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2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe 2.0T Manual First Test

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 1/21/2015 William Walker, Jason Udy
2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe 2.0T Manual First Test

Despite being sexier than their four-door contemporaries, coupe sales have waned over the past few decades because the sedan has a more practical bodystyle. Although there are fewer coupe choices today than there have been historically, there are still several choices in the compact premium personal coupe segment (Audi A5, BMW 4 Series, Infiniti Q60, Lexus RC, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class). Last year, the 2014 Cadillac ATS sedan arrived to take on the BMW 3 Series sedan, so it comes as no surprise that the 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe is aimed squarely at the rechristened BMW 4 Series coupe.

Our rear-drive 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe Premium tester equipped with the base 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and no-cost six-speed manual starts at $48,090 (including $995 destination). Standard performance features on the Premium trim include a performance suspension with magnetic ride control, limited-slip differential, Brembo brakes, and staggered 18-inch machined-finish forged alloy wheels wrapped in run-flat summer tires size 225/45R 18 front and 255/40R18 rear.

Related link: Research the Cadillac ATS Coupe

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe Luxury features include HID headlights; leather seating with heated, 12-way power front seats with lumbar; heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel; dual climate control; Cadillac CUE with 8-inch touchscreen, navigation, Bluetooth, and Bose audio surround sound; keyless entry/start; full-color reconfigurable head up display; rearview camera; front and rear park assist; power tilt/telescoping steering wheel; wireless charging; and alloy sport pedals. Safety features include a standard Driver Awareness Package (Lane Keep Assist, Intellibeam headlights) and an Advanced Security Package.

Our tester was finished in Opulent Blue Metallic paint and equipped with just three options: $1,295 for Kona Brown leather interior with Jet Black accents, $850 for polished 18-inch alloy wheels, and the no-cost six-speed manual transmission. Total price came to $50,235. The bright deep-blue paint over brown and black leather interior gives the ATS Coupe an upscale feel.

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe As with the 4 Series, the ATS coupe's base engine is its sedan counterpart's midlevel engine; the base engine in both the BMW 4 Series and the 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe is a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4. (The base engine in the ATS sedan is a 202-hp, 191-lb-ft, 2.5-liter I-4, and the base engine in the BMW 320i is a 180-hp, 200-lb-ft 2.0-liter turbo I-4.) In the ATS, GM's turbo four-cylinder is SAE-certified at 272 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque (up from the 2014 sedan's 260 lb-ft). The BMW's turbo 2.0-liter is rated 240 hp and 255 lb-ft. Cadillac offers the ATS Coupe 2.0T with a six-speed auto or a six-speed manual, and the BMW 428i can be had with an eight-speed auto or a six-speed manual. Both cars come in rear-drive or all-wheel-drive configurations, as well as with an available six-cylinder powerplant.

With the 2.0-liter turbo and six-speed manual, our boosted Caddy hit 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and cleared the quarter mile in 14.1 seconds at 98.9 mph. Stopping from 60 mph took 110 feet. The ATS Coupe lapped the figure eight in 25.3 seconds at 0.83g average and pulled 0.93 g around the skidpad.

The Cadillac ATS Coupe 2.0T manual matches the manual-equipped 328i's time to 60 mph and in the quarter mile (the Caddy has a 0.5 mph faster trap speed), but the ATS is a full second faster around the figure eight at a 0.13 higher average lateral g. The automatic-equipped 428i is 0.3 second faster to 60 mph and 0.2 second faster in the quarter mile, though its trap speed is 0.2 mph lower than the ATS Coupe's speed. Although the 428i is faster in a straight line, the ATS is still the figure-eight champ, posting a 0.3-second faster lap at a 0.11 higher average g. The ATS took 1 foot longer to stop from 60 mph than the 428i but stopped 3 feet shorter than the 328i.

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe On the street, the turbocharged ATS Coupe exhibits only a slight amount of lag before boost builds. That can usually be addressed by downshifting into a lower gear. The pedals are well-placed for heel and toe shifting, the shifter feels precise, and the throws are not too long. Unlike our previous long-term front-drive 2013 Buick Verano T's turbo 2.0-liter and manual combo, the 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe's turbo 2.0-liter and manual combo has a much better transmission gear spread, shifter, and pedal placement, though it isn't fair to compare a front-drive, transverse-mounted transaxle to a rear-drive, longitudinally-mounted transmission setup.

Driving during Southern California's much-needed fall thunderstorm, the ATS Coupe 2.0T rotated easily around corners in the wet road conditions, kicking out the rear just a little bit before the stability control system intervened. Still, we bet the chassis setup and weight balance would be easily controlled with the nanny systems shut off. Our tester weighed 3,463 pounds and had a near perfect 51/49-percent front-to-rear weight balance. Despite its eager handling tune, the ATS Coupe rode smooth on nearly all road surfaces.

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe Although ingress and egress to the rear seats is more difficult in the two-door ATS versus the sedan, it is still manageable, and there is adequate room for a 5-foot, 10-inch passenger in the back thanks to the same 109.3-inch wheelbase as the sedan. The rear seats are nearly as comfortable as the front seats. Rear headroom is a bit snugger than up front, but there is enough legroom to slouch a little. Despite its shorter wheelbase (109.3 versus 113.4 inches) and overall length (183.6 versus 191.6 inches) compared with the discontinued second-generation (2008-2014) Cadillac CTS Coupe, the new ATS Coupe has a less wedge-like shape and more defined trunklid. The B-pillar hidden behind the rear quarter window glass gives the ATS Coupe's greenhouse a more open feeling.

The interior is a comfortable place to be. Soft leather covers much of the interior, including most of the dashboard and door panels, the center armrests, and the majority of touch points. Ergonomics are also a strong point; the dash layout looks sophisticated and uncluttered. The improved CUE system, however, still relies on imperfect haptic buttons.

The 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe 2.0T is not your granddaddy's Cadillac Coupe de Ville or Eldorado. In fact, the new ATS Coupe seems to give the BMW 428i a run for its money. A comparison test is in order to find out if the new ATS Coupe can hang with the quintessential compact BMW coupe.

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe

2015 Cadillac ATS 2.0T Manual
BASE PRICE$48,090
PRICE AS TESTED$50,235
VEHICLE LAYOUTFront-engine, RWD, 4-pass, 2-door coupe
ENGINE2.0L/272-hp/295-lb-ft turbo I-4
TRANSMISSION6-speed manual
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)3,463 lb (51/49%)
WHEELBASE109.3 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT183.6 x 72.5 x 54.8 in
0-60 MPH5.5 sec
QUARTER MILE14.1 sec @ 98.9 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH110 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION0.93 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT25.3 sec @ 0.83 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON21/30/24 mpg
ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY160/112 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB0.80 lb/mile

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