Review: The 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe Is as Much Show as It Is Go

The Cadillac ATS Coupe is a two-door that needs little introduction. Begat by the company that delivered the stellar ATS Sedan, the ATS Coupe is a new model for 2015 that exemplifies the ethos of the “new” General Motors: It’s a compelling complement to an already-good sedan. It may look just like the ATS Sedan, but what that really means is a crisp exterior and a well-crafted interior.

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We recently had the chance to take a first look at the ATS Coupe, in all of its powertrain variants, and see how it handles real-world driving.

Designed to show off the family crest

If you like the design of the Cadillac ATS Sedan, then you’ll love the lengthened profile of the ATS Coupe. It borrows from a classic General Motors design philosophy, utilizing long side doors to give visual length to the coupe. In deference to the outgoing CTS Coupe and the slow-selling ELR coupe, the ATS Coupe is at times sharp and rounded at others.

The Coupe’s front end is nearly identical to the Sedan’s, and serves as the first placement of the revised Cadillac corporate logo. In back, taller taillights provide visual height much the same way that they do on the larger 2015 CTS Sedan. Interestingly, the trunk loses little space in the transition from Sedan to ATS Coupe. The overall design is beautiful in a classic way, but lacks some of the lower, more punchy visual impact of a BMW 4-series. 

Inside, the Coupe’s interior is pulled almost entirely from the ATS Sedan, and that’s no bad thing:  In terms of design and fit and finish, Cadillac has created a compact/midsize offering as good or better-assembled than its competition. We like the Sedan’s ergonomics, and are becoming more familiar with the touchscreen and heat-sensitive buttons with haptic feedback. Materials look as good as they feel, and the driving position is quite comfortable. The only drawback is the retro-looking instrument panel, which reminds us of GM products from a distant era.

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(Photo : Jeff Jablansky)

Up to date

 

Step inside the ATS Coupe and feel relaxed inside the two-door designed for comfort above all else. The driving position is superb, set back and low, and all controls are within arm’s reach. Material quality feels on par with its competition, if not a step above in certain respects.

Nearly all of the ATS Coupe’s major controls are embedded within CUE, an infotainment and HVAC system controlled by a screen and lighted tabs with haptic feedback. It’s easy to use, with some practice, and responds quickly to touch and voice commands. Hidden inside the CUE display is a storage area that can double as a wireless charging station, thanks to Powermat, and contains an additional USB port to keep cell phones and other devices out of sight.

A fantastic Bose stereo was fitted to our test cars, as were XM satellite radio and plenty of USB inputs. The big news for Cadillac is the introduction of 4G LTE in the ATS Coupe, and many other GM models, and it worked flawlessly during our drive. Of the ATS Coupe’s long list of features, only the parking sensors-which were a touch too helpful and seemed to beep at will-managed to irk us.

(Photo : Jeff Jablansky)

A sweetheart on the backroads

 

The ATS Coupe makes an impressive visual statement, but it’s on the road where it really shines. That statement applies to both engine and transmission choices, which are equally capable, although they have distinct character traits. The four-cylinder loves to rev-and loudly-and begs to be kept in manual shifting as often as possible. By contrast, the V-6 has a throaty engine note, which isn’t quite as muffled as the ones in comparable Audi and BMW coupes. Acceleration in each car comes on briskly, with gearing tuned for fuel economy rather than outright performance. If it were our money, we might opt for the gamier four-cylinder, although that would mean missing out on some top-shelf features. 

The suspension is firm but responsive, and provides a competent ride even without Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control-which is only available on the 3.6 Premium model. Ride comfort is not compromised by 18-inch wheels and run-flat tires, and standard Brembo brakes make quick work of stopping the ATS Coupe. Cabin noise is nicely controlled, but it’s no bank vault inside.

The best part about driving the ATS Coupe, compared to most of the other coupes in the segment, is its steering, which is direct, communicative, and nicely weighted. Selecting “Sport” mode provides a bit more heft, in addition to quicker throttle response, but it’s to our liking in either setting. This isn’t an Eldorado, for sure.

Overall, we enjoyed the experience of tossing the ATS Coupe about mountain roads and on highways, and never wanted for power or comfort throughout. Consider that a win for Cadillac.

(Photo : Jeff Jablansky)

Overall

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Given the ATS Coupe’s familiar looks, we were expecting an experience familiar to that of the ATS Sedan, and we weren’t disappointed. Cadillac managed to translate the driving fun of the Sedan and give it “personal coupe” looks. The ATS Coupe is beautiful to look at and satisfying to drive, regardless of specification. It’s certainly worth a look-and a drive.

source: Auto World News

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