The 2018 Cadillac ATS-V is the 464-horsepower, track-ready alter-ego of the standard ATS compact-luxury sedan and coupe. It matches or exceeds the numbers put up by the BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C 63 -- and for a lower starting price -- but has yet to establish the cachet of its German rivals.
You'll Like The 2018 Cadillac ATS-V If...
If you want an American alternative to high-performance luxury sedans and coupes like the BMW M3/M4, Mercedes-AMG C 63 and Audi RS5, the 2018 ATS-V is where it's at. Additionally, it packs more power and is faster than BMW's fabled M, all at a lower starting price.
You May Not Like The 2018 Cadillac ATS-V If...
While the Cadillac has no problem in the power department, some buyers --especially younger ones -- may not think the brand is as prestigious as those of its European rivals. Unlike the Infiniti Q50/Q60 Red Sport and upcoming 2018 Audi RS5, the ATS-V is rear-drive only, with no option for all-wheel drive.
Only minor updates are in store for the 2018 Cadillac ATS-V sedan and coupe. Among them are an updated Cadillac-user-experience (CUE) infotainment system and a new exterior paint color: Satin Steel Metallic.
The ATS-V sedan and coupe share the same basic layout as the standard ATS models, with the sedan configured for a total of five passengers and the coupe having room for four. The rear seats of both are a bit cramped, even more so in the coupe. Up front are two well-bolstered seats. Optional are Recaro performance seats that further envelop. The ATS-V's infotainment and climate systems rely on a combination of touch-screen and touch-sensitive sliding controls. The latter can be touchy (no pun intended) in their operation. At 10.4 cubic feet, the ATS-V's trunk is on the small side.
Cadillac’s ATS-V shares its angular and muscular profile with the standard ATS, but with a little training it's easy to tell this high-performance model apart. The hood has a prominent bulge and vent, and the rear sports quad-exhaust housings. The ATS-V is also slightly wider and longer. The 2018 ATS-V coupe has two fewer doors and even more aggressive styling. We're quite fond of its athletic stance on the outside, but in the driver's seat beware of blind spots due to limited visibility. Fun fact: To achieve a 50/50 weight balance, the ATS-V's hood is made from lightweight carbon fiber.
The Cadillac ATS-V truly is "track-ready," and much of our experience in this high-performance Cadillac happened in just such a setting. With no speed limits, we tasted just what the ATS-V can do, and it's very, very good at its limits. With a 0-60-mph time of 3.8 seconds, the ATS-v is a hair quicker than a BMW M3. More significantly, the Cadillac's ATS-V's 8-speed automatic transmission is more refined than the BMW's 7-speed twin-clutch. A 6-speed manual is the standard operating system, and it's crisp and has a far lighter clutch pedal than that of the old CTS-V. A range of traction settings keeps the car in check or will let you slide to your heart's content, depending on your skill level. On regular roads, the ATS-V is noticeably stiffer than the standard ATS, but not punishing. We recommend the "Touring" setting, which optimizes the magnetic-ride control for more comfort.
The 2018 Cadillac ATS-V sedan has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just under $62,000 including the $995 destination charge. ATS-V coupe models start higher at just over $64,000. If you want an automatic transmission, you'll have to add another $2,000 to these prices. At its starting price, the Cadillac ATS-V slightly undercuts rivals like the BMW M3 sedan and M4 coupe, and the Mercedes-AMG C 63. The coupe-only Lexus RC F is right in line with the ATS-V coupe. Red Sport versions of the Infiniti Q50 sedan/Q60 coupe start about $10,000 less than their ATS-V counterparts, but pack "only" 400 horsepower. Check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what buyers in your area paid for their ATS-V. The Cadillac ATS-V's resale value is expected to fare better than the standard ATS, but still trail that of rivals like BMW M models, and Lexus RC F and Mercedes-AMG C 63.
As it already sits atop the ATS food chain, the ATS-V high-performance sedan and coupe come well-equipped out the gate. Included in their $60,000-plus price tags is all that high-performance hardware, plus leather interior, 18-way-power front seats, power-adjustable steering column, and dual-zone climate control. The Cadillac offers a robust infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, Bose premium audio and the OnStar communications system with 4G LTE and Wi-Fi capability (includes a 3-month trial). This latest Cadillac-user-experience system has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration built-in, and a trio of USB ports to keep devices juiced.
Aside from the 8-speed automatic transmission with magnesium paddle shifters and Recaro seats, most major options for the Cadillac ATS-V are bundled into packages. The Luxury package includes navigation, split-folding rear seats, universal garage remote and high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights. Another package bundles safety features like forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning and more. If you're fond of carbon fiber and have an extra $5,000, you can add the light but strong material to the rear, front splitter and other portions of the ATS-V. A sunroof is available, ditto a head-up display and even higher-end Bose audio system.
You probably won't ever go 189 mph in your Cadillac ATS-V, and not every start needs to be a 0-60-mph sprint of 3.8 seconds, but the fact that both those numbers are better than a BMW M3 means you can brag all day long. Another reason: 464 horsepower vs. 425.
PERFORMANCE DATA RECORDER
Part gee-whiz technology, part track trainer, this optional system records video of your driving sessions plus data points such as speed, how many g's you pulled in that turn and more. If you're particularly proud of a run, you can even share it with friends.
Under the Hood
The 2018 Cadillac ATS-V Sedan and Coupe use a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 that generates an impressive 464 horsepower. The ATS-V high-performance cars are rear-wheel drive (RWD) only and come with a 6-speed manual transmission or optional 8-speed automatic. They also feature an electronic limited-slip differential and high-performance Brembo brake calipers. Premium unleaded gasoline is recommended.
3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6
464 horsepower @ 5,850 rpm
445 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 mpg (manual), 17/25 mpg (automatic)
The 2018 Cadillac ATS-V is the twin-turbocharged alter-ego of the standard ATS sedan and coupe (see separate review). Building on the foundation of that already-impressive compact-luxury car, Cadillac's go-fast team injects the ATS-V with a 464-horsepower V6 engine and track-ready hardware. The recipe is a good one, resulting in a high-performance sedan and coupe that match or exceed numbers put up by the BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C 63, all while coming in at a lower price. Keep in mind that cost is relative here, as the ATS-V's roughly $62,000 starting price is about $26,000 more than a basic ATS. That money buys a lot of performance and premium amenities, if not the instant cred that comes with the better-known models from its German rivals.