Developed to compete in a market dominated by the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the Cadillac ATS was introduced for the 2013 model year as the company’s first compact sedan. Its debut was followed by a coupe version and mild updates for the 2015 model year. The four-door, which can be had with three different engines in the U.S., also received a high-performance V-Series model for 2016. But while we’re waiting for the ATS-V to arrive in showrooms, Japanese customers are getting a limited-edition variant that celebrates New Year’s Day and welcomes a new calendar year.

Dubbed New Year Special, this ATS is a different approach from what Japan drivers usually get, as the automaker’s local division focused on a solid discount rather than unique or special features inside and out. That’s not to say the sedan isn’t equipped with amenities otherwise not available on the Performance trim it is based upon, but its main feature is its 25-percent markdown and limited production run. Only 15 will be built, which means we’re likely looking at the first special-edition automobile to be sold out in 2015.

Click past the jump to read more about the Cadillac ATS New Year Special.

  • 2015 Cadillac ATS New Year Special
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    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    6 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
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2015 Cadillac ATS New Year Special Exterior
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The term “special edition” gains new meaning with the ATS New Year Special, as the sedan is more about a special sticker than unique features. However, the compact does come with a rear spoiler and side window visors that are not available on the regular model, but the special add-ons stop here. Every other features on this special model mirrors the Performance trim it is based upon.

Only three exterior colors are available for the ATS New Year Special. Sable Black and Radiant Silver come standard, while the sportier Red Obsession hue can be had as an option.

From the photos published by Cadillac Japan it appears that this special-edition sedan is based on the 2014 model year ATS, meaning the front grille sports the company’s older wreath crest, as well as the previous three-piece intake bumper. The 2015 model features a single air dam that stretches from one side to the other.


Given it is based on the Performance trim, the ATS New Year Special is well-equipped for a car that comes with a JPY1 million discount (about $8,300 as of 01/02/2015). On the other hand, being a 2014 model year sedan, it doesn’t feature the updated eight-inch touchscreen or OnStar 4G LTE connectivity with built-in Wi-Fi.

However, customers will benefit from a host of convenience and safety features, including acres of leather, a Bose premium audio system with Active Noise Cancellation, Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure warning.


Although the U.S.-spec ATS can be had with a choice of three engines, the sedan travels to Japan with only the turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder under its hood. As such, the New Year Special features the same four-banger that cranks out 272 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Despite its small displacement, the four-pot gets the ATS to 60 mph in just 5.9 seconds and to a top speed of 149 mph. The four-pot mates to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.


Pricing for this special-edition ATS starts from JPY3.99 million, which converts to $33,100 as of 01/02/2015, making it JPY1 million ($8,300) less expensive than the Performance trim it is based upon. Quite the hefty discount. The navigation system is available as a JPY350,000 ($2,900) option, while the Red Obsession exterior paint adds another JPY129,000 ($1,070).

Production of the New Year Special, which goes on sale starting January 4th, 2015, is limited to only 15 units.


BMW 3 Series

2016 BMW 3 Series Exterior Spyshots
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The BMW 3 Series is the ATS’ most important competitor and is a well-established sedan on the Japanese marked. Unlike the ATS, the 3 Series is available with three different drivetrains in Japan. Both the 320i and the 328i carry 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engines under the hood and deliver 180 horsepower and 240 ponies, respectively. The Germans also offer a diesel-powered 3 Series that comes with 180 turbocharged horses and delivers superior fuel economy.

All vehicles can now be equipped with all-wheel-drive and return as much as 36 mpg on the highway when burning gasoline. The 328d tops the fuel economy ratings at 45 mpg highway. Pricing for the 3 Series starts at JPY4.27 million (about $35,400 as of 01/02/2015) for the base 320i model and goes beyond JPY6.46 million (around $53,500) for the 328i M Sport.

Audi A4

2014 - 2015 Audi A4 Exterior
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The Audi A4 is yet another well established sedan the Cadillac ATS faces competition from in Japan. Available in both sedan and Avant (wagon) guises, including an Allroad Quattro version, the Japan-spec A4 is powered by the company’s tried-and-true 2.0-liter TFSI engine. The unit churns out 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, and enables the sedan to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph 6.2 seconds when equipped with quattro all-wheel drive and a Tiptronic transmission. Top speed is limited at 130 mph. As far as fuel efficiency goes, 32 mpg on the highway is the most the A4 will return with the four-banger.

The German sedan fetches JPY4.53 million ($37,600 as of 01/02/2015) in its base, front-wheel-drive form, while the all-wheel-drive option takes the sticker to JPY5.38 million ($44,600).


2015 Cadillac ATS New Year Special Exterior
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Although the ATS New Year Special isn’t much of a special-edition model as far as features go, it does come with a hefty discount that drops its sticker by around 25 percent compared to the trim it is based on. That’s definitely a great way to celebrate the new year, even though the said sedan doesn’t benefit from the updates Cadillac introduced for the 2015 model year.

  • Leave it
    • Not for U.S. consumption
    • Limited to only 15 units
    • Stiff competition from German automakers
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert -
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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