KBB Editors' Overview
By Matt Degen - Updated Date: 8/22/2014
In the two short years since its debut, the Cadillac ATS has done what some thought impossible: It proved an American brand can successfully challenge European benchmarks like the BMW 3 Series or Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Not only did Cadillac's compact luxury sedan go toe-to-toe with its German rivals, it attracted young and upwardly mobile buyers to General Motors' luxury nameplate. For 2015, the ATS expands its lineup with a stylish coupe to take on 2-door rivals such as the BMW 4 Series and Audi A5, while also upping its game where technology and power are concerned. The 2015 Cadillac ATS doesn't have the name recognition that competitors have taken decades to establish, but in just about every other regard, it matches or outperforms them.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you want to stand out with a fresh entrant in the compact luxury sedan or coupe segment, the 2015 Cadillac ATS enables that while still wearing a revered American badge. The ATS also differentiates itself with its angular (some may say edgy) exterior design.
You May Not Like This Car If...
Here's where the ATS' relative newness can work against it: If you want an immediately recognizable luxury model, you may be better off in a BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, or even a Lexus IS.
What's New for 2015
With the sedan off and running, 2015 marks the arrival of the sleek Cadillac ATS Coupe. Across the lineup, ATS models with the turbocharged 4-cylinder get a nearly 14 percent boost in torque to 295 lb-ft. New tech upgrades include wireless phone charging and 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot.
The 2015 Cadillac ATS has three distinct personalities, each related to your engine choice. At the practical level, the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder in base sedan models gets the job done with 202 horsepower, but isn't for the enthusiastic driver. At the high-performance end is the 3.6-liter V6 and its 321 horsepower. The V6 is smooth and has vast power reserves, but it's not necessarily the powerplant we would recommend – even if you can afford it. We instead suggest the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, which has a better balance of power and efficiency. Standard in coupes and available in sedans, this engine enables the ATS to sprint from 0-60 mph in the mid-5-second range (just a tick behind V6 models) while offering better fuel economy. Like the other engines, it plays nicely with the standard 6-speed automatic transmission, but if you like a manual gearbox, the one available here is a joy to use. In corners the ATS is lithe, though its steering feel isn't as spot-on as a BMW's.
FIRST-CLASS HANDLING DYNAMICS
This is the entire premise behind the ATS: Can an American manufacturer build a sports sedan that matches up to the best of the fabled European and ascending Japanese models? The answer is yes. With a 2-door coupe model now in the mix, the ATS lineup is all the more attractive.
2.0-LITER TURBOCHARGED ENGINE
If this review could convince you of only one thing, it should be to at least try out an ATS with the 2.0-liter engine. For the 2015 model year, it's even more impressive with 295 lb-ft of torque – up 35 lb-ft from last year and now 20 more than the larger V6.
For vehicle details and pricing notes…