Vital Stats

Engine:
3.6L V6
Power:
321 HP / 275 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Automatic
Drivetrain:
Rear-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,418 LBS
Seating:
2+2
Cargo:
10.4 CU-FT
MPG:
18 City / 28 HWY
Base Price:
$38,990
Save for a few years of its century-plus existence, Cadillac has offered its unique brand of American elegance in two-door, fixed-roof bodystyles. Most of these cars were big, floaty barges, of course, though its most recent offering was the wedge-shaped CTS Coupe. But whereas the CTS Coupe was a statement car – angular and severe, with somewhat limited appeal except to design snobs and provocateurs – the ATS Coupe represents a return to form for Cadillac, with a proper three-box (engine-cabin-trunk) body and a slightly lower price point that should broaden its appeal among a larger swath of the market.

Generally speaking, the 2015 ATS Coupe is a two-door version of the sporty ATS Sedan, though, surprisingly, the only common exterior components are the hood, headlamps, and sundry trim pieces on the front fascia (which features a slightly larger grille, a wider lower air intake, and the redesigned, laurel-less Cadillac crest). Even the mirrors are different. The body stretches 0.8 inches in length and 1.4 inches in width, the roof is 1.1 inches lower and the rear windscreen slopes at a flatter, sleeker angle. Interestingly, the windowsills are actually quite a bit lower, further slimming the car.

Thanks to its 0.8-inch wider front and rear wheel tracks as well as more tumblehome in the C-pillar area, the coupe sits lower and looks more planted than the ATS sedan, particularly from the rear three-quarter view. Filling the wheel wells is a family of slick 18x8-inch wheels, with 18x9-inchers coming on the rear axle of performance models. Even if all those changes haven't resulted in a wholly new look the way the CTS Coupe departs from its sedan progeny, the ATS two-door is a truly beautiful car that looks considerably better on the road than on a show stand. And for that, Cadillac deserves mighty praise.
2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe

The ATS two-door is a truly beautiful car that looks considerably better on the road than on a show stand.

It is a proper coupe, of course, and as such is saddled with the expected limitations that accompany modern two-door packaging, notably rear seat access and limited rear headroom. Since the floorpan is common to both bodystyles, rear legroom is the same as the sedan's, though headroom shrinks a considerable 1.8 inches, making it hard for even average-sized adults to sit back there without their heads touching the window glass. Getting to the second row is made easier by a motorized front seat, though the seatbelts can trip passengers up during the egress process. Front occupants don't suffer at all, however, perched as they are in very comfortable and supportive chairs that are also mounted a bit lower to allow for adequate noggin space beneath the lower roof. This also facilitates nice sight lines for those in back, a development CTS Coupe owners would likely appreciate.

Once settled in, all passengers will find themselves in an elegant, glitzy space of the sort that only Cadillac can pull off. The mix of materials on the cut-and-sew dash and door panels is impressive, with genuine aluminum, carbon fiber and glossy or open-pore woods making appearances on the various trim levels. Semi-analine leather is an option that also brings fancy, faux-suede seatbacks. Constant improvements to Cadillac's CUE infotainment system still haven't completely exorcised its slow response times and infuriating propensity to collect fingerprints – would someone please tell Cadillac designers that piano black is not an acceptable material for touch points? – but it contains an incredible amount of functionality once you learn it all. And techno-geeks will love the available head-up display, the newly optional 4G LTE wireless hotspot connectivity and wireless charging for certain mobile devices (unfortunately, iPhones aren't among them).

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe

All passengers will find themselves in an elegant, glitzy space of the sort that only Cadillac can pull off.

The base engine for the ATS coupe is the sedan's optional direct-injection 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo, which makes the same 272 horsepower at 5,500 rpm as before, but the engine has been goosed to a heady 295 pound-feet of torque at 3,000 rpm (up from 260 lb-ft of torque in the 2014 ATS 2.0T sedan). This gives the coupe model a considerable power-to-weight advantage over the segment's other four-bangers, with the base ATS Coupe weighing in at relatively light 3,411 pounds. The naturally aspirated 3.6-liter direct injection V6 remains set at 321 hp at 6,800 rpm and a relatively modest 276 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 revs, which renders it rather torque-deficient among the sweet sixes in the BMW 435i and the Audi S5. At 3,530 pounds, however, it still retains a slight weight advantage over the others. Six-speed manual and automatic transmissions are available for the same price, and the optional all-wheel drive system with its 45/55 front-to-rear torque distribution is available in two-pedal models. That's right, the ATS Coupe is no Sunbelt Special.

The newfound injection of torque for the four-pot places the 2.0T model's 0-60 acceleration estimates within 0.1 second of the six (5.6 seconds vs. 5.5 seconds), though as we found on the road, at least in automatic-transmission form, the V6 is still the more effortless performer. The four-cylinder is wonderfully smooth, but the V6 delivers more robust and predictable response to throttle inputs. In both engines, however, the six-speed automatic comes across as rather busy when pushed and rather too eager to upshift into higher gears, even in sport mode. And when summoning manual shifts via sexy polished shift paddles on the ATS' meaty, three-spoke steering wheel, shifts still lack the overt crispness that we remember from previous experiences with the ATS sedan. The sportiest powertrain combo, we found, is the 2.0T with its lovely Tremec six-speed manual transmission that features a progressive clutch, effortless shifts and well-placed pedals.

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe

The four-cylinder is wonderfully smooth, but the V6 delivers more robust and predictable response to throttle inputs.

Dynamically, the ATS Coupe is neither soft nor scintillating. It benefits from a rock-solid body and a cabin that is utterly free of wind-noise at highway speeds, yet at the end of the day, we found it to be merely "very good" to drive. If that sounds like damning with faint praise, perhaps it is. This is Autoblog after all, and as enthusiasts, we expected the ATS Coupe to be a sharper-edged handler, especially given its slight weight advantage over its primary competitors. Numb on-center feel from the electric steering is the main culprit here, which gives way rather suddenly to quick bite once the wheel is turned more than, say, 15 degrees, but unfortunately, not much more feel accompanies the action. This was true whether we were cornering at a moderate pace or in high-speed, 85-mph sweepers, when variable assist systems like these are supposed to feel more direct.

When we jumped into an ATS Coupe fitted with the FE3 performance suspension that includes GM's nifty magnetic shocks, summer tires, even quicker steering and a limited-slip rear differential, we found that the ride was predictably smooth on straightaways but steering was not much more talkative as cornering loads built. We reached out to Cadillac for comment, since we've loved the ATS' handling in the past, and were told that any retuning was performed only to make the car feel more connected, not less. We will suspend final judgment, then, until we get the car in our hands for a more extended drive in a broader variety of circumstances.

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe

While the ATS is still no BMW 4-Series from a driving standpoint, we expect that most intenders will find a lot to like here.

The good news: even the base suspension offers outstanding grip whilst preserving a Cadillac-worthy ride. We were also thrilled with the Brembo brakes, standard on all models. Strong, linear, communicative and not too grabby, they are beautifully tuned for this kind of car.

The ATS coupe will be in customer driveways within the month, with base prices starting at $38,990 (including $995 destination) and rising to $52,430 for a 3.6-liter model with the Premium Collection package that includes the aforementioned FE3 performance goodies, navigation and a heads-up display. The priciest model we drove was a top-of-the-line 3.6 Premium with the $695 Track Performance package (upgraded brake linings and cooling system), the $3,035 Driver Assist package (adaptive cruise control, lane change, blind spot and rear cross-traffic alerts, and more), $850 polished aluminum wheels, a $600 cold weather package (heated front seats and steering wheel) and $1,295-worth of Kona brown leather upholstery, racking up a grand total of $57,795.

While the 2015 ATS Coupe is still no BMW 4-Series from a driving standpoint, we expect that most intenders will find a lot to like here. It's burgeoning with bold American style, splendid amenities and luxurious, high-tech comfort for two and an occasional "plus two." These are longstanding – and one might argue more important – attributes of Cadillac coupes throughout the company's long history. As such, the ATS coupe marks a welcome return to form. Now, bring on the ATS-V!


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  • 82 Comments
      Carpinions
      • 4 Months Ago
      These tired 3-series comparisons need to die. When the ATS came out a couple years ago, it was hailed (at least in its non-base trim) as the Cadillac that finally bested BMW. But now, here again, that notion is slowly changing to be exactly the opposite, which is "well it's a great car, but it'll never be a 3er." Which is it, guys? I get that not every auto journo has the same opinion about every car, but this walking back of opinion has happened to so many cars, especially those that compete with the 3-series, that I never know what "beating the BMW 3-series" even means anymore. And to make matters worse, it seems - at least in 2014 - that most agree the current 3/4-series are the least engaging/good driving 3-series models ever, with the car being too big and heavy to carry the legacy of the E30/E36/E46. These comparisons happened when the G35 came out 12 years ago. They happened with the Lexus IS in 1999. They used to happen with the M-B C-class but Mercedes decided to cut their own path. For some reason, even though the 3-series itself has gotten, apparently, so far away from how enjoyable and uniquely special it was, everything else still somehow pales in comparison. I vote that the auto journalism industry just stops this, probably the biggest automotive cliche of the last 15 years. It's a cloud that hangs over every such review of cars in this segment, and it has basically become a default, valueless criticism that every car other than the BMW model is forced to start out with. This Caddy may not drive like the BMW (supposedly), but it won't quarter and Susan B Anthony you to death like the BMW will. How about that for the new criticism? The Caddy won't drive you into bankruptcy. I like BMWs as much as the next guy but freakin' A...
        81waldron
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Carpinions
        Spot. On. Post. As a would-be consumer in this segment, I've paid particular close attention to the reviews and have become similarly baffled by the inconsistency that's always present when ranking these cars. The fact of the matter is this: the 3/4 series is no longer the definitive class leader like it once was. True, there was a time when the 3 series undoubtedly held the top spot in this class and that the only debate was who was in second. Today, that's just not the case. Almost all of BMW's competitors have become more BMW-like in terms of performance while BMW itself has become less BMW-like. Thus, the gap between your ATSs, ISs, A4s, C-Classes, have become much, much smaller and as a result, less definitive when choosing a overall better sports sedan. As a person whose driven all of the cars in the class, I can tell you that these cars are more alike than ever. They're all similarly priced, offer the same options and technology (for the most part) and drive pretty well. Unlike in the past when these cars were easily differentiated from each other in terms of what they offered and who their target audience was, today, the distinction between them are mostly academic to all but the most discerning and pedantic buyer. I find this frustrating since there's no longer a clear "driver's car" option. The 3/4 series is of course softer and more isolated than ever and even worse, continues to be priced substantially higher than it's competition. Where once a BMW came standard with peerless tactility and dynamics, you know have to pay extra for that. As a result, a base 328i feels every bit as engaging as a RWD Camry. Cadillac would be my choice if they simply introduced an honest-to-goodness V-Sport model to the ATS that focused on making the ATS as responsive and engaging as it very well could be. Simple things like suspension adjustments and steering/braking/throttle calibration would go a long way to affordably increasing the performance of the ATS and snatching up all those spurned BMW enthusiasts (of which I am one).
        AudiA4
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Carpinions
        Excellent commentary.
        mbukukanyau
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Carpinions
        Who butters their bread?
        Bruce Lee
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Carpinions
        It's standard in the auto journal industry that when an important car is new that it gets hailed as being better than whatever came before, and then this is walked back over the next couple of years if a car really wasn't really all that spectacular. Otherwise the manufacturers don't give them access to their nice new cars or free trips to go track test them, so almost all the reviews you read of a new car will be more positive than they should be. Of course, they will also have punching bag cars where people will just lay into them, but those tend to be less important cars from less important manufacturers (i.e. that Mitsubishi Mirage getting it's butt kicked in every review-nobody cares if Mitsubishi gets pissed off at them because they're not an important manufacturer anymore).
      Dave
      • 4 Months Ago
      Convertible please.
      MTU 5.0
      • 4 Months Ago
      The styling is clean, but unfortunately, that makes it look a tad boring.
        SethG
        • 4 Months Ago
        @MTU 5.0
        The CTS Coupe definitely was a strong styling statement. I don't know if that approach helped or hurt sales. This car is much less so. It will be interesting to see if its a success.
      Awhattup
      • 4 Months Ago
      Don't find what to dislike but still not so desirable...
      mike
      • 4 Months Ago
      Hey GM, instead of pumping money into the ELR, you should of modified the Voltec drive train to fit into this car.
      x19x19
      • 4 Months Ago
      The pricing tells it all why Cadillac's sales are stagnant. ($39K base, $58K as tested). Cadillac went up market way too fast. This is a nice $46K car, reasonablly loaded.
        express2day
        • 4 Months Ago
        @x19x19
        This is pretty nicely equipped even at $39K. No one should feel the need to add many, if any, options if price is a concern. I wouldn't call upper $30Ks up market for a luxury brand. Even the entry Catera had a starting price around $47K, adjusting for inflation, when it first came out.
          express2day
          • 4 Months Ago
          @express2day
          @Autoblogist The Catera came out in 1996 as a 1997 model with a starting price, including destination charge, of $30,635 which converts to about $47K today. I mentioned Catera because it was the entry level Cadillac of the time.
          express2day
          • 4 Months Ago
          @express2day
          @SethG My point regarding pricing of the past was that Cadillac has not gone up market, it has gone down market but yes the overall luxury market has gone down market too.
          SethG
          • 4 Months Ago
          @express2day
          "Adjusting for inflation" is a pointless exercise. This car is on the market today against today's competition priced in today's dollars. Still, I might agree with you in that the luxury coupe market is definitely in the $40k+ neighborhood these days.
          Autoblogist
          • 4 Months Ago
          @express2day
          Actually the Cater a started at $29995 in 1998 which is a little under $44k CPI adjusted for 2014. Plus the Catera was actually a mid-size sedan, not a compact sedan like the ATS.
        Michaele
        • 4 Months Ago
        @x19x19
        40-45k max
      bK
      • 4 Months Ago
      Still way too boxy. lacks the sleekness of the Elmiraj
      CarCrazy24
      • 4 Months Ago
      I am a big fan of the sedan ATS, and was disappointed when I saw the first pictures of the Coupe, which honestly looks too boxy, not sleek like the CTS coupe or the CTS wagon. And to hear that the steering has lost some feel is not good news too. At least the sedan proves there is an alternative to the 3 series available.
      dskchan
      • 4 Months Ago
      The logical next model is soft and hard top convertible. Someone please bring back the long rear deck (aka trunk lid). They all look like a hatchback, not that's a bad thing, so long they are actually hatchback.
      EB110Americana
      • 4 Months Ago
      I'm calling shenanigans on this review. Like everything from the Top Gear/Jeremy Clarkson school of journalism, it feels as if the conclusion/revelation/twist was manufactured before the car was driven, and then the article written to fit the premise. --------------------------------------------------------- I might have bought in to the conclusion, but there's just not enough difference between the sedan and coupe to warrant such a contrasting result. Just look over to Road & Track's first drive for confirmation of my suspicions: --------------------------------------------------------- "The shorter coupe has its center of mass located about three-quarters of an inch lower than the sedan’s. That, in combination with the retuned suspension and wider track, means the coupe really does handle better." --------------------------------------------------------- "Not that it was bad before, but the ATS’s ZF electric-assist steering unit has been reprogrammed to fine tune low- and high-speed assist. We didn’t have a 2014 model to drive it against, but we can at least say that the changes don’t mess anything up." --------------------------------------------------------- "But then the ATS still has the superior structure and is more fun to toss around than a 3- or 4-Series, so a tough choice gets tougher." --------------------------------------------------------- http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-reviews/first-drives/first-drive-2015-cadillac-ats-coupe
        Tonic
        • 4 Months Ago
        @EB110Americana
        Nice fix for the broken paragraphs in the new crappy comment system.
          EB110Americana
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Tonic
          (With apologies to Friends) I do believe the new commenting system sullies the good name of crap.
      Avinash Machado
      • 4 Months Ago
      Quite a beautiful car. A modern Eldorado.
      Trobbins88
      • 4 Months Ago
      I like the wreath-less look. Its a more modern look which is fitting for this car and the other Caddy's coming out.
        PiCASSO
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Trobbins88
        I'm the opposite... I don't like the new wreath-less look. Prefer the old, as the new looks incomplete. It's like BMW taking off the black circle around their logo, leaving only the inside white/blue propeller. Would not work for me, and neither does this Cadillac.
        Technoir
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Trobbins88
        But what's strange is that some Caddys HAVE the wreath and others DON'T. It's strange and confusing.
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