By on January 14, 2014

 

2015-Cadillac-ATS-Coupe-Main

The coupe market is declining in the mainstream market, but in the small luxury car segment, a two-door variant is considered a necessity to compete. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Infiniti all have two-door variants of their small sedans, as a way to add volume and give buyers a sportier option. For 2015, Cadillac’s entry wears the ATS nameplate and drops the 2.5L base engine.

Looking a bit more restrained than the outgoing CTS Coupe, the ATS will offer the 2.0T 4-cylinder (with a 6-speed manual option) and the 3.6L V6. Cadillac’s new logo also makes a prominent debut on the coupe’s front end, and the car looks a bit like a scaled down Elmiraj, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Take a good look at the car’s overall shape and you can imagine what the Camaro might look like. As the Chrysler 200 proves, it’s difficult to escape a platform’s “hard points”, but in this case, the Camaro should be tastefully proportioned and hopefully, a bit more compact than the current car.

From a dollars and cents perspective, things get a bit more confusing. Our sources tell us that GM’s rear-drive Alpha platform will be used for this car, the CTS and the Camaro – and that’s it. It’s hard to see how GM will have enough volume to get a good ROI on Alpha. Apparently, GM’s hopes rest on both the Camaro and global sales of the CTS and ATS to achieve these targets.

So far, sales of the ATS have not been promising. The ATS lags behind the big German competitors, its leasing strategy is not going as well as they’d hoped and incentive spending has been far higher than the competition. Global sales of the CTS and ATS also seem t0 be a non-starter, once China is taken out of the equation. European sales of Cadillac are basically inconsequential, and without a strong brand or a diesel option for their cars, they are doomed to linger in obscurity. Even if they look this good.

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96 Comments on “NAIAS 2014: Cadillac ATS Coupe Is Alpha’s Final Frontier...”


  • avatar
    FractureCritical

    this car is pretty, and elegant, and refined, and exactly the kind of thing a recently retired woman would want to tool around town. It’s never going to attract the flat-biller “M” crowd. It’s never going to attract the Jr. Wall St. S5 crowd, and it certainly isn’t going to attract the Teen-Tuner-turned IT prfessional G35 crowd (do they still call it that?) I have no idea who buys Merc coupes, having only ever seen one in actual use in my life by someone not wearing an ascot, and therefore currently dead.

    You what this car needs? it needs to get DIRTY. I want to see an AWD variant with rally inspired wheels (not the blingtasms that Caddy loves so much). I want to see something that can go toe-to-toe with an S5 or a WRX STI or and EVO and is proud to spit it’s own teeth out after a good dirt brawl. If Audi can do it with it’s mommy coupe from the 80′s, and Porsche can do it (well, used to do it) with a 911 derivative on steroids, then Caddy should do it, too. Build some street cred with this thing, for F’s sake. Give us a grown-up alternative to the wingtastic STI. Let BMW keep the Russian Mafia set.

    • 0 avatar
      The Heisenberg Cartel

      You’re thinking of the A, GLA and CLA45 AMG. What Cadillac needs is to do what Lexus already did: stuff a fire breathing V8 into a little coupe.

  • avatar
    BMWnut

    What is in a name? This looks like a way to sell four-cylinder Camaros in disguise. The Iron Duke returns!

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    Nice, but a bit too restrained. It’s missing the va-va-voom that the CTS Coupe had. Caddy’s were never cars for introverts, and I think coupes are conscious statements on the part of both buyers and manufacturers. This isn’t making much of a statement. I may be a bit of an introvert, but that CTS coupe had style. This, for me, doesn’t. I think that, given the rest of the improvements Caddy has made, this thing just looks too tame for its role and place in the market.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Holy crap. Why bother making a coupe if you’re going to make it look so boring? This is even more anonymous than the sedan and not far off from the 4 series and A5. Only coupe in this segment worth looking at IMO is, ironically, that new Lexus RC. Only car in the segment that comes close to getting my blood boiling. There hasn’t been a truly beautiful entry level luxury coupe since the E36 3 series

  • avatar
    jmo

    “The ATS lags behind the big German competitors, its leasing strategy is not going as well as they’d hoped and incentive spending has been far higher than the competition. ”

    How else would you go about rebuilding a brand? A 3-series is BMW’s bread and butter and they have to make it profitable. GM can afford to underprice and overdeliver on the ATS as it is a long term investment in brand building and not critical to their profitability.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Playing by the German’s rule book is a surefired way to lose in a game with them. Lexus’ top sellers for example are the ES and RX- i.e. the two cars that DON’T fit in with their German strategy. Not to mention, Europe is a dead market, that even in its prime was very nationalist when it came to luxury brands. It’s way bigger than cars… Cadillac has to overcome European culture, which is pretty much impossible.

      People don’t want any more store brand German cars. Caddy should have went back to its American identity and came out with something way more stylish and original than the ATS.

      • 0 avatar
        impala

        Yeah, I tend to agree. I think to date the 2014 Impala is perhaps the best embodiment of brand resurrection at GM. It’s not retro but thoroughly modern and yet somehow manages to evoke the glamour of the classic Impalas. Of course, I’m totally biased given my handle and ownership of a 2014 example ;-)
        Perhaps the CTS will fufill the same role for Cadillac but personally I can’t get past GM aping the Germans in the naming and pricing. I think if Cadillac offered a modern rendition of the Series 62 for instance they might be worth a look. At the moment I don’t sense sufficient uniqueness in Cadillacs to pay German prices for them.

        • 0 avatar
          nine11c2

          Its not that its not pretty..its just that its not pretty-er than the car it replaces. Two steps forwards (CTS), one step back..

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          I mean, the Caddy is basically a store brand 3 series. Which is fine. But store brands validate themselves by more competitive pricing. GM is charging for brand equity the ATS/CTS don’t have. As much as people dislike the XTS, it’s more in the vein of the things GM should be trying. I think more folks would love something like a Caddy A7 for example than either of these cars. As great as they are there’s no real reason to get them over the real thing.

          • 0 avatar
            Mandalorian

            I agree. The 3.6L V6 should be STANDARD. Those things are obviously cheap to make if they sell them in $20k fleet Impalas.

  • avatar

    Chevrolet needs a slick little two door coupe likwe this as much as Cadillac. They should stip it down, slap on a bowtie and call it the Nova. They’d get my attention.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Pardon me, but there is nothing, absolutely nothing, about that “look” that is “good”. Not ugly, sure, but it’s just a red blob of metal and plastic. Looks are not even there.

  • avatar
    stars9texashockey

    Yes it’s understated/boring, but so much better than the CTS coupe abomination.

  • avatar
    Short Bus

    From the A-pillar back it reminds me of the Audi A5, although that could be because of the obvious qualities (it’s a coupe, it has wheels that are round, etc.) it shares combined with the fact that I was looking at A5s on Autotrader yesterday.

    Still, nice car. Looks good enough that I’d at least consider it with a test drive were I in the market.

  • avatar
    dwford

    This just leaves me cold. The CTS coupe still looks like it came here in a time machine from the future, this ATS coupe looks like nothing more than a 2 door sedan. Zzzzzz. Reminds me of the Oldsmobile Aurora. The original was a wild futuristic design that still looks good today -20 years later, but the follow up was just a boring sedan.

  • avatar
    mjz

    The ATS is the dullest design in the Cadillac lineup. The XTS and CTS are both sleeker and bolder design statements. I think Cadillac played it too safe with the ATS, in terms of styling, and the sluggish market reception is the result.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I have the opposite opinion, “sleek” and “bold” in my vocabulary do not equate to the disgust and abhorrence I feel toward those “design statements”. ATS Coupe is something I could actually consider despite its drawbacks.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I’ve already heard experiences from others commentators stating the V6 is top heavy in the ATS. Assuming this is true, it will be interesting to see even IF a V8 can be offered in a ZR1/Z28 Camaro. If GM drops the V8 in the Camaro, then all bets are off IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      The V6 makes it feel too front heavy – the car was clearly designed around the turbo 4. Not mentioned in the article is that said turbo 4 now gets 295 pound feet of torque which puts it into the mid 5s for 0-60 acceleration.

      Derek is a self professed ATS doubter so the negative tone of this article is not a surprise. Did anyone really expect them to beat or meet 3 series sales in the second model year?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Minor typo: “CTS and ATS also seem t0 be”. The “o” is a zero.

  • avatar
    imag

    Here is a suspicion of mine. Cadillac’s design language is many things, but it is not beautiful. It tries too hard to be masculine, and as a result, I don’t know any women who like them (though I’m sure there are plenty).

    Luxury is often about beauty; I would note that most of the cars that guys and girls like have sex appeal (think of all the Italians). Jaguar has beauty down in the F-Type and the XF. Audi has a different take on beauty in the A7, but it works.

    The Elmiraj is a step in the right direction, but Cadillac needs to take the next step and bring beauty to the whole lineup. Getting a few good Italians on the design team might help.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    “Our sources tell us that GM’s rear-drive Alpha platform will be used for this car, the CTS and the Camaro – and that’s it. It’s hard to see how GM will have enough volume to get a good ROI on Alpha.”

    It’d be nice to see a Buick in the mix with some real character.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      ROI is a good point and question although I’m not aware that auto manufactures ever release their “break even” points for new platforms so we can only speculate. In fact given the rapid turnover in model cycles now compared to 10, 15, or 20 years ago – ROI must be getting smaller and smaller.

      Rivera anyone? (Coupe only please.)

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      There’s been talk of a Grand National and GNX coming for Buick. If it happens. hopefully they’ll have the aggression the CTS coupe lacks.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      But if there was a Buick version, would its main competitors be its GM twins? If so, that’s not exactly going to improve ROI.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Marketing wise, offering a Chevrolet version in the first place negates the exclusivity Cadillac previous offered with Sigma platform. Since Cadillac now offers and Epsilon II along with Chevrolet and Buick, why not continue and offer Alphas across all three brands?

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          Because if it’s not a sound business plan that would reduce overall profitability, then it doesn’t matter what they’ve done in the past.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I think it would depend on what the overall goal is to accomplished. If its profitability, then no Chevrolet version should be offered because no I4 Camaro will not command the prices of an I4 ATS. If its maximizing ROI on the platform, you have to determine if a Buick Regal/Grand National/Riviera is going to rob sales from Cadillac. If you believe it will not, then offer it in Buick and maximize your volume.

          • 0 avatar
            whynot

            You say that like they are two different things. In order to maximize profitability you have to maximize ROI. That requires a delicate balance of price vs volume that Cadillac alone might not be able to achieve.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I think it should be Caddy only, as a Camaro platform mate is close enough. We don’t want to head down the Cimarron track again, so to speak.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I disagree because you’re already diluting your exclusivity with Camaro. The current Camaro starts at $23,500, GM probably thinks they can get high 20s out of an base I4 Camaro on launch and I think they would be mistaken. You might be able to command a slight premium out of a “near luxury” Buick, Chevrolet is still Chevrolet.

          • 0 avatar
            whynot

            I wouldn’t expect GM to push the Camaro base price that high- they still have to compete with the Mustang.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I imagine the Buick version as a lower cost sedan instead of badging such a thing as a Chevy. Of course that would then overlap with Buick’s existing products.

        Since the ATS starts at $34k, might not be doable or worthwhile. We can dream though.

  • avatar

    #1 I feel they should have named the car: “CTC”.

    #2 I’m glad they didn’t make both an ATS coupe and CTS coupe. It wouldn’t make sense and the ATS is the only “affordable” Cadillac unless you normally buy cars in the $55,000 range.

    #3 Mercedes CLA must be laughing its head off at how many units it’s gonna sell compared to the MKZ and ATS/CTS.

    #4 I feel the CTS’ front end should have been on the XTS. IT’s just too big for such a small car. And gawdy.

    #5 How long till the CTS (or XTS) gets a supercharged V8 like it did last model?

  • avatar
    prndlol

    Something’s missing. It’s as if a designer was asked to style a car from their memory of a fully realized design and forgot much of the character.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Looks much better than the “something’s missing” CTS coupe. Still even with the door handles added back in it still looks a bit plain on the sides as with most of today’s generic cars.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Using the “TS” nomenclature on a coupe has seemed counterintuitive to me since it started with the “Seville Touring Sedan”, the “Deville Touring Sedan” then the “Catera Touring Sedan”. Then they made the CTS Coupe. For the sake of the OCD types, shouldn’t it have been the CTC, and now subsequently the ATC?

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Maybe it’s just me, but this coupe is rather plain, and at first glance I see visions of a 2000 Solara.

    I wouldn’t buy a larger coupe for one reason – oh, who cares? I’m not buying one anyway!

    For GM and Caddy’s sake, I hope it finds a market. BTW, I like Tom’s thought above: Strip it down, and make it a Nova. That would make things interesting.

    In my mind, the three biggest reasons people won’t buy coupes is (1) a claustrophobic back seat, (2) front doors too long and (3) sealed rear windows. On small cars I don’t have an issue, but for a coupe large enough to carry four adults, the back seat area has to be practical.

  • avatar
    geeber

    I never cared for the CTS coupe. This coupe is better looking – more elegant and better balanced. The CTS coupe always looked to me as though someone had whacked about eight inches from the trunk, without any regard to the overall look or proportions.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    It’s a bit too restrained, but i think it’s handsome. I don’t like the new logo, though. It looks cheap. Plus i’d rather they made the new CTS into a coupe instead of the ATS. The ATS is too small.

  • avatar
    mjz

    Agree about the new Cadillac logo. It looks too wide and I miss the wreath. If anything, they need to get rid of the scripted Cadillac badge. Now THAT looks very dated.

  • avatar
    GoFaster58

    The coupe market is declining in the mainstream market only because the manufacturers choose not to build them. There’s plenty of buyers out there. If you build it, they will come.

  • avatar
    mjz

    The wheel design featured looks just like the wheels shown on the new Chrysler 200.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    They needed to do something about the proportions of the CTS coupe, but they went too far in the other direction with the ATS. This car is putting me to sleep.

    That being said, for $299 a month do you lease an ATS 2.0T or a BMW 320i? Those are the deals in my area.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      It depends on if you need the extra space of the BMW and can live with its 100 HP/lb torque deficit.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      I’ve driven both the ATS 2.0 and the current 328i and would rank the ATS as, at least, the equal of the 328. Since you’re talking about a lease, issues such as depreciation don’t matter, so lease the one that you like best. I expect that the ATS would be a lot more fun to drive than the 320i, the 2.0T motor is a nice bit of kit.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        Ah, it was just a bit of an intellectual exercise. Like, if I was married and brands suddenly had to factor as part of my decision making process. I would probably prefer the ATS though. But currently, I’m Miata hunting.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Okay so, THE LOGO IS NOT CENTERED ON THE TRUNK LINE. It is at the top but not the bottom. /ocd off.

    I like the general design of the car, but not really the new logo. And why can’t Cadillac come up with some more convincing CGI backgrounds for their promo shots?

  • avatar
    carguy

    It is handsome and understated but that is not very Cadillac. The ATS sedan is decidedly the better looking variant.

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    Looks good. Stretch the roof out like a Magnum, put the CTS V-Sport engine in, debit my account and drop ship it to my shop and I will have my new cross country blitz mobile.

    By the way, Derek, appreciate the informed non-prejudicial reviews. Very professional.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Isn’t it high time to dump the ‘suddenly it’s 2003!’ Bangle butt?

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    Chop that top off and give me a convertible and I’ll dip into my inheritance to buy one.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Wow, that’s horribly bad. You know you got a problem when 1992 supercoupe is better looking than this thing. I bet it won’t last 2 years before it’s cancelled. Another GM blunder, they took what was the freshest, most inspired styling (F-117A anyone?) in the auto industry, and have totally destroyed it. If you want sleek and sophisticated, buy a buick. Caddy is supposed to let people know you’ve arrived.

  • avatar
    RHD

    ATS really stands for what it actually resembles most: Accord Touring Sedan.
    With a Cadillac crest on the grille.

  • avatar
    msquare

    It’s no coincidence that all these coupes, the Benz, the A5 and the ATS are influenced by the 3 series. BMW defined the segment that traces its roots to the original E9 coupe.

    As someone who owned an E36 coupe and currently drives an E46, I like it. It definitely borrows a bit from the E92 coupe, but again, that’s not a bad thing.

    It has a definite segment in which it can go toe to toe with the established leaders. And if anyone has a beef about the turbo four, remember the BMW and Audi both feature them standard as well.

    All Caddy needs now is a suitable ATS-V.


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