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Cadillac, Seeking Respect, Confronts The Scariest Roads In The World

Published: July 18, 2012 | 7:09 am
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You’d have to be a little bit crazy to travel by camel across the Moroccan desert just to race a car down a treacherous, 100-turn, mountainside road. And you’d be nuts to drive more than a 100 miles per hour under extreme conditions in windswept Patagonia, Chile, the windiest place on Earth. Only a lunatic would speed through a jagged, 13-foot wide tunnel that was hand-carved into the side of a mountain in China.

But General Motors, which is crazy enough to think its new Cadillac ATS can beat the leading BMW 3-series, did all those things and more to prove that its new sports sedan is up to the challenge.

The extreme adventure was captured in a series of short films that will be used to introduce the 2013 ATS in the coming weeks. “Cadillac ATS vs. the World” debuts online this week and includes 60- and 30-second television spots that will debut during the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games on July 27.

The films were co-directed by Academy Award-nominated documentary film maker Joe Berlinger, and Jeff Zwart, an acclaimed automotive expert and film maker. Derek Hill, a champion race driver and son of Phil Hill, the only American to win the World Driving Championship, is behind the wheel, while American actor and filmmaker Ross Thomas hosts the series.

Each video showcases certain aspects of the ATS’ performance under challenging conditions. In Patagonia, for instance, the ATS’s advanced aerodynamics are put to the test. In Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, Hill screams down the scariest road you’ve ever seen, demonstrating the ATS’ agility and powerful Brembo brakes. In Monaco, site of the legendary Monaco Grand Prix, the ATS shows how its 2.0-liter turbocharged engine can go from 0-60 in 5.7 seconds. In China’s hand-carved Guoliang Tunnels, bumps are smoothed by the magnetic ride control technology in the ATS’ suspension.

“The films demonstrate the performance of the new ATS on a world stage, making it a natural fit for the Olympics,” said Don Butler, vice president of Cadillac marketing.

The ATS is one of the most important cars GM has launched in years. The entry luxury segment is heavily dominated by German carmakers, especially BMW, which sold almost 93,000 of its 3-series sedans, coupes and wagons last year. Until now, Cadillac hasn’t even had an entry in that segment. The ATS, which promises 33 mpg on the highway, goes on sale later this summer, with a starting price of $33,990.

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