By The Los Angeles Times
Friday, July 17, 2015, 8:23 p.m.
ROSAMOND, Calif. — This isn’t your Daddy’s Caddy — it’s a racecar with Cadillac crests.
That’s why the brand chose Willow Springs International Raceway in this city outside Los Angeles to show off its new ATS-V, a nimble sport sedan stuffed with a 464-horsepower twin-turbo V-6.
The company says this hot rod, starting at $61,465, targets a younger buyer and bridges the gap between the larger CTS luxury supercar and the entry-level ATS.
The day at Willow Springs’ 2.5-mile track started early, with a light breeze riffling the flags over the pits. A dozen journalists were herded into an air-conditioned tent for a primer on the new vehicle’s stats.
They’re impressive. The ATS-V, with 445 pound-feet of torque, rushes from zero to 60 in 3.8 seconds and tops out at 189 mph. It’s fitted with sophisticated suspension, transmission and braking systems that make it a capable track car.
To prove that point, Cadillac reps put us in helmets, belted journalists into ATS-Vs and led us on three medium-speed guided laps around the highly technical track.
Then, without further instruction, under what had become a triple-digit desert sun, they turned us loose.
The Caddy stuck to that track, artfully managing even the off-camber uphill turn 3 and the off-camber downhill turn 5.
The back end slid in a nicely controlled fashion around the tighter turns and accelerated out of the slides without bucking or dancing. Braking and shifting were seamless and unobtrusive, doing their jobs with no drama.
This Cadillac manages to be comfortable, too, in the best traditions of a brand more known for land yachts. The ATS-V, which comes in two-door, four-door, manual and automatic versions, is a roomy cruiser. The Recaro seats are wide but snug. Good sightlines allow for ample visibility. The dashboard, knobs and switches are all within easy reach, and designed with an unbusy simplicity.
The temperature spiked at 107, and the asphalt waved and waffled as if it had been drinking all day. But the Cadillac, out of race mode, proved a quick, quiet, companionable ride. At 75 mph, the engine ticked along at just 2,200 rpms.