The Cadillac ATS Is Expected To Get a New Front For ’16

What changes will make it different?

The ATS is a luxury compact sedan and coupe that made its debut in 2012 as a ’13 model year in sedan form only; the coupe appeared the following a year later. It’s about time, then, for a mid-cycle refreshing. That seems to be exactly what we’ll get for the 2016 model year, and, as was recently announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show, performance “V” versions of both the sedan and coupe will also be available.

Why should I wait for the 2016?

The ’15 version is desirable in both its forms. It’s also one of those very rare beasts that takes on established competitors from overseas like the Mercedes C-Class, Audi A-4 and the Infiniti Q50 and beats them in most areas. However, if you’re longing for an ATS-V, then you’ll have to wait until model-year 2016. And from what we’ve seen and heard, you won’t be disappointed.

Should I buy a 2015 model instead?

With so many changes on the horizon, it would be easy to advocate holding out until the ’16 edition. But since that refreshed offering is already very much in the pipeline, you may be able to get a great deal on a 2015. If the price is right, don’t overlook it.

Will the styling be different?

Don’t expect too many radical or dramatic styling changes in the sedan or coupe. The sporty and aggressive stuff is being left for the ATS-V. Nevertheless, you will note some subtle enhancements, such as adjustments to the lights and grille.

Any mechanical changes?

The mechanical upgrades are expected to be more sweeping than those related to cosmetics, with new seven-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmissions constituting notable improvements over the 2015. The engines, though, should be largely unchanged; the range likely will continue to comprise the 2.5-liter four-cylinder, the 272-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and the 3.6-liter V-6. The big news is sure to be the 455-horsepower twin-turbo V-6 that will be among the hallmarks of the V models.

Will fuel economy improve?

The introduction of new manual and automatic transmissions should deliver levels of economy that are at least a little better, maybe about one mpg. The model that currently provides the best gas mileage has the 2.5-liter four-cylinder and six-speed automatic transmission combination, which delivers 21 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg combined. The four-cylinder turbo with the automatic transmission isn’t too far behind.

Will it have new features?

Rather than a slew of new equipment, it appears as if the feature levels will be revised throughout the range. There may be an addition or two to the standard and available safety equipment and some software upgrades to the infotainment and connectivity features to keep things up to date.

How will 2016 prices be different?

The entry-level ATS sedan 2.0-liter standard in rear-wheel drive only increased by $150 between the 2014 and ’15 model years, and we should probably expect to see no more than a couple of hundred bucks tacked on for 2016. Although there’s now only about a $15,000 difference between the entry-level sedan and the 3.6-liter V-6 all-wheel drive premium coupe, the gap between top and bottom will grow with the introduction of the ATS-V coupe and sedan.

When will it come out?

It’s being widely reported that the ATS-V coupe and sedans will arrive with dealerships in late spring of 2015. The regular models’ release date will probably be around the same time.

Best competitors

Mercedes C-Class, Audi A4, Infiniti Q50, BMW 3 and 4 series

What changes would make it better?

Other than styling that could be a bit more radical, there isn’t much to criticize about the ’15 version. The new transmissions should improve what is already a very likeable driving sports sedan while adding better fuel economy.

Quick hit

The 2016 ATS sedan and coupe could find themselves going under the radar. That’s because the fabulous V models will grab the spotlight. And with their 455 horsepower engines, ability to go from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds and top speed of 185 mph, that’s not a surprise.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]