2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe Review

LITCHFIELD COUNTY, Connecticut--Of all the luxury nameplates, Cadillac appears most determined to carve out an identity as the brand offering the liveliest driving experience. (We’re strictly talking passenger cars, of course—the new Escalade doesn’t exactly beg to be taken to the Tail of the Dragon.) Following the ATS sedan and the recent CTS is the 2015 Cadillac ATS coupe, where Cadillac’s new persona is more appropriate than ever.

Riding on the sedan’s 109.0-inch wheelbase, the coupe is fractionally longer, 1.4 inches wider, and 1.1 inches lower. Whereas the CTS coupe was radically shaped, the two-door 2015 Cadillac ATS adopts a rather restrained version of Cadillac’s angular design language, despite the opportunity afforded by all new sheetmetal (only the hood is shared with the sedan). See it on the road, though, and you come to notice its wider, lower, less chunky form, particularly from the rear. Still, we wonder if the styling will prove too muted to motivate coupe buyers.

Underhood motivation is provided by a 2.0-liter turbo or a 3.6-liter V-6. The ATS coupe doesn’t bother with the sedan’s 202-hp, 2.5-liter base engine, and we don’t miss it. For the turbo four, torque is up by 35 lb-ft (in the sedan, too), for a total of 295 lb-ft along with 272 hp. That edges the V-6’s 275 lb-ft, but the V-6 still holds the upper hand in power with 321 hp. Both engines can be had with all-wheel drive, so critical in the Northeastern states such as Connecticut where we had our first drive opportunity. We also dipped into Massachusetts and New York on a route of mostly rural two-lanes in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains.

We started in the 2.0-liter ATS coupe with the six-speed manual. The stick shift is available only with this engine, and only with rear-wheel drive, but on any of the four trim levels. Since its introduction in the sedan, the six-speed has been revised for better shift action, and it moves nicely though the gears. The clutch take-up is springy but agreeable. More agreeable is the acceleration, as the ATS zips to 60 mph in a factory-measured 5.6 seconds. Like the sedan, the ATS coupe is admirably light (more svelte than even the BMW 4 Series), which helps put a spring in its step. The lively response is mirrored in the chassis, which provides snappy turn-in, and a taut suspension that still delivers decent ride quality. A short freeway stint, however, revealed plenty of road noise.

A second Cadillac ATS coupe, which paired the 2.0-liter with an automatic gearbox, showed that the latter does little to diminish performance. This example had the optional semi-aniline leather and suede interior, which gives the cut-and-sewn-style interior trim more credibility. On this leg, we spent more time interacting with CUE, which is standard on all but the base model. It seems a bit more responsive, but CUE is still not a good interface, even if a tech-savvy owner might get used to it. We do like Cadillac’s large nav screen with its sharp-looking graphics, and the ATS coupe further burnishes its tech cred with Powermat wireless charging of compatible devices, located in a hidden cubby behind the motorized CUE panel. In other tech news, the ATS coupe introduces OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity (via AT&T), which spreads to all Cadillacs for 2015; it also can be a wireless hot spot.

For the last stretch, we hopped into a top-spec Premium with the 3.6-liter V-6. The engine sounds good and its 321 hp is impressive, but it’s not appreciably quicker than the turbo four. The powertrain’s weak spot is the six-speed automatic. Now that we’ve been spoiled by eight-speed automatics—like the one in the 4 Series, for example—you really notice how far apart the ratios in a six-speed can sometimes feel, particularly in sudden calls for moderate-to-heavy acceleration. A couple more gears presumably would also aid fuel economy, an area where the ATS trails all three of its German competitors, both four- and six-cylinder variants.

This was the most challenging section, with decreasing-radius corners and steep hills, and we loved the firm pedal and precise modulation of the Brembo brakes, which are standard on all ATS coupes. The top-spec, rear-wheel-drive model gets an exclusive, uprated, FE3 suspension with Magnetic Ride Control and summer performance tires. (The FE3-equipped car is also the only variant to offer a mechanical limited-slip rear differential and a competition mode for the stability control.) All ATS coupes offer tour and sport driving modes for steering effort and automatic transmission mapping, but here they affect damping as well. The difference is mostly in ride quality, with sport mode more faithfully transmitting road surface irregularities while the tour mode smothers smaller disturbances. Still, harshness is notably absent. In all cases, you get a tightly coiled suspension that loves to dive through curves—much like the standard setup. The lack of a wide variation in tuning illustrates how Cadillac is giving this car a real focus rather than trying to be all things to all people.

Like its sedan sibling, the 2015 Cadillac ATS coupe is a trim, tight package that prioritizes driving dynamics. Coupe buyers, however, should be more receptive to its message, meaning that Cadillac’s emerging persona may have found its best home yet—at least until the ATS-V comes along.

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe Specifications

On sale Late summer
Base price range $38,990-$49,200
Engine 2.0-liter I-4 turbo
Power 272 hp @ 5500
Torque 295 lb-ft @ 3000-4600 rpm
Engine 3.6-liter V-6
Power 321 hp @ 6800
Torque 275 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic
Drive Rear- or all-wheel
Wheels 18 x 8, 18 x 9 in (front, rear)
Tires 225/40R18 front, 255/35R18 rear
Curb weight 3398-3674 lbs
Fuel economy 19-21/29-30 mpg (2.0L); 18/26-28 mpg (3.6L) (city/highway)
Cargo capacity 10.4 cu ft
Ed Friedman
the ride(comfort) on long trips is terrible. that limits driving satisfaction. the seats are hard and generally uncomfortable
John Engelman
Nice but,...Cadillac needs to be BETTER than the competition. BETTER styled, BETTER engineered, BETTER priced, BETTER featured,......well, you get it!
Upasana Kanungo
beauty vth boldness
Like most coupes, this one is poorly designed and disproprtionate. That expanse of sheet metal between the door and the fender looks like they just replaced the rear doors of the sedan. Very disappointing. Also, when will Cadillac learn that the old people who liked all that chrome are probably dead by now. The chrome as well as the tacky steering wheel and center stack represent everything I thought they were trying to move away from.
Zka Foolek
I hate a coupe Cadillac ! :-(
White Bear
The car is AWESOME looking but the new logo leaves a lot to be desired! Looks like something that would be on a French car!
Margaret Harris
This is a fine looking car; but, I wish it had more of the rear lines of the ELR which resembles a small CTS coupe.  A full panoramic sunroof (ala Benz's C and E coupes) would have been wonderful giving the cabin a much more open feel since the sunroof opens above instead of below and takes valuable headroom. More gears in the automatic are a must but Caddy will probably get there since these trannys are already in their stable.
Nice car, but really, a 6 speed?  Cadillac has an 8 speed for the CTS, why not use it here also.  GM always seems to miss some critical component on what otherwise would be a best in class car.
Really nice car,..........well done as Cadillac is trying hard. I worrry about quality but the reports are that GM Is improving. Styling is in the eye of the beholder, but this is prerry darn sharp to me. Lot's of companies make really good cars, The ones that make them affordable will be the winners. Honda comes to mind,............Acura maybe. BMW not so much.
With Cadillac's CTS and ATS being so similar as there's just a 150-200lb weight difference which means the upcoming ATS-V will be virtually identical to the CTS-Vsport ad with the ATS coupe serving as the underpinnings for the next generation Camaro; the big question would be whether the ATS will see a 6.2L V8.
Is a V-variant in the offing? Any idea on the length of the ATS coupe?
Ron Faldik
WoW......beautiful,,,,but.....I wish Cadillac would have done a removable glass top like the CorvetteCan you imagine it with a removable tinted all glass top from the windshield  to the b pillar
Nitesh Vasani
As usual the design is awesome and so is the performance...Amazing Car...http://www.worldofautomobile.com/all-new-hyundai-i20-elite-car-review/
Michael Anderson
Oh and as usual waaay to much chrome
Michael Anderson
They cut the ass off the sedan cts and slapped a big ol ugly cts coupe ass on it, couldve been so much better. Pos
Ninad Joshi
Tim Lucas
I like the Sedan better
Albert Thomas
A concept car with a new technology to revolutionize this world......more at https://www.facebook.com/ivonmotors
HeNil SavAni
Rutul Thorat
looks are different but looks good
Bj Smith
Hideous, just like the sedan.
Prashant Randive
Trevor W. Red Robe
Looks already dated
Tony Glass
Need to keep the wreath around the emblem. That was Cadillac's logo for years.
Marc Hamady
When it comes to going in that direction, it's all or nothing. I could see Lincoln going that route, though
Marc Hamady
It looks nice.
Gregory Weiss
Doesn't work. Looks like a nice car up front, but dragging around a fat ass.
Brandon Weslock
A rear drive coupe? What's not to like!
Jacob Jones
A bit hippy
Tocus Tocus
Paul Olsen
Tone down the grill a bit...we all know today's cars don't need a huge grill.
Steve Yelich
Gorgeous but I prefer the sedan.
Luca Carboni
It looks like the Audi A5
Rick Mente
Looks too much like a Chevrolet...very frumpy.
Robert Shaver
Not very much
Mahmoud Saeed Hammad
Adam Caran
Wish it were exciting to look at like the CTS Coupe has been :(
Richard Godfrey
You guys are asking because you don't like it. I don't either. The CTS coupe will be a classic.
James Jason Garvin
The transmission issue is an old one...a product of the bankruptcy.  The 8 speed transmission program was one of the casualties of the cutbacks, which means that GM ended up being 3-4 years behind the competition on automatic transmissions, ironic considering that the company created the technology in the late 1930s.  There are products GM can source from other vendors, and the CTS and Corvette do that now.  But a homegrown product will come none too soon since it's not only required to be competitive in this hotly contested market, but is necessary to make fuel economy requirements going forward across virtually all of GM's products.
Raymond Day-Hakker
Something my late Dad would have liked..
Jeff Oldmanmetal Schulz
Hilarious to me that people actually buy this garbage. Union thug made to break.
@White Bear Umm there's a reason for that "The Cadillac automobile was named after Le Sieur Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, a Frenchman who founded Detroit in 1701"However a popular misconception that he  designed the first tailfin is not true

@AhRetirement          A panoramic roof would be a great option
@the_roadrunner Exactly! . As far back as the 70's we used to call it the GM 90% rule. They hardly ever complete the job. The CTS V-Sport, no manual transmission. Why??  As much as I do like the new Caddys I would never actually consider them over a BMW or Audi.
@OMEGATALON I heard the CTS will be the basis of the Camaro, not the ATS.  Hope you are right, camaro needs to get smaller
get your glasses checked
the grill provides a  look of substance and power, you dont want it looking like a lame Civic
almost all car plants are union, all of the ones in GERmany

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