2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe

Sporty luxury compact premium coupe.

  • Likes
  • Handling
  • braking
  • styling
  • Dislikes
  • Interior quality
  • engine sound
  • interior space

For 2015, Cadillac's entry in the compact luxury segment is available as a stylish two-door coupe. Specs on the ATS coupe differ somewhat from those of the sedan, with the coupe offering more performance options. The coupe is also longer, lower and wider than the sedan. With its subdued application of the brand's "Art and Science" design language, the ATS Coupe is one of the better looking Cadillacs in recent memory. Vertical lighting elements and the V-shaped grill help set it apart.

Available with either a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, as on our test car, or a 3.6-liter V6, the Cadillac ATS Coupe should match or exceed the performance and handling of its already-capable sedan counterpart. Torque for the 4-cylinder is up to 295 for 2015, which should provide a welcome boost in midrange acceleration. Our Opulent Blue Metallic test car featured ZF electric variable steering, Brembo fixed-piston brakes, the FE3 sport suspension with self-adjusting dampers and a 6-speed automatic transmission with magnesium paddle shifters.

The ATS spearheads Cadillac's effort to revitalize its brand and shift its product range toward sportier, lighter rear-wheel-drive cars. Cadillac tried this once before, in the 1990s with the Catera — marketed as "The Caddy that zigs." The less said about that car, the better. Fortunately for GM and for us, the ATS Coupe actually does zig. And zag.

In fact, its driving characteristics remind us of the previous-generation BMW 3 Series. A high compliment in the premium compact segment, as many, if not most, test drivers preferred that car's handling to its successor's. A look at the set-up of the ATS Coupe confirms our impressions of its sporting character. It rides on stiffer springs and shocks than rival luxury compacts, has quicker steering and offers a genuine limited-slip differential as opposed to the electronic, brake-based limited-slip functions found on non-M BMWs.

The 2.0-liter direct-injected turbocharged 4-cylinder, slightly updated for 2015, remains a responsive and torquey engine. Though it's not as aurally refined as the 6-cylinder option, the inline-4 provides plenty of power. 0-60 happens in 5.6 seconds for the ATS Coupe 2.0T, about a tenth of a second quicker than a BMW 428i. Like its BMW rivals, the ATS has a nearly 50/50 front/rear weight distribution, which contributes to solid, balanced, neutral handling. The ATS Coupe is also, notably, the lightest car in its segment, with 2.0T models weighing in at 3,411 lbs. Weight, of course, is the enemy of performance, and with so many ostensibly sporty cars these days tipping the scales past the two-ton mark, it's refreshing to see one that hasn't put on too many pounds. Also refreshing is the ATS Coupe's relatively compact 36.4 foot turning circle.

Brembo fixed-piston brakes stop the ATS confidently and without fade. The adjustable dampers and mechanical limited-slip differential that come with the optional sport suspension help make its handling among the sharpest of any premium compact, although the standard all-season tires limit outright grip. Fuel economy should be reasonable if not stellar, as the EPA rating of 21 city/31 highway is about average for the luxury compact class these days.

Some little things could still use more more development. The interior, for example, is trimmed in a mix of high-quality surfaces and cheap-looking shiny plastics. The CUE interface, while improved, is still not as easy to use as the Audi or Chrysler infotainment systems, though the 2015 ATS does offer 4G-LTE connectivity, a WiFi hotspot and wireless charging for a limited selection of mobile devices. That said, the ATS Coupe 2.0T does the important things right and, for us anyway, no amount of annoyance with its touch-screen will overshadow the fundamental goodness of its chassis and turbocharged engine.

Warranty/Service: 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, 6-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty, 4-year/50,000-mile maintenance, 6-year/70,000-mile roadside assistance

Visit the Cadillac website

Specs

Base Price: $44,935

As Tested: $44,935

  • 21 / 31 mpg
  • EPA
  • 5.6 sec
  • 0-60
  • 272 hp
  • Horsepower
  • 149 mph
  • Top Speed
  • Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 with direct injection
  • Horsepower: 272 hp
  • Torque: 295
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic
  • Curb Weight: 3,411 lbs
  • Wheelbase: 109.3 in
  • Length: 183.6 in
  • Width: 72.5 in
  • Height: 54.8 in
  • Turning circle: 36.4 ft
  • Brakes: 4-wheel disc, fixed-piston calipers, ABS
  • Suspension: MacPherson strut front; multi-link rear
  • Traction: Traction and stability control standard, can be turned off
  • 0-60 mph: 5.6 sec
  • Top Speed: 149 mph
  • EPA City: 21 mpg
  • EPA Highway: 31 mpg
  • Seating Capacity: 4
  • Safety: Driver and passenger front, knee and side airbags, driver awareness package

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