Automakers always face a difficult decision when it comes to styling their cars. Design them too blandly and nobody will get excited about them. But style them too aggressively and they'll often end up turning off potential buyers.

Cadillac, for its part, is no stranger to aggressive design, but when it came to the new ATS Coupe, it elected to tone things down a bit. Speaking with The Detroit News in a wide-ranging interview, Cadillac design director Bob Boniface revealed that the original design for its compact coupe was edgier – closer to that of the CTS Coupe – with a wedgier profile, a more steeply raked beltline and a more severe grille. But potential customers surveyed in clinics apparently didn't like it. They found it looked heavy, inefficient and not fun to drive. So Boniface and his team literally went back to the drawing board and "took as much visual mass out of the car as [they] could." The resulting coupe, while handsome, looks far more similar to its four-door companion than did Cadillac's CTS.

What do you think, does the new ATS Coupe look just right, or is it too conservative? Voice your opinion in our quick online poll.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Months Ago

      They made it look just like the sedan, same windowline and upright C-pillar.

      The CTS Coupe is how you make a coupe.  If they don't like the coupe's shape, then they want the sedan.

      • 3 Months Ago

      MBA's love focus groups and opinion polls. It frees them of any wrongdoing and gives them something to point at if a product isn't well received. Nothing like absolution from blame to get one excited. Its the wimpy way out. Sadly this reminds me of the GM of the 80's and 90's. 

      Cadillac did something right with the controversial "Art and Science" design. It wouldn't have polled well. Lots of people hated it, and it was shocking even to those that liked it but it distinguished Cadillac from other GM products and other luxury cars. It also lead to the resurgence of the brand. Cadillac was a laughing stock not very long ago. Now they have handling better than a BMW and widely admired interiors. Bold moves, not consensus pulled them out of that. 

      While Cadillac has made great strides in reducing it geriatric demographic it still trends to an older demo than many other brands. Should you be polling this older Cadillac customer for input on the ATS which should be targeted to younger aspiring luxury car owners?  

        • 3 Months Ago

        Bob Lutz isn't a fan of focus groups, because they tend to gravitate towards bland, conservative cars instead of the design that turns heads.  Decades ago, if Harley Earl or Bill Mitchell liked the looks of a design, that was that.  They were of the opinion that GM was the arbitor of good taste, and it was up to the public to embrace the design GM created.

        That said, the CTS sedan, both current and prior generation are great cars, but when I see a CTS couple, I still marvel about how that car is stunning.  GM should have ignored the focus groups.  

        Alex Ellsworth
        • 3 Months Ago

        Eh, I bet they were smart enough to poll their desired young professional target customer, but your comment still holds true - see my comment above.

      Square Wheel
      • 3 Months Ago

      I wonder how many customer clinics Harley Earl and Larry Shinoda held for the coupes they designed...

        Jonathan Ippolito Ga
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Square Wheel

        They held no customer clinics they designed a car to be how they wanted it to be which is exactly how a car should be designed .

      • 3 Months Ago

      If your sales suck, don't listen to your customers...

      • 3 Months Ago
      The ATS looks good, no doubt about that, but I do wish it had more of the bold design that the CTS has.  Its rear taillight area is especially bland. 

      But this is the problem with using focus groups - you get white bread.  Middle American will vote to have it just be a boring rectangular box with some chrome fins on it.  Cadillac has always had a certain swagger about their designs and you'll never get that from group-think.
        • 3 Months Ago

        That's not an accurate read on the "Middle American" (I'm in the St. Louis region.) If just mid-America voted, this car would still have two doors and RWD, but also a bed, a bench seat up front, towing power, and either a Ford or Chevy emblem. 

        This type of vehicle is most likely to be found in the cities. In that market, it will compete with the A5, 3 Series, and the C-Class, not to mention the Infiniti and Lexus coupes. If Cadillac polled those shoppers (in any city), then they did the right thing. 

        This car looks nice. Against the competition, I feel it's the C-Class that looks dull. If an ATS-V comes out later, I'm sure it will have the aggressive look similar to the CTS-V.

      Gregory Hall
      • 3 Months Ago

      if they gave the ATS coupe, ELR lines they would have been winning...

      Dixon Ticonderoga
      • 3 Months Ago

      The CTS coupe does look heavy, but it looks distictive. I get plenty of people asking about/commenting positively on mine (and to be fair, it's a heavy car). This is attractive, but attractive in the way that every other car in the segment is attractive.

      I just can't see upgrading to this.

        • 3 Months Ago
        @Dixon Ticonderoga

        The CTS coupe is both attractive and distinctive at the same time. I can't say I'm a huge fan of the slab-sided fastback look, but I would rather see something like that which is polarizing and interesting than something like this new ATS coupe. It suffers from the elongated-sedan-minus-the-rear-doors look. Not very creative, and honestly I don't think it looks as good as the ATS sedan which just has better overall proportions imo.

        • 3 Months Ago
        @Dixon Ticonderoga

        CTS coupe-Distinctively fat and ugly. Looks like the sedan was treated to AMC's creation of the Gremlin by slicing off the rear.  And thanks to the dull, anonymous naming I had to go to the Caddy website to look up  which one this was.

      • 3 Months Ago

      I'm a 28 year old male that loved the CTS coupe (hated the wheels on the non V's though).  I waited before purchasing a new car to see what the ATS and ATS Coupe would look like.  I was hoping for a bold desgin, but I found the new ATS very boring, and the ATS coupe even more so.  It just looks like a 4-door with 2 doors missing.  

      Coupe's are meant to be fashion statements.  A bland coupe is a coupe that misses the mark.  This is not a fashion statement.

      • 3 Months Ago

      Hate the front end... that lower opening is ugly and the new logo is not Cadillac.

      • 3 Months Ago

      A little too bland, but then again, I find the CTS coupe to be too heavy as well. There's just too much mass over the rear and the rear glass looks so horizontal it's almost non-functional.  Either way the ATS, both coupe and sedan, is a handsome car and I'd drive one.

      • 3 Months Ago

      That looks horrible... I think they missed the mark by a mile... I like the sedan, but the coupe looks like an afterthought and went for cheap

      • 3 Months Ago

      The rear sees a return to blocky designs reminiscent of the early 2000's. The front bumper and new badges leave much to be desired. The overall design is "sales-safe" and generic. The quest for an Audi style "clean appearance" has instead left the ATS in bland to boring territory. While other makers have given their new smaller sedans an aggressive face, ATS zips around with a more neutral, sedate expression. While not offensive, it does little, if anything, to excite.

    • Load More Comments