By on July 28, 2018

Image: GM

If you’ve ever wanted to own a hot Cadillac with a manual transmission, best get in line with those other three guys. The 2019 Cadillac ATS, which ditches its familiar four-door format for a coupe-only proposition, is both the last ATS and the last stick-shift Caddy. Soon, it, the CTS, and XTS will bite the dust as Cadillac makes room for two new sedans — vehicles scheduled to arrive in a market fully obsessed with crossovers and SUVs.

Good luck with that.

While the ATS coupe carries over seemingly unchanged for 2019, the blistering ATS-V variant sees two significant additions. One has to do with appearance; the other, price.

According to CarsDirect, buyers wanting to get behind the wheel of the 464 hp, 454 lb-ft ATS-V coupe should expect to dig deeper for the final model year. Extra kit means the model’s price tacks on an extra $4,000, retailing for $68,790 after delivery.

That additional content arrives in the form of the Carbon Fiber Package, which leaps from the options list to the standard equipment file for 2019. The package brings carbon fiber hood vents, front splitter and rear diffuser, a different rear spoiler, and composite side sills to the twin-turbo V6 coupe. While a six-speed manual comes standard, an eight-speed auto exists as a $2,000 option.

In the regular ATS coupe, buyers of the turbocharged 2.0-liter entry-level model have the option of rowing their own, or handing over the shifting duties to the eight-speed automatic. Moving up to the naturally aspirated 3.6-liter means an eight-speed only.

Given that there’s no horsepower difference between the 2018 and 2019 models, buyers who are immune to carbon fiber’s charms might consider picking up the previous year’s model for big savings. CarsDirect points out that 2018 ATS-V models carry a nationwide $1,000 incentive ($2,000 on the West Coast), plus a $2,000 dealer “Flex Cash” incentive. Tack onto that a $2,000 loyalty bonus if you’re a current GM lessee.

As the ATS prepares to shuffle off this mortal coil, its checkered past looms large. Sliding sales, sky-high incentives, and sagging residual values gave the vehicle something of a black eye — one of many headaches Cadillac experienced during a tumultuous time in the brand’s history. Interestingly, GM’s second-quarter sales report shows the model’s sales up 7.5 percent over the first half of the year.

[Image: General Motors]

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46 Comments on “The Last Cadillac ATS-V: Pricier, Mildly Sportier, Two Doors Only...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    Best.
    Grand Am.
    Ever.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    This is the 3rd $70K vehicle we’ve seen this week. So, your choice a top-of-the-line F-150, a Volvo crossover or a spiffy little Cadillac pocket rocket… Man, decisions are tough, I actually like all three

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      The Tesla Model 3 eats the ATS and ATS-V car for lunch, no matter how you look at it, and at a slightly lower price point.

      Cadillac has been the premier American luxury brand, but Cadillac has been completely eclipsed by Tesla.

      • 0 avatar
        Peter Gazis

        @Luke42

        The ATS has ample power and handles amazingly well. Making it ideal for weaving through city traffic. No matter which engine you choose.

        I haven’t driven or even been inside the Model 3, but a number of sources have reported that the Teslas limit power output when the batteries get hot. I would also need more information on dropping acceleration when batteries or not fully charged.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @Peter Gazis:” but a number of sources have reported that the Teslas limit power output when the batteries get hot.”

          You’re thinking of the Model S. That’s not an issue with the TM3 as far as I know. Different battery pack design, different cell technology, different car. As you can see below, you can track a TM3 and do well.

          https://www.teslarati.com/tesla-model-3-professional-driver-time-attack-race/

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    The ATS is actually a great car, better than a BMW 3-series. Too bad that GM couldn’t figure out how to sell them.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      Having driven both, the best I can say is this is a matter of opinion. I came away a bit underwhelmed with the ATS.

    • 0 avatar

      BINGO!

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      I see and hear a Cadillac CTS-V on my commute that illustrates the problem. The later owner of the car has murdered it out and outfitted it with an extremely loud exhaust system. It’s kind of cool in what Jeff Foxworthy would call “glorious lack of sophistication”, but in no way does it project an image comparable to a BMW. The ATS-V fails to even include a supercharged LS to make it desirable several years from now.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    The ATS comes with factory installed speeding tickets.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I configured a fully loaded S3 $58,724, a S4 at $70,125. I’d guess the Caddy is faster, RWD and manual, but I would rather have the AWD Audis, even with a GM discount. Bonus for not having to look at that fancy piano black Chevy interior.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    This is one of those times when you say to yourself, hmmmm, I didn’t even know they still sold those.

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    Toughest competition is ATS-V’s own platform with LS power yet for thousands less sitting down at Chevy dealer. Hard sell for ATS-V coupe in that context, and its been that way from day 1. Typical GM platform derp.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      A Corvette is 1000s less? I always thought they were about the same price

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        The Camaro uses the Alpha platform and opens at $37,995 with the LT1. I’d have a hard time justifying the ATS-V at that point as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Actually (although not on Alpha platform, you can get the Vette into the $40k range) which is again another reason the ATS makes no sense. All this car needed was a proper engine, instead it got…

        A) the iron duke
        B) 2.blow
        C) the traverse engine
        D) a traverse engine with two blowers

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Except the Cadillac doesn’t look like a life sized Hotwheels car, you can see out of it, and the interior isn’t awful.

      Oh, but its a domestic vehicle that shares its platform with a less expensive model, so why bother? That’s *only* okay when it’s Toyota/Lexus.

      • 0 avatar
        CarnotCycle

        Oh no John Taurus. Its not okay if Toyota/Lexus does such a thing, and frankly they don’t. Platform engineering is one thing, but if you want Toyota luxury coupe with premium power you get the Lexus – there is no Toyota car-anything with V8 power. They’re smart enough to not do that to themselves or their customers.

        But over at GM they got it exactly backwards with Camaro/ATS-V; if you want the premium performance setup with iconic power you have to go downmarket to the Chevy dealer…and pay less.

        Imagine shopping BMW M3’s knowing you actually have to get the 328i to get the best hipo motor available for the platform. That would be stupid.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          Umm, yeah because the ES and the Avalon are just so different. And Toyota is literally bringing a vehicle based on a BMW platform to market. But yeah, darn those domestics.

      • 0 avatar
        jonnyanalog

        Or if your VAG. Lots of platform sharing there.

      • 0 avatar
        SPPPP

        “Except the Cadillac doesn’t look like a life sized Hotwheels car, you can see out of it, and the interior isn’t awful.”

        These are all quite subjective. I would say the styling is good, the visibility is poor-to-fair (thanks in part to the styling), and the interior is fair (thanks largely to over-styling and excessive use of piano black plastic).

        In my opinion, the original CTS was a hit largely because it was bigger, faster, flashier and cheaper than the equivalent trim level of the competition. The ATS, on the other hand, has never seemed to excel in those attributes.

    • 0 avatar
      NG5

      Baffling decision. And the Corvette is cheaper too. If I needed a four seater I’d buy a second used luxury car with the leftover change.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    The ATS is a decent vehicle with good bones, but Cadillac just didn’t get the execution quite right. Aside from the cramped rear seat (also a problem with the larger CTS) the base turbo 4 is rough and noisy (but then, so is the turbo 4 in the BMW 3-series). And it also comes with the horrible CUE system.

    Here’s hoping Cadillac will get it right with the replacement CT4.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I drove one my last round of shopping. I felt it did in fact drive better than the 3 (at least the 330), bit it is typical GM in that it was let down by it’s interior. It should be a coupe though…back seat was nearly as useless as a Mustang. Then there was the salesman. “Being a Cadillac, they don’t really discount them”. Yeah, because it’s 1965 and the internet doesn’t exist. But yes, great driving car.

  • avatar

    Cadillac’s new models will also fail. this company has no clue how to market automobiles so we will see the same results, accompanied by new excuses. what a joke. no one aspires to some alpha numerics, dealer margins shaved to where a salesperson makes more selling a Chevy, insistent and consistent interference in retail operations. I could go on for hours. GM has no sales talent, only pretenders who think they know something.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I predict that during college football season GM will run ads saying that these are on sale, see your local Cadillac dealer. The only real question is; Labor Day or Thanksgiving.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Were I in the right circumstances, I would love one of these (just not in white).

    Alas, too many other things to chase after…

  • avatar
    Hydromatic

    “Soon, it, the CTS, and XTS will bite the dust as Cadillac makes room for two new sedans — vehicles scheduled to arrive in a market fully obsessed with crossovers and SUVs.”

    Seems like GM is on a time delay when it comes to Cadillac’s product strategy. It should be pumping out small and mid-size CUVs instead of rolling out new sedans. For crying out loud, Chevy has a full complement of SUVs and CUVs. Even Buick has its small, mid-size and large CUVs, with GMC covering the body-on-frame SUV in its stead.

    I have to wonder if Cadillac’s become the unprofitable red-headed stepchild of the GM family, now that siblings Saturn, Pontiac and Oldsmobile are deep in the dirt. If Cadillac was to be sold off or shut down within the next decade or two, I wouldn’t be surprised.

  • avatar
    johnny_5.0

    This car is classic GM idiocy. It would have been a better car with the LT1, but they had to ape BMW with a turbo six. At least this would have sounded amazing compared to the Dyson M3/M4 exhaust note. If given either for free, I’d rather have a 2SS 1LE Camaro.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I still haven’t seen one of these outside of an auto show. I haven’t even seen a regular ATS in months, and there are no shortages of its competitors in DC. I finally saw a current-model CTS-V on the road last week for the first time. Sounded glorious. GM needs to get that car out where people can see it. Seriously, just pay someone to be seen in the car so people are aware of it.

  • avatar
    bobdod04

    I had a chance to drive a CTS-V and ATS-V on track last year. Based on my experience, the ATS-V is nothing like the lesser ATS models. Its a completely different beast. I don’t care if its a v6 either. That thing can slam you into the seat and keep you there up to 100mph before you can realize you’re going WAY TOO FAST. Its way more practical than a vette or camaro too. The lesser ATS is not worth it, but the ATS-V is a car I’d love to own.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Finally fix a model’s problems in the final generation? Old GM lives!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “GM’s second-quarter sales report shows the model’s sales up 7.5 percent over the first half of the year.”

      Ironically this is the model which should have gone into production in 2014. Cadillac needed an entry level though so the Alpha was rushed then cheapened to be ready. We’re seeing it now but the Sigma CTS should have simply continued another two years until Alpha was fully gestated: ATC: Coupe, CTS: Sedan both with nice drivetrain options. It really could have worked had it not all been so shortsighted.

  • avatar

    The ATS-V is spectacular. I took out a manual version for a weekend. Chassis and steering, especially, put the M2 on the trailer. The Recaro seats are very good. Cadillac has built a great, great car by any objective standard. Cons: Cue sucks, the electronics under CUE are great. I am leery of Cadillac’s “Genuine GM Parts”. I actually looked for one for a while, and each Caddy dealer that has one treats it as an icon, priced to match, but unlike, say a BMW dealer, no one selling it understands it. By the time you are done, I can drive a C43, and while the ATS is marginally faster, that isn’t a comparison-you gotta really want the ATS, and be willing to ignore the fact the Benz has a much, much nicer interior. The electric steering on the ATS -V is excellent-BMW take note, buy one, reverse engineer it. The engine has mind boggling thrust and is a pussycat in traffic. If it were a bit less expensive, and you could find more than one every 500 miles, I might have bought one.


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