ATS first burst onto the scene in 2012 when it introduced the Sport 1000. The company then followed that up in early 2014 with a revised and renamed model called the ATS Sport . Now, ATS has a new model and, mercifully, it has a legitimate-sounding name. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the ATS Leggera.
The Leggera is another one of those retro-inspired sports roadsters that seem to be gaining even more popularity these days. But unlike the other retros, the Leggera doesn’t really offer a lot for the amount of money you’ll have to spend to buy one.
It looks completely mundane and the interior, while dressed in fancy Italian leather, really does bring you back to the days of bore..err, I mean yore.
The likely saving grace of the Leggera is its handling, something ATS consciously worked on to ensure that customers get a good ride, which leads me to believe that maybe a "good ride" is all this sports car really offers.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 ATS Leggera.
What’s dissappointing about its appearance is that it looks too simple, even for its own retro standards.
You’re not going to mistake the design of the ATS Leggera for anything other than a retro-styled roadster inspired by the halcyon days of the 1950’s Italian open-top sports cars.
What’s disappointing about its appearance is that it looks too simple, even for its own retro standards. The Ant-Kahn Evanta Barchetta was similar in a lot of ways but at least that one had a more distinctive front end, whereas the Leggera looks like it just had its lunch money stolen from it.
It does have a stainless-steel, tubular-frame chassis, making it lightweight but still have that rigidity to keep it from completely falling off the rails. ATS also gets points for placing the roadster’s engine right smack in the front mid-center, a position that allows for an exact 50/50 weight distribution.
It’s got an aluminum fuel cap similar to the ones used in the 50’s and 60’s.
The ATS also has some are standard features that are worth taking note of. It’s got an aluminum fuel cap similar to the ones used in the 50s and 60s. Conversely, the standard LED rearlights and optional LED headlights and xenon headlights provide a nice splash of modern styling to the predominantly retro-inspired roadster.
ATS is also offering a set of 16-inch alloy wheels for the Leggera, although those can be changed in favor of a classic wire wheels set.
The interior is what you’d expect from a retro-themed roadster. In so many words, it looks old, dated, and boring. But this is how ATS intended it to look like, so we’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.
If it doesn't stand out, might as well dress it to look nicer, right?
We’ll also give the automaker credit for at least dressing up the interior with plenty of expensive materials, including the seats that are lined with Italian leather, the wooden steering wheel, and interior panels that can be colored depending on the customer’s preference.
Three-point seatbelts come standard on the ATS Sport, but customers can do away with that and instead opt for four-point seatbelts that are combined with lightweight, carbon seats. Another “by request” feature of the ATS Leggera is a full FIA-approved roll bar that ATS can fit into the car in lieu of the dual chrome roll bars that come standard.
The ATS Leggera is surprisingly quick and powerful, something it can attribute to its 650-kg weight.
The ATS Leggera is surprisingly quick and powerful, something it can attribute to its 650-kg (1,322-pound) weight.
Still, I have to give appropriate credit to its turbocharged, GM-sourced, 1,598-cc, four-cylinder engine that produce 210 horsepower or 240 horsepower in the 300 and 365 Leggera models, respectively. Both versions mate to a five-speed manual transmission but you can swap that for a six-speed sequential transmission.
With these numbers, the Leggera 300 can hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and top out at 135 mph, while the 365 version hits 60 mph in four seconds and tops out at 145 mph.
Another variant of this model is the ATS 480 Super Leggera, which uses a GM-sourced, 1,598-cc, turbocharged engine that pumps out 300 horses. The transmission options are the same as the two base Leggeras. The extra ponies help get this model to 60 mph in just 3.3 seconds and up to a top speed of 160 mph.
For a limited time, you can also snag the 420 Super Leggera SS with a Spoon-tuned, Honda F22C, 1,998-cc engine that puts out 280 ponies and mates to a six-speed manual gearbox. These 280 ponies head to a Spoon Sports limited-slip racing diff before heading out to the wheels. The Leggera SS sprints to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 160 mph. The Super Leggera SS is limited to just five units.
2015 ATS Leggera - Drivetrain Specifications
|Model||Leggera 300||Leggera 365||420 Super Leggera SS||480 Super Leggera|
|Engine||GM 1,598-CC, 4-Cyl||GM 1,598-CC, 4-Cyl||Spoon-Modified, Honda F22C, 1,998-CC 4-Cyl||GM 1,598-CC, 4-Cyl|
|Output||210 HP||240 HP||280 HP||300 HP|
|Top Speed||135 MPH||145 MPH||160 MPH||160 MPH|
|Acceleration (0-60 MPH)||4.5 Sec.||4 Sec.||3.6 Sec.||3.3 Sec|
The ATS Leggera is already available on the market with a starting price of about €30,000. That converts to around $41,000 as of 7/22/2014.
We’ve already detailed some of the design differences between the ATS Leggera and the Ant-Kahn Evanta Barchetta. But if you make us pick a winner, we’ll go with that latter.
The Evanta is also a lot more powerful than the Leggera, producing 450 horsepower from its Chevy-sourced LS3 engine. That’s double what the Leggera is capable of.
But the basis of this comparison is more about looks than performance. In that regard, the Leggera and the Evanta Barchetta fall on the same level. Its just that one — the Ant-Kahn model — looks a little more sophisticated than the other.
The Trident Iceni Grand Tourer is another retro-inspired roadster that’s not going to win any design awards either. To its credit, it does have a more shapely body built to look the part of a modern-day roadster.
On top of that, the Iceni Grand Tourer has a sizable edge in power, thanks to its 6.6-liter, turbo-diesel engine that produces 430 horsepower and a staggering 950 pound-feet of torque. That allows the sports car to hit 60 mph in 3.7 seconds to go with a top speed of 200 mph.
Here’s the thing: the Leggera may get lapped up in the long haul, but its low weight can at least sprint to 60 mph competitively.
Gallery Trident Iceni Grand Tourer
We admire ATS’ attempt at developing a retro-themed roadster. It shows some serious passion and courage to build a car that probably won’t sell the way ATS would want it to. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t bring much to the table.
Other than its mundane appearance, another problem we have is its $41k starting price.
- Lightweight means its quick off the block
- Should have good balance, even at high speeds
- Expensive materials used on the interior
- Three models to choose from
- Looks boring
- For its price, there are better options on the market
- The retro movement is starting to feel old
Gallery ATS Leggera
In the 50s and 60s in western countries, small Italian sports cars depopulated in race events and on the street. Americans liked to call them "Etceterini cars", compact, lightweight and snappy cars engined from tiny 4-cylinder with few horses but able to offer great driving fun and pleasure.
The various Bandini, Osca, Stanguellini, Ermini, Siata but also the firsts Ferrari and Maserati had stunning lines that have made the history of the automobile in the world, inspiring all the major car manufacturers of the period and beyond.
The ATS LEGGERA is born with the idea to revive the concept of Italian sports car that now disappeared but that is still alive in the memories of millions of fans. A tribute to the knowledge of how to build works of art on four wheels typically Italian together with the use of modern components and engineering solutions. The beauty of unity to performance and security.
The ATS LEGGERA is the first model to mount the engine in the front midcenter position to optimize weight distributions, amounting to 50% -50% between front and rear axles. Not only it has a stainless steel tubular frame chassis with large diameter tubes, it is lightweight but sturdy, and is already designed to obtain any passport CSAI / FIA for competitions. The suspension is double wishbone with adjustable Ohlins shock absorbers and an optional kit can be fitted with Unibals to make the adjustments to custom set up.
The hubs are machined from solid aluminum and the brake system with 6-piston calipers front and rear, ventilated discs are the same as that fitted to the ATS SPORT that have been tested extensively in strict tests on the track.
The ATS LEGGERA keeping true to its name only weighs 650 kg and is equipped with a modern Turbo 1600 engine with a power of 210cv and 240CV, which determine the two versions, the 300 and 365 LEGGERA having the number determines the weight / power ratio of the new ATS "barchetta".
The top version is offered as standard with selectable dual map Road / Race and launch control.
The transmission is a 5-speed manual reinforced to handle the generous torque of 30kgm at 1750 rpm but on request for the most technical customers are available even a streightcut gearbox and a 6-speed sequential gearbox. The 7" rear differential is offered as standard and is produced by Quaife while the exhaust system is made entirely of stainless steel on custom design. The intercooler and water radiator, both in aluminum, ensure a perfect use of the ATS LEGGERA even with warmer climates and in intensive track day use.
The 16" alloy wheels (8" wide) are offered as standard, alternatively, the customer can opt for a set of classic wire wheels made exclusively for ATS or technical split rims from billet. The tires can be semi-slick or full road specs depending on the type of use required by the driver.
As for the interior, the leather seats are manufactured specifically for ATS and lined with soft Italian leather, as well as all the interior panels and can be packaged with finishes and colors on request. The wooden steering wheel, rigorously-Nardi Torino, is an homage to traditional Italian style of the product while the Smiths instrument marked ATS centrally located, are clear and easy to read. The 3-point seat belts are provided, but can upgrade to 4 points version combined with lightweight carbon seats for track use. On request it is also possible to obtain a full FIA approved roll bar in place of the more traditional dual chrome rollbars.
As standard is also included an adjustable aluminium pedalbox with brake balance knob as option like on ATS SPORT, a shift knob and an aluminum fuel cap, chrome mirrors, aluminum switches, LED rear lights, front and rear anti-roll bars, stainless steel fuel tank and solid painting.
The long list of accessories includes in addition to the choice of colors tailored for the interior and for the body work, even the chrome rear luggage compartment or the trunk with lock, hood and side windows, LED headlights and xenon headlights, bigger brakes, Ohlins TTX shock double adjustable, tonneau cover, digital instrumentation with AIM data logging, set of bespoke ATS bags, steering rack 2.2, 25CrMo frame chassis and everything that can come up to the customer to customize their new ATS LEGGERA.
The performance of the ATS LEGGERA offer for the basic version a 4.3 sec. 0-100 kmh and 220 kmh top speed but even more important is the excitement of driving sensations to open air use, from ultra-low center of gravity that gratifies the maximum road handling and driving in oversteering style.
The ATS LEGGERA is already available on the market in both left and right-hand drive, it is also offered in an initial limited edition of only 5 cars with an Official Honda Spoon drive train, powered by a naturally aspirated 2200cc 290cv at 9000 rpm, 6-speed gearbox and race limited-slip differential, 25 chrome molybdenum frame chassis which reduces the weight of the car at little more than 600 kgs.
This version is called ATS 420 SUPER LEGGERA SS that will provide incredible sensations of driving with 420 hp per tonne on a real race chassis.