L.A. Auto Show LIVE: Cadillac ATS-V image

The General Motors luxury brand has officially unveiled during the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show the performance versions of its smallest model – the ATS-V sedan and coupe.

Cadillac, once the almighty force in the luxury segment on the US market is today playing catch-up to the German brands BMW and Mercedes-Benz and Japan’s Lexus. While late news about the sales of the ATS and CTS models were not very positive – dwindling deliveries led GM to axe a production shift at the plant making the cars, the ATS-V is surely going to stir the things up.

The two versions, sedan and coupe, are described by the premium marquee as “dual-purpose luxury performers,” meaning the owner won’t have any trouble in taking the “beast” to work in the morning and to the racetrack in the evening. Changes include a more dynamic front end, with a mesh grille and larger air intakes. We shouldn’t neglect the front splitter and ventilated carbon fiber hood. On the sides we find aerodynamic side skirts, a protruding rear spoiler and a menacing four-tailpipe exhaust setup. Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires complement the new 18-inch lightweight alloys.

Clients that are not yet satisfied can also opt for the Carbon Fiber and Track packages – the later adds to the first a lightweight battery and a Performance Data Recorder. Speaking of more, under the hood resides a twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 engine that delivers 455 bhp (339 kW) and 445 lb-ft (603 Nm) of torque to the six-speed manual transmission (with Active Rev Match) or the optional eight-speed automatic featuring steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. Performance figures were scarce, but Cadillac did say that at least one of the versions would hit 60 mph (96 km/h) in a mere 3.9 seconds, on its way to the top speed of 185 mph (297 km/h).