Top 10 Detroit motor show cars - Cadillac ATS

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The Cadillac ATS is America's genuine rival to the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class. Or at least, that's what the US media was pedalling around the show halls in Detroit.

The baby saloon looks sharp enough, with clear elements of Cadillac's edgy larger models in its styling. It'll be offered with rear- and four-wheel drive, it has 50/50 weight distribution, and its three-strong engine line-up – turbocharged 2.0-litre four-pot, four-cylinder 2.5 and 3.0-litre V6 – will be joined by a diesel (a twin-turbocharged four-cylinder unit) in the near future.

It sounds ideal, then, and if Cadillac can build on the handling of some of its more potent models to deliver a rewarding drive, it could have a credible European challenger on its hands.

There's still no word on whether it'll be produced in right-hand drive, though, let alone turn up in the UK. In any case, a prod around the cabin revealed an interior that's roomy enough, but still a clear step behind the Germans in fit and finish. Little wonder that Merc CEO Dr Dieter Zetsche said he'd welcome the ATS as competition, but added that it doesn't worry him.

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