Being a lifelong fan of the European models of compact sports cars, I did not expect to be impressed by the Cadillac ATS, Cadillac’s latest luxury sports sedan. However, the ATS is giving the big boys such as the BMW 3 series or the Audi A4 a run for their money.
Cadillac is known for sensible classics such as the XTS, which attracted the older generation still fond of big cars. With the lightweight, compact ATS, they are going after a new market of young businessmen who are looking for the luxury that Cadillac offers, with the nimbleness and speed that they can now find in the ATS.
The aerodynamic and lightweight design gives the ATS’ exterior its own character and sets it aside from the competition. Its interior is classic Cadillac, luxurious and comfortable, with the technology to back it up. The Cadillac User Experience (CUE) is the interior’s highlight. The CUE is a built in entertainment system which allows you to link your smart phone to the car’s front screen. In this way, all my contacts are available to me through the futuristic front screen and I can ignore my phone while in the car.
The ATS was tested and developed on the road in the famed journey from Germany’s Nürburgring through Monaco to YAS Island, Abu Dhabi in seriously demanding road conditions. Lebanon’s roads are notoriously unforgiving and so the ultimate test of its performance was over Beirut’s potholes. Driving it through the streets of the capital, or the curves of the mountain roads, I found the ATS to be a quick, smooth and supple ride.
The ATS’ innovative ‘Safety Alert Seat’ is also a welcome feature when navigating the infamously chaotic Lebanese traffic. An advanced warning system comprising radars, cameras and ultrasonic sensors sends pulses through the drivers seat, warning of a variety of potential hazards.
In terms of performance and design, the ATS is offering no less than what other cars in its class are. In terms of pricing, it has them beat by 15 to 20 percent. In the Lebanese market, the ATS is priced at $48,000 (VAT excluded) and comes with four years free servicing. Cadillac expects to sell seven to eight ATS models per month, a target they may very well reach.