We all knew it was coming; when Cadillac debuted the ATS compact luxury sedan, the rear-wheel-drive coupe couldn’t be far behind. But the company didn’t just knock off two doors and call it a day; Cadillac engineers made it a more driver-oriented car – they had to, considering direct competition comes from BMW and Mercedes.
A decade ago, Cadillac wouldn’t be mentioned in the same sentence as the premium German brands, but the past few years have seen big changes with the General Motors division. It has not only made a target of these luxury cars, but also has used just about every arrow in its quiver: looks, quality, ride, technology.
Cadillac has learned what the Germans have known for so long: buyers want a genuine sporting experience along with the luxury. They want real wood, metal and leather in their cabins. And they want the latest in safety and convenience technologies.
The ATS Coupe has all of this, with its excellent magnetic ride suspension, a smooth and torquey turbocharged 2.0-litre engine, even a trick hidden wireless phone charger beneath the HVAC control panel. This car is a turnaround from the luxo-barges the company was foisting on us years ago. What’s more, the improvements of the coupe over even its four-door sibling show Cadillac is not resting on its heels; a sure sign it wants to stay competitive.
The ATS Coupe is not perfect; having a six-speed auto when the others are already up to eight is a misstep. But North Americans finally have a coupe worthy to be mentioned in the same breath as the best in the world.
Base price: $38,990, U.S. pricing only; (expect low-$40,000 to mid-$50,000 range).
Engines: 2.0-litre turbocharged inline four, 3.6-litre V-6.
Transmissions: Six-speed automatic, six-speed manual (available only on 2.0T)
Fuel economy (litres/100 km): I-4: 11.2 city, 7.6 highway; V-6: 12.4 city, 8.4 highway
Alternatives: BMW 428i coupe, Mercedes-Benz C250 coupe, Audi A5, Infiniti Q60
Looks - A sharply creased and muscular alternative to the Germans
Interior - A nicely trimmed interior with real wood, aluminum and leather, but a disappointing gauge cluster
Performance - The 2.0T is the clear winner, though more cogs in the automatic would be appreciated
Tech - An Internet hotspot, wireless phone charging, new ZF electric steering
Cargo - For such a wide rear end, the trunk isn’t all that big
Verdict: While it may not be ahead of the competition, it’s certainly up with them
You’ll like this car if: You want the luxury but don’t need a German badge
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