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Never underestimate the benefits of a good facelift and implants to put life back into your years. While the Cadillac ATS is no senior citizen, it is facing younger and prettier competitors. To keep pace, the ATS sedan has gone in for a midlife makeover.

The ATS has always been a handsome car with its swept-back vertical headlamps, egg-crate grille, crisp lines and “tailfins.” But, next to the bold CTS, it looked nerdy. For 2015, the ATS adopts the more faceted hood, grille, 18-inch alloys and updated crest from the new ATS Coupe. It’s dramatic.

Interiors are mostly unchanged, but they’re dominated by stitched dash coverings, authentic wood and quality leather. The ATS does not feel quite as sumptuous as its larger siblings, although admittedly it comes with a less sumptuous price. Omitting heated seats and a sunroof is unfortunate (hey, it’s cold outside).

If austere from a bottom-warming standpoint, the car is at least flush with technology—starting with Cadillac’s CUE system, which uses voice and touch controls for the infotainment system. You can scroll through screens with the swipe of a hand or use redundant touch areas below. I’m also a big fan of the heads-up display, Bose speakers and Text Messaging Alerts. A 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot and wireless phone-charging pad are great.

Moving down road, the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine delivers 201kW/270 horsepower and 12.2/7.9 litres/100km city/hwy. A six-speed automatic transmission is available, but we went for the sporty six-speed manual—a perfect companion to the real-time adjusting Magnetic Ride Control.

The baby Caddy is packed with safety equipment. Our car came with full-speed range adaptive cruise control, front and rear automatic braking, side blind-zone alert, rear cross-traffic alert and a helpful head-up display. GM’s safety-alert seat, forward-collision alert, lane-keep assist and lane-departure warning systems help ensure the ATS’s fenders and bumpers remain dent free.

A chiselled car like the updated 2015 ATS isn’t cheap. The $38,010 base price rises to $49,465 as-tested, making the ATS formidable competition for the BMW 2/3 series, Mercedes CLA and the Audi A3/A4.

 

2015 Cadillac ATS 2.0T

Five-passenger, RWD sedan
Powertrain 201kW/270hp 2.0-litre Turbo-4, 6-spd manual trans
Suspension f/r Elect. ind/ind
Wheels 18”/18” alloy f/r
Brakes disc/disc fr/rr
Must-have features Performance, style
Fuel economy 12.2/7.9 litres/ 100km city/hwy
Assembly Lansing, Mich.
Base/as-tested price $38,010/$49,465

 

A contributing writer for Gaywheels.com, Casey Williams is a frequent business traveller to Montreal. He contributes to the New York-based LGBT magazine Metrosource and the Chicago Tribune. He and his husband live in Indianapolis, where Williams is a columnist for that city’s newspaper, the Star.

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