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Behind the Wheel: Cadillac ATS Coupe

The Cadillac ATS Coupe is a luxurious, lightweight sports coupe that, with the right engine option and trim level, provides some serious performance.

Behind the Wheel: Cadillac ATS Coupe

Credit: Freddy Sherman

There are a few different trim levels: Standard, Luxury, Premium Luxury and Premium Performance. You can also choose from AWD or RWD.

The ATS comes standard with a 272 horsepower, 4-cylinder turbocharged engine or you can select the normally aspirated V6 with 335 hp. I tested the Premium Performance RWD model. It comes with every performance option available and my test car also had some extras like a performance exhaust and a suspension upgrade. The key difference with the Premium Performance trim level is also the magnetic ride control and a HUD.


While this ATS had a respectable 336 horsepower from its 3.6L V6, it’s the base model of the ATS performance series, in terms of power. You can go up a level to the ATS V-Sport, which adds a twin-turbo to the engine for almost 100 more horsepower (to 420) or bump it up all the way to the racetrack-ready ATS-V Series, which tunes the twin-turbo engine to 464 horsepower and adds an array of track-ready technology and features. Beyond the exhilarating engine, you have an 8-speed automatic transmission with what Cadillac calls “Performance Algorithm Shifting.” I’m not sure what that is, but i know it works smoothly and I never had to use the magnesium paddle shifters. Underneath, there’s a performance suspension and this car had the $945 Sport Suspension Upgrade. It also had the $695 Track Performance Package which included the sunroof delete for extra rigidity.

The Cadillac has different drive mode settings, I mainly used the Sport setting for the most aggressive performance. With the car in Tour mode, it’s a wonderful luxury grand coupe, perfect for long road trips. It glides effortlessly at freeway speeds and also is excellent for canyon carving. The 336 hp V6 is smooth but probably the minimum power you need to have fun. I prefer the V-Sport version with the twin-turbo engine for just a bit more oomph.


The ATS truly shines here with Cadillac’s full-leather, hand-stitched interior (a $1,295 option). My test car had a bold Morello Red interior, paired with a subtle Phantom Gray Metallic exterior. From the outside it was rather low-key, but open the door and you were greeted by sumptuous, red semi-aniline leather seats with sueded microfiber seatbacks and jet black accents.

You’ve also got Cadillac’s great CUE (Cadillac User Experience) media center and infotainment system. The car is a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot and comes ready to go with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. As far as a luxury driving experience, that magnetic ride control offers a smooth ride and the Premium Performance edition comes with every possible driver aid and tech feature (adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitors, auto stop, full, 360-degree-view cameras, lane keep assist and so on).


Before you buy a BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Lexus or INFINITI coupe of any kind, drive the ATS Coupe. If you’re considering anything with similar horsepower, check out what Cadillac offers in terms of build quality, performance, luxury and technology. My press car had a base price of $49,495. The Performance Exhaust (which sounded amazing) was $1,650, that beautiful red leather interior was $1,295, upgraded brakes were $1,190 and the Sport Suspension was $945. The car also had the Track Performance Package for $695 and the Phantom Gray Metallic paint was $595. With Cadillac’s $995 destination charge, the total was $56,860. I always like to write about where cars are made and this Cadillac is fully American, assembled in Lansing, Michigan. The engine and transmission are also both made in the US.

Vehicle exterior photos by Freddy ShermanVehicle interior photos courtesy of Cadillac

By Freddy Sherman

Freddy is a regular contributor to Business Traveler across all print, digital, web and social channels.  To follow Freddy directly, you can find more of his content at and here:

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