2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe: Fewer Doors, More Stick Shiftier [Quick Take]




1. The act of restarting play in rugby.

2. (informal) What happens when Cadillac provides one 2015 2.0L Turbo ATS Coupe with a manual transmission to sixteen auto journalists.

I fought the good fight, but lost to a 6’11” giant of a journalist, and found myself in one of the six-speed automatics. Turns out the joke was on him. The first part of our drive to the Virginia countryside was all highway. My turn behind the wheel came in the twisties on the back country roads.

The 2.0L is good for 272 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. That’s up 14% from the current ATS sport sedan, and yes, you can feel it. Most of that torque drops in between 2100 and 3000 rpms, making for little turbo lag and great power off the line. Cadillac estimates that this engine will return 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

While I will always pick the manual and I appreciate that Cadillac has an enthusiast option, the feeling behind this gearbox is really medium level fun. Throws are a little clunky and throttle response is not very nuanced. Heel toe shifting is difficult as you really have to mash the gas pedal with half your foot in order to perk the revs up. I’m sure it’s not something that your average Cadillac driver will be doing on a regular basis, but the rest of the car is so much fun, it would be nice to have one final connection to the driving experience.

I also got some time in the 3.6L V6 engine which gets 321 horses and 275 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic with paddle shifters is the only option. Fuel estimates from Cadillac ATS are 18 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.


The automatic in the 3.6L is not a bad deal. Shifts come smoothly when in Drive and the magnesium paddle shifters deliver a satisfying dink when pulled. My only problem with it, and with most manumatics, is that it will downshift for you, possibly when you would prefer to do it yourself. Coming to a corner in 4th gear and braking, you may find that the transmission has already found the correct gear. That’s great unless you try to downshift on your own and suddenly find yourself in 1st gear instead of the expected 2nd.

Both vehicles were a blast on the windy country roads. The new coupe is very lightweight and attacks corners with abandon. The optional limited-slip differential only enhances what is at the base model a great performance. It’s still very comfortable on the droning highways, with a quiet cabin and supportive yet supple seats.

I got to sample the optional Magnetic Ride Control, and I am now a convert. This system uses what I would suspect to be about a billion sensors to adjust the damping system, resulting in exquisite body control. It basically reads your mind, and the road. When cresting hills at high speeds, the car stays tugged to the road. At the bottom of said hill, the Magnetic Ride Control keeps the car from bottoming out.

I’m really not one for a lot of technology and sensors in my car, but Cadillac has definitely got it right. This tech is worth it.

The 2015 also has a ZF Steering System. Inputs are clean and it’s well weighted, especially at higher speeds, but as with most electric power steering systems, road feel could be better.

All 2015 ATS Coupes feature 4G LTE connectivity, powered by AT&T. You can connect up to 7 devices at once, although with a 4-seater car that might be a little overkill.

Cadillac has an abundance of safety features, including the new for 2015 Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist. In addition to giving your seat a little buzz if you stray from your lane, the car will now give you a little automated steering input as well. Unfortunately, it wasn’t really working on our pre-production cars.

Visually the car is a stunner. It sports the new Cadillac crest and shares none of the body panels with the sedan, save for the hood and the grill. It’s lower and a bit wider and comes equipped with 18” wheels standard.


I was only in these cars for an afternoon, so I don’t want to give it an official TFL Car rating. Suffice it to say that I hope we can spend some serious time in these coupes in order to bring you a full review.

Check out this TFL Car video where Nathan and I are pretty sure we find an ATS-V Coupe out for some high altitude testing.

Emme Hall tflcarEmme is a driver, reviewer, and rabble rouser. She is the principle driver and trophy winner for the Mega Monkey Motorsports™ 2 seat 1600 desert racer, powered by an air-cooled VW engine and has also been on the podium in a stock bug, a trophy bug, and an ultra-4. She is one of only 17 American women to have participated in the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles, a 9 day all female off road rally in Morocco with no GPS. You can check her out online on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and either one of her blogs.