2019 ATS

 

When your competing rivals are a German powerhouse trio – the Audi RS5 Coupe, BMW M4, and Mercedes-AMG C63 – you better show up to the fight with the sharpest weapon around. And America has a lot to be proud of when it comes to its dagger of choice – the 2019 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe

Performance…it’s all about performance.

The summary of the 2019 Cadillac ATS-V must begin and end with performance. It is the the one feature of this vehicle that makes sense of anything else you may somewhat question or consider.

Cadillac’s V-heritage remains strong with a 3.6L twin turbo V6 power plant, producing 464 hp and 445 lb. ft. of torque. The delivery of this amount of power mated to a six-speed manual transmission is what gives this vehicle so much character and makes it an absolute blast to drive, no matter what scenario you find yourself in. While a 2-day performance driving school at Spring Mountain Motor Resort comes complimentary (a $2,470 value) with the purchase of a 2018 or newer V-series from Cadillac, our testing was limited to the mean streets and highways of N. Texas. Even so, every single moment behind the wheel of the ATS-V was thrilling, heart-racing, and soul-satisfying. And it had a delicious engine growl to boot!

The vehicle was poised in any condition – highway drives, backcountry twists and turns, and urban outings. Handling was tight and taught when it needed to be and reasonably forgiving when it didn’t. The behind-the-wheel experience of this vehicle cannot be understated.

The gut punch of this story? As of Spring 2019, Cadillac has ceased production of the ATS-V (and CTS-V). While the V-series will continue on in additional models, the ATS and CTS variants will be no more. Boo!

Sport Coupe-Appropriate styling.

I know I’m going to get a ton of criticism for this opinion but to me, the ATS-V has the most attractive and sport coupe-appropriate styling in the bunch. Yes, seriously. The three German rivals above all have great styling and I would be happy to own any one of the lot. However, the ATS-V body lines, fender flares, avant-guard grille, headlights, and carbon fiber trim are a perfect style-to-performance match. There is aggressive attitude both in performance and styling.

Inside the cabin, the 2019 ATS-V is outfitted as you’d expect any Cadillac to be. The combination of Alcantara leather, carbon fiber, suede, and soft-touch plastics help dress up the sport coupe’s vibe. Our CTS-V had an updated CUE (Cadillac User Interface) infotainment system. A definite experience upgrade from the previous-gen CUE, responses were quicker, layout was cleaner, and prompts were more user-friendly. The continual advancements in the infotainment space are always welcome and Cadillac has worked hard to keep up with the latest trends and creature comforts in this space. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also available.

 

ATS cockpit

Safety…plentiful but pricey.

While there are plenty of safety elements available on the 2019 Cadillac ATS-V, much of the safety suite is available only as part of the $1,800 Safety and Security package. Some of the safety items included:

  • parking sensors
  • pre-collision warning
  • following distance indicator
  • blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert
  • automatic headlights
  • lane-keep assist
  • And more…

And for the bad news…

It feels wrong to even include a hint of anything being “wrong” with this car. Truthfully, I love it – every single ounce of it. If I this were my daily driver for the foreseeable future, I would be one very happy man. Daily work commutes, hardware store runs, kid shuttling…every single aspect of time behind the wheel would be met with a smile. Until that monthly car payment hits the mailbox. As if the base price of nearly $68K wasn’t enough, add in all the “extras” that were very much appreciated in my week with the vehicle – a whopping $12K worth – and you crest $80K. OUCH.

And since we’re in bad news land already, it is important to note that the backseat is merely for decorative purposes. Sure, small kids would to just fine but any “normal-sized” adults would lose circulation to their feet by the time you reach your first destination. Is this a deal-breaker? Not for me. There is so much more to love on this car that I’m happy to overlook the lack of rear legroom…especially since I’d never plan to be anywhere other than behind the wheel.

ATS interior

Summary

MSRP: $67,795

PRICE AS TESTED: $80,775

The 2019 Cadillac ATS-V has to be one of my favorite vehicles I’ve driven this year. I’m certainly sad to see its production come to an end, but if Cadillac engineers continue to produce performance variants like this, I’m excited to see what’s coming next. Head out and drive one for yourself. Just make sure to hang on tight.

See you on the road…

 

Fabian Campos