Written by: Calvin Chan
Photography by: Calvin Chan
Remote start is a godsend on frigid nights like these. It was Toronto’s first snowfall last week and thanks to that little button on my Cadillac’s key fob, I was able to start my ATS Coupe from a distance in the warmth of my home. You can program the car to automatically start the heated seats and fans (though you can’t control the temperature, nor the heated steering wheel) while you take your time getting dressed to your dinner party. “This should come standard on all cars,” my friends tell me.
My saviour of the night was the new 2016 Cadillac ATS Coupe, and Cadillac says it’s more fuel-efficient and is packed with more technology than ever before. For 2016, the Cadillac ATS lineup gets an all-new 3.6-litre V6 engine that comes with cylinder deactivation and start/stop technology, and a revised 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that also receives the start/stop. The base 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine remains put at the bottom of the barrel but it’s only available for the sedan, not the coupe.
This year, all ATS models receive a new 8-speed automatic transmission that replaces the old 6-speed. A 6-speed manual with three pedals is still available with the 2.0-litre engine configuration – a surprise considering most automakers are slowly phasing out their manuals in luxury coupes.
Our creative director, Don Cheng, spent some time testing the ATS V6 sedan last week – you can read his thoughts here – but we’re here today to test the coupe variant paired with the 2.0-litre turbo engine with the 8-speed transmission. Smooth takeoffs and a blanket of boost? Let’s find out.
The Cadillac ATS-V lurks at the top of the food chain but the 2.0-litre four-cylinder we have here is no slouch either. Delivering a classy 272 hp and 295 lb-ft, it’s said to be one of the most power-dense engines out there that produces 90% of its peak torque from as low as 2,100 rpm. Turbo lag? What turbo lag?
There’s so much boost and mid-range torque that it feels more like a naturally aspirated engine than a forced induction one. Impeccable – I could live with this car, I really could. There’s so much pick up that it would be easy to confuse it with a V6. The only giveaway would be the exhaust note, where the 2.0-litre doesn’t exactly deliver the exciting high-pitched howl from the six-cylinder.
There’s a new Start/Stop feature for the 2.0-litre turbo. It will turn the engine off when it’s not needed, i.e. at red lights or when idling. Don gave some negative comments on his review as he found the engine transition lurchy and cumbersome, and I have to agree. It’s not the smoothest iteration of the tech out there and it certainly gives a slight judder through the seats when the engine does decide to wake up from its street-light nap.
However, we can’t argue that the 2.0-litre is more fuel-efficient. We averaged 7.5 L/100km on the highway alone, similar to the V6’s due to the latter’s cylinder deactivation. We also netted 11.0 L/100km averaged out on the city and highway. We have the new 8-speed transmission to thank. Eight has always been the magical number of cogs to strike a good balance between performance and fuel efficiency, and the Cadillac’s use of it proves ideal. There is a slight delay waiting for the gearbox to downshift on wide-open-throttle demands, but it’s not exactly a dual-clutch transmission now is it. To prospective buyers: Sport mode is where it’s at – keep it on.
The optional all-wheel drive system that we have on our tester, dubbed ATS-4, keeps the car extremely planted through corners and during liftoff, and you can be confident that you’ll be pointing the right direction hard out of the bends. Even when it’s snowing outside and the roads are wet, you can storm through the streets like it was dry. There’s an endless amount of grip on these Bridgestone Blizzak snow tires.
The steering is quick to react and feels very dialed-in. In fact, it feels just as sporty as driving a BMW 428i xDrive – the ATS also a higher output, delivering 32 hp and 40 lb-ft more than the German.
If you were to ask me to pick between the ATS’s four- and six-cylinder, I’d probably go with the six. Don had praised the V6’s good pedal feedback, exhaust note, and surprisingly good fuel economy that gives the four-cylinder’s a run for its money. The turbo has a bit more tunability however, so if you plan on boosting it off warranty, that might be the route for you.
The ATS coupe and sedan look fairly similar, and that’s because they ride on the same 2,775 mm wheelbase, but that’s all they share. The doors, roof, trunk lid, and front and rear fenders are all unique. Both variants have short overhangs but the coupe comes standard with 18-inch tires whereas the sedan comes with 17s. The ATS coupe also gets a capless fuel filler, a feature I’ve lauded many times for keeping your hands relatively octane-free during fillups.
Even without four doors, the ATS coupe retains sexy proportions with a very sleek profile. The raked roof makes sure of that, but it also results in less headroom. I had the same problem with the ATS sedan and I constantly struggled to make sure my hair didn’t brush up against the fabric. The optional moonroof didn’t help either – I’d suggest skipping out on this $1,395 option if you’re vertically gifted. Oh, and watch your head getting in.
The only change that I’ve noticed to the exterior for 2016 was that the rear badges, “ATS4” on the left and “2.0T” on the right, have been relocated to the top of the trunk lid, rather than at the bottom. It keeps me up at night wondering why…
The ATS coupe has a generous amount of cabin space and a good-sized boot but if you’re planning on transporting four grown adults, I’d suggest opting for the more practical four-sedan sedan. Even with the coupe’s high waistline, it’s easy to peer out of the car 180-degrees. The only limitations to outward visibility are the incredibly narrow side mirrors. Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert will keep you in check though.
The driving position feels perfect for my 6-foot tall frame. Though falling a bit short on headroom, the center console is raised to a comfortable height, the steering wheel telescopes a good distance, and all of its buttons are tactile and easy to click. The beautifully crafted magnesium paddle shifters are mounted a little too far back on the steering wheel but they feel solid and expensive, almost as if they were made out of some NASA-grade material.
The dreaded CUE infotainment system has been given some enhancements this year. The entire system is less laggy than before but it will still look convoluted to the newbie Cadillac driver – we’ve had quite a bit of seat time with CUE and we are finally getting a hang of it. Fingerprints and smudges still mar the perfect score.
One of the elements that I believe puts Cadillac above the competition is the connectivity and technology housed within the ATS. Compared to the BMW 428i or the Audi A5, the ATS blows them out of the water with social utility. Notable features include Apple CarPlay integration, a new feature for 2016 that treats your car’s touchscreen display as an iPhone interface and mirrors your phone onto the screen – there’s even an Apple home button. I’ve really grown to like this feature and it takes advantage of Cadillac’s high-resolution display. You can scroll through your phone’s playlists, use Google maps, send text messages through voice command, and even stream podcasts. It’s ironic because this Apple CarPlay interface is so much better than Cadillac’s own CUE.
One downside to Apple CarPlay is that your phone has to be connected through USB to the car’s hub. It’s not a wireless connection and you have to make it a habit of hooking up your phone. On the bright side, your phone gets charged and your music will sound better than via Bluetooth. There’s no support for Android phones as of yet – Cadillac says that will be coming later in the 2016 model year.
Say your phone plan is running out of data because you were too busy streaming YouTube videos in the office washroom, well the ATS has got your back. Cadillac vehicles come equipped with OnStar 4G LTE connectivity that trumps BMW’s ConnectedDrive by a longshot. Whereas in the BMW you could only use the car’s infotainment system as an internet browser with 3G, in the Cadillac you can transform your car into a rolling Wi-Fi hotspot – I can’t tell you how many times this has already come in handy.
The possibilities are endless in this day and age where we’re all connected and embarrassingly reliant on an Internet connection. Passengers can stream movies from their phones, use their laptops on long trips, or even take advantage of streaming apps like Spotify. Oh, and for those not in the lingo, 4G is one of the fastest mobile data networks in the world. It’s nearly ten times faster than the 3G network that preceded it.
I’ll be honest; around where I live I don’t think I’ve ever seen another ATS Coupe roaming around. But there’s no reason why Cadillac dealers shouldn’t be moving more of these amazing two-door luxury coupes. It’s a sweet American alternative to the German status quo.
I love the ATS coupe and all of its nifty features - everything from the hidden storage cubby behind the center controls, the seatbelt that hugs you when you start driving, the button that makes it easier for rear passengers to exit, to the social utility that isn’t marred by laggy connections and slow interfaces. It makes the ATS feel like a $100,000 coupe. And having a function that turns the center display into an Apple home screen? Boy, the 4-series is starting to look a little plain right now.
型号 Model: 2016 Cadillac ATS 2.0T Coupe Performance Collection
顏色 Paint Type: Red Obsession Tintcoat ($1,145)
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $51,135
試車售價 Price as Tested: $58,625
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,775
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,663 / 1,842 / 1,393
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,550
引擎 Engine: 2.0L DOHC inline-four with direct injection and VVT
最大馬力 Horsepower: 272 hp @ 5,500 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 295 lb-ft @ 3,000 - 4,600 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 10.8 / 7.8 / 9.4
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 11.0
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60; 225/40R18