Mark Phelan @ Detroit Free Press Say’s 2016 Cadillac ATS-V leaves luxury rivals in dust


2016 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe

The fast and luxurious ★★★★ 2016 Cadillac ATS-V coupe continues Cadillac’s assault on the BMW M Sport and Mercedes-Benz AMG high-performance brands.

Those factory super tuners are the only other nameplates that are in the game with the sleek ATS-V. The Caddy hits 60 m.p.h. in 3.8 seconds, has a terminal velocity of 189 m.p.h. and leaves most luxury coupes in its dust.

A sweet 464-horsepower twin turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 engine, magnetic ride control, Brembo brakes, carbon fiber and plenty more goodies distinguish it from the regular ATS coupes, which top out at 321 horsepower.

ATS-V coupe prices start at $62,665 for one with a six-speed manual transmission, rev matching and no-lift shift. An eight-speed automatic transmission costs $2,000.

2016 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe

I tested a nicely equipped ATS-V with the manual transmission, Bose audio, navigation, touch screen, voice recognition, Bluetooth phone and audio compatibility, launch control, Michelin Pilot Super Sport summer tires, 18-inch aluminum wheels, front and rear parking sensors, 4G LTE Wi-fi hot spot, head-up display and more. It stickered at $73,470. All prices exclude destination charges.

Cadillac also builds an ATS-V sedan, which has more rear passenger space and performance and features essentially identical to those in the coupe. Prices start at $60,465.

The ATS-V coupe competes with cars like the BMW M4, Audi RS 5, Lexus RC F and Mercedes-Benz AMG C 63. The ATS-V stacks up with them well on paper and performs beautifully on the road.

The twin-turbo V6 delivers immediate power for confident passes and quick starts. The manual transmission’s short throws, buttery operation and light clutch make for quick, easy shifts. Its rev-matching and no-lift features are well-suited to days at the track, as are the launch control and other electronic aids.

2016 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe

The adaptive suspension’s sensors send instructions to magneto-rheological fluid in the ATS-V’s shock absorbers fast enough to change damping to suit each inch of road at 60 m.p.h. The composed ride delivered a fine combination of comfort and stability on the winding roads of the Texas Hill Country.

The ZF variable-ratio steering is precise and direct. The Brembo performance brakes have loads of stopping power.

The comfortable front seat has plenty of head and legroom and useful storage bins in the center console and hidden behind the touch screen.

My car had optional Recaro sport seats. They were comfortable, with bolsters for plenty of lateral support and a wide range of adjustments.

Cadillac’s flat-panel capacitive controls for climate control and some other functions leave something to be desired. The control for fan speed, which puts the “off” touch point in the middle of the space your finger slides across from low to fan, is mind-bogglingly poor design.

2016 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe

The voice recognition for phone calls and navigation is fast and pretty accurate, though distinguishing between “Congress” and Commerce” streets in Austin was beyond it.

The rear seat is for emergency use only. Leg room is minimal. The low roofline restricts rear headroom. The trunk is smaller than the M4, RS 5 and C63 coupes offer and has a small opening.

Motor Trend Drives the Caddy

My car had a $6,195 track-performance package that included a digital recorder for data and video, a lightweight battery and several pieces of carbon fiber trim. Unless I planned to spend lots of time on track, I’d probably leave it on the shelf and spend the money on blind-spot and cross-traffic alert, a couple of very useful features my car lacked. I’d like them to be standard in a car with significant blind spots and a base price over $60,000, but Cadillac points out that they add weight many ATS-V drivers will happily trade to save .01 second on the track or highway entrance ramp.

The ATS-V’s styling looks like its fresh out of 2025. The extreme wedge shape, short overhangs and quad exhaust pipes virtually guarantee this speedy little car will look continue to good for a long time.

2016 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe

2016 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe (Photo: Cadillac)

Behind the Wheel

2016 Cadillac ATS-V coupe

Rear-drive four-passenger luxury performance coupe

Price as tested: $73,470 (excluding destination charge)

Rating: ★★★★ (Out of four stars)

Reasons to buy: Power, handling, style

Shortcomings: Rear passenger space, audio and climate controls, trunk space

Competitive EPA fuel economy ratings

(Manual transmission models where available)

Cadillac ATS-V: 17 m.p.g. city/23 highway/19 combined. Premium gasoline

Audi RS 5: 16/23/18. Premium gasoline

BMW M4: 17/26/20. Premium gasoline

Lexus RC F: 16/25/19. Premium gasoline

Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG: 13/19/15. Premium gasoline

Source: http://www.fueleconomy.gov

Comparative base prices (excluding destination charges)

(Manual transmission models where available)

Cadillac ATS-V: $62,665

Audi RS 5: $70,900

BMW M4: $64,500

Lexus RC F: $62,400

Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG: $63,000

Source: Autotrader.com

Specifications as tested

Engine: 3.6L twin-turbo 24-valve V6

Power: 464 @ 5,850 horsepower @ 5,800 r.p.m; 445 pound-feet of torque @ 3,500 rpm

Transmission: Six-speed manual

Wheelbase: 109.3 inches

Length: 184.7 inches

Width: 72.5 inches

Height: 54.5 inches

Curb Weight: 3,700 lbs

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