Cadillac ATS 2.5 Auto Review

We try the entry-level baby Caddy

By Shahzad Sheikh

Cadillac ATS 2.5-litre four-cylinder review

At the Middle East launch of the Cadillac’s BMW 3 series-chaser, the all-new ATS, which you can read about here, I didn’t get a chance to try the smaller of the two engine options available, opting to drive the 321bhp, 3.6-litre V6 versions for the duration.

Cadillac ATS 2.5-litre four-cylinder review

However, several people have since enquired about the baby Caddy fitted with the 2.5-litre engine producing 202bhp. Considering that at AED135,000 ($36,800) it starts at AED40,000 less than the 3.6, that shouldn’t be altogether surprising.

Cadillac ATS 2.5-litre four-cylinder review

So does the sporty Caddy with the stated aimed of taking out the Beemer, lose its competitive edge with four instead of six cylinders beneath the bonnet? Well we’ve been cruising around in one for a few days now and we think not.

Cadillac ATS 2.5-litre four-cylinder review

The 2.5 is a fully updated engine and debuted in the 2013 Chevy Malibu, where it has slightly less power. It promises less noise and vibrations whilst improving fuel economy and low-end torque compared to the previous 2.4 units – it’s 40% quieter for example.

Cadillac ATS 2.5-litre four-cylinder review

It also makes the car 66kg lighter than the 3.6 with about a kilo less mass over the front wheels giving a near-perfect 50:50 front and rear weight distribution. Zero to 100kph acceleration is about two seconds slower at 7.7seconds compared to 5.6seconds for the V6, and top speed is about 209kph.

Cadillac ATS 2.5-litre four-cylinder review

The figures are respectable and in the real world, it’s go more than enough go for daily driving around town and for intercity touring economy. It’s got a nice gruff roar to it, but it could be deemed a little too loud, especially when you’re not actually going that quickly, it doesn’t mind revving, but there’s not much benefit to doing so as the peak 191lb ft of torque comes in at a relatively low 4400rpm.

Cadillac ATS 2.5-litre four-cylinder review

The six-speed torque-converter automatic (same as in the V6) lets it down a bit however, as it hunts for gears occasionally, hesitates to change down and slurs up-changes too much in normal mode which is not quite in keeping with the character of the power unit, though things improve a little in Sports mode. Frankly I resorted to changing manually for spirited driving which you have to do through the lever as there are no paddles.

Cadillac ATS 2.5-litre four-cylinder review

There’s no ‘dynamic’ mode for the traction control, it’s either on or off which means that even with the smaller engine, if the road surface is a bit dusty, you can enjoy the utterly benign and manageable way it will wag its tale, aided by the accurate steering – keep it in Sports for the firmer feel.

Cadillac ATS 2.5-litre four-cylinder review

And of course the keen turn-in, surprisingly high-speed grip, and remarkably composed body control all remain with perhaps even slightly better response up front. The ride too is also commendably smooth and comfortable.

Cadillac ATS 2.5-litre four-cylinder review

In terms of equipment the cool CUE system remains but without Sat Nav on the spec I tested, plus there’s no reversing camera, though there are sensors and plush leather upholstery made up for it. The only criticism would be that the indicator is a bit loud. Other than that, the interior continues to impress by being comfortable and very inviting with a massive leap up in quality and presentation over older Caddys.

Cadillac ATS 2.5-litre four-cylinder review

Personally I’d still rather have the V6 because, well, I just would! Having said that, I didn’t exactly feel short-changed with the 2.5, particularly with this level of fit, finish and equipment for the money, and nor would I describe it as slow – you just have to work at it a little harder and there’s still a lot of fun still to be had here.

Cadillac ATS 2.5-litre four-cylinder review

Specs
Cadillac ATS 2.5
How much? AED135,000 ($36,800)
Engine: 2.5-litre four-cylinder, 202bhp @ 6300rpm, 191lb ft @ 4400rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel Economy: 10.7L/100km
Performance: 0-100kph 7.6 seconds, Top speed 209kph
Weight: 1504kg

Let us know what you think of the new Cadillac ATS below

 

One response to “Cadillac ATS 2.5 Auto Review”

  1. muawviz says:

    impressive..

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