General Motors has begun building the new Cadillac ATS today at its Lansing Grand River assembly plant in Michigan.

The 2013 Cadillac ATS is a completely brand-new vehicle and GM has big expectations from this vehicle. It is expected to get into direct battle with the BMW 3 Series – the best-selling premium size sedan in the world.

“The task of ATS is very ambitious, going into the largest luxury segment against a brand like 3-Series that’s dominated the segment,” said Cadillac global marketing director James Vurpillat.

The base ATS, which starts at $33,990 including destination, comes with a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder putting out 202 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque (the 2012 BMW 328i starts at $35,795 with destination, but its turbo-4 puts out 240 hp)
It remains to be seen how the ATS’ fuel economy will compete, but the base model has been rated at 22 city, 33 highway, towards the top of competitors for base model fuel economy.

The top motor is a 3.6-liter V-6, good for 321 peak horsepower. The 2.5 is only available with rear-wheel drive, but the two more powerful engines can drive either just the rear, or all four wheels. All models have a six-speed automatic transmission, but the rear-drive 2.0T also offers a proper six-speed manual.

General Motors spent $190 million to retool part of the Lansing Grand River plant to prepare for the ATS. The company said it hired about 600 hourly workers, adding a second production shift and bringing total hourly employment to nearly 1,500.


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