The mill in question is a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 464 horsepower at 5,850 rpm and 445 lb-ft. of torque at 3,500 rpm. A six-speed manual transmission with an Active Rev Match function comes standard, and an eight-speed automatic gearbox controlled by shift paddles is available at an extra cost.
The 3,700-pound sedan is capable of reaching 60 mph from a stop in approximately 3.9 seconds, and it can go on to a top speed of 189 mph if it is given enough tarmac. To keep the prodigious amount of power in check, Cadillac has fitted the ATS-V with a Brembo-designed high-performance brake system consisting of six-piston aluminum calipers up front and four-piston units out back.
The ATS-V is 25-percent stiffer than the stock ATS sedan on which it is based. A crisp handler in base form, the sedan can be made more agile - as well as more comfortable - with an optional Magnetic Ride Control system that "reads" the road several times per seconds and immediately adjusts the dampers to ensure flat cornering as well as a smooth ride.
Gas mileage checks in at 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway with the six-speed manual. Sedans fitted with the optional eight-speed automatic return 16 in the city and 24 on the highway.
Looking the part
The ATS-V is noticeably wider than the stock ATS, and nearly every body panel has been redesigned in order to be both lighter and more aerodynamic. Up front, the V gains mesh inserts that fill the ATS' upper and lower grille openings, a carbon fiber splitter that gives the car a decidedly sporty look and a hood crafted out of carbon fiber. Out back, the ATS-V wears quad exhaust outlets and a large spoiler that adds downforce at high speeds.
The ATS-V rides on model-specific 18-inch alloy wheels, and Michelin developed a Pilot Super Sport tire specifically for it. The tri-compound tire is designed to deliver optimal grip on the track yet provide a quiet, smooth and comfortable ride worthy of a luxury car in everyday driving conditions.
The cockpit has been spruced up with Recaro bucket seats upholstered in a combination of Mulan leather and suede microfiber, carbon fiber trim on the dashboard, the door panels and the center console as well as a model-specific instrument cluster.
As with all modern Cadillacs, the ATS-V is fitted with the controversial CUE infotainment system, which is operated through a touchscreen interface in the center stack along with capacitive-touch controls. Similar to tablet devices, it lets users tap, flick and swipe to control Bluetooth connectivity, entertainment and navigation functions while also providing access to weather information, local fuel prices, Pandora internet radio and more.
However, the system has faced criticism for delayed responses to control inputs, confusing design elements and a lack of conventional buttons for frequently-accessed functions. At least a natural voice recognition system provides an intuitive alternate means of controlling CUE, allowing users to place hands-free calls, enter navigation destinations and select songs without clunky and cumbersome memorized phrases.
Performance Data Recorder
The ATS-V is available with an optional Performance Data Recorder gleaned from the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 that captures not only a driver's perspective of the road ahead, but also a host of telemetry data for review at a later date. Mounted into the windshield header trim near the rearview mirror, the system's 720p HD camera records everything the driver sees directly in front. Audio is picked up via a dedicated microphone inside the ATS-V's camera, allowing drivers to narrate their own trip if they want.
Additionally, the system records data on an SD card that lets drivers replay their experiences either on the vehicle's instrument cluster (when parked) or on a computer or TV screen at a later date.
Four modes include three data overlay screens, which look something like a video game display:
Track mode - includes speed, RPM, g-force, lap times and even a location-based map discerned from the car's GPS and Bing-enabled satellite maps.
Sport mode - a more limited display with speed and g-force.
Performance mode - designed to show performance metrics like 0-60 mph runs, 1/4 mile sprints and 0-100 mph runs.
Touring mode - A simple video and audio-only replay.
Using Track mode, drivers can view corner traces, cornering force and vehicle speed to analyze their driving habits
Features and options
The ATS-V comes in only one trim, but several option packages are available for those who want a little more performance or luxury.
Standard equipment on the ATS includes heated and ventilated 12-way power adjustable front seats, aAM/FM/USB/Aux/Bluetooth stereo with 8" display and seven speakers with Apple CarPlay (late availability), three USB ports, keyless entry, cruise control, two-position driver memory seating with exit position, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, ambient lighting, 18" wheels, DRLs, body-colored door handles, halogen headlamps and front/rear park assist.
The Luxury package includes alloy pedals, a universal home remote includes adaptive HID headlamps. It also adds CUE (Cadillac's infotainment suite), navigation, OnStar with 4G LTE, SiriusXM Satellite Radio and HD Radio.
The Carbon Fiber package adds several carbon exterior trim pieces. It upgrades the front splitter, hood vent and rear diffuser to carbon fiber. Composite (non-carbon-fiber) rocker extensions and rear spoiler are also included.
The Safety and Security package adds a host of advanced safety features. Forward collision alert, lane keep assist, lane change alert, lane departure warning, a HUD, rain-sensing wipers, smart high beams, rear thorax airbags, a tilt sensor, steering column lock, remote locking fuel door and locking wheel lugs are all included.
The Track Performance package is an enthusiast must-have. It includes a performance data and video recorder, a lightweight battery and deletes several weight-adding options such as carpeted floor mats. It also includes all of the components of the Carbon Fiber package. The Protection package adds back in the deleted items for buyers who want their luxury and speed together.
Finally, Cadillac CUE and Navigation are bundled separately for those who only want to upgrade their infotainment. This package also upgrades the standard audio system to a 10-speaker system and allows for up to ten paired Bluetooth devices simultaneously.
The ATS-V features a many standard safety features including front, front- and rear-side impact and front passenger knee airbags; a rear-facing child seat restraint system; LATCH; front and rear park assist; and a rear-view camera. Advanced features are available in the Safety and Security package.