My local Cadillac dealership just got about 5 new ATSes this week, so I stopped in today to check them out. Here is my disclaimer. I have been driving a relatively unrefined, noisy, and kind of slow and heavy SUV for the last 4 years. The last sedan that I owned as a daily driver was a 2001 Jetta VR6. So, I might be out of touch with what is considered state of the art or world class in sedan performance and styling.
The dealership only had the non-turbo 2.0 auto, and the 3.6 V6 versions on-hand. I will return at a later date, when they get the turbo fours in. The lone V6 they had was out on a test drive, so I drove the base 2.0. I have to say that the 2.0 was NOT slow at all. I was expecting it to feel lethargic, but it kept pulling like a freight train. I think your average ATS customer will be more than happy with this motor. In a mix of city and open road driving, the 2.0 never failed to accelerate willingly. In the cabin, the 2.0 was normally quiet. It only made itself known when I mashed the throttle, but once the trans upshifted the engine quieted right down. It never sounded unrefined, in fact it sounded aggressively furious!
The styling speaks for itself in photos, so I won't go into too much detail here. It is definitely a small car and plays baby brother to the CTS and XTS quite nicely. It was quite a sight to see a full Cadillac line-up in front of the dealership. I remember in the spring all they had were CTSes, SRXes, and Escalades. It is good to see the pond is getting restocked!
The interior is very well assembled out of top notch materials. The CUE system works pretty darn good, but the screen was full of finger smudges by the end of my drive. The CUE has cool physical "buttons" that you interact with for the more frequently used functions (volume, etc...). These fixed buttons are touch sensitive just like the screen, but it allows you to find functions without taking your eyes off the road. The vibrating feedback from the CUE is very aggressive. It almost feels like something is tapping on your fingers from the inside of the dash.
The much discussed "cheap looking" gauge cluster actually looks great in person. Admittedly, when the car is off, it does look pretty lackluster. When the car starts, the cluster illuminates in a pretty colorful display, and there is also a redundant screen in the cluster that echoes what is going on with the larger CUE screen. It was far from being cheap or boring, in actual operation.
I look forward to going back to try out the turbocharged version. Those additional 70 HP will be amazing in this car, because the standard 202 HP was certainly a very fun drive.