2013 Cadillac ATS unveiled at Detroit Auto Show; will compete with the new 3 Series image

This is the new 2013 ATS sedan – unveiled today at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show – a compact luxury sports sedan intended to challenge the world’s best premium cars.

Developed on an all-new, lightweight vehicle architecture, Cadillac’s entry into the world’s most significant luxury car segment goes on sale this summer.

“We intend for it to be not just a compelling new challenger, but rather a winner. Anyone who knows me and works with me knows I hate the word ‘competitive,'” said Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, in unveiling the car Sunday night, on the eve of the Detroit auto show.

“We will win with this car once again. … For the first time, we’ve got something no one else has.”

Cadillac says the ATS weighs less than 3,400 pounds — less than the minimum weight of the 2012 Acura TSX (3,400 pounds), BMW 328i (3,406) and Audi A4 (3,505).
That’s an impressive statistic from GM, a company whose cars often show up heavier than that neighbor who ignored all restraint on holiday fudge.

The chassis employs a five-link rear and front struts, with ZF variable-assist electric power steering and four-wheel disc brakes (Brembos on the upmarket trim levels). Wheel sizes include 17 and 18 inches, with 225/35ZR19 run-flat all-season tires as the top choice.

The base engine is a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated inline-four, putting out 200 horsepower and 188 pound-feet of torque, which should be good for over 30 miles per gallon on the highway.

The real fun starts with the optional turbocharged, direct-injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder. It develops 270 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, a significant bump over the 240-hp 2.0-liter engine found in the base 3 Series.

The most fuel efficient model will get more than 30 m.p.g. on the highway.

All-wheel drive is also available, as is a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions–though it’s not clear if the manual will be available with all-wheel drive.

The ATS’s interior looks as promising as its underpinnings. A center stack evenly divides the dashboard, which is offered with two different colors for the top and four for the bottom (the latter hue matches the seats).

Safety options include Full Speed Range Adaptive Cruise Control, Intelligent Brake Assist, Forward Collision Alert, Brake Pre-Fill Automatic Collision Preparation, Lane Departure Warning, Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Vision Camera With Dynamic Guidelines, Adaptive Forward Lighting, Hill Hold/Start Assist (Standard, manual transmission).

We expect to start at $33,000 — $35,000.