DETROIT -- It's no secret that Cadillac is taking dead aim at the BMW 3 series with the new ATS. Still, the similarity between the two models is striking.
Following BMW's lead, rear- and all-wheel-drive ATS models will be offered. There's even a manual transmission available for enthusiasts when ATS sales begin this summer.
General Motors engineers say they are serious about creating a true competitor to the BMW 3 series, even in terms of engine power and vehicle dimensions. Here's a quick comparison of a few specs for the 2011 3 series and 2013 ATS. Why the 2011 3 series? That was the 3-series generation on the road when the ATS was being developed.
-- Both vehicles offer turbocharged four-cylinder engines: 3 series -- 240-hp 2.0-liter, 260 pounds-feet of torque; ATS -- 270-hp 2.0-liter, 260 pounds-feet.
-- Weight distribution: 3 series sedan -- 50.5/49.5 with manual transmission, 50/50 with automatic; ATS -- 51/49 with either transmission.
-- Wheelbase: 3 series, 110.6 inches; ATS, 109.3.
-- Length: 3 series, 182.5 inches; ATS, 182.8.
-- Width: 3 series, 71.3 inches; ATS, 71.1.
-- Weight: 3 series, 3,461 pounds; ATS, less than 3,400 pounds (the final number has not been released).
BMW sold 94,371 3-series vehicles in the United States in 2011 -- a combination of sedans, coupes, wagons and convertibles. Cadillac is launching the ATS sedan this summer, and over the following 18 months or so two other versions will be added. Cadillac won't say, but a coupe and a convertible have been hinted at.
GM North America President Mark Reuss says he is optimistic about the ATS and Cadillac's other new cars.
He says: "We will go head-to-head with the competition, and we are going to win."