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2013 Cadillac ATS (GM/GM)
2013 Cadillac ATS (GM/GM)

Driving it home

Detroit takes on the Germans where they live Add to ...

The 2013 Cadillac ATS is a BMW 3-Series fighter built on a new rear-drive platform named Alpha. Alpha-based compact and mid-size vehicles are at the heart of GM’s plans to take on German auto makers such as BMW, the world’s largest premium car company.

GM officials say the ATS is lighter and therefore quicker and more nimble than the 3-Series. It has a five-link rear suspension to keep the car planted in corners, and the electric power steering system is from Germany’s ZF Friedrichshafen AG. Engines includes a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo (272 hp), a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated four (202 hp) and a 3.6-litre V-6 (321 hp). The V-6 should deliver 0-100 km/hour in 5.6 seconds. All-wheel drive will be an option.

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“This is the first time any American luxury car maker has built a vehicle on par with the best of what the Germans have to offer in this segment,” Alec Gutierrez, senior auto analyst at Kelley Blue Book, told Edmunds.com. “Nothing has ever before come even close in amenities, styling or performance. I think they are going to sell a ton of these.”

Meanwhile, Ford Motor is vowing to reinvent its Lincoln luxury brand, too. Ford says it will invest the money to make Lincoln relevant again, and will come to the marketplace with products that aren’t little more than re-badged and tarted-up Fords, as Lincolns used to be.

To date, however, the ATS is the most intriguing piece in Detroit’s attempts to take on the Germans where they live. This one will be worth watching.

That said, for years – no, decades – GM and Ford executives have emphasized the importance of reinventing Cadillac and Lincoln. They said these brands are golden assets that should be able to compete against the best luxury brands around the world. Are they serious this time around?

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