Here’s How Much Horsepower The Cadillac ATS-V Really Makes On A Dyno

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Cadillac gave me a Cadillac ATS-V for a week, and since Jalopnik has reviewed the crap out of the car already, I had to do something different. So I put the bright red sports sedan on a dyno to see how much power it really makes, and boy did it put up some big numbers. Very big numbers.

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I have never actually dyno’d a car, but it’s been on my bucket-list for a hot minute. Luckily for me, an Opponaut named Karl, whom I had met at our annual Kart-to-Kart event, recently posted on his Facebook wall a picture of his blue EcoBoost Ford Mustang sitting on a dynamometer.

So I messaged Karl, who told me he and a Mustang club had dyno’d their cars at MJD Performance, a shop in Novi, Michigan that, coincidentally, actually specializes in late-model GM products. Perfect!

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I called the owner up, drove the car to his spot, and the next day, he strapped the ATS-V up and ran a few pulls. Listen to the glorious sound:

The dyno MJD used was a Dynocom DC5000. I’ll start with the two other cars MJD tested: a bone stock Mustang GT350, and a Corvette Z06.

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The GT350 is rated at 526 horsepower, and it made 486.3 at the wheels. With the same assumed drivetrain loss of 13 percent (MJD tends to assume about 13 percent), that’s about 550 horsepower. Nice.

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The Z06, rated at 650 horsepower, made an average of 614 at the wheels after a couple of pulls, or close to 700 at the crank. Not terrible, right?

Okay, so what about the ATS-V? Here we go:

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The printout reads 449.8 horsepower at the rear wheels, and if you factor in drivetrain losses, that’s about 510 horsepower, nearly 50 more than the 464 Cadillac claims the car sends through its crankshaft.

This figure, if taken at face value, definitely makes it seem like the ATS-V is underrated, and it very well might be. But, without having validated this dyno or the setup, we probably shouldn’t really draw that conclusion quite yet. There’s also the fact that in the real world, no one will call this car slow, and it’s also a superb handler.

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In fact, these printouts might suggest that all three of these cars are underrated by their manufacturers, but it doesn’t take a statistician to know that we need a bigger sample size from more dyno setups to properly back that assertion.

MJD does claim their dyno actually under-predicts power numbers, though, and they do believe the ATS-V is most likely making more than the 510 horses their dyno spit out.

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It’s hard to know without doing more tests, but even if the ATS-V really does make the power MJD claims, I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised. Because that twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 is a genuine monster.

Sr. Technical Editor, Jalopnik. Always interested in hearing from auto engineers—email me. Cars: Willys CJ-2A ('48), Jeep J10 ('85), Jeep Cherokee ('79, '91, '92, '00), Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd ('94).

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DISCUSSION

hammerheadfistpunch
HammerheadFistpunch

So, I did a quick bit of math and here is what I came up with

GT350 is 7.6% off

Z06 is 5.55% off

ATS is 3 % off

A mean average of 5.4% which tells me that their dyno is pretty optimistic if they assume 13% drivetrain loss, not the other way around. My guess is that these dyno numbers are artificially high. I know some engines overachieve, but the pattern with this (limited) sample volume suggests that its consistently over reporting.