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William Maley

Review: 2016 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe

6 posts in this topic

William Maley    392

It has been about five years since a Cadillac V series model has graced either one the Cheers & Gears’ garages (if you’re wondering, that would be the 2011 CTS-V Coupe that our Managing Editor drove). It isn’t for our lack of trying. I can give you a stack of emails to the person who handles General Motors’ fleet in Detroit that list the ATS-V and CTS-V as a possible test vehicle. But if you keep bugging someone over time, something is bound to change. That is what happened this summer as a Cadillac ATS-V coupe rolled into the Cheers and Gears’ Detroit garage. Was it worth the wait? 

The standard Cadillac ATS coupe is already a model that stands out in crowd thanks to an aggressive look. The V turns that aggressiveness up to eleven. The front features a dual mesh grille setup (a small one on top and a larger one below), a narrow slot between the grille and hood; and a new bulging hood with an air extractor. A set of optional eighteen-inch alloy wheels fill in the wheel wells nicely and show off the massive Brembo brakes. The back comes with a rear wing and diffuser with quad exhaust tips.

Our ATS-V tester featured the optional Carbon Fiber package that adds an exposed carbon fiber weave for the front splitter, hood extractor, and rear diffuser. It also comes with a larger rear wing and extensions for the rocker panels. I’ll admit I found the carbon fiber package to be a bit much with our tester’s red paint at first. It’s like going into an important meeting wearing a zoot suit and alligator shoes. You’ll make an impression, but is it the one you want to put out into the world? I did grow to like this combination as the week went on. That said, I would skip the carbon fiber package. For one, you have to very careful not cause any damage to lower parts when driving over speed bumps and other road imperfections. For example, the low ride height makes it easy for the front splitter to be cracked. Second, this optional package is $5,000. There are better ways you can use that $5,000 such as getting a new set of tires or a plane ticket to get you over to Cadillac’s V driving school.

Inside, the ATS-V is a bit of a disappointment. For the nearly $80,000 price tag of our tester, you would think that it would look and feel the part. In certain areas, the ATS-V does. Cadillac has appointed parts of the interior with carbon fiber and suede to give it a sporty feel. Our tester featured the optional Recaro seats which are the first set I actually liked sitting in. A lot of this is due to how you could adjust seat bolstering to make yourself actually fit into the seat, not sitting on top of it. 

But this where the good points end with the ATS-V’s interior. Despite all of the premium touches Cadillac has added, it doesn’t feel like it is worth the price. Take for example the center stack with CUE. It is just a sheet of piano black trim and makes the interior feel somewhat cheap. You’ll find more piano black trim throughout the interior which reinforces this. The instrument cluster is the same that you’ll find in the standard ATS only with a different font. It would have been nice if Cadillac could have pulled the 12.3-inch screen setup they use on the CTS-V as it looks nicer and would provide the key details needed for a driver. CUE still hasn’t gotten any better in terms of performance and overall usability. Yes, Cadillac has added Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration to CUE. But we had issues with CarPlay with the system not recognizing our phone and apps crashing. The back seat? Just use it for storage. Trying to fit someone back there could cause you to be accused of cruel and unusual punishment.

Power for the ATS-V comes from a twin-turbo 3.6L V6 with 464 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque. This can be paired with either a six-speed manual or our tester’s eight-speed automatic. Start up the engine and it delivers a meaty, if somewhat muted growl. Don’t let that fool you, this engine will throw you in the back of your seat with no issue. Yes, the turbos do mean you’ll have a moment or two for that rush of power to arrive. But once the turbos spool, hold on. Power comes on at a linear rate and never lets up. The eight-speed automatic delivers crisp upshifts, but it does take a second or so for it to downshift. If you’re wondering about fuel economy, the EPA rates the ATS-V automatic at 16 City/24 Highway/19 Combined. Our average for the week landed around 18 mpg.

Where the ATS-V truly shines is in the handling. The first time I took the ATS-V down a curvy road, I was gobsmacked at how well it hustled around the corners with no issues. Enter into a corner and ATS-V hunkers down thanks to sticky Michelin Pilot Sport. There is little body roll and the steering provides quick and precise turn-in. The ATS was already a pretty decent handling car, but Cadillac knew that it could be better. The stiffness of the chassis has been increased by 25 percent and there is the newest version of GM’s Magnetic Ride Control system that is faster when it comes adjusting the damping characteristics of the shocks. Three modes (Touring, Sport, and Track) can vary the stiffness of the shocks along with the behavior of the engine and steering. 

When you decided that you had enough fun and it is time to go back to the daily grind, the ATS-V turns into a comfortable cruiser. With the vehicle in Touring mode, the ride is compliant with some bumps making their way inside. Road and wind noise is kept to very acceptable levels.

One item that we were disappointed not to have on our test ATS-V was blind spot monitoring. This is part of a $1,500 Safety and Security package that also adds lane keep assist, forward collision alert, rear-cross traffic alert, and more. For a vehicle that begins that begins just a hair over $62,000, you think blind spot monitor would be standard. It should.

Cadillac has been making great strides since the first-generation CTS-V and the ATS-V is the beneficiary of it. The powertrains will nail you to your seats and the handling can match or surpass the class leaders. But Cadillac is still stumbling over some simple things such as the interior materials and the infotainment system. It is an amazing driving vehicle, but it is let down by the interior.

At the end of the week, I couldn’t deny this is an impressive vehicle even with the interior issues. It was very much worth the long wait.

Cheers: Jaw-Dropping performance, Sharp handling, Looks that make it stand out from the crowd
Jeers: Carbon Fiber package isn't worth the money or worry, Interior doesn't feel like it is worth the price, CUE

Disclaimer: Cadillac Provided the ATS-V, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

Year: 2016
Make: Cadillac
Model: ATS-V Coupe
Trim: N/A
Engine: 3.6L SIDI DOHC Twin-Turbo V6
Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 464 @ 5,850
Torque @ RPM: 445 @ 3,500
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/24/19
Curb Weight: 3,803 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Lansing, MI
Base Price: $62,665
As Tested Price: $79,205 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

Options:
Carbon Fiber Package - $5,000.00
Recaro Performance Seats - $2,300.00
Luxury Package - $2,100.00
8-Speed Automatic Transmission - $2,000.00
Performance Data Recorder - $1,300.00
Power Sunroof - $1,050.00
18-inch Polished Wheels - $900.00
Dark Gold Brembo Calipers - $595.00
Sueded Microfiber Steering Wheels and Shifter - $300.00


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cp-the-nerd    426

I freaking love this car. The options really add up fast, when I build one of these on the Cadillac website, I keep it well under $70k even w/recaros. I don't need the carbon fiber pkg or the rest of the option groups.

Jalopnik had a red ATS-V sedan last week and put it on the dyno. It put out 450 whp and nearly as much torque! I know everyone complains about the lack of V8, but I don't mind the powertrain variety and this is a pretty damn good V6. Besides, it's not like GM lacks V8 performance car options for those that want it.

Jalopnik article:
http://jalopnik.com/here-s-how-much-horsepower-the-cadillac-ats-v-really-ma-1786968718

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The hp is pretty much 500 at the crank if that number is correct.  They did the same with the  LT4 and determined that it was pushing upwards of 700, with cylinder deactivation no less.  As far as the Carbon Fiber..  It was a necessity for me as I just had to have it on my CTS.  On this car,  which looks like a mini version of my car with two less doors,  it looks stupendous 

 

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smk4565    321

The ATS range needs work as a whole, mainly on the interior.  I'd like to see them replace the 3.6 NA V6 with the 3.0 turbo.  They also need all wheel drive on all V-series Cadillacs.  

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regfootball    234

Having seen very few ATS coupes ever, i saw a beautiful red one while on a short vacay stay recently.  There was great bling to the front and overall the car was stunning in its setting.  Pretty amazing considering the mundane profile of this car.  The CTS coupe was so radical, and Caddy decided to tone down the ATS coupe styling.  I don't really think the V treatment does much to amp up the looks of the car.  The greenhouse / side profile is just too generic.  I keep thinking 'second ever G6'.  This really is a pontiac in drag.

That said, yes the biggest flaw is the interior as it is with the rest of the ATS.  Apart from the content and quality of it, a bit smallish too.

Cadillac has to make whatever profits it can off the V cars, the few that sell because the rest of the ATS line can't sell and make profit.

I'd get a v6 Camaro and call it good if i wanted the same handling and 80% of the engine for 50% the price.

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      The Volkswagen Jetta is an outlier in the compact class. Whereas other automakers have been stepping up with sharper designs, more tech, and improved driving dynamics, Volkswagen went in a completely different direction by offering the biggest amount of interior space for not that much money. But to accomplish this, Volkswagen made a number of sacrifices in terms of design, materials, and mechanical bits. This put the Jetta way behind the pack of the fresh competition. 
      But Volkswagen has been working to try and right some of the wrongs of the Jetta. A couple of years ago, Volkswagen updated the model with a new front end, new dashboard, and a turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder to take place of the decrepit 2.0L. It salvages the Jetta’s reputation somewhat.
      The current Jetta is slightly better in terms of looks. A new front end with a larger grille and headlights with LED daytime running lights help make the model look more interesting to look at. Sadly, the rest of vehicle is as nondescript as before with nothing that jumps out at you. If you were to ask a small kid to draw a car, it would most likely look like the Jetta. If you ever wanted a master class of in how not to do an interior, the Jetta is a perfect candidate. Whereas most compact sedans show marked improvements in design and materials, the Jetta is like stepping back a decade or so. Our mid-level SE came with a large amount of cheap and hard plastics that you don’t see most compacts now - aside from the base models. The mostly black interior makes for a dreary experience. On the upside, Volkswagen has improved the dash by taking some ideas from the Golf. A new instrument cluster and revised center stack layout helps make the Jetta not feel as cheap as the previous model. It also makes for an easier time to find various controls and reading things at a quick glance. All Jettas get Volkswagen’s Car-Net infotainment system. The base S makes do with a 5-inch touchscreen, while the SE and higher trims use a 6.3-inch screen. Car-Net is one of the best infotainment systems on sale today thanks to a sharp interface, simple layout of the various functions, and the ability to use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Space is the Jetta’s key selling point. The back seat alone dwarfs most compacts and even gives some midsize sedans a run for their money. Sitting back here, I could stretch out with no issue. The trunk is also huge, offering up 15.7 cubic feet. I do wish the front seats were a bit more comfortable. Most of the week found me constantly adjusting the seat to try and find a position that wouldn’t cause me to ache after a drive. The SE comes with a turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder offering 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Our test vehicle came with the standard five-speed manual, but a six-speed automatic is available.  On paper, the 1.4T should be a strong engine as it offers the same torque figure as the larger 1.8T at a lower rpm (1,400 rpm vs. 1,500 rpm). In the real world, this doesn’t happen. You’ll need to get the engine above 2,000 rpm to wake it up. At first, I thought we were dealing with a bad case of turbo lag. But further investigation revealed the five-speed manual is at fault. Volkswagen used taller gearing to make up for a missing sixth gear and improve fuel economy. I can’t help but wonder if the six-speed automatic alleviates this issue. Once you figure this out, the 1.4T is a surprising performer. Speed comes on at a rapid rate once your above 2,000 rpm. The engine is also very smooth and makes a pleasant noise when accelerating. The manual is somewhat difficult to work as the gear linkage feels somewhat stiff when moving through the gears. The clutch is light and it’s easy to find the take-off point. EPA fuel economy figures for the 1.4T manual stand at 28 City/40 Highway/33 Combined. I saw an average of 35 mpg that was a mix of 70 percent city driving and 30 percent highway driving. The automatic sees a slight drop in fuel economy to 28/38/32. One item we’re glad to see the lesser Jetta models get is a multilink rear suspension - replacing the rear beam axle of previous models. This makes a huge difference in ride and handling. On rough roads, the Jetta provides a compliant and comfortable ride. Handling is almost similar to the Golf Wolfsburg I drove earlier in the year - little body roll and excellent steering response. The SE seen here came with an as-tested price of $21,795 with destination. That includes 16-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, blind spot monitoring, keyless entry, push-button start, cruise control, and a power sunroof. The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta is much better than the model that was launched only five years ago. But that isn’t saying a lot considering how much the compact class has moved up in this time frame. Price may be the Jetta’s ultimate strength as it offers a lot of features for the money with the 1.4T engine and interior space running slightly behind. Everywhere else, the Jetta is outmatched. Disclaimer: Volkswagen Provided the Jetta, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Volkswagen
      Model: Jetta
      Trim: SE
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.4L 16V TSI Four-Cylinder 
      Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 150 @ 5,000 
      Torque @ RPM: 184 @ 1,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/40/33
      Curb Weight: 2,939 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Puebla, Mexico
      Base Price: $20,895
      As Tested Price: $21,715 (Includes $820.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A
    • By William Maley
      Equinox, Acadia, Envision and XT5 Achieve Best July Ever
      Crossover and trucks account for 80 percent of sales for best monthly mix ever July incentive spending as a percentage of ATP below industry average, driving ATPs up nearly $1,000 Commercial sales up 40 percent for best July since 2007 Lowest daily rental sales mix of any full-line automaker DETROIT — General Motors (NYSE: GM) today reported July U.S. retail sales of 202,220 vehicles, down about 14 percent from strong sales in July 2016. In July, GM’s crossovers and trucks account for 80 percent of sales for the company’s best monthly mix ever.
      While the U.S. market continues to moderate, sales of GM’s newest crossovers were strong in July:
      Chevrolet Equinox - up 4 percent for its best July ever. Chevrolet Bolt EV – 1,832 Bolts were sold in July for the best month ever. August will be the first month the Bolt EV is available on a national basis. GMC Acadia - up 30 percent for its best July ever. Buick Envision - up 89 percent for its best July ever. Cadillac XT5 - up 6 percent for its best July ever. GM’s July incentive spending as a percentage of average transaction prices (ATP) was 11.5 percent, more than 1 full percentage point below the industry average, and 0.5 percentage points below GM’s 2016 calendar year average. Some of GM’s competitors, without strong truck and crossover businesses, are offering significantly higher incentives across their entire portfolios, according to J.D. Power PIN estimates.
      In addition, GM’s ATPs were about $36,000, up nearly $1,000 from July 2016.
      “We have strategically decided to reduce car production rather than increase incentive spending or dump vehicles into daily rental fleets, like some of our competitors,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of Sales Operations.  “We are working hard to protect the residual values of our new products and growing quality retail and commercial sales, and July’s ATPs reflect that discipline.”
      GM’s U.S. commercial vehicles sales were up 40 percent from last July, the best July since 2007, led by strong large van sales (up 89 percent), small utilities (up 61 percent) and large pickup sales (up 21 percent).  Year to date, GM commercial sales are up 11 percent. U.S. daily rental sales were down more than 11,200 vehicles or 81 percent in July, as planned. In July, GM’s daily rental sales accounted for only 1 percent of GM’s total sales.  GM continues to have the lowest U.S. rental mix of any full-line automaker at about 7 percent of total sales year to date.    
      GM’s July total sales were 226,107 vehicles, down about 15 percent from strong levels last year.
      “Changing customer tastes have driven us to refocus our business on higher margin, faster growing segments, like the crossover segments. We are launching the most all-new crossovers in our history to take full advantage of the changes occurring in the U.S. marketplace,” added McNeil. “Our newest crossovers are performing very well in the marketplace and we’ll build on that momentum with the all-new Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Terrain, Buick Enclave and the introduction of the Regal TourX through the second half of 2017.”
      By the end of 2017, GM will offer customers the U.S. industry’s newest and broadest lineup of crossovers.
      “U.S. auto sales continue to moderate from last year’s record pace, but key U.S. economic fundamentals remain supportive of strong vehicle sales,” said Mustafa Mohatarem, GM chief economist. “Under the current economic conditions, we anticipate the second half of 2017 will be much stronger than the first half.”
      July Brand Retail Highlights (vs. July 2016 unless noted)       
      Chevrolet
      Colorado was up 22 percent. Both Camaro and Cruze were up slightly. Crossovers best year to date: Equinox, Traverse and Trax. Volt has best year to date. Volt and Bolt EV July sales combined for more than 3,300 deliveries. Silverado LD double cab was up 4 percent. Buick
      Best year to date retail sales since 2005, up 2 percent. July ATPs are highest since December 2015. SUV mix is highest ever at 85 percent. GMC
      ATPs are the highest ever, up 8 percent from last July. Sierra boasts the highest ATPs in the full-size pickup segment. Sierra HDs up 6 percent in July and year to date up 9 percent, the best in a decade Yukon up 4 percent. Yukon had its best July since 2007. Cadillac
      CT6 up 7 percent. Year to date, XT5 retail sales are up 10 percent vs. combined SRX and XT5 sales a year ago. July ATPs up more than $3,000 and lead the luxury market and more than $3,000 higher than its closest competitor. Guidance on U.S. Vehicle Inventory Levels
      We anticipate we will end 2017 at or below last year’s level, with fewer cars and more trucks, crossovers and utilities in the mix. Pickup, crossovers and utility sales, GM’s strength, are expected to be stronger in the second half of 2017 vs. the first half of the year. We continue to monitor the marketplace and will make additional production adjustments if needed.
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