The 2013 Cadillac ATS is being groomed to match the best-selling BMW 3 series, and as expected the specifications of the two rival cars are also very closely matched. Still, the 2013 ATS is made to match the 2011 3 series, not the latest 5-series. The main reason was that when Cadillac was developing the ATS, the 2011 3 series was the king of the road, with 2011 US sales of 94,371 units.
A quick look at the cars’ specs shows that they share almost similar figures. Both cars are equipped with turbocharged four-cylinder 2.00 liter engines, the 3 series with 240-hp output, 260 lbs/ft torque and the ATS with 270-hp output, 260 lbs/ft.
The weight distribution for the 3 series sedan were 50.5/49.5 with manual transmission and 50/50 with automatic, while for ATS, its 51/49 for both transmissions. The wheelbase of the cars is almost identical with 3 series at 110.6 inches and the ATS at 109.3 inches. The length and width of the cars came closer with the 3 series at 182.5 x 71.3 inches and the ATS at 182.8 x 71.1 inches.
The cars’ weight figures were 3,461 lbs for the 3 series and less than 3,400 lbs for the ATS. Cadillac will also sell the ATS in two variants -- rear- and all-wheel-drive – following BMW’s offer. The ATS also comes with a manual transmission variant when it begins rolling out of the assembly line this summer. For a closer look at the ATS, one may view a video of the car’s high-speed maneuvers at Germany's Nürburgring racetrack at Cadillac’s Web site.
To build one of the segment’s lightest cars was Cadillac’s goal in making the ATS. It is this exact same goal that formed the foundation and guiding principle in the development and creation of this vehicle. It is also this principle that has guaranteed its customers a refined driving experience.
Cadillac ATS is a combination of low weight and optimal performance and efficiency (via the powertrains) resulting to a nimbler and controllable feel. ATS chief engineer David Masch adds that the engineering team behind the ATS was careful enough to maintain Cadillac’s signature levels of refinement as they managed its weight.
To optimize its mass, engineers made sure to adhere to a four-pronged philosophy as follows: the original architectural goals must be strictly followed, load management throughout the vehicle must be measured, a benchmark was made for every component to see if there are lighter alternatives, and finally, a habit of weighing every component “against all aspects of its development”.
A couple of parts contribute to the weight loss such as an aluminum hood, magnesium engine mount brackets, and light-weight, natural-fiber door trim panels. These parts effectively adhere to the process of evaluating the weight of every car component.
However, there are also components that proved to be more beneficial when heavier. Such components include the car’s cast iron differentials for which engineers have found out that it could effectively improve fuel economy as compared to a lighter aluminium version.