7. Cadillac ATS 3.6
After years of failed attempts to put an end to BMW’s 3 Series dynasty, GM’s latest sports-sedan offering comes damn close to parity with its Bavarian rival. The Cadillac ATS is probably the brand’s most exciting mass-market product in years, blending sophistication with a marvelously balanced chassis and stellar dynamics.
The car is an engineering masterpiece that demonstrates what the General is capable of. Accordingly, several engines are offered including an asthmatic 2.5-liter base unit (stay away, stay far away), a spunky 2.0-liter turbo and a 3.6-liter six-shooter.
The middle engine delivers 272 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Satiating enthusiasts it can be matched to one of two six-speed transmissions, either a Tremec manual or a Hydramatic autobox. What’s disappointing though is that the up-level V6, which writes a check for an impressive 321 ponies cannot be had with a stick shift. Why GM, WHY?!
You’ve got a winner on your hands and it’s a shame you can’t offer a proper transmission with the car’s very appealing V6 engine, especially when GM has a stick-shift mated to the very same engine in other products.