2016 Cadillac ATS-V Preview

Jeff Youngs | Dec 01, 2014
  • Available in coupe and sedan body styles
  • Ventilated carbon fiber hood
  • Twin-turbocharged V-6 with 455 horsepower
  • 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission
  • Accelerates to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds
  • Brembo high-performance brakes
  • Variable-ratio electric steering
  • Next-generation Magnetic Ride Control suspension with Performance Traction Management
  • Standard rear limited-slip differential
  • Low-mass, forged aluminum, staggered-width 18-in. wheels
  • Tri-compound tread performance tires
  • Performance Data Recorder with high-definition video
  • Structural stiffness increased 25%, roll stiffness increased 50%
  • Unique instrumentation and available 16-way power-adjustable performance seats
  • On sale in summer of 2015


Similar to how Audi builds RS models, BMW builds M models, and Mercedes-Benz builds AMG models, Cadillac builds V-Series models, and has since 2004. More than a decade later, the new 2016 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe and ATS-V Sedan debuted at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. The new performance variants of the compact ATS Sedan and ATS Coupe will arrive in dealer showrooms in the summer of 2015, taking the performance reins at Cadillac following the discontinuation of the outgoing CTS-V models.

Cadillac claims that the ATS-V delivers a dual-mode driving experience. By way of explanation, Tony Roma, the ATS-V's chief engineer, said: "The car is ready for the track right off the showroom floor, with no special modifications required."

Exterior Features

According to Cadillac, every design change made to the ATS-V is functional, intended to reduce lift, reduce mass, enhance cooling, or all three. The car's engine sits under a ventilated carbon fiber hood, and an optional Track Aerodynamics package increases the car's ability to generate downforce. Lightweight, 18-in. forged aluminum wheels are specific to this model, and are offered in three different finishes.

Interior Features

While it comes standard with sport seats, a unique steering wheel, revised shifter, and a specific pedal treatment, Cadillac hasn't forgotten that the ATS-V is both a luxury car and a performance car.

Leather and carbon fiber trim dominate the cabin, along with instrumentation specific to the V-Series lineup. The ATS-V also comes with the latest version of the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system, which includes natural-voice recognition, text-to-voice capability, and OnStar 4G LTE connectivity.

Pack lightly for trips, though. According to Cadillac, the trunk measures 10.4 cu. ft., not even double what a Mazda Miata can supply.

Optional Features

Recaro performance seats are optional, featuring premium leather as well as simulated suede for the seat inserts and seatback trim. Cadillac also offers a Carbon Fiber package for the ATS-V, one that includes carbon fiber exterior trim, larger front splitter, and a taller rear spoiler.

A Track package expands upon the Carbon Fiber package, installing a Performance Data Recorder and a low-mass battery, while removing certain items to shave weight, such as the car's floor mats.

Under the Hood

Most everything of consequence resides under the ATS-V's hood and beneath its sheetmetal. A twin-turbocharged, 3.6-liter V-6 engine generates 455 horsepower at 5,750 rpm and 445 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,500 rpm, and is equipped with a high-performance engine lubrication system.

A 6-speed manual gearbox with rev matching is standard, featuring no-lift shift capability. An 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters is optional and includes Performance Algorithm Shift technology. Both transmissions include launch control and feed power to a revised rear axle that is designed to mitigate wheel hop during acceleration, Cadillac says.

A limited-slip differential is also along for the ride, and the ATS-V is equipped with a Performance Traction Management system that provides the driver with five different settings, including what Cadillac claims is a class-exclusive, competition-level setting.

What is the result of this hardware? According to Cadillac, the ATS-V accelerates to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 185 mph.

A next-generation Magentic Ride Control suspension supplies 40% faster damping response, the automaker says, and Cadillac claims to have improved the ATS-V's structural stiffness by 25%. Tri-compound Michelin Pilot Super Sport performance tires are standard, measuring 255/35 in front and 275/35 in back and are mounted to staggered-width, lightweight, forged aluminum wheels sized 18"x 9" in front and 18"x 9.5" in back.

Pitch the ATS-V into a corner using the variable-ratio electric steering, which benefits from increased system stiffness for improved precision and feedback, and Cadillac's claims of a 50% increase in roll stiffness and a 51/49 front-to-rear weight distribution are likely evident. To stop the car, a Brembo performance braking system features 6-piston front and 4-piston rear calipers clamping down upon generously sized vented brake discs.


Choose the new ATS-V's optional Track package and the car comes with a factory-installed Performance Data Recorder that records high-definition video of track-day driving events complete with a performance data overlay. Cadillac contends that the resulting footage is perfect for sharing on social media; the video can also be viewed on the CUE system's touch-screen display when the car is parked.
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