Southern California is my favorite place in the U.S. Between business trips and vacation escapes I think of it as my home away home without the high taxes, escalating property values and round-the-clock traffic. But I do love visiting.
I enjoy all of my trips but got to experience a bit more fun than usual recently when Cadillac let me play in a 2018 ATS-V Coupe during a stay.
I always referred to this car as the “Batmobile” as, at first glance, it reminds me of the sleek, sexy speedster the superhero drove around Gotham City. Climbing into this glossy black model made me want to don a cowl as the only things missing were orange piping and bat logo on the hood.
The ATS-V competes in a segment with the Lexus RC-F, Audi RS5, and the BMW M3. It starts just under $64,000 which is in the low-end of the segment. My test car had a slew of options coming in at $78,000.
This is not a big car. My six-foot tall frame was able to slip into the Recaro racing driver seat (a $2,300 upgrade) with ease and despite the inviting comfy-looking back seats it would be tough to fit two adults of similar height back there.
Speaking of upgrades, the luxury package includes aluminum pedals, navigation, HID headlights with LED running lights, a power outlet, and Bose audio. I am a BOSE fan and the sound quality was excellent. Certainly worth the $2,100 upgrade if your audio needs are like mine.
The security package is a good value at $1,800 as it includes a power steering column, rain sensing wipers, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, heads-up-display, and rear-cross traffic alert.
All ATS-V models come with a 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 engine. Cadillac rates it at 464 hp which, when driven properly, can get you from 0-to-60 mph in 3.8 seconds with the 8-speed automatic. My test model had a 6-speed manual which slowed that sprint down to 4.3 seconds (not that I tried in the lovely LA traffic).
Sport and track modes are a convenient button-push away. Sport mode tightens up the suspension and steering and makes for a racetrack-like noise under the hood.
Tech in cars is a big deal for me and my feelings are mixed with Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system which comes standard on every ATS-V. Though I loved the bass-filled BOSE sound system it is tough to navigate the system with the glare that consistently hits the touchscreen. There are no soft buttons or knobs that provide a tactic feel to each input. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to touch the silver directional symbols or just above or below them. The console looks sleek but anyone in the Witness Protection Program would be busted immediately as every fingerprint remains on the screen.
Voice control proved easier to input commands. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay luckily are included.
The Cadillac ATS-V offers great performance and high style. If you generally ride with the backseats unoccupied and carry a pair of white gloves to keep the CUE screen clean this car is worth the consideration when looking in the category.