How do you replace the yardstick? It’s no easy feat, but Cadillac thinks it has the answer. You see, when it comes to sporting luxury sedans and coupes, ze Germans have it pretty much wrapped up with the BMW M3/M4 and Mercedes C63. But these mainstays are now under assault from the dual-purpose 2016 ATS-V, a car that GM claims can be both an easy highway commuter and weekend track hero. But what’s it like to actually drive in these two settings? Motor Trend’s Carlos Lago set out to find the answer in this episode of Ignition.

First up is an appraisal of the car’s luxury offerings while pushing along the curvy two-lane of some forgotten highway. Lago was thrown off at first: “I looked around and all I saw was normal ATS stuff. This doesn’t feel too different than the standard car. It doesn’t seem like you’re getting much, at least on the initial first take. Sure the materials might be different, there’s a couple differences in trim for sure, but there’s not a lot different here.”

However, the cabin of the normal ATS ain’t too shabby, and besides, it’s what’s under the leather and premium infotainment that really matters. Lap times are what truly define this car’s worth, and after a few rounds at the Circuit of the Americas, Lago seems sold. But how does it stack up against the best from Bavaria? “It’s in that realm, certainly. I’m hesitant to say this is without a doubt better, but it certainly should be in the conversation.”

Watch for an upcoming episode of Head 2 Head when MT will seek a somewhat more definitive answer.

2016 Cadillac ATS-V

2016 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe High Resolution Exterior
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Originally launched for the 2013 model year, the ATS-V is offered in both four-door and two-door models, both of which look sharp on the outside. Inside are 16-way adjustable Recaro seats wrapped in Mulan leather. There’s an available Track package that throws in a performance Data Recorder like you get in the new Corvette. Under the carbon-fiber hood is a twin-turbo 3.6-liter V-6 creating 465 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque, more than you get with the new M4. When this is properly routed to the rear wheels, the ATS-V can hit 60 mph under four seconds and reach a top speed of 185 mph.

Read our full review here.

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