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ATS Tops Caddies, but not Bimmer

It sounds far-fetched, but Cadillac is undertaking a ‘miracle’ challenge by stacking up its new ATS sports sedan against the entrenched BMW 3 Series in the midsize segment.2013 ATS Sedan

For openers, as a NY Times review in its 12-02-12 issue points up, the ATS is the newest in a series of failed Cadillac sports sedans.

These include the Seville, Cimarron, and Catera (none cars-of-the-year or close to it).
From the early 1980s, when Cadillac choked on each of a decent “baby Caddies” to combat the Bimmers and Audis, GM’s top luxury brand was little more than a rebadged Chevy Cavalier or Impala.

Cadillac dealers like the No. 1 Cadillac dealer, Don Massey Cadillac, in the Detroit suburb of Plymouth, MI, literally begged for a ‘baby’ Cadillac like the 3-Series or the midsize saloons of Mercedes of VW.

The ATS is the long-awaited response to Cadillac’s angst over failure to meet its dealer product shortfall.

ATS offers a unique lineup ranging from a base 2.5-liter 4-cylinder 220 hp engine to a new turbo four-cylinder rated at 272 hp! Plus GM’s ubiquitous new 3.6-liter V-6, which pushes 320 hp, not topping BMW’s 300i 2012-model yield of 340hp. Revving up the ATS is one thing, but the key to dethroning the 3-Series lies in ride ability, not ‘top speed.’

Previous Cadillacs left disillusioned owners and passengers without the riding comforts of Bentley, Mercedes or Jaguar. The ATS, priced from $35,795 with the turbo four to $42,090 for the V-6 and $49,185 for the top-of-the-line Premium six, strives to accompany zippy engines with cushy comfort like BMW.

The Times critic, Ezra Dyer, concluded that the ATS is too pricey. But priciness is subjective, so we’ll give the ATS benefit of the doubt and recommend the turbo four as a well-intentioned Cadillac that surpasses any of its benighted predecessors.