The Cadillac ATS will have a starting price of $33,990 for the base version equipped with a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine. The ATS will undercut the 4-cylinder turbocharged BMW 328i by $910.
The base engine’s 200 horsepower and 149 lb-ft of torque won’t get too many hearts racing. It’s likely to be used just to lure customers into the showrooms in the hopes of up-selling them to the $35,795 version with a 270 horsepower 2.0L Ecotec turbocharged 4-cylinder. Cadillac’s own press release said little about the 2.5L version, but was careful to tout the 2.0L as being available with a manual or automatic transmission as well as rear or all-wheel drive. The 3.6L V6 powered ATS will cost $42,090, a significant step up, but only an automatic transmission was mentioned. Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system will also be standard.
Having just seen an F30 328i on the street, and being wholly unimpressed with its “shrunk-in-the-wash-528i” looks, I think Cadillac may have an opportunity to finally take on BMW for the small luxury sedan crown. The Audi A4 is making a strong push for the title, but if Cadillac’s performance chops are really up to par, then the buff books (especially the outlets that got their CTS-V Wagon “long term testers”) will be able to crown a new champion, amid a field that includes an aging Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Infiniti G.
Of course, Cadillac has a history of only getting 80 percent of the way there when it comes to competitive products (ahem, CTS Coupe), and any new segment leader would be a reflection of the 3-Series fall from grace as much as any new product’s competence.