This is the new Cadillac ATS, the GM luxury brand’s compact premium sedan challenger to the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes C-Class. To debut at the Detroit motor show, it will go on sale this summer in the US.

Targeting “spirited drivers”, the rear wheel drive ATS had Nürburgring as one of its key testing grounds, along with additional roads, racetracks and laboratories around the globe. “Designed with quick, nimble and fun-to-drive dynamics, ATS expands Cadillac’s portfolio into a crucial global segment. More than just another new entry, the ATS aims to change the status quo of the European-dominated segment,” said Don Butler, VP of marketing for Cadillac.

In the driving department, Caddy dangles nearly 50/50 weight balance, its first five-link independent rear suspension, multi-link double-pivot MacPherson-strut front suspension with direct-acting stabiliser bar, driver-adjustable FE3 sport suspension with Magnetic Ride Control, underbody aerodynamic shields, electric variable-effort steering gear from ZF, four-channel ABS with available Brembo brakes and AWD as an option.

Engine wise, there are two four-cylinders and a V6, including an all-new 2.0L turbo four-pot rated at 270 hp/353 Nm and Cadillac’s 3.6L V6 with 318 hp/362 Nm. A diesel is in the works. The ATS will offer both six-speed manual and automatic transmission options. An aluminum hood, magnesium engine mount brackets and even lightweight, natural-fiber door trim panels, are among the weight saving measures.

ATS comes with CUE, which stands for Cadillac User Experience. CUE pairs entertainment and information data from up to 10 Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices, USBs, SD cards and MP3 players with a vehicle infotainment system that reduces complexity through customised info, voice commands and fewer buttons and larger icons. Caddy says that most of today’s luxury cars have around 20 buttons controlling the radio and entertainment functions. CUE has only four.

Cadillac has been using this Art & Science design language for quite awhile now, and while it’s a new model, the ATS doesn’t appear very fresh, for me at least. The sporty slant sounds good, though.