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2016 Cadillac ATS-V: America's M3

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On: Thu, Jan 8, 2015 at 4:15PM | By: Teddy Field

2016 Cadillac ATS-V: America's M3

Cadillac’s return to relevance has been hard to watch at times. Blubbermobiles like the Cadillac XTS, and that Corvette-wannabe XLR, wouldn’t have even made it past the prototype stage in Europe. But the brand soldiered on, and its new boss, Johan de Nysschen, aims to beat the Germans at their own game. To do this, he needs some seriously good cars to sell. Enter the 2016 Cadillac ATS-V. A 455hp ICBM, aimed right at the Fatherland.

In car circles, the letters ‘M’, ‘AMG’, and ‘RS’ are shorthand for speed. But if Cadillac has its way, a new letter will be added to the horsepower alphabet. Say hello, then, to the letter ‘V’.

Available this spring, the all-new 2016 Cadillac ATS-V is a svelte Yankee rocketship, aimed squarely at ‘compact’ hellraisers like the 2016 BMW M3/M4, and 2016 Mercedes C63 AMG. To that end, it packs an aggressively tuned variant of GM’s RWD Alpha platform, a 455hp twin-turbo V6, and chiseled looks that would make even the most somber German engineer drool like a puppy staring at a steak. There’s a lot of scientific wizardry going on here, so here’s a layman’s breakdown of the new V.

• 3.6L twin-turbo V6 (codenamed LF4)
• Titanium connecting rods for a faster revving engine
• Huge turbos with low-inertia titanium-aluminide turbines and vacuum-actuated wastegates to create 18psi of boost... and lots of torque
• Huge fuel injectors
• A wet-sump oiling system to maintain optimal oil pressure “during high-lateral driving maneuvers typically encountered on a track”

• Eight-speed automatic with similar gearing as in the Corvette (they say it shifts faster than the instantaneous Porsche PDK)
• Six-speed manual with “no-lift shift” feature and automatic rev-matching capability
• Electronic limited-slip differential
• Launch control
• No speed limiter

• Additional bracing makes the chassis in the ATS-V 25% stiffer than the regular ATS. This provides quicker response to steering inputs, and more control at higher speeds.
• Revised multi-link double-pivot MacPherson-strut front suspension with 50% stiffer springs and a bigger stabilizer bar
• Five-link rear suspension with anti-squat geometry, stiffer bushings, higher-rate springs and a bigger stabilizer bar
• ZF Servotronic II variable-ratio electric power steering with “increased system stiffness”. But try as they might, electric steering will never offer the same control and feedback as a hydraulic
• Brembo brakes = 14.5-inch front rotors with staggered six-piston calipers and 13.3-inch rear rotors with four-piston calipers.
• Third-generation Magnetic Ride Control and Performance Traction Management with five driver-selectable settings. Cadillac says that their third-generation improvements enable 40-percent faster damping response.

Exterior Design
• Carbon-fiber hood
• Air intakes replace the lower running lights
• Chin spoiler
• Ducktail decklid spoiler
• Quad exhaust tips
• 18-inch wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sports (255/35R-18 front and 275/35R-18 rear)

• Recaros
• Lots of ‘V’ badges
• Exhaust soundtrack plays through speakers :-(

Optional Track package
• Unpainted carbon-fiber hood vent
• Carbon rear diffuser
• Larger spoiler
• Black wheels
• Blacked-out window trim
• Performance Data Recorder (think: automotive black box)
• Smaller battery
• No floor mats or tire inflator
• 30 pounds lighter than standard 2016 Cadillac ATS-V

• 0-60 - 3.9 seconds (that’s as fast as the last-gen CTS-V)
• Top speed - 185 mph

If you go by the numbers, then the 2016 Cadillac ATS-V is just as fast (maybe faster in the right hands) as the 2015 BMW M4, and it can probably out drift the C63 AMG. But those cars have panache and pedigree—two things that Caddy’s new barnstormer sorely lacks.

Thank God it looks good.


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