It feels a bit odd to be spending some time in the 2017 Cadillac ATS coupe after driving the CT6 earlier this year. In a way, it felt like I was stepping back into the past where Cadillac was making some dumb decisions that ultimately would hurt their vehicles. The ATS coupe is a prime example of this where Cadillac had a legitimate challenger to likes of the BMW 3/4-Series and Audi A5 in terms of performance and handling. But some bone-headed decisions would regulate it to the mid-pack.
- The ATS Coupe is still quite the looker. It features the classic rear-wheel drive proportions of a long front end and a short rear deck.The low roofline and raised belt line give off an impression of aggressive elegance. Our test car came with a set of machined-finished, 18-inch wheels that help the design pop.
- Move inside and it is clear that the interior hasn’t aged so well. For example, the sheet of piano black trim with the silver capacitive touch buttons really look out of place. The trim is also a magnet for fingerprints.
- Cadillac’s designers deserve a bit of credit for providing a nice mix of materials such as the Bordello Red leather upholstery, suede microfiber covering parts of the dash and door panels, and carbon fiber trim.
- The front seats are very comfortable for long trips and do an excellent job of holding you in during an enthusiastic drive. The rear seats are best left to be used for additional storage as leg and headroom are minuscule. Trunk space is quite small for the class at 10.4 cubic feet.
- CUE is still a bit of a mixed bag. While the overall usability is better with quicker response times and the ability to use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the touch capacitive buttons are still hit and miss in terms of responding.
- Power comes from a 2.0L turbo-four producing 272 horsepower and 295 pound-feet. We had the eight-speed automatic that was introduced last year, but a six-speed manual is available as an option.
- The 2.0L turbo is a punchy performer. Power comes at a smooth and steady rate. The engine does lose some points under hard acceleration as it is not refined as some competitors.
- The eight-speed automatic is the weak point for the ATS. It is slow to downshift when you need the thrust to pass a slower vehicle. We have to assume this comes down to the programming which is tuned more for fuel economy than performance. Gear changes, for the most part, are seamless.
- One area that Cadillac hasn’t messed with is the ATS’ handling. The coupe is a willing accomplice down a twisty road with sharp reflexes, little body roll, and steering that provides the right balance of steering feel and weight. We had the optional V-Sport Suspension package which adds a performance suspension and a set of summer-only, run-flat tires which only improves the handling.
- The downside to this handling goodness is a very stiff ride. Compared to the last ATS we drove (not the ATS-V), this coupe transmitted more bumps and imperfections, making for a very uncomfortable ride. Some of this can be laid at the V-Sport Suspension package.
- The ATS coupe seen here is the Luxury model - one step above the base model. It carries a base price of $41,395. Our test car was loaded with $12,055 in options, bringing the as-tested price to $54,445. You might be wondering why not jump into the Premium Luxury or Premium Performance if you’re planning to spend that much cash. That is because those two trims only come with the 3.6L V6. If you want the 2.0L turbo, you have to go either the base ATS or Luxury.
- If I was to buy this car, I would skip the V-Sport suspension package, performance exhaust kit, slotted rotor and brake pad upgrade, and the 18-inch wheels. That would drop the price to a somewhat reasonable $48,490.
Disclaimer: Cadillac Provided the ATS Coupe, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
(Author's Note: And that is the final review for 2017. (Hooray!) I'll be revealing my favorite vehicles before the end of the year, so stay tuned. As for 2018, there will be a mix of some leftover 2017 models mixed in with the first batch of 2018 models. Expect to see reviews start back up around the Detroit Auto Show. In the meantime, have a safe and joyous holiday. -WM)
Model: ATS Coupe
Trim: 2.0T Luxury
Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DI VVT Four-Cylinder
Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 272 @ 5,500
Torque @ RPM: 295 @ 3,000 - 4,600
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined -
Curb Weight: 3,571 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Lansing, Michigan
Base Price: $41,395
As Tested Price: $54,445 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
V-Sport Suspension Package - $2,265.00
Performance Exhaust Kit - $1,650.00
Safety & Security Package - $1,500.00
Morello Red Semi-Aniline Leather - $1,295.00
Slotted Rotor and Brake Pad Upgrade Package - $1,190.00
Power Sunroof - $1,050.00
18" Bright Machined-Finish Alloy Wheels - $850.00
Black Chrome Accented Grille - $820.00
V-Series Rear Spoiler - $665.00
Phantom Gray Metallic - $595.00
Black Chrome Rear Trim - $175.00