The new 2013 Cadillac ATS is unlike any Cadillac we've seen before. It is a bonafide sport sedan with upscale features in a tidy four-door package.
In an era when so many car shoppers are rethinking what size car they need, the newest member of the Cadillac lineup is aimed squarely at the 2012 BMW 3 Series.
While the redesigned BMW 3 Series might not be everyone's cup of tea, it's held in high regard by the auto industry as the standard bearer for small upscale sedans.
Cadillac admits that it set its sights high and freely mentions the BMW as the car they're taking on. They even did a series of over-the-top commercials featuring race driver Derek Hill attacking challenging roads all over the world, including the famed street circuit of Monaco.
The 2013 Cadillac ATS holds its own against the competition in many ways including the quality of its interior materials, the way its steering feels and the way its brakes feel.
However, it drops the ball a little when it comes to back seat space. Passengers of average height can feel squeezed in the ATS.
Of the three engines offered in the 2013 Cadillac ATS, two of them are four-cylinder engines. Now, the last time Cadillac offered a four-cylinder car was in the early 1980s. The Cadillac Cimarron had the unconventional straight four-cylinder engine and a four-speed manual transmission. Yet, it's a car most people including Cadillac would much rather forget.
The 2013 Cadillac ATS is no Cimarron and four-cylinder engines are a growing trend in compact luxury brands.
The BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class also get a four-cylinder base engine; it's the way of the future.
The 2013 Cadillac ATS' base engine is adequate and moves the ATS along OK with just over 200 horsepower. For more driving thrills, there's a turbo V-4 or V-6 available.
The upside to this engine is fuel economy; average fuel economy for the 2013 Cadillac ATS stands at 22 mpg and 33 highway in EPA testing.
Overall, the 2013 Cadillac ATS should do well for Cadillac. It gives the American luxury brand the sort of car that Germany has become famous for.