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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Quick Drive: 2017 Cadillac ATS Coupe 2.0T Luxury

      I could have been a contender

    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)

    Year: 2017
    Make: Cadillac
    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)

    Options:
    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


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    Recommended Comments

    8 hours ago, riviera74 said:

    I wonder if Cadillac will address the issues listed here with the 2018 model, if not with the successor of the ATS.

    I think at this point they are investing all their money into the coupe only and the new CT version since that is what they seem to imply will be the future.

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    Every car in the ATS's class is 'too small for a lot of people'. Just like full-size trucks are "too large for a lot of people".

    ATS total legroom is within 1/2-in of the C-class, meanwhile having 3 more cubic feet interior room than the MB.
    How often have you read how the C-class is too small for a lot of people?? This is a segment of small cars for those that they AREN'T 'too small' for!

    Personally, I'm the type that an S-class is too small for me.

    Edited by balthazar
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    12 hours ago, balthazar said:

    Every car in the ATS's class is 'too small for a lot of people'. Just like full-size trucks are "too large for a lot of people".

    ATS total legroom is within 1/2-in of the C-class, meanwhile having 3 more cubic feet interior room than the MB.
    How often have you read how the C-class is too small for a lot of people?? This is a segment of small cars for those that they AREN'T 'too small' for!

    Personally, I'm the type that an S-class is too small for me.

    Sounds like they just don't know how to use the interior space that's available. 

    The 3 Series and MB don't have the small car feel to them like the ATS does. Whatever it is, the ATS feels smaller. 

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    Some people may well feel the interior is smaller, but it's not. Thusly, it seems Cadillac is using the interior space/packaging better if it's providing more dimensions in the same size package.

    Look, I'd have to see these side-by-side for myself, but it certainly seems to be a ridiculous sticking point for many. If one feels the car, somehow, is 'tight'.... that's the reason OEMs build multiple size sedans, right?

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    1 hour ago, ccap41 said:

    Sounds like they just don't know how to use the interior space that's available. 

    The 3 Series and MB don't have the small car feel to them like the ATS does. Whatever it is, the ATS feels smaller. 

    Have to disagree with you. The ATS is small yet I can actually fit into the driver's seat while no one can sit behind me. The 3 series and MB C-Class I actually cannot fit into to drive safely as my knees are on the dash. Yes that is getting 6'6" tall me with 40" inseam so long legs into the auto, but my knees do not push on the dash in the ATS compared to the BMW or MB products.

    So much for my Heritage land building something that can actually fit me.

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    These are nice cars, but size wise for people and cargo, just consider it a 2+2 sports car and your expectations will be met.  Don't expect miracles from the small back seat or the tiny trunk.

     

    Edited by frogger
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    12 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    Have to disagree with you. The ATS is small yet I can actually fit into the driver's seat while no one can sit behind me. The 3 series and MB C-Class I actually cannot fit into to drive safely as my knees are on the dash. Yes that is getting 6'6" tall me with 40" inseam so long legs into the auto, but my knees do not push on the dash in the ATS compared to the BMW or MB products.

    So much for my Heritage land building something that can actually fit me.

    I wouldn't expect you to have agreed. Nothing fits you unless it's what you like. Everything else just so happens to be itty bitty and cramped.

    Yet you fit into an ATS... 

    The drivers' seats are basically a wash, dimensionally. The rear seats is the only place there is sigificant differences. Oh and the headroom in the BMW is 3 inches more than the ATS/C63.

    From left to right: Giulia, M3, ATS-V, C63

    Dimensions.PNG

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    13 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    I wouldn't expect you to have agreed. Nothing fits you unless it's what you like. Everything else just so happens to be itty bitty and cramped.

    Yet you fit into an ATS... 

    The drivers' seats are basically a wash, dimensionally. The rear seats is the only place there is sigificant differences. Oh and the headroom in the BMW is 3 inches more than the ATS/C63.

    From left to right: Giulia, M3, ATS-V, C63

    Dimensions.PNG

    I understand the measurements, but there seems to be no industry standard on where they are taken at and the ATS seats I know for a fact go lower into the floor than the others so I can get the head room I need.

    I really wish there was a set standard for where one measures the interior room at.

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    It's a 3rd party test... 

    There is no way BMW would release numbers of max head room with the seat higher than its lowest point. Same with all of the other measurements. What benefit would there be to that? Lie about their interior dimensions? 

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    There ARE SAE standards for interior measurement... but I wonder if the methodology is where discrepancies show up.

    So when legroom is measured, how is the adjustability of the front seat accounted for? Are the numbers max measurements, whereas in reality everyone is less in normal useage?

    Edited by balthazar
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    14 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    It's a 3rd party test... 

    There is no way BMW would release numbers of max head room with the seat higher than its lowest point. Same with all of the other measurements. What benefit would there be to that? Lie about their interior dimensions? 

     

    14 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    There ARE SAE standards for interior measurement... but I wonder if the methodology is where discrepancies show up.

    So when legroom is measured, how is the adjustability of the front seat accounted for? Are the numbers max measurements, whereas in reality everyone is less in normal useage?

    I understand the points your both making and wonder myself also, I assume everyone sets the seat at the lowest point to measure but then where on the seat are they measuring from and is it a consistent point for all auto's in that class. 

    One would hope that the SAE Standards would cover this, but from what I have read they do not seem too and in this is where the rub is. I would also think they would move the front seats all the way forward to maximize the rear seat leg room, but then how many people really drive that way versus having the seat all the way back and then measuring rear seat room. So much wiggle room on how one measures interior space.

    Very crazy I think. :dizzy:

    4 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    I was just looking at that myself, SAE J1100. 

    http://standards.sae.org/j1100_200911/

    Weird the inconsistent nature in updates that they have posted on that link. A few years in a row shows updates yearly, then every 3 to 5 years and back to yearly. Really weird on how they update them. 

    The SAE standards must be written by lawyers due to all the gobbly gook that is written in them. sad :( 

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    1 hour ago, dfelt said:

    Have to disagree with you. The ATS is small yet I can actually fit into the driver's seat while no one can sit behind me. The 3 series and MB C-Class I actually cannot fit into to drive safely as my knees are on the dash. Yes that is getting 6'6" tall me with 40" inseam so long legs into the auto, but my knees do not push on the dash in the ATS compared to the BMW or MB products.

    So much for my Heritage land building something that can actually fit me.

     

    3 hours ago, ccap41 said:

    Sounds like they just don't know how to use the interior space that's available. 

    The 3 Series and MB don't have the small car feel to them like the ATS does. Whatever it is, the ATS feels smaller. 

    Dfelt is spot on. Its been my observation and defense of the ATS since it hit the road.  Cadillac gave enthusiasts the exact car they wanted.. problem was.. as I've said since I started posting on forums.. ENTHUSIASTS ARE THE WORST FUCKIN CUSTOMERS because they don't buy cars in the numbers needed to really sustain. Mercedes buyers are not enthusiasts. BMW drivers are quickly moving that direction as well. Point of fact.. look at the performance tests and comparos and tell me how the ATS, a car that is now 6 MYs old.. is second only to the Brand new Alfa Romeo in performance and handling? That's even with a new C-Class, Jag XE, upgrades to the 3series and IS.. and new A4.

    Furthermore the ATS was built for DRIVERS, not passengers. As always I say fuck the passenger.. they get what they get. BMW 3series owners apparently wanted a more family oriented car... the the current 3Series is more liken to Lexus than BMW. Go get in a 3series or new C-Class and U will see that the space for the driver is compromised for the sake of backseat occupants without seat adjustments, not be just the fore and aft.. but the ergonomic ups and downs as well. Measurements be damned.. the ATS is more comfy in the front.. than both the 3 and C. In the rear.. they have an edge. 

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    The ATS is behind the C and 3/4 Series in performance as well. 

    Even V Series. 

    It's great but it doesn't dominate anything. It's basically a wash between which car the buyer thinks looks the best because the numbers are all too close and mixed with no clear "this car does everything the best". 

    https://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/2015-bmw-m3-vs-2015-mercedes-amg-c63-s-2016-cadillac-ats-v-comparison-test-2015-bmw-m3-vs-2015-mercedes-amg-c63-s-2016-cadillac-ats-v-final-scoring-performance-data-and-complete-specs-page-5

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    51 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    The ATS is behind the C and 3/4 Series in performance as well. 

    Even V Series. 

    It's great but it doesn't dominate anything. It's basically a wash between which car the buyer thinks looks the best because the numbers are all too close and mixed with no clear "this car does everything the best". 

    https://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/2015-bmw-m3-vs-2015-mercedes-amg-c63-s-2016-cadillac-ats-v-comparison-test-2015-bmw-m3-vs-2015-mercedes-amg-c63-s-2016-cadillac-ats-v-final-scoring-performance-data-and-complete-specs-page-5

    I agree with you that the numbers are close in a very cramped market segment.

    Yet Motor Trend seems to think differently:

    http://www.motortrend.com/cars/cadillac/ats-v/2017/

    QUOTE: 

     This was the best handling sedan of the high-performance group, “The results are clear: with tires no more aggressive than the other cars’, the ATS-V slaughters its competitors with 1.03 g of steady-state cornering grip and a staggering 23.7-second figure-eight performance. That’s not only 0.3 second quicker than the next-best Mercedes, but the list of supercars the Caddy beats is embarrassingly long.”

    Editors love the ATS-V’s platform and find the powerful brakes, and well-weighted steering extremely capable on the track and through any curvy canyon.

    This is what used to be said all the time about BMW M series or MB AMG series.

    Digital Trends seems to think inline with Motor Trend:

    https://www.digitaltrends.com/car-reviews/2017-cadillac-ats-v-coupe-review/

    QUOTE:

    The ATS-V feels more like an old-school performance car than the C63 and the M4. It’s not as refined or as luxurious, but it’s rawer, and offers a more visceral driving experience with a devil-may-care attitude. It’s more playful than an RS 5 thanks to its rear-wheel drive layout, though that comes at the obvious expense of traction. There are plenty of alternatives to the Caddy but they’re not necessarily better or worse; they each have their own distinct personality. What matters is the ATS-V holds its own against the competition.

     

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    56 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    The ATS is behind the C and 3/4 Series in performance as well. 

    It's basically a wash ... because the numbers are all too close and mixed with no clear "this car does everything the best".

    So is it "behind" or "a wash"?

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    50 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    This was the best handling sedan of the high-performance group, “The results are clear: with tires no more aggressive than the other cars’, the ATS-V slaughters its competitors with 1.03 g of steady-state cornering grip and a staggering 23.7-second figure-eight performance. That’s not only 0.3 second quicker than the next-best Mercedes, but the list of supercars the Caddy beats is embarrassingly long.”

    That's two performance metrics. Like i said, across all of the tests. acceleration, braking, cornering, slalom, etc. 

     

    51 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    There are plenty of alternatives to the Caddy but they’re not necessarily better or worse;

    Hey look, your quote is about exactly what I said.

    It depends which one the buyer thinks looks the best. 

    51 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    So is it "behind" or "a wash"?

    Sorry, isn't** 

    It is a wash. 

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    I have lots of experience with my brother's ATS coupe and it is quite small inside, no doubt smaller than the sedan that is usually tested.  That is one of the drawbacks of that fantastic coupe styling.  The front seats are fine, the rears are basically useless.  The trunk is also quite small.  His is the the Premium performance I believe and it is loaded, including all the safety suites.  It has the magnetic ride which is great, though still a little stiff, I wouldn't deem the ride rough or brittle.  His is a 15 so it has the older 6 speed auto.  Fortunately it is not as slow witted as the new 8 speed seems to be.  His is the V6 of course and I would actually prefer it here.  It also has AWD. 

     

    20161001_175521_zpsrcrrm8c6.jpg

    Edited by Stew
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