A car to be revered and feared at the same time

2016 Cadillac ATS-V Review

The Cadillac that'll comfortably cradle you while scaring you silly

By: Wade Thiel

Web2Carz Senior Staff Writer

Published: February 11th, 2016

The less powerful ATS 3.6 is already a thrill ride all on its own. Fast, razor sharp and attractive to behold, it's plenty of sporty car for most folks. But for those who crave pretty much more of everything, Cadillac gives the ATS the full beans with the V.

The 2016 Cadillac ATS-V is a luxurious, rear-wheel drive monster. Once you sit down in it, push the start button and start driving you'll realize that Cadillac performance has arrived. It pumps more power to the rear wheels than you'll ever need and has precise enough handling to be taken on the track every once in a while. Also, the car is so comfortable you'll want to spend all your time (and money thanks to the ATS-V's thirsty V6) driving on any fun road you can find.

  • Exterior: The right combo of edgy and slick

    Everything about the car's exterior says "speed" with its hood bulge, angry fascia with big air intakes and sinister black touches all around. It somehow manages to be boxy and curvy at the same time without appearing disjointed. It's eye-catching and easily recognizable as a Cadillac but carries forward Caddy's new cleaner look wonderfully.

    • The exterior isn't painfully overdone but rather tastefully aggressive and sporty
    • It still has edgy Caddy lines without looking like a military skunkworks projet.
    • Both coupe and sedan are lookers, but our money is on the 2-door since it gives the BMW M4 a run for its money in the design department, while retaining its distinct American-ness.

  • Interior: Comfortable, but not special enough

    When we stepped inside the ATS-V, we noticed a lot of darkness. Sure, that leans on the sporty side, but the materials aren't special enough to get away with this -- especially the faux carbon fiber that screams cheap. The saving grace are the seats, which are well-bolstered and deep enough to be comfortable under hard driving and long haul conditions.

    • The cockpit is good but far from great. For a car this dramatic in performance and high in price, it needs an interior that's commensurate.
    • The finger smudge-happy piano black finishes throughout the car are tired and a pain to keep clean.
    • This car can't wait to get a better CUE system because its buttons are just too damned small and unresponsive. Makes triple digit speeds and climate adjustment a death wish.
    • The headrests work but are so blocky, they look like they were pulled off a dated airliner.

  • Driving Impressions: BMW should be worried

    The ATS-V wants to be driven hard and rewards you with good steering (not great) and an unflappable chassis in hard turns. Triple digit speeds are effortless, and the car's suspension is taut without being punishing. That being said, it's hard to exploit this kind of performance on Chicago roads. We just know we wanted to stay in this car all day. We have a feeling this car can handle everything most people can throw at it.

    • Indistinguishable turbo lag, great throttle response and linear torque curve that goes on for days.
    • Brakes are progressive and powerful, bringing the ATS-V to a stop authoritatively, while managing apexes adroitly.
    • 0.97g of lateral grip could never be exploited where we live, and speaks to the ATS-V's trac capabilities.

  • Final Impressions: Chassis, power and prestige. Repeat.

    We came away from the Cadillac ATS-V absolutely loving everything but the interior. That being said, it's not like we had trouble getting anything to work, it's just that the CUE system felt rather ungainly. The rest of the car feels so precise that the interior's imperfections are overshadowed by its driving excellence.

    This is the Caddy we would want to own if we really had a good place to drive it, meaning either wide open roads in the western United States or a nearby racetrack where we could really open the ATS-V up. It works fine as an around town car and weekend trip vehicle, but it's a shame to only be able to utilize a small portion of what this car has to offer. Cadillac has finally given the ATS's abilities in the twisties the right amount of power. 464 horses seems like a lot, but it's definitely not too much, like its 640 hp CTS-V big brother. The ATS-V isn't civilized, but it's also not an ICBM on wheels, thankfully.

  • Specifications & Price

    Engine: 3.6-liter Twin Turbo V6

    Transmission: Six-speed manual w/ Active Rev Matching

    Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive

    Power Output: 464 hp / 445 lb-ft of torque

    Fuel Economy: 17 mpg city / 23 mpg highway

    Base Price: $62,665

    As Tested: $69,935 (including $995 destination charge)

    Options on our tester: Recaro Performance Seats; Performance Data Recorder; Cadillac User Experience (CUE) & Navigation, Nav System, Power Outlet 110V, Bose Surround Sound; Red Obsession Tintcoat Calipers, Red Brembo; Base Splitter

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• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2016 Cadillac ATS-V, click here: 2016 Cadillac ATS-V.