2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe 2.0T RWD PremiumPosted on November 12th, 2014
Compact sport coupe styled to turn heads
By Nina Russin
It’s hard not to fall in love with the Cadillac ATS sports coupe. It’s long, sleek hood, bullet profile and masculine grille are purposefully sexy. While the Cadillac brand has always been synonymous with luxury, its context within that segment has covered both ends of the spectrum. The ATS coupe reaches a new performance apex, appealing to the current generation of driving enthusiasts.
The V-16 Cadillacs of the pre-War era were engineering marvels, but they were also among the most elegant cars of their day. After the War, the brand’s styling became edgier, with some of the biggest fins to come out of the 1950s.
Twenty years later Cadillac said goodbye to the full-sized Eldorado convertible, and with that entered into a new phase of more fuel-efficient but less dazzling cars.
Beginning with the new millennium, the brand changed faces again, utilizing technologies such as direct injection and turbocharging to infuse its small engines with big engine power. Styling got a kick in the pants as well, veering away from the conservativism of former models.
Widening the brand’s performance base
The midsized CTS and CTS-V cemented Cadillac’s performance chops on the world stage. The compact rear-wheel drive ATS follows in that tradition.
Buyers can choose between a turbocharged two-liter four-cylinder or V-6 blocks, and six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions.
The test car is equipped with the turbocharged four-cylinder and six-speed automatic with manual gear selection. Although it lacks the brute force of the six-cylinder’s 321 horsepower, the smaller block actually has more torque: 295 foot-pounds as opposed to 275 on the bigger engine.
Add in the fact that peak torque is available at lower engine speeds and the smaller block shaves some weight off the chassis and the four-cylinder might just be the block to buy. It wins in the fuel economy department as well, delivering about three miles-per-gallon more in both city and highway driving.
Base price on the test car is $47,095 excluding the $995 destination charge. The premium model comes fully loaded with safety and convenience features including leather seating, dual-zone climate control, satellite radio, Bluetooth interface, CUE with navigation, Bose surround sound, keyless and remote start, heads-up display, rear vision camera, hill start assist, lane keep assist and high-intensity discharge headlamps. The only options on the car are its blue metallic exterior paint and two-tone leather interior, bringing the final MSRP to $49,880.
Test drive in Southern Arizona
This week I took the ATS on a road trip between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona and drove on surface streets in both urban areas. While in Tucson, my husband and I also took a day trip through the Saguaro National Forest on the outskirts of town.
Despite its luxury price tag, the Cadillac ATS is a great value. The powertrain itself is worth the price of admission, even if all the above-listed convenience features were separate options. The engine is quiet, vibration-free and powerful. Readers who have not experienced the newest generation of light pressure turbochargers would have a hard time distinguishing the four-liter block from a naturally aspirated six cylinder.
The six-speed automatic transmission is crisp yet fluid. Under normal driving conditions there is no noticeable shift shock, even on steep hills. Acceleration is strong and linear, thanks to engine’s abundant low-end torque.
Although magnetic ride control has been part of the Cadillac lexicon for years, I am still wowed by the technology that utilizes rheostatic fluid to make real-time suspension adjustments. The run-flat summer performance tires produce some noise at higher speeds. I was not bothered by it considering the car’s mission.
A ZF electric power steering system is so good that it is virtually indistinguishable from a hydraulic counterpart. When so many competitive systems suffer from poor on-center response, it’s a breath of fresh air. Brembo brakes stop the ATS in firm, linear fashion.
There is an intimacy inside the ATS that stems partly from its compact size but also its driver-focus. The standard heads-up display suggests a jet cockpit: quite appropriate in this context.
Both the driver and front passenger seats have multiple power adjustments. Unfortunately, I did not find the seats at all comfortable despite my best efforts to adjust them properly. After about an hour my lower back started to ache, despite the lumbar adjustment. It is the only thing about the ATS that would prevent me from buying the car.
A large center stack screen contains easy-to-read graphics for the voice-activated audio, navigation and information systems. Redundant steering wheel controls enable the driver to make simple programming changes with minimal distraction.
Rear seats don’t have an abundance of legroom due to the coupe’s relatively short wheelbase, but adults should have adequate room in the outboard positions for trips around town.
The trunk is likewise not particularly large, but has plenty of room for groceries, luggage and golf bags. Cyclists needing additional room would be better suited with the SRX crossover.
The Cadillac ATS comes with front, side, side curtain, driver and front passenger knee airbags, antilock brakes, stability control, traction control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning and assist, intelligent headlamps and OnStar that automatically notifies police and emergency medical personnel in the event of a serious collision.
The factory warranty includes six years of roadside assistance: up to 70,000 miles. Cadillac builds the ATS in its Lansing, Michigan assembly plant.
Like: A world-class performance coupe with sensuous styling, excellent power and fuel economy. The ATS is a lot of car for the money.
Dislike: Uncomfortable driver seat.
Model: ATS 2.0L Turbo Premium Coupe
Base price: $47,095
As tested: $49,880
Horsepower: 272 Hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque: 295 lbs.-ft. @ 3000 rpm
Zero-to-sixty: 5.6 seconds
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: No
Fuel economy: 21/30 mpg city/highway
One response to “2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe 2.0T RWD Premium”
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