It's good to be Cadillac right now. The luxury brand already offers two very good sport sedans -- the CTS and the ATS -- and two aggressively styled coupes, the CTS and the ELR. Cadillac's profit-generating Escalade has just been redesigned, and its two-door concept from earlier this year, the Elmiraj, still has people buzzing. Sales increased some 25 percent in 2013.
"I've seen the best of times and the worst of times, and these are on the better end of that scale," confirms executive chief engineer David Leone, who joined the brand thirty-four years ago. "It's going to keep going," he adds.
The 2015 Cadillac ATS coupe, which is debuting at the 2014 Detroit auto show and goes on sale this summer, is part of the plan to keep the good times rolling. The stylistic conversion from the ATS sedan goes beyond eliminating two doors and includes a chopped roof, flared front and rear fenders, and a lower stance. The coupe wears a modified grille that ditches Cadillac's trademark egg-crate texture and wears a new wreathless badge. Both elements debuted earlier this year on the Elmiraj and, according to lead exterior designer Bob Boniface, intend to emphasize the width of the front end.
Even with all the massaging, the coupe, much like the sedan, strikes us as a rather conservative interpretation of Cadillac's design language. We hear Cadillac chose not to reprise the stealth-fighter-like rear quarters from the CTS coupe because that makes it very difficult to execute a convertible. (We also hear that plans for the droptop are presently on hold). Boniface confirms only that the proper roofline yields more room for rear passengers. Even so, the coupe gives up interior volume and accessibility compared with the already cramped ATS sedan. It seats four rather than five. The interior features a few technological enhancements for 2015, including Siri Eyes Free for Apple iPhone users and a WiFi hotspot. The controversial CUE touchscreen interface is standard on all but the base model.
The ATS sedan is one of the best driving vehicles in its segment. A few mechanical tweaks make the coupe version even sportier and more involving. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, upgraded to 295 lb-ft of torque as in the 2014 CTS, is standard -- there's no base 2.5-liter. The 3.6-liter V-6 carries over. As with the sedan, a six-speed manual transmission is offered with the turbo four-cylinder in addition to a six-speed automatic transmission. Track is wider both front and rear due to increased wheel offset (tire and wheel widths remain the same). The electric power steering in both the coupe and the 2015 sedan has been reprogrammed for a heavier feel.
Even if the Cadillac ATS coupe is by now a rather predictable product, it is nonetheless a very important one. The brand still transacts at lower prices than its German competitors, and coupes typically haul in more money than sedans. The Audi A4 and Allroad, for instance, sell for an average of $39,000 versus about $47,000 for the A5 coupe; the ATS sedan currently leaves dealer lots for an average of $35,000. Cadillac has not yet announced the pricing, but we expect it will mimic Audi, BMW, and start the ATS coupe for just a bit less than $40,000.
|On sale:||Summer 2014|
|Base price:||$39,000 (est)|
|Engines:||2.0L turbo four-cylinder, 272 hp, 295 lb-ft; 3.6L V-6, 321 hp, 275 lb-ft|
|Transmissions:||Six-speed manual, six-speed automatic|
|Drive:||Rear- or all-wheel|
|Fuel economy:||18-21/26-31 mpg (est)|