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The magnetic ride control suspension is almost magic in how it reads road conditions and responds with compliance and adhesion.
The magnetic ride control suspension is almost magic in how it reads road conditions and responds with compliance and adhesion.

Cadillac Attack: ATS-V

A weekend weapon of mass attraction

By Mark Maynard | 6:16 a.m. Nov. 6, 2015
San Diego Union-Tribune

The Cadillac ATS-V is a weekend weapon of mass attraction and a thoroughly accommodating daily driver — a sprint car for the daily commute.

This fat-fendered fist of fun originates from the compact-class ATS sedan or coupe — and then pushes limits, which I tested on many laps of the Circuit of the Americas during a media drive.

The hyphenated V to the ATS pushes this twin-turbocharged V-6 into an exalted realm of factory muscle cars. It gets its punch from the 464-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6. It is a sophisticated mill with direct-injection and an eager 445 foot-pounds of torque that pull easily at launch and peaks in the useful driving range of 3,500 rpm. There is no turbo lag.

The performance and design upgrades are trickle down from Corvette racing and bolster a no-questions sport sedan. It gets high-capacity elements for survival in the extreme. Every aperture in the hood and front quarter is about cooling: the engine, turbo, oil and brakes. There is a more aggressive front splitter, taller rear spoiler and various spats and deflectors to manage air flow – enabling a top speed of 189 mph and 0-60 mph in about 3.9 seconds, says Cadillac.

The magnetic ride control suspension is almost magic in how it reads road conditions and responds with compliance and adhesion. Around town, the ATS-V navigates broken roads, steep driveways and speed barriers with gentle finesse. Handling under pressure is flat and so is four-wheel-disc braking from beefy Brembos.

The standard transmission is a Tremec six-speed manual with rev-matching downshifts and a no-lift shift mode for straight-line gear stabbing. But the eight-speed automatic is also no-lift shift that was first engineered for the Corvette Z06. It can seem pedestrian around town, but it comes alive on the track, helping drivers carry more speed on the straight and farther into the turn. There are modes of Touring, Sport, Race and Snow. Touring is quite sharp and satisfying, but just punch it up for Race and run with it. The pipes open and this V-6 replies with a true race-car chat, without sounding canned.

It’s about power, no matter the number of cylinders. This V-6 is sophisticated and lethal: direct-injection, twin-turbocharging with no perceptible catch-up of power at any rpm and no gauzy vagueness to pedal feel common now on so many electric throttles. Hit the gas and there is no hesitation with little mpg punishment for such pleasure. Fuel economy is an acceptable for a sport sedan16 mpg around town, 24 on the highway and 19 mpg combined.

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Robert M. Loszewski is the Owner and Site Administrator of the Cadillac V-Net; a quality-driven Cadillac V-Series news and information web site that he started in 2007.