Review: Cadillac ATS Coupe

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True to its lineage, this Caddy delivers a smooth ride and loves an open road(Credit: Angus MacKenzie/Gizmag)

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Cadillac has upped its coupe game with the new ATS-4. Our tester, the 2.0 liter turbo variant, makes 14 percent more torque than last year's model and 10 percent more than the V6 version. True to its lineage, this Caddy delivers a smooth ride and loves an open road.

The relatively new 2.0 liter turbocharged-four engine delivers exceptional low-end throttle response and acceleration capabilities. 0-60 mph (96 km/h) times are respectable at 5.6 seconds and thanks to the tight 8-speed gearbox, power feels direct and accessible. Some of the tech responsible for the power benefits include GM's iECOTEC I-4, VVT (Variable Valve Timing) and iDirect gasoline injection.

The all-wheel drive ATS achieves 272 hp at 5500 rpm and 295 lb.ft. of torque at 3000-4600 rpm. That's a torque increase of 14 percent over last year's model, which is most welcome, given the 2016 Coupe tips the scales at 1,550 kg (3,418 lb).

Compared to GM's V6, the turbo-4 spews out an oddly uncharacteristic buzzy exhaust note. The aural anomaly takes a bit of getting used to but it soon becomes clear the 2.0 liter not only provides a lighter load than the 3.6 liter V6, but produces more torque, at lower rpm than the V6's 275 lb.ft. Check one for the engineers.

The nicely dialed in dampers and responsive mid-range hustle provided confidence, speed and poise as we blasted through the chaos of a morning commute. Paddle shifters, seemingly a necessity on any new sporty ride, helped deliver power as needed.

Design-wise this is a car that looks better in person than it shoots. Up close, the its angular design language is unmistakable but when you bring it through a lens the lines become more sculpted and subtle, resulting in the Coupe's expressive nature being tamed.

In addition to its shape-shifting trickery in front of the camera, the car gets smaller as you drive it. Many many years ago I heard those words used to describe Ferrari's front-engined 612 Scaglietti. As reluctant as I am to draw such a comparison, the 15.25 ft (4.66 m)-long coupe did seem to get smaller the more I drove it. The sign of a tightly designed package.

Out back and on profile, the ATS-4 takes on the feel of a BMW 6-series with its slightly raised trunk and spoiler. The cabin line from the A to the C-pillar remains unmistakably Cadillac.

The headlights sweep up and back in tight formation as per Cadillac's ongoing frontal design treatment. Compared to its more powerful sibling, the ATS-V, the AWD Coupe sports a larger grille and can go without the V's snorkly power hump as a result of its lesser cooling needs.

Inside the Coupe, space is as tight as it looks. Backseat time would be a less than ideal venture for larger persons on extended journeys, but driver's seat time on the other hand, is nothing if not comfortable.

Accoutrements and finishing are on par with what we've come to expect from Cadillac. Even though the ATS sports a high waistline, visibility remains good for the most part with the slight exception of the C-pillar when checking blind spots – though the car's side blind zone alert and rear cross-traffic alert safety features certainly help in this regard.

Haptic touch controls and console buttons have been carried over from 2015 model, but with better response and feel. This is especially true when it comes to interfacing with the 8-inch color information display. Swipe and touch response are reliable and instantaneous.

Our ATS Coupe was equipped with 4G LTE (2) connectivity, Wi-Fi, Sirius SAT radio and quality audio outputs by BOSE.

And although the trunk appears small I still managed to squeeze in two full sized suitcases into the tight space ... thanks in part to my years of Tetris and acute spatial abilities. The split folding rear seat means golf clubs and longish things from IKEA can also come for a ride-along should the need arise.

The 2.0 liter Turbo AWD ATS Coupe is priced at around US$45,000, butting heads with Audi's A4, BMW's 4 series, Lexus' IS series and Infiniti's Q60 Coupe. A crowded market, to be sure, but for those seeking something from a domestic marquee that's quick, stylish and comes with AWD abilities then the ATS 4 deserves serious consideration.

Product page: Cadillac

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