All indications are that the 2019 Cadillac ATS may be the end of the line for this nameplate. Cadillac, it seems, will replace the ATS with a vehicle more in line size-wise with key competitors like the Audi A4 and the BMW 3 Series. The fact Cadillac eliminated the sedan for 2019 is an indication the ATS may well be on its way out.
Having said all of that, we still are high on the ATS that made its bones on Germany’s storied Nurburgring race track. In its normal guise the ATS is nothing short of fun to drive. In its high-performance ATS-V cloak, it is heart stopping. We always did find the ATS cabin a bit cramped, but lived with it as a condition of driving this dynamic performer.
What’s New for 2019?
The major change for ATS in 2019 is Cadillac discontinuing the sedan, offering it only as a 2-door coupe. Also discontinued is the 6-speed manual transmission with the 2.0-liter engine. See the 2019 Cadillac ATS models for sale near you
What We Like
- Genuinely sporty handling
- Signature Cadillac styling
- Wild ATS-V model
What We Don’t
- Limited rear legroom
- Tight trunk
- Unrefined turbocharged engine
The ATS comes standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder (dubbed 2.0T), producing 272 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The 2.0T is offered with rear- or all-wheel drive and the 8-speed automatic transmission found on all ATS models. With RWD, fuel economy is 22 miles per gallon in the city, 31 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg in combined driving. It returns essentially the same with AWD.
Interestingly, opting for the 3.6-liter V6, which produces 335 hp and 285 lb-ft, doesn’t come with a substantial fuel economy penalty, instead returning 20 mpg city/30 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined with RWD. Optional AWD lowers estimates to 19 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined.
Topping the ATS range is the high-performance ATS-V, offering a twin-turbocharged version of that 3.6-liter V6 making 464 hp and 445 lb-ft of torque. While the ATS-V can only be fitted with rear-wheel drive, it’s offered with a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission. The manual returns 16 mpg city/23 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined, while the automatic reaches 17 mpg city/25 mpg hwy/20 mpg combined. Cadillac claims a top speed of 189 miles per hour and a zero-to-60 time of 3.8 seconds.
Standard Features & Options
The 2019 Cadillac ATS is available in four trim levels: the base ATS, Luxury, Premium Luxury and Premium Performance. The high-performance ATS-V is effectively a fifth trim level.
Base-level ATS model ($39,990) offers 18-in alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, Brembo front brakes, push-button start, remote start, sport suspension, leatherette seating, 6-way power front seats, eight airbags, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote keyless entry, LED interior lighting, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel with magnesium paddle shifters, a rearview camera, wireless phone charging, Bluetooth connectivity, Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system interface, a 12-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system, OnStar capability, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot capability, satellite radio capability and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay. Options include 19-in alloy wheels, a power sunroof, a rear spoiler and heated front seats.
Stepping up to the ATS Luxury ($43,790) adds navigation functionality to CUE plus heated/self-dimming outboard mirrors with integrated turn-signal indicators, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a memory package for the driver’s seat/outboard mirrors/steering-wheel column, leather seating, a 12-way power driver’s seat, a 10-way power front-passenger seat, an 110-volt power point, an auto-dimming inside rearview mirror, high-intensity headlights (HID) and front/rear park assist. Options include forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assist with lane-departure warning, rain-sensing wipers, automatic high beams, lane change alert with blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
The Premium Luxury ($49,390) gains the standard V6 engine, nearly all of the Luxury options plus locking fuel door, illuminated door handles, automatic high beams, a power sunroof and rain-sensing wipers. Available options include the Driver Assist Package with adaptive cruise control, forward/reverse automatic braking, a head-up display, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and an electronic parking brake.
The Premium Performance ($51,890) adds an engine oil cooler, a limited-slip rear differential, magnetic ride control, performance suspension, a head-up display and sport-aluminum pedals. Among the options are an electronic parking brake and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Options include a Driver Assist Package and performance springs/shocks. It is the only ATS, apart from the V, to not offer AWD as an option.
The ATS-V ($68,790) is for the most part equipped like a base ATS, though it does offer an abundance of performance-enhancing elements, such as launch control, performance traction management, active rev matching, a sport steering system and more. Other optional equipment is available through option packages along with a variety of further performance-enhancing features.
Most of the non-performance content found in upper ATS trim levels is available on lower ones.
The Cadillac ATS comes with stability control, a rearview camera, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes with an available Brembo performance upgrade, and eight standard airbags (front, front side, front knee and full-length side curtain). Rear-side airbags are optional.
Optional on the Luxury, standard on all those above are forward-collision warning, emergency automatic braking, lane-keeping assist, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic warning, automatic wipers, General Motors’ Safety Alert Seat and a variety of enhanced security system measures.
No third party has crash tested the ATS Coupe.
Behind the Wheel
From behind the wheel, there’s just not a bad apple in this barrel now that the old naturally aspirated base engine has been put out to pasture. Every 2019 Cadillac ATS was designed from the ground up to handle like a sports car. Steering response is crisp and direct, while body control is remarkably precise. The ATS 2.0T with its standard limited-slip differential is a real hoot, especially with the optional magnetically controlled adaptive suspension aboard. Things get even a little wilder with the V6.
At the same time, ride quality is pretty good — especially with those magnetic dampers — but it’s not as supple as what you’d get in rival luxury sedans. The ATS definitely skews toward the sporty side of the spectrum, which might not be to everyone’s liking. The 2.0T engine is also a bit coarse and unrefined in feeling and sound, lacking the sophistication demonstrated by most competitors. Of course, you can get the ATS with a V6, which corrects that problem.
As for the ATS-V, we’ve only had the chance to take a short drive. But it feels — and sounds — absolutely ferocious, providing a clear alternative to high-performance rivals such as the Mercedes C63 AMG and BMW’s M3 and M4.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 BMW 3 Series — The 3 Series still has a leg up on Cadillac in the powertrain department, and it’s also offered as a wagon, a coupe or a convertible (the latter two of which are known as the 4 Series). But we think the two go toe-to-toe in most major areas.
2019 Jaguar XE — Like the ATS, the XE is a great choice for those who put "fun to drive" at the top of their priority list. With its terrific steering and suspension tuning, plus a thrilling supercharged V6, it’s a great performance choice.
2019 Kia Stinger — For considerably less money, you can get a car that has more power, a larger and (arguably) more luxurious interior and a genuinely engaging driving experience to rival the ATS. That it’s a Kia shouldn’t put you off.
We think most ATS shoppers will be happiest with the turbocharged ATS. It’s powerful, fuel-efficient and available in numerous configurations. Plus, it’s cheaper than adding the V6. As for trim level, we actually think the base model is now well-enough equipped to meet the needs and wants of most buyers — although the Luxury trim’s added leather heated seats may make the step up worth it. Find a Cadillac ATS for sale