By on June 28, 2017

2017 Cadillac ATS Coupe

Several months ago, I wrote on these digital pages we would never see a base-model pony car in this series, and I’m sticking to that edict. After all, two-door muscle cars shunting their power to the rear wheels should have a V8 under the hood, just as nature and Carroll Shelby intended.

The thing is, though, I freely admit this view is rapidly becoming more antiquated than a digital dashboard from the ‘80s. Four-cylinder mills now routinely crank out nearly 300 horsepower, a full 75 more than the Fox-body V8 Mustangs of my youth. Bolted to a well-fleshed-out chassis, the driving rewards are often vast.

What to do, then? Good thing the General had the foresight to make a two-door Cadillac on the same platform as the Camaro.

The ATS coupe now forgoes the 2.5-liter four-pot, instead using a 2.0-liter turbo four making 272 horsepower and 295 lb-ft as its opening bid. Sound familiar? It should. The same engine is offered in the Chevrolet Camaro. A twin-scroll turbocharger generates up to 20 pounds of boost while dual overhead cams and direct injection keep things quick and modern. Initial research has left me thinking this is the first four-banger in a Caddy since the ‘80s but I promised myself I wouldn’t use the word Cimarron in this post.

A six-speed manual transmission is available on rear-drive models, but you’ll probably have to special order one as an eight-speed automatic is standard equipment (if you know of any stick-shift ATS coupes in inventory on your local GM lot, let us know in the comments). Brembo branded stoppers are found on all four corners of the ATS coupe, hiding out behind a set of 18-inch alloy rims wrapped with run-flat rubber. Bonus: Cadillac tosses in a mechanical limited-slip rear differential when buyers spec the no-cost manual transmission.

Jet Black “leatherette” is found strewn around the interior along with dual zone climate control and seats which adjust in half a dozen directions. I do wish GM had chosen a gauge font other than the one found in a 1995 Pontiac Sunfire. Any exuberant color is an extra cost option, so Ace of Base shoppers should stick to Black Raven or Radiant Silver. I think it looks best in black.

At 3,400 pounds, this base Caddy is said to hit 60mph from a standstill in about 5.7 seconds, powering on to 1,320 ft in a shade over 14 seconds. These figures are within a shout of BMW’s 330i and quicker than a Mercedes C300 Sport.

Just like its big-brother CTS, an 8-inch touchscreen dominates the centre console, fitted with Bluetooth, CarPlay, and *ahem* CUE. A Bose branded 12-speaker audio system is along for the ride in this base model. USB ports and seat belts are nearly equal in number. In a fit of head-scratching option configuration, it seems buyers can spec a red V-Sport engine cover without springing for, y’know, the actual V-Sport package. Stickering at $37,595 before destination, the cost of an ATS coupe can nevertheless climb quickly if one starts checking option boxes with reckless abandon.

Of course, the savvy Ace of Base shopper will restrain themselves and drive off with this base model… at least until they spy the Camaro 1LS across the showroom floor for ten grand less, equipped with the same engine and resting on the same platform. If only I didn’t think a pony car needs a V8 between its front fenders…

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown in American dollars with American options — destination, apple pie, & bald eagles not included. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

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42 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2017 Cadillac ATS Coupe...”


  • avatar
    Joss

    Still a cream puff Chev then?

  • avatar
    ajla

    A Cadillac should have a V8 way more than a pony car should.

    I’m not sure why you’d have an engine purity test for Mustangs and Camaros but not on the American luxury brands.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      Because pony car consumers demand it. If it wasn’t for Mustang buyers’ lust for a V8, you probably wouldn’t see one in the F150.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Doubtful as Ford would need to offer a V8 in other F-series models.

        But then again look who I’m talking too. How have the board meetings been since Fields’ departure?

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          Less mullety.

          The 5.0L is only in the F150. F250 and above get 6.2L as a gas option.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Oh I see your point. Why not 6.2 in F-150 when stepping up from Ecoboost?

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            You are going to summon ajla. The loss of the 6.2L in the F150 angers him greatly. I miss it too. It made a great noise and I like how it accelerates.

            It has to be fuel economy related, but I don’t care about that. Ford was already charging a stupid price premium for the engine towards the end. I suspect it was done to limit sales. The cost difference between an F150 6.2L and an F250 with the 6.2L was nominal at some point.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “Oh I see your point. Why not 6.2 in F-150 when stepping up from Ecoboost?”

            3.5EB: 375hp/470tq
            6.2NA: 385hp/430tq.

            not really a step up.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            In F-150 trim the 6.2L made 411hp/434tq.

            If both are equipped with the 10-speed, I think acceleration would be close between the two.

            That said, for “real” pickup duty the 3.5EB is probably the best call in a Ford half ton.

            The 6.2L is still a very fun engine though. Like the 5.0L it likes to rev, but the extra displacement means that it doesn’t *have* to rev. It also sounds amazing.

            I think a 6200RPM 6.2L would be a good fit in a revived Lightning (or in the Raptor). I do wish that the 6.2L somehow found its way into a car, but I get that Ford doesn’t do that sort of thing anymore.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            So say FoMoCo dropped the 5.0 in F-150 and only offered 3.5 EB and the 6.2. In choosing the 6.2 what advantages does this motor car have over say…a train? Which I could also afford.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I’d personally be fine with Ford dropping the 5.0L altogether and making an ~460hp aluminum 6.2L for use in the Mustang GT and F-150 while keeping the iron 6.2L in the Super Duty. This would free up some room for an Ecoboost SVO trim on the Mustang and they could do a forced induction 6.2L for a GT500 variant.

            Hackett doesn’t have me on speed dial though.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            I don’t think the Boss engine has a chance in hell of fitting in the Mustang, at least not in a way which could be assembled on the line.

    • 0 avatar
      Cobrajet429

      A big Cadillac like the CT6 should, but the ATS not so much.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “Bonus: Cadillac tosses in a mechanical limited-slip rear differential when buyers spec the no-cost manual transmission.”

    This is relevant to my interests.

    “Of course, the savvy Ace of Base shopper will restrain themselves and drive off with this base model… at least until they spy the Camaro 1LS across the showroom floor for ten grand less, equipped with the same engine and resting on the same platform.”

    Yes but looking at “fueleconomy.gov” I see that there is more interior room listed for the ATS over the Camaro. Fighting claustrophobia might be worth the extra cash. I’d also bet that the Cadillac dealer is far more willing to deal on an ATS Coupe than the Chevy dealer is willing to deal on a Camaro.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    I adore these things in the Boca retiree color scheme– white over white. This is a car that absolutely -screams- “I NEED A BLUE INTERIOR”

    White over blue is my absolute favorite.

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    This car has some passing resemblance to the 8th gen Honda Accord Coupe, except this car has a longer nose and doesn’t have the sweet V6. I looked on cars.com and found 541 coupes nationwide. It listed 5 as 6 speed manuals but in the pics the cars were automatics. The interior had some odd features, no dedicated volume knob and no rear center armrest.

    I agree with ajla, Cadillac=V8.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I’m surprised a car company hasn’t put Comic Sans on an instrument cluster. You know people will buy it just because of that.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Fight the good fight against the 2.0T’s ubiquity. Even good ones like this one. Get the V6. Or just do as God intended and buy the Camaro.

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    “No cost manual transmission”

    Giving the limied slip diff as a bonus is great, but given that most manufacturers charge $1500 or so to ADD an automatic I would hope they throw in something for free if you want to downgrade.

    For a true AoB experience, the base sedan is $3500 CDN less than the coupe. Wonder what is missing? Oddly enough the manual transmission is listed in the specs for the sedan on the web site, but with an X (not available) on all trim levels.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    This is false. No car with CUE is “ace” of anything except frustration.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Cadillac’s art and science design language in its best implementation. This is a good looking car and if handling is the priority that it should be for someone shopping this class of car, then it is hard to do better. No one likes CUE and the interior is looking a bit dated at this point, but otherwise if I was accustomed to blowing $400/mo leasing a small sports sedan I don’t see many downsides here.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      “if I was accustomed to blowing $400/mo leasing a small sports sedan I don’t see many downsides here.”

      Uh, because it isn’t a sedan? With the attendant loss of rear-seat access and lower-priced insurance, and no hatchback versatility to compensate?

      Or maybe because it’s four-banger 2+2 coupe with Pontiac gauges, plastic upholstery, unusable infotainment, dismal predicted reliability and matching resale value?

      If this is the ace of the small sporty sedan category, what’s the deuce? A loaded Dart?

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Uh, lighten up? And consider the context of my comment?

        “if I was accustomed to blowing $400/mo LEASING a SMALL SPORTS sedan” what do I care about hatchback versatility, rear seat access, reliability, and resale value if the lease terms are competitive? It’s a terrible use of money, but *if* I wanted to burn it playing with a shiny new toy for 3 years then abandoning it for a new one before it starts breaking, I’d want one that looks good and drives well and the ATS does those things. Long term ownership is an entirely different calculus; 2-3yo IS350 or 3.7 Q50.

        Plastic upholstery and turbo-fours are nearly universal in the segment. Gauges are a fetish concern. That part of your comment is more a critique of the current status of the entry level sports sedan/coupe segment than it is of the ATS.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    Cluster.

    DeadWeight will be along shortly to expound on that.

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      It is kind of ugly– there’s no reason the screen ought not be integrated better(how’d Chrysler make the seams blend so in their integrated LCD clusters? Is it a tinted lens and brighter LEDs behind the gauge faces that do it?) in a premium car– but I don’t think it ruins what is otherwise the nicest non-huge coupe available.

      This car is plush, handsome and is of a manageable size. That makes it a rock star to me.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Found an ATS-V coupe at Fields Cadillac in St. Augustine with a manual transmission (new – left over 2016) but no four cylinder model equipped as such.

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    Minor correction: the coupe version of the ATS has never been available with the base 2.5 litre since its debut for 2015, and the sedan version no longer offers the engine for 2017.

    I really like the ATS, but there’s something about buying an even less popular bodystyle of a car which is already shunned in the marketplace.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Technology marches forward, but you haven’t a clue (outside of the “digital page”) if you think a 300 HP turbo 4 banger can offer lots more *pop* than a 225 HP V8 left over from the Malaise era.

    OK it’s close, thanks to boost/mapping technology, but give me an old (late ’80s), 200 HP dumb V8, 5-speed trans, 3.73 LS gears in a new ATS coupe and I’m frickin’ tickled to death! You don’t even know. Keep the weeezer!

    But the current Mustang GT, SS Camaro and Challenger R/T do have their own “Ace of Base” editions too.

  • avatar
    kjb911

    Okay a little bit of a rant…

    I worked in sales at Chevy and currently am employed in marketing for a standalone Cadillac dealer.

    The ATS Coupe seems cavernous compared to the Camaro as well as has a better put together cabin. Not 10k more, but I’m not going to judge until we see the replacement in 2019/ 2020 since the ATS is the oldest in the lineup along with the XTS.

    As for CUE: 2.6 saw massive improvements to reaction times as well as more fluid progression between menus. I don’t understand the constant bashing of the system when it operates on equal footing to a majority of other systems. If you’re still apprehensive, wait for the 18’s to start rolling out soon since the NextGen (IOS / IOT radios) runs an android system. We have been playing with the radios in our 2017.5 CTS’ and my god this should have been what CUE was from the get go. Also 2017 gauge cluster, while not the prettiest, definitely stepped up the visual appeal.

    I currently see only two ATS coupes with a manual transmission that are not Vs. Both are at an Austin, TX dealer. One is a base model coupe that the placed in their loaner vehicle fleet (for what reason…who knows.) and the other is a Luxury in black.

    The Coupe was never offered with the 2.5L as well as comes with standard heated seats, magnesium paddle shifters, navigation, 18″ wheels vs. 17″ on the sedan, split folding bench, 10 way power seats, and remote start. This does kinda justify the increased base price versus the sedan.

    Stepping up to a Luxury snags you the HID lights which aren’t available on the sedan until you go to Premium Luxury / Premium Performance which went V6 only in 17.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      So how much money is on the hood of the Alphas this month?

      • 0 avatar
        kjb911

        Currently on leasing the ATS has $750 + 1,500 in dealer bonus cash while purchase is at a maximum of 4K with select vins.

        we have 3 leftover 16 V’s that we are personally at $16,200 off MSRP

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Thanks man. I recall when the first Alpha sedans were much more than 4K off.

          Last time I was delving into luxo-trucks I happened to notice on the block Escalade ESV was within spitting distance of the Suburban LTZ I think after 2.5 MYs (I think were were looking at 15s so now it would be three MYs). In the upper echelon used buys, your UCM could use a ‘burban as a nice switch car to an ESV.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I’ll echo the sentiments here: I’d pay more for being able to see out of the car and the Cadillac name, for whatever that is worth. Not everyone wants to drive Bumblebee from Transformers and if you can swing the extra cash for the Caddy, why not? Used, it wouldn’t be a contest. At least a couple year old Caddy with a Camaro drivetrain would have *possibly* led an easier life than a Camaro equipped the same.

  • avatar
    dlmiller936

    The only thing I could find in an Autotrader search was a 2016 Premium with the manual and 2.0 turbo here in Houston

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