It is with some degree of sadness that I must announce to you that the Cadillac ATS sedan—scrappy would-be BMW 3 Series killer, occasional poster child for Cadillac’s troubles, handling delight and proof that rear-drive four-doors still matter—is no more. Production will cease at the end of the 2018 model year run.
This comes to us from a Cadillac official who confirmed the news to CarBuzz. “Production of the ATS Sedan is ending due to extensive plant upgrades, expansion and re-tooling to prepare for the next generation of Cadillac sedans,” spokesman Donny Nordlicht said. The last we heard, the ATS and larger CTS would be replaced by just one mid-sized sedan called the CT5, and an even smaller Audi A3-sized competitor was also in the works, possibly called the CT3 or CT4.
The ATS coupe seems to be sticking around for now.
The ATS has been around since the 2012 model year, so it was due for a modern replacement of some sort even if it wasn’t selling slowly—which it unfortunately was. Cadillac’s troubles are well-documented, leading the recent departure of its president, Johan de Nysschen. The people want their luxury crossovers and SUVs and Cadillac is scrambling to play catch-up with a lineup full of sedans that buyers weren’t especially keen on.
And the ATS had its troubles, for sure. Over the years, critics (including this website) dinged it for a small trunk, a small rear seat, a frustrating infotainment interface and interior bits that felt too close to the Chevrolet parts bin to make it a viable competitor to Audi or Mercedes.
But damn if the ATS wasn’t a fun car to drive. For whatever reason the ATS (and its very fast, very kickass V variant) was abundant in press fleets across the country, so over the years we did everything in it from road trips to actual camping. To me, the ATS felt like an old friend, something that I always understood and trusted even in spite of its flaws. It was a superb handler, better in many cases than BMW’s offerings. The car’s cornering and agility never failed to impress me, and served as consistent proof that General Motors’ best cars were its performance cars. The ATS wasn’t perfect, but it was a good car.
I’m a bit sad to see it go, but it had reached the end of its run anyway. With Cadillac’s newfound focus on SUVs, I hope whatever comes after it can please enthusiasts just as much. And has better-looking gauges.