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2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe Review and Road Test By Larry Nutson

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2015 Cadillac ATS

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe - Alphabet Coupe
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, Chicago Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel

Yes, alphabet coupe. My play on words is in reference to Cadillac’s all-new ATS coupe that replaces the CTS coupe in Cadillac’s product portfolio. The CTS coupe has been around only for four years. So, it’s from CTS to ATS if you want 2-doors.

Why the change, you ask? Well, in this day of a global automotive focus and also in selling basically the same vehicle in every global market where you want to compete, product decisions are based on the global market. And they are not based on just your home market, as once was.

The role of the ATS coupe within Cadillac is to expand and elevate the brand, to bring in new customers and to compete, globally, in the heart of the compact luxury segment. Around 70% of ATS sedan buyers are new to Cadillac and 20% are under age 35. Coupe sales make up about 15% of the luxury segment and brings in owners who are passionate and emotional about what they drive, who are motivated by performance and technology, and who want their personality to be reflected in the design of their car.

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The ATS coupe is expected to offer Cadillac a better opportunity to compete in the compact luxury segment that the CTS coupe did in the midsize luxury segment. Its design is more refined and less bold. Also, the ATS is several hundred pounds lighter and thus will perform better than the CTS.

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The ATS sedan was introduced slightly more than a year ago. The coupe is not just a sedan with two less doors. The only common body panel is the hood and the grille. By the way, the ATS coupe is the first Cadillac to carry the new logo without the laurel wreath. ATS coupe is one inch lower, one and a half inches wider, has more rake to the windshield, wears unique outside mirrors and rides on 18-inch wheels.

ATS coupe is offered in four trims - Standard, Luxury, Performance and Premium. Each of those is available in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. All are powered by the 272HP 2.0-L turbo mated to a Hydramatic 6-speed automatic. And, you can get a Tremec 6-speed manual with the 2.0-L turbo in any of the four trims but only with RWD.

Now if you need more go-power the three top trims can be had with the 321HP 3.6L V6 with the 6-speed auto trans only and in either RWD or AWD.

Pricing starts at $38,990 for the Standard rear drive model and goes up to $52,430 for the 3.6-L V6 Premium with AWD.

The best ATS Coupe EPA test fuel economy ratings are the rear drive automatic at 21 city mpg and 31 highway mpg. EPA test ratings for the V6 rear-drive are 19 city mpg and 28 highway mpg.

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New items on the 2015 ATS coupe are a new grille featuring the new Cadillac Crest, 2.0T engine torque increased to 295 ft-lbs (up from 260), ZF Premium Steering sensitivity and feel improvements, keyless passive entry now standard, new available up-level semi-aniline & sueded accent interiors and new available power tilt and telescoping steering column.

ATS coupe is the first Cadillac with ONSTAR that includes 4G LTE providing embedded WI-FI. You can go online on-board.

The standard 2-liter Turbo has been upgraded with more boost. The result is 14 percent more torque and faster acceleration – Cadillac says just 5.6 seconds zero to 60.

The Premium model in RWD-only has a package offered that gives you the performance suspension with Magnetic Ride Control real-time damping, performance Summer run-flat tires, mechanical limited slip differential, and extra capacity cooling package.

For the racers there is a track package offered on V6 RWD model only that adds an engine oil cooler and performance brake pads.

A group of Mid-Atlantic based auto writers got to experience the new ATS Coupe in the beautiful rolling hills of the Virginia countryside southwesterly from Washington DC. After a brief Georgetown-based product introduction by Cadillac’s product director Hampden Tener we motored off to the Virginia countryside to drive the ATS Coupe like ATS Coupe owners would.

We had all the drive train variants available to experience. Given the limitations on time and the number of writers along on this program, I got to drive the ATS Coupe with automatic trans in both rear-drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The Virginia countryside offers a multitude of roads including expressway and some of the very rural twisty-hilly two-lane type. My personal take-away is that I preferred the rear drive coupe over the AWD model. I felt it a bit more nimble and responsive in the twisty back roads. Steering is tight and precise with good feedback through the thick-rimmed steering wheel.

To the point, I may not go with the AWD model just because my winters involve lots of snow. A nice set of winter tires on all four wheels could handle the winter very well and I would have a lighter and more nimble car for the non-snowy months.

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Ingress and egress was quite easy. Of course as a coupe, rear seat access is a challenge, except for the nimble young ones. Seats provided good support and comfort, but I would like to experience an all-day road trip before passing full judgment. I didn’t detect much wind or road noise seeping into the cabin. The trunk is a bit over 10 cuft, and that’s enough for a couple to carry their luggage for a weekend road trip or even two roll-aboards to the airport.

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The CUE…Cadillac User Experience… for control and connectivity takes getting used to. I would still like to see a couple knobs, instead of all touch actuations.

You can register for updates on the 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe and get more information on other Cadillac models at Shopping for other brand coupe models and comparing can be done right here on

A question that naturally comes to mind is: will there be an ATS convertible? All that Cadillac executives will say is that a convertible is on their wish list.

Larry Nutson