Cadillac ATS takes on BMW

Does Cadillac have a chance against BMW? The US car company reckons it does, and the 2012 Cadillac ATS is the Bimmer-killer patriots have been waiting for. Unveiled this week, the ATS mixes rear-wheel-drive with the lowest curb weight in its class, with plenty of emphasis placed on road-handling and performance to compete with the Germanic titans.

Two four-cylinders and a V-6 engine will be offered when the ATS arrives in North America this coming summer, with a 30mpg highway result and the option of all-wheel drive. There's Cadillac's first five-link independent rear suspension system, while GM's engineers have been flirting with different combinations of materials to balance weight, performance and economy. The hood is aluminum hood while the engine mount brackets are magnesium engine; however the differential is cast iron, because that apparently boosted fuel efficiency over aluminum.

Inside, there's Cadillac CUE, the company's Bluetooth-enabled multimedia and navigation system, offering USB, aux-in and SD card connections, SiriusXM radio, keyless entry, a 5.7-inch capacitive touchscreen and a heads-up display. If you don't shell out for CUE, you get a more conservative Bose system instead.

Cadillac CUE:

Safety, meanwhile, calls upon radar, cameras and ultrasonic sensors for crash-avoidance, automatic braking, lane-departure warnings, blind-zone protection and more. Eight airbags (or, optionally, ten) along with a year's OnStar subscription round out the main specs.

There'll be a 2.0L Turbo DI VVT, 2.5L I-4 DI VVT and 3.6L V-6 DI VVT at launch, mustering 270, 200 and 320 horsepower respectively. Pricing is yet to be confirmed.