact luxury sports sedan intended to challenge the world's best premium cars. Developed on an all-new, lightweight vehicle architecture, Cadillac's entry into the world's most significant luxury car segment goes on sale in summer 2012.
The rear-drive ATS brings Cadillac's blend of technologically driven performance, elegance and design to a new audience of spirited drivers. Its sophisticated driving experience is enhanced with Cadillac CUE, a comprehensive, in-vehicle user experience that merges intuitive design with industry-first controls and commands for information and media data.
"Designed with quick, nimble and fun-to-drive dynamics, ATS expands Cadillac's portfolio into a crucial global segment," said Don Butler, vice president of marketing for Cadillac. "For a new group of luxury consumers, this is a car that will fit their lifestyle and challenge the segment's status quo."
The Cadillac ATS is a new expression of Cadillac's Art & Science execution philosophy, built on a foundation of driving dynamics and mass efficiency. It is the most agile and lightweight Cadillac, with one of the lowest curb weights in the segment - less than 3,400 pounds (1,542 kg).
Germany's famed NÃ¼rburgring served as one of the key testing grounds, along with additional roads, racetracks and laboratories around the globe, ATS engineers balanced performance with Cadillac's trademark refinement. Contributing components and features include:
Nearly 50/50 weight balance
"More than just another new entry, the Cadillac ATS aims to change the status quo of the European-dominated segment," said Butler. "That is why our approach in all elements of its development is so extensive and focused."
A broad lineup of engines - including two four-cylinders and a V-6 for North America - delivers strong power to the Cadillac ATS and capitalizes on the car's lightweight structure to complement its performance with efficiency. The optional engines include an all-new 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder rated at 270 horsepower (201 kW) and Cadillac's award-winning 3.6L V-6, estimated at 318 horsepower (237 kW).
At 135hp/L, the new 2.0T is one of the most power-dense engines in the industry, topping engines from European competitors. Cadillac ATS will offer both manual and automatic transmission options, along with rear-wheel and all-wheel-drive configurations.
The Cadillac ATS will deliver peak highway fuel economy of more than 30 mpg.
A spirit of lightness and balance
Making the Cadillac ATS one of the segment's lightest cars was a fundamental criterion for and the guiding principle during its development, but it was done in a nuanced manner that ensures a refined driving experience.
"Low weight gives the Cadillac ATS a more nimble and controllable feel, while also optimizing the performance and efficiency of the powertrains," said David Masch, ATS chief engineer. "But we were careful to manage the weight while maintaining Cadillac's signature levels of refinement."
Optimizing the Cadillac ATS's mass was the result of a four-pronged philosophy that included strict adherence to original architectural goals, measured load management throughout the vehicle, benchmarking components to see if lighter solutions were available and an overall culture that "weighed" the mass of every component in the car against all aspects of its development.
An aluminum hood, magnesium engine mount brackets and even lightweight, natural-fiber door trim panels contribute to the Cadillac ATS's low overall mass - and reflect the systematic approach of evaluating every gram that went into the car. But some weight was deemed not only beneficial, but essential to the Cadillac ATS's driving experience. An example is the cast iron differential: Engineers found they could improve fuel economy with a cast iron differential rather than a lighter aluminum version.
And while the rear suspension is mostly steel, the focus on load management and straight links enabled significant weight savings without using alternate materials. This helps offset the weight of the engine and transmission at the front of the vehicle, helping the Cadillac ATS deliver its near-perfect 50/50 weight balance, while also contributing to lower noise and vibration. A similar approach was taken on the wheels, where extra structural aluminum was strategically added to further reduce vibration.
"We approached development by counting all the grams in the ATS," said Masch. "We minimized them where we could and put them to the best use where they were needed."
Tailored design weaves in signature style and refinement
The 2013 ATS interprets Cadillac's Art & Science design language in a new proportion, tailoring the signature styling and refinement cues for the most compact Cadillac while upholding - and advancing - the exemplary attention to detail and technological elements for which the brand is known.
A long, 109.3-inch (2,775 mm) wheelbase and wide front/rear tracks are the cornerstones of the Cadillac ATS's firmly planted stance, which is enhanced by short overhangs and taut sheet metal that appears to wrap tightly around the tires. Seventeen-inch wheels are standard and 18-inch wheels are available.
Bold vertical lighting elements - including new LED front signature lighting detail - as well as illuminating door handles and active grille shutters lend technologically advanced style and function to the Cadillac ATS. The grille shutters close at certain highway speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag and enhance fuel economy.
A driver-focused interior with integrated technology and crafted materials complements the exterior elements and supports the ATS's driving experience. Everything from the placement of the pedals to the position of the shifter is designed for effortless and intuitive performance driving. Available performance seats have power-adjustable bolsters to optimize lateral support during high-load cornering.
Contributing to the interior's intuitive feel is an instrument panel that wraps into the doors and a center stack in the mid-instrument panel that flows into the center console. LED lighting for the bold gauge cluster enables clear, at-a-glance viewing in all lighting conditions, while ambient lighting accents functional elements of the console and doors.
Real wood, plated metal plating and carbon fiber trim and Cadillac's cut-and-sew instrument panel, console and doors enhance the emotional connection to the Cadillac ATS. Choices of many interior color themes, each with unique accent trim material, cover a wide range of flavors - from light, open and warm to black and serious, to bold, technical and sporty.
CUE and ATS technologies
The ATS is offered with Cadillac CUE, a comprehensive, in-vehicle experience that merges intuitive design with auto industry-first controls and commands for information and entertainment data. It is designed to be unique for each consumer, from the "simple user" to the fully connected "super user."
CUE, which stands for Cadillac User Experience, pairs entertainment and information data from up to 10 Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices, USBs, SD cards and MP3 players with a vehicle infotainment system that reduces complexity through customized information, voice commands and fewer buttons and larger icons. For example, most of today's luxury cars have around 20 buttons controlling the radio and entertainment functions. CUE has only four.
The heart of CUE is the eight-inch LCD multi-touch sensitive screen, seamlessly integrated into the top of the central instrument panel and a motorized fully capacitive faceplate at the bottom concealing a 1.8L storage area. The vibrant LCD screen displays CUE's home page, which resembles a smart phone's screen by using large, easy-to-target icons to execute commands. Capacitive technology refers to using electrodes to sense the conductive properties of objects, such as a finger.
In addition to CUE, the ATS is offered with other technologies, including:
Bluetooth phone connectivity with voice recognition
'Control and alert' safety strategy
Safety in the ATS is based on Cadillac's "control and alert" strategy that employs advanced technologies - including radar, cameras and ultrasonic sensors - to help prevent crashes.
The safety features bolster driver vision and awareness of road hazards, and intervenes to help the driver avert potential crashes. In some cases, Cadillac's advanced crash-avoidance systems will act without the driver, such as automatic braking, which will activate based on information indicating potential hazards.
Among the most sophisticated of the features is Front and Rear Automatic Brakes. This relies on short-range radar technology and ultrasonic sensors to help the driver prevent front and rear low-speed collisions via a progression of alerts that extend to complete braking, if necessary.
Optional advanced safety features include:
Full Speed Range Adaptive Cruise Control
2013 Cadillac ATS also features OnStar standard for one year. It can use GPS and cellular phone technology to automatically call for help in the event of a crash. OnStar service also includes myCadillac and OnStar myLink mobile apps, which offer vehicle information, controls and OnStar services via the customer's iPhone or Android smart phone.
ATS Delivers New Levels of Control and Refinement
The 2013 Cadillac ATS delivers a driving experience that advances the brand's performance legacy with a balance of racetrack-honed control and uncompromising refinement.
That experience is supported by new chassis and suspension systems, excellent power-to-weight ratios across ATS's power-dense powertrain lineup and a robust body structure that enables finer chassis tuning and greater crash protection. Highlights of the chassis and suspension features include:
Cadillac's first five-link independent rear suspension, using high-strength steel and efficient straight link designs
"ATS engineers built on the legacy of the acclaimed CTS-V Series and picked up the challenge of well-established competitors to create an American sports sedan to rival Europe's finest," said Chris Berube, lead development engineer. "More than the roster of its chassis components, the Cadillac ATS's driving experience is derived from the whole of the car - a low curb weight, optimal balance and excellent dynamics refined during countless hours of racetrack testing."
Proportion and balance are definitely on the ATS's side, with a low curb weight of less than 3,400 pounds (1,542 kg) and power-dense powertrains that are also lightweight to achieve a 50/50 weight distribution and a greater power-to-weight ratio. They complement wide front and rear tracks - 59.5-inch/1,512mm (front) and 60-inch/1,548mm (rear) - for a lower center of gravity that promotes greater stability.
The low curb weight also helped engineers optimize performance by not having to go big on components that contribute to unsprung weight, including the wheels, tires and brake components.
"A heavy car needs larger wheels and tires and larger brakes to account for its overall mass," said Berube. "With the ATS, its low weight meant we didn't have to spec the largest wheels and brakes in the segment - the performance is among the best in the segment with smaller, optimized parts that save weight and enhance efficiency."
Low vehicle mass and optimal brake sizes are expected to give the ATS's braking performance that is among the best in the segment, with Brembo brakes contributing to 60-0 performance of approximately 129 feet (39.3 meters).
A strong body structure is the backbone for the Cadillac ATS's driving experience. It ties the chassis and suspension elements together with great stiffness that enabled a higher degree of tuning precision.
"This is a rock-solid architecture that supports a rock-solid driving experience," said Berube. "But even the stiffest body can't ensure great ride and handling. That comes from an optimal suspension geometry and advanced damping control - and the ATS packs both."
Dual ball joints, five links and a limited-slip diff
Up front, a multi-link double-pivot suspension - based on the MacPherson strut design - is used for a more precise feeling of control, including more linear and communicative steering, and a smoother ride. It also improves impact isolation on bumps and rough surfaces.
The double-pivot system incorporates a pair of ball joints and lower control arms - one in tension and the other in compression - to replace a conventional wishbone at each wheel. The control arms, the spindle and the body form an effective four-bar link for each side of the front suspension, creating virtual pivot points for greater camber control. There is also a direct-acting stabilizer bar.
The front suspension's design also enables a longer spindle, larger pivot center and positive-offset steering geometry for optimal steering control, excellent straight-line stability and a more refined ride. High-durometer rubber and hydraulic bushings are used with the front suspension for an excellent balance of ride comfort and precise response when corning.
"The kinematics of the ATS's front suspension are more complicated, but the payoff is worth it in the way the car drives," said Berube. "The driver will feel directly connected to what the front wheels are doing, but with a comfortable degree of isolation that makes the Cadillac ATS a great touring car for long drives."
At the rear of the ATS is the first five-link independent suspension in a Cadillac. It's a design that helps reduces roll center motion, enables positive lateral control, reduces "squat" during acceleration and promotes excellent dynamic stability. In short, it helps keep the tires planted on all surfaces and during all hard-cornering maneuvers.
Four handling links (upper and lower control arms) are used at each side to control wheel motion and a toe link at each wheel provides additional horizontal control - particularly during hard cornering. The upper and lower links create an effective double-wishbone design, although the links are mounted independently.
As with the front suspension, the five-link design creates virtual pivot points that the ATS's engineers used for geometry optimization. The stiff links are mounted on a cradle that contributes to a smoother, quieter and more isolated ride. The cradle is made of steel (with hydroformed side rails) to help optimize the car's structural stiffness and mass.
"Using an aluminum cradle would have reduced the ATS's overall weight, but we found a few extra pounds at the rear suspension helped get the front/rear weight balance closer to the optimal 50-50 ratio," said David Masch, ATS chief engineer. "We also added mass to other areas of the car where it was necessary to achieve performance."
Seventeen-inch (17x8-inch) wheels used with 225/40-series tires are standard and 18x8-inch wheels and 255/35-series rubber are offered on the Cadillac ATS, with run-flat tires. Models with the FE3 suspension feature 18x9-inch rear wheels.
A mechanical limited-slip differential is a feature not matched by all other competitors and gives the ATS an edge when it comes to ensuring all of the powertrain's torque is applied to the tires during hard cornering. It is standard with the six-speed manual transmission and included with the FE3 sport suspension package. It is housed in a robust 8.6-inch carrier. Other models feature a 7.67-inch carrier.
MRC, electric power steering and other advanced control systems
Supporting the ATS's new suspension designs are advanced damping, steering and braking systems, including Magnetic Ride Control.
Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) is the heart of the FE3 Sport Suspension package, which is included on the Premium Collection and also includes a mechanical limited-slip differential, high-capacity cooling system and 18-inch summer-performance tires. MRC is a real-time damping system that delivers more precise body motion control. It "reads" the road every millisecond and can change damping in only five milliseconds.
With MRC, the conventional mechanical-valve shocks and struts are replaced with electronically controlled units filled with a magneto-rheological fluid, which contains minute iron particles. Under the presence of a magnetic charge, the iron particles align to provide damping resistance almost instantly. Sensor input determines the amount of resistance required, varying the magnetic charge to optimize damping.
Adjustable settings for the FE3 suspension allow the driver to select different ranges of damping for Magnetic Ride Control, including a competitive mode that also adjusts the intervention of the stability control and traction control systems.
All Cadillac ATS models come with a premium electric, variable-assist power steering gear from ZF Steering Systems. It is designed to deliver excellent response and on-center characteristics, while also saving fuel because engine power isn't directly required to assist gear movement - as is the case with conventional hydraulic systems.
The steering gear has great torsional stiffness and lower operating friction, which enhance the steering feel with almost perfect linear response. Additionally, the steering column and intermediate shaft feature stiff, direct-acting and low-friction ball bearing designs. That means there is almost no "lash" in the entire steering system, for a more immediate and connected-to-the-road feel for the driver.
Four-wheel disc brakes are standard on all models, with Brembo performance brakes available on the standard model and included on the Luxury, Performance and Premium collections. They are matched with a four-channel ABS system that is integrated with standard StabiliTrak stability control and full-function traction control.
All-wheel drive is available, for even greater traction assurance on wet and icy road surfaces.
2013 Cadillac ATS Priced from $33,990
The all-new, rear-wheel-drive Cadillac ATS compact luxury sport sedan, with a fuel-efficient 2.5L engine and next-generation six-speed transmission, is priced from $33,990, including destination charges. Highway fuel economy will be greater than 30 mpg.
"The ATS enters a vehicle segment this year that's one of the most competitive in the market, from both a price and performance standpoint," said Don Butler, vice president of Cadillac Marketing. "ATS will bring a distinctive presence and compelling value while offering quick, nimble, fun-to-drive dynamics that will appeal to the lifestyles of modern luxury buyers and challenge the segment's status quo."
A mid-level model, with a lightweight and powerful 2.0L turbocharged engine, costs $35,795 including destination and will offer automatic and manual transmissions, as well as rear- or all-wheel drive.
Topping the engine range is a 3.6L V-6 rated at 321 horsepower (239 kW), costing $42,090 including destination. It is equipped with an automatic transmission and standard content that includes CUE, leather eight-way power seats with memory, adaptive start and more. All-wheel drive is available.