2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe Review & Ratings | Edmunds
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2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe Review

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe
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Edmunds Expert Review of the 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe

  • The 2015 Cadillac ATS is an enjoyable entry-level sport luxury coupe worthy of comparison with more established German rivals. Although not a class leader, the ATS is a solid choice, especially if you want to drive something a little different from the norm.

  • Safety | Reliability
  • Pros

    Excellent handling; fun-to-drive character; cutting-edge interior design.

  • Cons

    Distracting to operate touchscreen interface; small trunk and backseat.

  • What's New for 2015

    The 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe is a new model.

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Full Expert Review: 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe

What's New for 2015

The 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe is a new model.

Introduction

Any doubts that Cadillac intends to earn its place among sport-luxury cars are laid to rest with the 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe. For this new model, Cadillac lops off two doors from the ATS sedan and offers nearly identical features and performance in a sharp, two-door package.

The ATS coupe offers another entry point for buyers who believe sedans lack style, regardless of practicality. And make no mistake: The ATS coupe isn't the most practical of carriages. Compared to the sedan, the coupe's sleek, tapering roof line looks fantastic, but it costs an inch of front seat headroom and slightly more than 1.5 inches in back. Shoulder room also is pinched. The coupe's overall interior volume is 7 cubic feet less than the sedan, and that backseat -- small even in the sedan -- shrinks even more in the coupe and reduces accommodations from the sedan's three to just two occupants. Both models share a skimpy trunk.

For those considering a coupe, however, those probably are minor sacrifices in return for sumptuous style. For the ATS coupe, Cadillac resisted the more extreme styling measures of the old CTS coupe and its thick rear haunches and aggressively sloped rear window. The ATS coupe is rather more modest, with an elegant, elongated door line and a compact rear end that, while compromising trunk space, also gives it a coherent and athletic stance. The offset dual-exhaust pipes don't hurt either.

The ATS coupe isn't all show, however. It gets the two best engines from the sedan: a turbocharged four-cylinder and a beefier V6. The new two-door ATS also offers a six-speed manual transmission, although it's only available with the four-cylinder. Both engines deliver a satisfying blend of power and efficiency, even if the turbo-4 does sound a little coarse under hard orders. And like the sedan, the ATS coupe is one of the best-handling cars in in its class, on par with the best of its German and Japanese rivals.

It all adds up to a package that puts Cadillac right in the mix with recent sedan-based coupes like Audi's A5 and S5 and BMW's 4 Series. BMW has dominated this class for years thanks to a lineup of overachieving engines and excellent driving dynamics, while the Audis deliver similar gusto with rich technology features and standard all-wheel drive. We're also quite fond of BMW's new smaller 2 Series coupe. Among this stellar group, the 2015 Cadillac ATS coupe doesn't really set any new benchmarks, but overall we think it's a strong contender.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2015 Cadillac ATS coupe is a four-passenger, luxury-oriented coupe offered in four trim levels: base, Luxury, Performance and Premium.

The base trim is available only for four-cylinder models. Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, run-flat tires, heated mirrors, automatic headlights, keyless entry and ignition, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats, premium vinyl upholstery ("leatherette"), a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, OnStar, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a seven-speaker Bose sound system with satellite radio, an iPod/USB interface and an auxiliary phone jack.

Optional on the base ATS coupe is a portable device charging tray and the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) audio and entertainment system (includes 8-inch color display, three USB ports and an upgraded 12-speaker surround-sound system).

Selecting the base 2015 ATS coupe with all-wheel drive includes heated front seats, which also can be ordered for the base car with rear-wheel drive. Going for the base, rear-wheel-drive ATS coupe with the V6 engine means you also have access to the Safety and Security package, which includes rear-seat side airbags, forward collision alert, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, automatic wipers and Cadillac's Safety Alert driver seat.

First up the ladder from the base ATS coupe is the Luxury trim; it adds adaptive xenon headlights, auto-dimming side mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, remote engine start (automatic transmission models only), leather seating, a 12-way power driver seat with memory function, a 10-way power passenger seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, the CUE system and 4G LTE high-speed data connectivity that also enables the car to become a Wi-Fi hotspot. Single options available when you choose the Luxury trim include a navigation system and the premium 12-speaker surround-sound system.

The Performance trim includes all the base and Luxury content, along with polished 18-inch wheels, illuminated exterior door handles, dual exhaust outlets, a Driver Awareness package (Cadillac's ingenious Safety Alert Seat, automatic high-beam control, automatic wipers, rear-seat side airbags, and forward-collision, rear cross-traffic and lane-departure warning systems) and aluminum-trimmed pedals.

Stepping up to the Premium trim includes all of the above and adds unique 18-inch wheels, a navigation system, a color head-up display and a power-adjustable steering column. Rear-wheel-drive ATS Premium models also come with run-flat performance tires, a sport-tuned suspension, adaptive suspension dampers and a limited rear-slip differential.

Many of the features that are standard on the upper trim levels are optional on the lower trims. A few other option packages are also available. The Driver Assist package includes the features from the Awareness package and adds adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, a collision mitigation system with brake assist (which activates in both front and rear collision situations), rear cross-traffic alert and the color head-up display.

The Cold Weather package includes heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, while the Track Performance package, available only on V6 models, adds an engine oil cooler and upgraded brake pads. Other options include various wheel selections and a sunroof.

Powertrains and Performance

The standard engine for the 2015 Cadillac ATS coupe is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 272 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. It can be paired with a six-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission.

Optional is a 3.6-liter V6 rated at 321 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. This engine is only offered with the six-speed automatic transmission.

Rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available with either engine, but matched only to the automatic transmission. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the turbo four-cylinder and automatic is 24 mpg combined (21 city/30 highway). ATS coupes with the V6 engine have a combined rating of 22 mpg (18/28). There are only slight variations in EPA ratings according to whether you choose rear-wheel drive or AWD and the automatic or manual transmission.

Safety

Standard safety features for the 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe include antilock disc brakes, a rearview camera, traction control, stability control, active front head restraints, front-seat side and knee airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Also standard is OnStar, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking, stolen vehicle assistance and turn-by-turn navigation.

Optional safety items mostly are available in optional packages. The Safety and Security package is available only for the ATS coupe with the Luxury trim and combines the content of the Driver Awareness package and the Advance Security package. The Driver Awareness package is standard for the ATS coupe Performance and Premium models and includes forward collision alert, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, automatic wipers, automatic belt-tightening and rear-seat side airbags.

The Driver Assist package is standard for the top-level ATS Premium trim and incorporates adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and collision mitigation with brake assist. The Driver Awareness and Driver Assist packages include Cadillac's Safety Alert seat that issues a vibrating alert when sensors detect errant lane drift or an obstacle alongside.

Note that the collision mitigation system that's part of the Driver Assist package will automatically apply the brakes in both low-speed forward and rearward potential collision situations -- an unusual feature in this price range.

Interior Design and Special Features

Inside, the 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe offers a variety of high-quality materials, including tasteful wood and metallic accents, and the cabin feels solidly put together. There are only a few places that use substandard-looking plastics, the area surrounding the power window switches being one.

The available CUE infotainment interface -- standard for all but the base model ATS Coupe -- features large icons and operates like a smartphone or tablet, with tapping, swiping, flicking and pinching gestures. Furthermore, "haptic" feedback lets you know when you've pressed a virtual button by pulsing when you touch it. It's a great idea in theory, but CUE can be slow to respond (and occasionally fail to respond to your touch at all) and some features, such as the slide bar for volume adjustment, can be much more troublesome to input fine adjustments than conventional controls. On the upside, the ATS has a robust voice recognition interface, so if you get tired of fiddling with CUE's fussy touchscreen, initiating the commands by voice is fairly painless.

Up front, most drivers will find a comfortable driving position, and in our experience, the front seats provide ample support on longer drives. Oddly, the optional sport seats don't provide much more lateral support than the standard seats, even with the addition of power-adjustable bolsters. Compared to other entry-level luxury coupes, the ATS Coupe's backseat is pretty small. If you're considering a coupe in the first place, it's probably not a deal breaker, but know that taller adults will find headroom, shoulder room and hiproom in noticeably short supply. The trunk is similarly confining at just 10.4 cubic feet of capacity.

Driving Impressions

The 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe is a quite impressive all-around performer. The new coupe model brings the same poised ride, sure-footed handling and excellent response from the steering and brakes that's made the ATS sedan one of our top choices if sharp driving responses are one of your top priorities. Regardless of which engine you choose, the ATS Coupe's driving dynamics are equal to and perhaps better than some of its German competitors.

The turbo four-cylinder provides quick acceleration in keeping with a compact Cadillac's athletic personality, but of the two we'd opt for the V6. This is mostly because the four-cylinder tends to get raspy under hard acceleration, lacking the refined song of rival engines.

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