2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD Premium
2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD Premium. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Tom Sedens

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2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD Premium

A Cadillac that claims it’s “built to be the world’s best sport sedan”. A few short years ago, that might have seemed laughable. There are plenty who might consider that a joke today.

But Cadillac wasn’t fooling around when they developed the ATS. As a matter of fact, they had a very specific target in their sights. They’ve made no bones about the fact that they were aiming squarely for the BMW 3 Series. It seemed a bit desperate. I wish Cadillac had introduced the ATS on its own merit and let the product do the talking instead.

The fact that I drove a new BMW 3 Series the week before I drove the ATS made for an inevitable comparison.

I’d already driven the hot-rod 3.6L rear-wheel-drive version of the ATS. And it was spectacular.

However, this is the ATS I’d be shopping for. The one with the 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder driving all four wheels.

It seems as though everyone has a 2.0L turbo-four these days. Check out the numbers on this one: 272 horsepower at 5,500 rpm; 260 lb-ft of torque at a low 1,700 rpm. Serious power density.

It all makes its way through a six-speed automatic on my tester (though a manual is available with this engine), and out to all four corners via an all-wheel-drive system.

Fuel economy is good, not great. This ATS is rated at 10.3 L/100 km in the city, and 6.6 L/100 km on the highway.

I tried two different ways of driving this car. For a while, I drove it hard. Fast. The opposite of economical. And it returned a very reasonable 13.2 L/100 km during that time. For the balance of the time, I drove it as I normally would – commuting, getting groceries, occasional freeway drives, but making no particular effort to save fuel – and I netted a surprising 10.1 L/100 km. That’s really good for a 270-hp sports sedan. And within the rating range.

Although it’s instantly recognizable as a Cadillac, the ATS has a nice aggressive stance, with clean lines and some pretty eye-catching details.

2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD Premium2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD Premium2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD Premium2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD Premium
2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD Premium. Click image to enlarge

I (and virtually all those who came to check it out) loved the long, vertical strip of super-bright LED driving lights that cascade down the edge of the hood through the headlight cluster.

The creases around the car aren’t overly sharp and the proportions are kept very tidy. Personally, I think this is the best-looking Cadillac in a long time.

I liked the handsome 18-inch rims on my review car, shod with 225-width rubber.

The overhangs are short, almost shockingly so in the front, and Cadillac’s dual exhaust tips (edging toward the center) look like they mean business.

I was surprised at how many looks this car got. Lots of looks. Lots of thumbs-ups.

The ATS will surprise some with its firm, sporty ride. Since I was just in the new BMW 3 Series, I couldn’t help but compare the two. This is my kind of suspension – what I look for and want in a sports sedan.

When you compromise a bit on the ride, you get a very athletic car. The ATS is very poised, and invites you to play around corners. And when you play, you realize you’ve been paired with a very competent dance partner.

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