These days, just about every automaker builds good cars. Truly great cars, however, are few and far between, and great is exactly what Cadillac is targeting with its upcoming ATS compact sedan. BMW’s 3-Series will be the car’s primary competitor, and as the new kid on the block Cadillac knows it can’t be just “as good” as the 3-Series; it must, in fact, be better.
Developing a car that goes fast around a track isn’t terribly difficult, but tuning it so it remains comfortable as a daily driver is. The very things that add speed, like a lowered and stiff suspension, big stabilizer bars, narrow profile tires and hard suspension bushings also detract from ride quality. For Cadillac customers, that simply won’t fly, so the trick for Cadillac’s engineers is finding the right balance between ride and handling. While matching BMW for fit, finish and content. While beating them on price.
If you get the feeling that this may be the biggest challenge Cadillac has ever faced, you’d be correct. The ATS will be a “reverse halo” car for Cadillac, designed to lure new buyers into Cadillac showrooms. Get it right, and you introduce a new generation of buyers to the Cadillac brand. Get it wrong, and your only hope is that the Chinese will like what you’ve done with the car.
We’re big fans of the Cadillac CTS-V, so we’re really pulling for them on the ATS.