$14,684 - $22,804

2015 Cadillac ATS Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2015 Cadillac ATS was new.


Performance: 8.6

Though some test drivers think the 2015 Cadillac ATS can’t top the driving experience of class-leading rivals like the BMW 4-Series, they still agree that the ATS is one of the sharpest-handling cars on the market.

  • "This is an honest-to-goodness performance sedan that will give any rival 4-door a run for its money." -- AutoTrader
  • "The new coupe model brings the same poised ride, sure-footed handling and excellent response from the steering and brakes that's made the ATS sedan one of our top choices if sharp driving responses are one of your top priorities." -- Edmunds
  • "While the ATS is still no BMW 4-Series from a driving standpoint, we expect that most intenders will find a lot to like here." -- Autoblog (coupe)
  • "Riding on GM's new rear/all-wheel-drive Alpha platform, the ATS was optimized at the demanding Nurburgring track in Germany and has the responsive driving dynamics to prove it." -- Left Lane News

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Cadillac ATS sedan has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 202 horsepower. A 272-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is available in the sedan and standard in the all-new coupe. A 321-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 is optional in both models. All 2015 ATS models come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission. A six-speed manual is available in models with the turbocharged engine and rear-wheel drive. According to the EPA, the base 2015 Cadillac ATS gets 21/33 mpg city/highway. Four-cylinder competitors like the BMW 328i and Audi A4 have better fuel economy and more horsepower. The turbocharged sedan gets 21/30, which is lower than several more-powerful competitors’ estimates, and the V6 sedan gets 18/28, which is unimpressive for a six-cylinder car.

Critics say the 2.5-liter engine delivers adequate, but uninspiring, acceleration. Many recommend the turbocharged engine, citing its impressive power, though others note that it’s noisier than the turbo fours in rival cars. Reviewers agree that the V6 model is quite powerful, though not much faster than the turbocharged model.

  • At the practical level, the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder in base sedan models gets the job done with 202 horsepower, but isn't for the enthusiastic driver." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • The turbo four-cylinder provides quick acceleration in keeping with a compact Cadillac's athletic personality, but of the two we'd opt for the V6. This is mostly because the four-cylinder tends to get raspy under hard acceleration, lacking the refined song of rival engines." -- Edmunds
  • "For the last stretch, we hopped into a top-spec Premium with the 3.6-liter V-6. The engine sounds good and its 321 hp is impressive, but it's not appreciably quicker than the turbo four." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The thick steering-wheel rim is a satisfying cutlass in your palms while the engines, and especially the 2.0-liter, provide eager thrust." -- Car and Driver (turbo and V6 engines)

Handling and Braking

The 2015 Cadillac ATS comes standard with rear-wheel drive, though all-wheel drive is available on all trims except the base sedan. The ATS is also available with Magnetic Ride Control, which can automatically adjust suspension stiffness to improve ride and handling. Most test drivers say the ATS is one of the sharpest-handling cars in its class. Reviewers also love the ATS’ powerful Brembo brakes, which are standard on the coupe and available on the sedan. They add that all ATS models have a remarkably comfortable ride, especially when equipped with Magnetic Ride Control.

  • "And like the sedan, the ATS coupe is one of the best-handling cars in in its class, on par with the best of its German and Japanese rivals." -- Edmunds
  • In corners the ATS is lithe, though its steering feel isn't as spot-on as a BMW's." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The floor and steering column are rock steady as you roll along, and the body control over sinewy pavement shows GM's ever-increasing finesse in its suspension tuning. Magnetic shocks, a worthwhile extra-cost option on this car, give the ATS coupe the flexibility to both romp confidently through corners and quell the pounding of a bad road." -- Car and Driver (coupe)
  • "The good news: even the base suspension offers outstanding grip whilst preserving a Cadillac-worthy ride. We were also thrilled with the Brembo brakes, standard on all models. Strong, linear, communicative and not too grabby, they are beautifully tuned for this kind of car." -- Autoblog (coupe)

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