Cadillac ATS luxury coupe inspires confidence


Luxury automakers strive to provide customers with every possible option when it comes to types of vehicles. Mercedes makes an E-class coupe, Audi makes the A5 coupe, and Lexus recently built the RC coupe. All satisfy the buyer who wants the luxury-touring-type coupe with a little attitude.

Cadillac won't be forgotten and added a coupe to the ATS family tree. Donning the newest Cadillac badge and packed with some high-tech equipment, this new coupe will make its own statement.

Under the hood is a 2.0L turbocharged VVT engine producing a whopping 272 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a six-speed automatic and put to the pavement via all-wheel drive, this luxury coupe is magnificent during acceleration tests. The 295 lb-ft is felt around 3,000 rpm, but I did find the application of power to be slightly hesitant. I wouldn't call it "turbo-lag," but power was applied a second later than I pressed the accelerator. Once I learned how to anticipate the power delivery, things evened out.

Exterior styling is also something to behold. The large Cadillac badge centers the front grille, which is flanked by LED daytime running lamps. Once you move past the front bumper, things get more aggressive. The larger rear wheels are pushed to the corners and add to the performance nature of this coupe. Around back are LED tail lamps and a dual exhaust that peeks from the center of the bumper. Don't let the ATS nameplate fool you -- this is a large coupe design.

Slide into the cockpit, and you are surrounded by signature Cadillac controls and touch surfaces. Centering the dash is a large touch screen and all of the controls below it are touch-sensitive as well. The driver's instrument cluster encompasses a speedometer dial and a digital screen below it. Chrome-accented paddle shifters peek from behind the steering wheel and are always available for manual shifting.

There are rear seats in this coupe, and there are LATCH anchors for child seats. Being a father of two young boys, I had to test this feature and installed both of my sons' car seats to take them on a ride. Obviously, this coupe is not made for a family of four, but we were all able to take it out for the evening without sacrificing front-seat comfort.

On the road is where you'll really enjoy this car. The engine is powerful, and the AWD system is very capable. Handling around corners is superb, with limited body roll. Once you get used to how this car turns into corners, you can really push it hard and fast. Braking comes from Brembo brakes specific to this Cadillac, so you don't ever have to worry about stopping power.

Sitting in the driver's seat feels like sitting in a performance coupe. The seat is supportive, and the steering wheel is a bit higher than in normal sedans. Clipping through the gears in manual mode or letting the automatic do the work is equally satisfying as I found this car wonderful on country roads when it wasn't snowing. Even with some slippery road conditions, the AWD system is one of the better systems I've tested. I was able to climb steep snow-covered roads and driveways with minimal or zero wheel slip.

Overall, the ATS Coupe is a wonderful luxury sports coupe. It provides comfort for daily commutes and allows for aggressive driving when you're in the mood. Add the AWD option, and this becomes a legit four-season daily driver.

Cadillac claims 23 mpg, and I was able to maintain 21 mpg during my road test. MSRP for the ATS coupe is $44,520 and adding CUE, Navigation and 18-inch polished wheels bumped the price to $47,845.

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