Cadillac's entry-level luxury line promises true driving enjoyment with a healthy dose of flamboyant American character. The approach must be working—the ATS is now the brand's second-best seller.
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2015 Cadillac ATS Overview
What's New for 2015
The ATS gets a revised front fascia with Cadillac's newly updated crest. The big news is the addition of a coupe body style.
Choosing Your Cadillac ATS
The sedan starts out with 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 202 horsepower. Available on the sedan and standard on the coupe is a 2-liter turbo with 272 horsepower that's much more in tune with car's sporty personality. The top choice for both is a 3.6-liter V6 that achieves 321 horsepower. A six-speed automatic is mandatory with the 2.5-liter and V6, and the 2-liter turbo can also get a six-speed manual. All-wheel drive is available on all automatic-equipped models except sedans with the 2.5-liter engine.
The ATS lineup is composed of four trim levels:
The next two trim levels are available with the 2-liter turbo or V6 engines:
Available on the Performance and Premium is the Driver Assist Package, which gets you adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and a collision mitigation system with automatic braking. All models are eligible for the Cold Weather Package with heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. A sunroof is a standalone option.
While the coupe clearly wins on style, you'll need to give up some head and shoulder room. That might make the already-compact interior too snug for your needs, which shouldn't be too much of a disappointment since the sedan is just as entertaining to drive.
2015 Cadillac ATS Review
Pricing and Equipment
- Sedans start at $33,215, while coupes have a base price of $37,995.
- The entry-level Standard skimps on amenities. Most buyers in this class will get what they expect -- say, leather upholstery -- at the Luxury, Performance and Premium trim levels.
- Look for MSRPs in the low-to-mid $40,000s on popularly equipped ATS inventory; a fully loaded example will have a price tag in the $50,000 neighborhood.
An ATS equipped with the turbo-four or V6 equals or outperforms the competition on virtually every metric. Its only real rival for dynamic prowess is the BMW 3 Series. The standard suspension is so balanced that an optional package with Magnetic Ride Control—the same system you'd find on a Corvette—is not a must-have for outstanding handling and ride quality.
Most buyers will choose an automatic transmission, but a traditional six-speed manual gearbox is optional with the turbocharged engine.
While the base four-cylinder engine delivers the best fuel economy—33 mpg highway—it's also the slowest ATS in the lineup. Acceleration to 60 mph will take 7.5 seconds, rather leisurely for the class, and two seconds slower than an ATS with the turbocharged four.
The cabin of an ATS is notable for high-quality materials and craftsmanship, and comfortable seats. There's also clever design. Behind the center console's display screen, for instance, is a hidden alcove with a wireless charging system that keeps cords and devices out of sight.
Further, Cadillac has made significant improvements to the haptic functionality of its CUE system, which replaced many buttons with controls that are sensitive to the touch.
Most competitors have more spacious cabins, and rear-seat space is at a premium in any ATS. This doesn't mean the back seats aren't usable: a six-footer can squeeze behind the front seats of a coupe -- but only just.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
Especially as BMW has softened the performance edge of its cars, the ATS has become a serious alternative for serious drivers. This Cadillac isn't just good for a Cadillac -- it's good by the toughest standards of its class.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
We've gotten used to aggressively distinctive Cadillac design, and the styling of the ATS, though elegant, is a bit mainstream.