Comfortable, stylish and christened with a Cadillac badge on the nose, the 2017 ATS coupe is more than just a good-looking two-door Caddy. It's a compact luxury coupe from America that competes with some of Germany's best. It does so by providing engaging driving dynamics, lots of modern tech, and upscale trim throughout the cabin.
Part of what makes the 2017 Cadillac ATS coupe so good are its performance chops. It has two available engines and two available suspension setups. And if you're so inclined, you can even have the ATS with a six-speed manual transmission. It feels lightweight, which helps it drive especially well around corners. But more than being just a quick car, the ATS coupe has comfortable seats, a quiet ride and sleek design, inside and out. There are a few things working against the ATS such as the finicky CUE infotainment interface and the noisy nature of the four-cylinder engine, but otherwise it’s a strong contender.
The ATS coupe's rivals are made up of the usual suspects from Mercedes, Audi and BMW. All three currently offer extremely appealing cars in the compact luxury segment. For Mercedes-Benz it's the redesigned 2017 C-Class, which has several impressive engines available and lust-worthy styling. BMW checks in with two competitors, the 2 Series and 4 Series. Both are extremely well put together and enjoyable to drive. And while Audi's A5 has aged a bit in comparison, it still offers standard all-wheel drive and classically appealing interior.
Whatever you think of the 2017 Cadillac ATS coupe in comparison to its rivals, know that you should be thinking of it if you're shopping for a compact luxury coupe.
Standard safety features for the 2017 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 adaptive cruise control and a forward and rearward collision mitigation system with automatic emergency braking.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Cadillac ATS coupe is a four-passenger compact luxury coupe offered in four trim levels: base, Luxury, Premium Luxury and Premium Performance. The ATS sedan and high-performance ATS-V are reviewed separately.
The base ATS comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors with puddle lamps, 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 leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 5.7-inch driver information screen and OnStar with 4G LTE Wi-Fi capability. Also standard is the CUE infotainment system, which includes voice controls, an 8-inch touchscreen, a 12-speaker Bose sound system, a wireless phone charging tray, satellite radio, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality with voice recognition, three USB ports and an auxiliary audio jack.
The Luxury trim 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, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and driver memory settings. Optional is an upgraded version of CUE, bundled with a navigation system 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 Premium Luxury trim adds unique 18-inch wheels, a sunroof, illuminated exterior door handles, adaptive high beams, rain-sensing windshield wipers, aluminum-trimmed pedals and safety technologies via the Driver Awareness package, which is similar to the Safety and Security package.
Going with the Premium Performance trim includes all the previously mentioned equipment plus summer tires, a sport-tuned suspension, adaptive suspension dampers, a limited-slip rear differential, a head-up display and a power-adjustable steering column.
Many of the features that are standard on the upper trim levels are optional on the lower trims. The Driver Assist package, available on the Premium Luxury and Premium Performance trims, adds the head-up display, adaptive cruise control, and includes advanced safety technologies (see Safety section below).
A new Carbon Black Package adds Recaro performance seats, a blacked-out grille, a rear spoiler, special interior and exterior trim, and unique dark-finish 18-inch wheels.
The Track Performance package, available only on the Premium Performance model, adds a heavy-duty engine cooling fan and upgraded brake pads. All RWD models below the Premium Performance level can be ordered with a V-Sport Performance Suspension Upgrade package, which adds a sport-tuned suspension, along with 18-inch wheels and summer tires.
There are two available engines for the 2017 Cadillac ATS coupe: a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder or a 3.6-liter V6. Both engines come standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission (including steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters) and rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional for both engines. A six-speed manual can be equipped on base and Luxury models with the 2.0-liter engine and rear-wheel drive.
The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 272 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the 2017 ATS 2.0T with the six-speed manual and rear-wheel drive is 23 mpg combined (20 city/29 highway).
EPA-estimates for the other motor/transmission combinations of the 2017 ATS were not available at the time of this writing, but last year the automatic-equipped ATS 2.0T earned 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.
The available 3.6-liter V6 produces 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.
Though it doesn't have the serene ride that you might associate with the Cadillac name, the 2017 ATS coupe is impressive nonetheless. This is an impressive all-around driver's car, with nimbleness and precision in equal measure. Its quick steering has actual feel, and the brakes are responsive and inspire confidence. In this respect, Cadillac has out-BMW'd BMW. Get the summer tires and sport-tuned suspension and you'll likely find all sorts of excuses to exercise your ATS on twisting roads. Depending on the trim level you select and the suspension that comes with it, the ride can be a bit harsh, so drivers with a long freeway commute should be wary.
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. And although it's nice to have the option of a manual transmission, the ATS' isn't our favorite. Shifts aren't as smooth as they could be, and the shifter doesn't feel particularly impressive in your hand.
Much like its bigger brother, the CTS, the 2017 Cadillac ATS coupe offers a variety of high-quality materials, including tasteful wood and metallic accents, and the cabin feels solidly put together and well-appointed. Despite this solid feel, the interior does feel slightly less impressive than that of the new Mercedes C-Class or the BMW 2 Series. A few trim pieces (especially the shiny chrome-like plastic) seem a bit low-rent for the segment.
The standard 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. Virtual buttons on the screen provide what's called haptic feedback by vibrating or pulsing when you touch them. 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. If you get tired of CUE and the fussy touchscreen, the ATS has a robust voice recognition interface and initiating the commands by voice is fairly painless. Overall, though, we prefer the BMW iDrive, Mercedes COMAND and Audi MMI systems, all of which employ a multidirectional knob-based controller.
For drivers, it should be relatively easy to find a good, comfortable driving position and the ATS' standard seats are plenty comfortable for long drives. If you're looking at the optional sport seats, you should know they 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. In this segment, that shouldn't be a surprise, but adults will find headroom, shoulder room and hiproom all cramped. The trunk is a similar story. It's small, which isn't particularly surprising, but it has just 10.4 cubic feet of space, which makes it one of the smallest in the class.
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.
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