Over the past few years, no brand has worked harder to change their image than Cadillac. New products, new marketing, and a new headquarters all aim to set Cadillac apart from the GM family. Targeting German benchmarks, like the BMW 3 Series, by name, Cadillac has been working its way into segments dominated by the combination of a great driving impression and luxury feel. We’ve already found the ATS sedan and CTS Vsport to be capable contenders. We even gave the ATS sedan the nod over the BMW 3 Series when it came to driving impressions. But BMW returned fire with the 4 Series and Lexus has waded into the fray with the RC350 coupe. Cadillac’s response? The ATS Coupe.
On the outside, the ATS Coupe is quite reserved; almost surprisingly so for a sports coupe. Visually, the coupe seems to be almost identical to its sedan counterpart, but the lack of rear doors and raked rear roofline give it a slightly slab-sided appearance. Needless to say, if you like the sedan styling, you’ll like the coupe. Around back, the ATS Coupe loses some of the sharply defined styling of the sedan, which is disappointing. The design is simple, unlike the overly-designed Lexus RC. Cadillac is in step with BMW here. The coupe shares the same image as the sedan, only everything is a little lower and a little wider. Dare we say we prefer the sedans?
Inside, the ATS Coupe shares it’s excellent genes with the sedan. We praised the ATS’s fit and finish the last time, and the coupe carries on that trend. The seats, steering wheel and touch points are high quality leather. The only spots that you’ll notice are GM carryovers are the wiper and turn signal stalks. They appear to be the same units found in the Buick Verano. Like most coupes, the b-pillar is set further back, right where you’d like to have some over-shoulder visibility. Paired with a high rear deck, the ATS doesn’t have the greatest rear visibility.
The front seats provide excellent support, especially in Performance trim. They are very roomy as well, but the Coupe’s lower roofline leaves taller passengers feeling cramped. There’s constantly a feeling of being overly reclined just to avoid the headliner. If you manger to find someone small enough to fit in the back seat, they’ll feel cramped as well. CUE is back and, while we’ve gotten used to its quirks, it’s still a clunky system. Annoyingly, there are no buttons real buttons anywhere but the steering wheel. All the center stack functions are touch controlled. Sometimes they don’t work the first time and with gloves on, they work none of the time.
Our tester was a 2.0T Performance RWD, just like the sedan we tested last year. Output is identical at 272 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. While we didn’t have a 428i around this time, it felt faster than the Lexus RC350 AWD we recently tested. Built on top of, arguably, the best chassis in the segment, the Cadillac cornered flat, and gave excellent feedback to the driver. This platform is the basis for the CTS and next-generation Camaro as well. Unfortunately, the ATS’s RWD layout didn’t pair well with the snowy week. We never extracted the ATS’s full potential. Hopefully we’ll have a go in the new ATS-V sometime this summer.
The ATS is a car that has everything needed to compete, in both sedan and coupe form. Sales aren’t showing that, however. Perception may still be an issue, but if you’re looking for a pure driving experience, the ATS delivers in spades. The ATS coupe is a great car; one to be driven, and enjoyed.
|2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe 2.0T Performance
|CUE & Navigation||$1,030|
|Majestic Plum Metallic||$495|
|As Tested MSRP||$48,305|