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2015 Cadillac ATS

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 3/23/2015 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2015

The 2015 Cadillac ATS gains a coupe body style, refreshed front end styling with the new Cadillac crest logo, revised interior color and trim combinations, wireless phone charging, text message alerts in the infotainment system, optional Wi-Fi hotspot with 4G LTE connection (with a subscription charge after a three-month trial) via OnStar, and standard keyless entry on all models. Premium collection models gain standard power tilting and telescoping steering column, lane keep assist has been added to the Driver Awareness Package, and automatic safety belt tightening and lane change alert has been added to the Driver Assist Package. Two new exterior colors, Crystal White Tricoat and Dark Adriatic Blue Metallic, have been added. Torque has also been increased in the turbocharged 2.0-liter I04 engine.

Vehicle Summary

The 2015 Cadillac ATS is a compact luxury sports sedan and coupe sold in four grades and in rear- or all-wheel-drive configurations.

Overview

Three engines are available in the 2015 Cadillac ATS: a base 2.5-liter I-4 with 202 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque, which is only available in the sedan, a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 making 272 hp and 295 lb-ft (up from 260 lb-ft), and a 3.6-liter V-6 rated at 321 hp and 275 lb-ft. All engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission while turbo-four equipped models are also available with a six-speed manual. Fuel economy is average for the class with base 2.5 models achieving 21/33 mpg city/highway; the turbo-four is slightly less efficient at 21/30 mpg with the automatic and 19/30 with the manual while the V-6 is rated at 18/28 mpg. Opting for all-wheel-drive makes the car less economical with turbo-four models getting 20/28 mpg while V-6 variants are rated at 18/26 mpg.

Performance is a strong point on the 2015 ATS particularly with the turbo-four and the V-6, which provide excellent acceleration and power for passing and merging at highway speeds. Ride and handling are superb thanks to the car's near-50/50 weight balance, well-tuned chassis, strong brakes, and GM's Magnetic Ride Control, which improves driving dynamics without sacrificing comfort. In combination with good steering feel, the ATS feels "planted and confident," which allows it to "glide through corners with ease rather than attack them with unbridled fury." The car's automatic transmission, however, could use some rework due to its tendency to "upshift to the most fuel-efficient gear whenever possible" when left in automatic mode.

Interior quality in the 2015 ATS is top-notch due to a cabin that "always felt luxurious and complete" thanks to high-grade materials and small touches such as the hidden storage box behind the stereo face. NVH is also excellent with low levels of noise despite the car's sporting pretentions; however, the stiff ride means bumps are still transmitted into the passenger compartment. Cadillac's CUE infotainment system remains hard to use because of its touch sensitive controls, which require the driver to take his/her eyes off the road to operate. Cramped rear seat room and a small trunk are also weak points, making it less practical for families and driving long distances with four adults.

The 2015 Cadillac ATS sedan has a five-star overall safety score from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars; coupes haven't been tested yet).

Opting for the available Driver Assist Package adds a host of safety features including rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot warning, lane change alert, front and rear automatic braking, and adaptive cruise control. According to IIHS test results, the 2015 ATS provides Superior front crash prevention (front crash prevention designations include Basic, Advanced, and Superior).

What We Think

While it isn't as practical due to its small trunk and cramped rear seats, the 2015 Cadillac ATS remains an excellent choice among compact luxury sports sedans and coupes. It offers superb driving dynamics while maintaining a comfortable ride thanks to its sophisticated chassis and suspension tuning, and GM's Magnetic Ride Control. In a 2013 comparison test against the BMW 335i and Mercedes-Benz C350, a V-6-powered ATS won due to its superior handling, nimble feel and sharp turn ins,making it the most engaging in its class. However, the car's infotainment is a significant weak point due to its lack of user-friendliness, which detracts from an otherwise well-executed interior.

You'll Like

  • Confidence-inspiring driving dynamics
  • Strong turbo-four and V-6
  • Well-built and luxurious interior

You Won't Like

  • Small trunk
  • Finicky infotainment system
  • Automatic transmission too eager to upshift to the highest gear

Key Competitors

  • BMW 3 Series
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  • Audi A4
  • Lexus IS
  • Volvo S60

Rating

4 star

The high-performance ATS-V, which is powered by a 464-hp twin-turbo 3.6-liter V-6 will join the lineup for the 2016 model year and will be available with a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission.

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