2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe Review
A great luxury sports coupe needs a few critical areas of excellence. In the second page of this article, we show the 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe in a 150-photo mega gallery showing the style and sexiness of its two-door shape. Cool LEDs all around, a great stance, proportions to envy — the ATS Coupe has style for days.
In this full review, we’ll cover two other critical successes of the ATS Coupe: Its cabin luxury and incredibly fun, tactile and playful power and handling. Included are three drive videos.
The outline of this article is: Exterior, Interior, Performance, Pricing and Summary.
DRIVE VIDEO ONE
As we touch on in the video reviews, the ATS Coupe seemed very underwhelming, style-wise, when it started hitting the streets a few months ago. Its new nose versus the ATS Sedan seemed oddly mature, and the two-door did not seem to add enough style to justify picking the coupe over the sedan.
After photographing and admiring the ATS Coupe 2.0T Performance extensively, we have changed our tune. The ATS Coupe is sexy and mature — but ripe and primed for personalization. The things we do like — including the stance, seriously cool LED lighting, the profile, frameless doors and butch tail — outweigh the things we’re not wild about. Blacking out the brightwork and darkening the wheels would be our first step to making a sweet, one-of-a-kind ATS Coupe.
This loaded Performance trim is the top of the range for the 2.0T engine, and its style benefits from the $850 optional 18-inch machined-finish aluminum, big Brembo brakes and a pair of bright central exhausts in back. Majestic Plum paint is a $450 option, and grows on you. We also got a few comments from people at Cars & Coffee asking what the color is called. They loved its shimmery sheen in sunlight, but deep dark tones outside of direct light.
Brake-Torque Launch Video
The interior of the ATS Coupe Performance really aces its luxury and sporty goals — far better than any Cadillac we’ve ever driven.
The loaded trim level helps, of course, with cut and sewn leather wrapping all over the doors, center console, dashboard and other details. The $1,295 Kona Brown with Black Accents leather pack also ups the luxury and touchabibilty of the wood and hides dramatically.
The Performance trim also includes:
— baby-soft leather on its thick steering wheel rim,
— genuine magnesium shift paddles that snick through the gears instantly,
— performance seats with 12-way power-adjustments
— power-adjustable side bolster
— power-adjustable pedals with a sport alloy design
— a manually-extendable seat base squab for awesome under-theigh support
— manually-adjustable tilt/telescoping steering column
The wood is open-pore and gorgeous — inviting a touch of its exposed finish. A $1000 CUE upgrade adds navigation, but 4G LTE is standard. It is easy to sign on, and has a strong signal. Same goes for the remote start. LED lighting all over the cabin is delightful, as are the LED light-up door handles outside.
All this stuff is fantastic, and really nails home the luxury feel inside.
But the really amazing thing is what can’t really be listed on the spec sheet. Absolutely perfect driving positions are available in nearly any shape of person or mood. Low and with the steering-wheel right at hand, the ATS Coupe has a BMW-beating confidence for drivers. You can lower the ATS Coupe’s seats to the floor, at least three inches lower than the BMW M235i or 435i. No compromises thanks to the adjustable pedals and wheel reach/rake.
The last huge surprise/delight about the ATS Coupe? Frameless doors (in nearly all cars that have them) usually clonk shut with a rattle and clatter when they’re closed with the window open. Not the ATS Coupe. A hushed and high-quality thunk, even with the glass all the way down. Impressive.
DRIVE VIDEO TWO
The ATS Coupe is one of the most entertaining and playful sports coupes we’ve driven in years. Its flawless drive position sets you in a perfect spot to push the ATS Coupe’s turbo 2.0-liter to the max. 272-horsepower and a strong, strong 295-pound-feet of torque make the car feel even quicker than its 5.6-second sprint suggests. It is fast, and the six-speed performance tapshift auto makes the most of the power. It has a great sense and adaptive algorithm, holding gears even at the redline, plus naturally around corners or when you’ve been pushing the car hard.
What we love about the turbo ATS Coupe engine is that it does not need to be floored to make fast progress. The car is fast all the time, even on half throttle.
The steering in Sport mode versus Normal is heavenly. It is full of feel from the front wheels, extremely quick-reacting via its ZF electric variable steering, but rock-solid at straight-ahead and at high speeds. This is the same steering Porsche uses in the Panamera.
Engine Reco: 2.0T or 3.6-liter V6?
We’ve driven both. Strongly in favor of turbo four. (V6 in rear-drive not driven, admittedly)
Drive Reco: RWD or AWD?
Both the turbo four and the V6 are offered with AWD. The extra grip has just a tiny impact on ride height — and might be worthwhile for those in snowy areas. But, be warned, it is less fun and less playful than this rear-drive model. The ATS Performance in rear-drive had impressive traction in rainy conditions, which makes sense with its all-season tires. They are run-flats, by the way, but not in a bad way. (We did not know til seeing it on the spec sheet just now.)
As equipped, the ATS Coupe loves hard throttle and bombing around corners. It is just a big chuckable puppydog of a car.
A great luxury sports coupe should be able to change moods with you, though. The ATS can. It is very chill when you want to relax. Even with the Sport mode selected, it rides well and absorbs bumps well. Active noise cancellation keeps things quiet inside, too.
The ATS Coupe 2.0T Performance has a base price of $45,000 — and feels worth every penny inside and out. Options make it a bit dearer — with an as-tested sticker of $49,600. Kona leather, Navigation, 18-inch machined wheels and special paint are the options, and feel (perhaps) like they should be standard.
The BMW M235i we compare most closely with the ATS Coupe stickered at $48,000. The ATS V6 AWD shown above, for comparison, rang in at $56,000.
The ATS Coupe in standard trim bases at $38,000, which is about $3,000 more than the 228i M Sport. But the Cadillac is better-equipped and much quicker.
Go drive the ATS Coupe 2.0T Performance.
We promise you will be amazed by the car as a total package. Even if, like me, you were not floored by the styling and trim details — you will be won over. It is a grower, this design.
But style outside is only a third of the battle. The ATS Coupe is a huge, huge hero for Cadillac because it aces those two much-harder areas: cabin luxury, performance appeal and raw speed.
In closing, we think the ATS Coupe is the perfect hotshot exec coupe.
ATS Coupe Dayplanner
Lux and techy on the Friday morning commute.
Fast and cool after work for Happy Hour.
Chill heading home after long week Friday night.
Swanky and designer for Saturday night date night.
Refined and classy for Sunday services and brunch.
Thrills are standard in the ATS Coupe on Monday through Sunday.
You can build your own or reserve a test-drive over at Cadillac.com. Do it!
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.