Have you been waiting for America to make a real compact sport sedan? An honest-to-goodness 4-door sports car that can do battle with Europe's best?

Look no further than the all-new 2013 Cadillac ATS, a world-class athlete that's ready to give the BMW 3 Series some sleepless nights. We've got five reasons to put this sleek new Caddy on your shopping list.

1. Sports Car Handling

Cadillac fine-tuned the ATS model's handling on Germany's famed Nurburgring racetrack. The target? The BMW 3 Series, of course -- but not the larger, softer model that's on the market now. Instead, Cadillac went after the previous 3 Series, a smaller car that's widely considered to be sportier than its successor. If you're shopping for an Acura TL, Audi A4, Infiniti G37 or Mercedes Benz C-Class, Cadillac is looking to impress you as well. We say Mission accomplished, GM -- the ATS is a genuine blast to drive, dancing through tight corners with minimal body roll and sports-car reflexes. And at the same time, the small Cadillac doesn't sacrifice ride quality at the expense of sporty handling. The ATS feels softer than an Infiniti G37, but sharper and firmer than a Mercedes Benz C-Class.

2. Unmistakable Style

Need we say more? The ATS downsizes Cadillac's crisp design language to perfection, leaving no doubt as to who makes this car. One look at those tall taillights or that angular front end and everyone will know you're driving a Cadillac. Some of us even think that the ATS looks better than Cadillac's perennial fashion champ, the groundbreaking midsize CTS.

3. An Engine for Everyone

Unlike some of the import brands, Cadillac wants its sport sedan to be accessible, so there's a base ATS with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that keeps costs down -- and gets 32 miles per gallon, too. But if you want more power, don't worry: The ATS offers a turbocharged 4-cylinder that packs a healthier punch, and you can also specify a 321-horsepower V6 that's borrowed from the CTS. Get the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine along with the available manual transmission and you'll get the most bang for your buck. Take a test drive and compare this car to a much more expensive German sport sedan and you may be surprised just how impressive the Cadillac feels.

4. Right on CUE

On the technology front, the ATS takes a big leap forward with the Cadillac User Experience or CUE, Cadillac's new touch-based infotainment system. It has an 8-inch touchscreen that looks like a miniature iPad, and it also features a voice-command system and full smartphone integration with apps like Pandora. Plus, to enhance functionality on the fly, each of CUE's digital buttons vibrates in confirmation when you press it. But CUE take it one step further by giving the driver the option to save a variety of things as a "Favorite." You can still save radio stations as favorites, land-based broadcast radio stations can be saved along side satellite radio stations. You can also set a location, phone number, song (from the hard-drive or a CD) as a favorite. It's like combining your radio station pre-sets with your nav system's address book along with your most frequently dialed phone numbers all in one list, each with a corresponding pre-set button.

5. Available All-Wheel Drive

To compete against the best overseas sport sedans, you need to have all-wheel drive and the ATS offers it with either the turbo or the V6. So if you have to deal with the white stuff during the winter, don't worry, this Caddy's got you covered. And when the snow melts, just throw on some summer tires and let all-wheel drive add to the fun on winding roads.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The cool thing about the 2013 Cadillac ATS is that it's globally competitive -- a true alternative to European performance cars, not an American afterthought. If you're looking for a compact sport sedan, you owe yourself a test drive in Cadillac's latest.

author photo

Josh Sadlier is an automotive journalist based in Los Angeles and has contributed to such publications as Edmunds.com and DriverSide.com. He holds arguably the most unexpected degree in his profession: a master's in Theological Studies.

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