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Tuesday, Apr 21, 2015

Cadillac targets BMW with ATS


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Maybe they should have trimmed the seats in nicely-embroidered lederhosen leather.

Or shaped the door mirrors like a plump bratwurst sausage. At least they could have used a map of scenic Bavarian highways and byways as the nav system’s home page.

One thing’s for certain; if Cadillac’s feisty, all-new compact ATS sports sedan was targeted any closer to BMW’s benchmark 3-Series, it’d be slapping its knees and blasting oompah music from its stereo. Mein gott!

A Cadillac that goes head-to-head with a 3-Series? You bet. And since its debut last year, the dynamic little ATS has been scooping-up awards faster than Argo at the Oscars. It’s latest: 2013 North American Car of the Year. Sweet.

There are three mechanical flavors to chose from. At the bottom end is the base ATS, priced from $34-grand. It comes with a forgettable 2.5-liter 202-horse four-cylinder and a future with the rent-a-car fleets.

Best, by far, is the high-revving, snarly 3.6-liter V6 which cranks out a potent 321 horsepower and delivers more tire-frying wheel spin than Dale Jr.’s stockcar.

The base price here is $42,090, but opt for the Premium trim and check all the options boxes and you’re looking at close to $55-large.

Best all-rounder - and the car I’ve just spent a week with - is the terrific 2.0T model powered by a new 2.0-liter turbocharged ‘four’ with direct fuel injection and variable valve timing.

It packs a healthy 272 horseys and can be ordered-up with either a six-speed manual or six-speed auto. Stickers start at $35,795.

Here is one fun-driving car. You’ll love the laser-precise steering, the phenomenal grip and sheer nimbleness of the car, though it’s best to skip the notchy stick-shift in favor of the auto.

This is just a brilliant effort from Cadillac. Certainly worthy of a rousing tribute from the boys in the oompah band.

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