Cadillac ATS

We might as well say it up front, the Cadillac ATS looks like a winner in the car category.

"This is the first time anybody has eclipsed the BMW 3 Series" in ride and handling, Brauer said. "No one would ever have imagined that a GM ( GM) car could overcome a BMW car."

In 2010, GM introduced the Cruze and showed it can compete in the compact-car market. This year, Cruze is the ninth-best-selling U.S. car.

The Cadillac ATS is a rear-wheel-drive vehicle that weighs less than 3,400 pounds, one of the lowest curb weights in the segment. GM calls it "the most agile and lightweight Cadillac." The latest news on the car is that, despite being one of the lightest vehicles in its class thanks to the use of metals such as martensitic alloys and ultra-high-strength steel, it earned a five-star crash-test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The ATS was unveiled in January 2012 on the eve of the Detroit Auto Show media day. This year that spot has been turned over to the new Corvette.

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