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Just a couple of years ago, if you wanted a fast medium-sized sedan (or coupe) you had a choice of three main contenders: the BMW M3, Mercedes C63 AMG and the Audi RS4. Following the success of the CTS-V which showed the M5, E63 AMG and RS6 what’s up, Cadillac decided to bring their A-game to the sport midsize segment as well. Queue the Cadillac ATS-V.

The standard ATS received strong praises for its excellent driving dynamics, but the ATS-V takes the game a few levels up. It’s built on GM’s lightweight Alpha platform (a platform which will be shared with the next-gen Camaro). It’s a rear wheel drive platform and as you can imagine, it’s reserved for sport sedans and coupes. The engine powering the ATS-V is a 3.6 liter V6 strapped with two turbochargers, developing 464 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque. We think that a V8 can fit under the hood but for obvious reasons (the CTS-V), they didn’t do that. As far as transmissions go, you have two choices: a fast eight-speed auto and a six-speed manual. We’ll take the six-speed manual thank you very much.

The coupe version is slightly lighter than the sedan, and naturally the manual is slightly lighter than the auto. However, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily faster. A manual coupe can hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds from a dig, while an automatic CTS-V sedan will hit the same target in a blistering 3.7 seconds. It’s the same story with the quarter mile. A manual coupe does it in 12.6 seconds at 114.2 mph while a heavier automatic sedan will do it in 12.1 at 116.2 mph.

At the end of the day, does that really matter however? Well, if you want to brag and are into numbers then yes, otherwise no. We love manuals, and we can’t recommend an automatic when there’s a manual option. However, in the case of the ATS-V, it isn’t that simple. The manual is more involving and slightly more fun, but it can also be more frustrating. It’s not one of those buttery smooth, fluid manuals. It’s notchy and sometimes not that cooperative. It will at times annoy you but to be honest, an automatic will annoy us almost all of the time just because you can’t shift gears yourself. Despite the drawback, we’d go for the manual but you have to test drive both for yourself and only make up your mind after.

The handling is, like we said, superb. You get the feeling that this is a sports car first and a luxury second, while it’s the opposite with the Germans. Would we recommend it, even with the current offering of M3/M4, C63s and RS4s? Absolutely. The ride is supple and comfortable when you want it to, and stiff without body roll when you need it to be. The engine is a true powerhouse but it lacks in personality much like the M3’s engine does. That’s an issue the C63 does not have. This is a decision you’re going to have to make with your heart.

Don’t think over it too much. Choose which one makes you happy. That way you’ll be able to live with the drawbacks without regretting your purchase. Whatever you buy, you can’t go wrong. Just make sure to get the one which makes you flutter inside, otherwise you’ll regret it someday.

The handling is, like we said, superb. You get the feeling that this is a sports car first and a luxury second, while it’s the opposite with the Germans. Would we recommend it, even with the current offering of M3/M4, C63s and RS4s? Absolutely. The ride is supple and comfortable when you want it to, and stiff without body roll when you need it to be. The engine is a true powerhouse but it lacks in personality much like the M3’s engine does. That’s an issue the C63 does not have. This is a decision you’re going to have to make with your heart. Don’t think over it too much. Choose which one makes you happy. That way you’ll be able to live with the drawbacks without regretting your purchase. Whatever you buy, you can’t go wrong. Just make sure to get the one which makes you flutter inside, otherwise you’ll regret it someday.

Richard Melick
About the Author

Co-founder and Editor of FactoryTwoFour.com. I am a writer and photographer with global travel ambitions. I never shy from a new recipe, adventure, or experience. I write about what I love.

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