Nimble, turbocharged, rear wheel drive coupe.
Do we have your attention? Cadillac hopes so, as the 2015 ATS Turbo is poised to be a hot seller. They were kind enough to lend us an example in Red Obsession Tintcoat for a week of spirited examination.
Cadillac’s previous coupe was the Stealth Fighter doppelganger CTS, and we were saddened to learn that it would be cancelled along with the wagon. Since the CTS gained weight and size with each new generation, a new small Caddy was needed. The ATS Coupe is the new 2-door, built on a chassis capable of rear or all wheel drive. While the sedan is offered with a naturally aspirated four cylinder, the base engine for the coupe is the 272 hp turbo 2.0-liter, which makes a staggering 295 foot pounds of torque. A V6 is also offered, but we are waiting for the twin turbo ATS-V, which is rated at 450 hp and will arrive this fall.
Styling is not as aggressive as it was for the CTS Coupe. This may be a deal breaker for some, but the CTS was rather outlandish and occasionally evil looking given the circumstances. My favorite styling feature is the bold crease that starts at the rear of the flared fenders and runs through the door handle on its way to the taillights.
The greenhouse doesn’t look as smashed or claustrophobic as its predecessor, and visibility is excellent as a result. With the severe rake of the windshield and rear glass, occupants have the impression that the car is larger than it really is. Many other body parts, like the grille and mirrors, are stretched rearward, making the car look 100 mph while standing still.
Our test model had the Premium package, and the interior had every luxury available. All of the latest electronic gear was there, including OnStar’s new 4G LTE WiFi hot spot. Although much maligned, the CUE system dominates the center stack. Over the past year I have grown to like it, but it has divided our office to almost the same extent as the notion of a V6 Ford GT.
Cadillac’s leather is now cut and sewn by hand by artisans who really know what they are doing. Of that leather, it is contoured into deep bolsters in anticipation of the corner carving the ATS is capable of. Rear seats are comfy, but shorter drivers may have visibility concerns with the rear headrests in place. Thankfully the seats fold flat with a 60/40 split and allow for great cargo room.
Driving the ATS can be addicting. I jump at any opportunity to drive a car fitted with GM’s Magnetic Ride Control. The first car to offer it was the 2001 Seville STS, and since then it can be found on the R8, 458 Italia and the 599, just to name a few. The ability to instantly react to changing road conditions combined with a traditional locking rear differential makes for a very enjoyable experience.
In sport mode, it handles on rails. For the weary, the comfort settings disconnect you from the road. This car is not nearly as heavy as the CTS-V coupe, but it has the same Brembo brakes up front. Brake pedal feel is confident and easy to modulate.
Although this chassis was designed for a V8, the turbo four is the best choice. Manual shifting via the sleek magnesium paddles keeps the boost flowing, and you instantly realize that a V8 would be overkill in this small car. By overkill, I mean the 2016 Camaro SS, as it will be this car with the bonkers LT1 from the Stingray.
Therein lies my biggest problem with this car: competition from inside GM. As tested, this ATS Premium has a price of $50,380. The price is $9,000 less than a well optioned Stingray, and coming soon, the new Camaro will be a budget minded ATS for the rest of us. As soon as we get our hands on an ATS-V, you will have all the tire punishing details. Stay tuned to Autofluence for more reviews you can use.