Considering all the love Cadillac heaped on mega-size V-8s in the previous century, it’s nice to see this brand embracing smaller, more efficient engines such as the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder powering the ATS sedan reviewed here. Four years ago, Cadillac aimed its compact coupe and sedan at BMW’s heart with evil intent. Since then, the ATS’s powertrain lineup has been enhanced with an all-new 3.6-liter V-6 with auto stop-start and cylinder deactivation, more torque for the 2.0-liter four, an all-wheel-drive option, and an eight-speed paddle-shifted automatic in place of the original six-speed auto.
Listed MSRP is for a 2016 Cadillac ATS Sedan 2.5L I4 RWD base trim with no options. Includes destination fee. Does not include sales tax.
All-wheel drive, introduced in 2014, partners well with the ATS’s smallest-displacement engine. Cadillac’s strategy with this combo is to provide all-weather mobility, competitive performance, a zest for back roads, and 20 or more miles per gallon of premium.
Last year, Cadillac engineers upped the twin-scroll-turbo engine’s output with more boost. Increasing max manifold pressure from 20 to 24 psi raised the torque plateau from 260 lb-ft to 295. While the original torque curve was flat from 1700 to 5500 rpm, the new one still holds steady from 3000 to 4600 rpm. Peak power is the same 272 horsepower at 5500 rpm, and the engine revs to 7000 rpm. Counterrotating balance shafts, electronically controlled engine mounts, and effective sound deadening work to bar vibration from the cabin. What you hear in normal driving is a polite whir.