First Look: 2016 Cadillac ATS-VCadillac's new power players are ready for the racetrack.

Cadillac hopes V will stand for victory with its new high-performance ATS-V lineup. The highly anticipated sedan and coupe were unveiled to the public ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show, putting to bed rumors of exactly how fast Cadillac’s next high-performance car would be.

Dubbed the “M Killer” by confident Cadillac execs (a reference to BMW’s M3 and M4, widely recognized as benchmarks in the category), the ATS-V now becomes the brand’s most powerful compact sport sedan and coupe, and the basis for Cadillac’s much-lauded racing program, replacing the outgoing CTS-V race cars.

The all-new ATS-V wrests the crown from its competitors in terms of power with a 3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that cranks out a hefty 455 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque, beating the BMWs’ 425 hp and 406 lb.-ft. Paired with a six speed manual transmission with rev matching, or GM’s 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters, the ATS-V can jet from 0-60 mph in just 3.9 seconds with a top speed of 185 mph.

Built on the same platform as the standard ATS coupe and sedan, the ATS-V is not only faster, it also uses more sophisticated aerodynamics and cooling systems to help manage airflow in and around the car for maximum heat management and performance. The car also uses additional bracing and is 25 percent stiffer than other ATS models. The stronger chassis means more cornering stability and less body roll.

High-performance Brembo brakes come standard on the ATS-V, along with staggered Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires (the same brand used on BMW M cars), which uses a compound developed especially for the Cadillac. Standard 18-inch wheels are made of lightweight aluminum.

Performance is also significantly boosted by the ATS-V’s revised suspension, which uses double-pivot MacPherson struts in front and a five-link setup in the rear, with stiffer springs and stabilizer bar. The latest version of GM’s Magnetic Ride Control technology is faster and more responsive than previous generations, and, according to Cadillac, reads every inch of the road to continuously adjust damping for the best ride.

Steering is an electric, ZF-sourced Servotronic II system, with variable ratio steering and a stiffer feel versus other ATS models. Like other cars in this category, the ATS-V also has adjustable driving modes, which tweak steering, throttle and other variables. Choices include Touring (comfort), Sport and Track.

In the cabin, the ATS-V gets other unique features, including optional 16-way adjustable Recaro sport sears. Aggressive bolstering helps hold occupants in place during hard cornering. The ATS-V also gets a unique steering wheel, instrument cluster display, shifter and pedals.

In-car technology includes Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system with text-to-voice that reads incoming text messages, USB and auxiliary audio ports and GM’s OnStar 4G LTE, which basically turns the vehicle into a WiFi hotspot for mobile phones and other devices.

Production of the 2016 Cadillac ATS-V is expected to begin in spring 2015. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but Cadillac’s pricing has traditionally been slightly less than its German competitors. If this holds true, we estimate the ATS-V could start at around the $60,000 mark, slightly undercutting the BMW M3 sedan’s $62,000 starting price.

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