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2016 Cadillac ATS-V First Look

Squaring Off Against M3/M4

Frank Markus
Nov 18, 2014
The cooking-grade ATS sedan and coupe have fared well against their counterparts at BMW -- the 3 and 4 Series — and Cadillac is readying its assault on the top-end M variants of Bavaria's finest. As has been rumored forever, the ATS-V will be motivated by a variant of the CTS Vsport's that is significantly upgraded from that car's 420 hp/430 lb-ft to an estimated 455/445 in the ATS-V. It boasts titanium connecting rods (for reduced rotational inertia and hence quicker revving), and titanium-aluminide turbines in the turbochargers for faster response. This LF4 engine will be backed by a choice of a six-speed manual with active rev-matching for patient purists who don't care about winning races, or an eight-speed auto that shifts quicker than a Porsche PDK twin-clutch box. With it, expect to hit 60 mph in less than 4 seconds en route to a 180-plus-mph top speed. To cool all that angry combustion, the front grille area increases by about 50 percent, the air escaping via extractors in the hood and fenders.
Photo 2/44   |   2016 Cadillac ATS V Front End
Helping turn that power into the fastest Nurburgring times any Cadillac has ever achieved (sorry, no numbers yet) are suspension upgrades that include 50-percent increased roll stiffness front and rear (the hollow anti-roll bar goes from 25 to 27mm and the spring rate increases 50 percent front and rear), bushings that are stiffened between 11 and 50 percent, and toe-control links that get cross-axis steel-ball bushings (similar to Heim joints) for near-zero deflection. The cradle mounts are more rigid and the rear suspension knuckles are strengthened to reduce deflection while braking and cornering to improve handling precision. The third-generation Magnetic Ride Control dual-coil system doubles the magnetic force acting on the metal particles, which, along with greatly increased processing power, permits 40-percent faster damping response. (It can now alter damping every inch of road travel, down from every 3 inches.) The max damping rate is also up 40 percent. And there's an interesting aluminum "clamshell front structure enhancer" — a hollow panel that reinforces the front engine/suspension cradle while serving as the aerodynamic underbelly tray.
Photo 12/44   |   2016 Cadillac ATS V Side
Broadening the footprint are fat 255/35R18 front and 275/35R18 rear Michelin Pilot Sport tires with special bespoke "Twaron belt" tread compound that varies from hard on the outboard edges (to prevent shoulder wear), to stickier in the middle, to stickiest on the inside. Wider tires on higher-offset wheels push the outer edge of the tires outboard 2.2 inches total in front and 1.5 in the rear. We're told to expect 1.0g max lateral grip at least. Forged 9.0-inch-wide front and 9.5-inch-wide rear wheels save about 1.3 pounds per corner. Stopping power comes courtesy of giant 14.6-inch front and 13.3-inch rear steel rotors chomped by six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers, all of it from Brembo. These track-optimized binders are standard on all models. There's also an electronic limited-slip differential.
All ATS-V models get a ventilated carbon-fiber hood (bulged to clear the engine), the big grilles, brake-cooling ducts, a chin splitter, flared and vented fenders, side sill extensions, rear diffuser and spoiler, and quad tailpipes. Opt for the track pack, and the front splitter and rear spoiler each extend about an inch to produce measurable downforce (base Vs generate modest lift). To offset some of the drag this adds, wind deflectors ahead of the front wheels help smooth airflow, and the side sills are extended. Inside, carbon fiber and suede-like material abounds, with Recaro seats and a Performance Data Recorder like the Corvette's optional.
We'll have more closer to the ATS-V's late spring on-sale date, but for now chief engineer Dave Leone recommends an eight-speed automatic coupe with Track Pack as the ultimate M4-slayer at the Green Hell.
Photo 13/44   |   2016 Cadillac ATS V Interior Details

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