Originally published May 5, 2015

How many years must go by before tradition becomes dogma? The 2016 Cadillac ATS-V approaches the sport sedan segment like the great theological reformers of old seeking to shake the foundations of the society free from the shackles of the past, replacing stunning oratory with a twin-turbo soundtrack, and nailing its own scripture to the doors of Bavaria’s and Stuttgart’s factories. The word that shall set performance fans free is written not in ink, but in the still-smoking cursive of Michelin Pilot Sports that have been sacrificed for this asphalt litany.

Cadillac’s revelation that one cannot merely pay one’s way into automotive heaven by way of a BMW M3 lease agreement is the ATS-V’s communion, and a day spent self-flagellating around the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, provided ample evidence that the spirit of righteousness does indeed ride with this interloper from Detroit. To suggest that the Cadillac ATS-V is the new king of the sport sedan set might be heresy in the minds of some, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s God’s honest truth.

As Bad As It Wants To Be

The days of Cadillac’s V Series models being defined primarily by the brute force of their intimidating powertrains are over. At first blush, this might seem like an unreasonable statement, as the 2016 Cadillac ATS-V’s 3.6L, twin-turbo V6’s 464 horses and 455 lb-ft of torque push the car past its BMW M3/M4 and Audi RS5 antagonists on paper.

Breaking that science of speed out into the real world further reveals that the ATS-V smokes all comers (even the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG) with a 0-100 km/h sprint of just 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 302 kilometres per hour. The 1.2-km back straight at COTA – so long you could conceivably land a 747 on it in an emergency – saw me pegging the speedometer at 237 km/h, and a pair of drag sessions had me within 0.2 seconds of the car’s claimed acceleration time with no need to let any air out of the rear tires to improve traction.

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