Used 2016 Cadillac ATS Coupe Review

The compact 2016 Cadillac ATS Coupe is an enjoyable sport luxury two-door worthy of comparison with more established German rivals, especially if you want to drive something a little different from the norm.




what's new

For 2016, the Cadillac ATS Coupe gets a new 3.6-liter V6 with improved fuel economy and performance, while an eight-speed automatic transmission replaces the old six-speed. All models receive an automatic start-stop function to save fuel. The CUE infotainment system loses its SD card slot but gets hardware and software upgrades, including full smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

vehicle overview

If you're in the market for a compact luxury coupe, there's an edgy alternative to the usual suspects. It's called the 2016 Cadillac ATS Coupe, and its appeal starts with flashier styling than you get with the conservative German crowd.  Based on the athletic ATS sedan, the coupe incorporates the same forward-thinking interior design and superb chassis with sport-tuned dynamics. It's certainly one of the most distinctive cars you'll find in this class.  

The striking design of the 2016 Cadillac ATS Coupe sets it apart from its strait-laced rivals

Just one year removed from its debut, the Cadillac ATS coupe sees a lengthy list of improvements for 2016. There's a new 3.6-liter V6 engine that makes slightly more power and torque than the previous motor while also achieving better fuel economy. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard across the board, replacing the previous six-speed unit, although a six-speed manual is still optional with the 2.0T engine. The controversial CUE infotainment system gets a more powerful processor and reworked navigation functions to address criticisms from reviewers and owners alike, further adding Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for full smartphone integration. Alas, the system's finicky touch-sensitive central control panel remains.

Competition is limited but intense in this segment, led by a pair of impeccably engineered Bavarians. The BMW 2 Series is a small, light-on-its-feet coupe with sports-car handling and two outstanding turbocharged engines, while the BMW 4 Series is larger but also more sophisticated, with similar powertrain options. An all-new Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe is ready to debut for 2017, and the Audi A5 holds down the fort in the meantime with graceful looks, a beautiful cabin and standard all-wheel drive. If the adventurous aesthetics of the Lexus RC strike your fancy, keep in mind that there's a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine this year to complement the carryover V6. But if you think the chiseled 2016 Cadillac ATS Coupe makes the others seem bland, chances are you'll dig the way it drives, too.

trim levels & features

The 2016 Cadillac ATS Coupe is a four-passenger compact luxury coupe offered in four trim levels: base, Luxury, Performance and Premium. The ATS sedan and high-performance ATS-V are reviewed separately.

The base trim comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors with puddle lamps, automatic headlights, dual exhaust outlets, remote engine start (automatic transmission only), a rearview camera, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, six-way power front seats with power lumbar, premium vinyl (leatherette) upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 5.7-inch driver information screen, OnStar with 4G LTE WiFi capability and a nine-speaker Bose sound system with satellite radio, two USB ports and an auxiliary audio jack.

A built-in 4G LTE WiFi hotspot is one of many appealing technology features on the 2016 Cadillac ATS Coupe.

The CUE and Surround Sound package is available for the base ATS coupe, adding a 12-speaker Bose audio system and the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system, which includes voice controls, an 8-inch touchscreen, a wireless phone-charging tray, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Android Auto (late availability) and Apple CarPlay functionality with voice recognition, three USB ports and HD radio.

The Luxury trim comes standard with the CUE system, and it adds adaptive xenon headlights, auto-dimming mirrors (driver-side and interior), front and rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, a 12-way power driver seat, a 10-way power passenger seat, driver memory settings and the CUE system. Optional is a navigation system that comes bundled with the 12-speaker Bose stereo and a 110-volt power outlet. The Safety and Security package adds automatic high beams, automatic wipers and a number of safety technologies (see Safety section, below). The Cold Weather package adds a heated steering wheel and heated front seats.

The Performance trim steps up to 18-inch wheels, illuminated exterior door handles, the Cold Weather package, the 12-speaker Bose system, aluminum-trimmed pedals and safety technologies via the Driver Awareness package, which is similar to the Safety and Security package. The navigation system and 110-volt power outlet are again optional.

Going with the Premium trim nets you unique 18-inch wheels, the navigation system and 110-volt power outlet, a color head-up display and a power-adjustable steering column. Rear-wheel-drive ATS Premium models also come with summer tires, a sport-tuned suspension, adaptive suspension dampers and a limited-slip rear differential.

Many of the features that are standard on the upper trim levels are optional on the lower trims. A few other optional packages are also available. The Driver Assist package, available on Performance and Premium trims, adds the color head-up display (Performance trim) and adaptive cruise control, and it also includes advanced safety technologies (see Safety section, below).

The Track Performance package, available only on the V6 Premium model with rear-wheel drive, adds a heavy-duty engine cooling fan and upgraded brake pads. All RWD models below the Premium level can be ordered with a V-Sport Performance Suspension Upgrade package, which adds the sport-tuned suspension from the RWD Premium trim, along with 18-inch wheels and summer tires.

Stand-alone options include upgraded brakes, various wheel selections and a sunroof.

performance & mpg

The 2016 Cadillac ATS Coupe is available with two engines, both of which come standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission (including steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters) and rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional.

The base motor is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 272 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is optional, but only with rear-wheel drive. The automatic-equipped ATS 2.0T earns an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 26 mpg combined (22 city/31 highway) with RWD and 25 mpg combined (22 city/30 highway) with AWD. With the manual, the ATS 2.0T gets a slightly worse 23 mpg combined (20 city/29 highway).

Also on offer is a 3.6-liter V6 rated at 335 hp and 285 lb-ft of torque. EPA fuel-economy estimates for the ATS 3.6 stand at 24 mpg combined (20 city/30 highway) with RWD and 22 mpg combined (19 city/28 highway) with AWD.

safety

Standard safety features for the 2016 Cadillac ATS Coupe include antilock disc brakes, a rearview camera, traction and 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.

Both the Safety and Security package and the Driver Awareness package add forward-collision alert, lane departure prevention, a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert and Cadillac's Safety Alert driver seat (with a vibrating seat bottom to warn of impending hazards). Also included is a lane-change alert system which detects quickly approaching vehicles in adjacent lanes when the turn signal is activated.

The Driver Assist package throws in a forward and rearward collision mitigation system with automatic emergency braking.

driving

The 2016 Cadillac ATS Coupe is an impressive all-around performer, featuring the same sure-footed handling and excellent responsiveness that make the ATS sedan a world-class athlete. With its nimble character and disciplined body control in fast corners, it's more like the playful BMW 2 Series than the somewhat aloof 4 Series from the driver seat. The turbocharged four-cylinder engine provides quick acceleration and plentiful torque across the rev range, but it tends to get raspy under hard acceleration, lacking the mellifluous song of rival engines. The V6 is a more refined choice, and its fuel economy isn't much worse than that of the 2.0T.

interior

Inside, the 2016 Cadillac ATS Coupe offers a variety of high-quality materials, including tasteful wood and metallic accents, and the cabin feels solidly put together. A few plastic trim pieces seem a bit low-rent for the segment, but by and large the cockpit is well-appointed.

While the 2016 ATS Coupe is among the least expensive vehicles that Cadillac sells, you'd never know it from its luxurious interior.

The available CUE infotainment interface features a vivid 8-inch touchscreen with 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 to your touch. It's a nice idea in theory, but certain elements, such as the slide bar for volume adjustment, can be much more troublesome 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.

Although CUE can be frustrating to use, it gets more powerful hardware for 2016, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

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 headroom, shoulder room and hip room are in notably short supply. Although it has a wide opening, the trunk is similarly confining at just 10.4 cubic feet of capacity.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.