El­e­gant on the out­side and pow­er­ful un­der the hood, will Cadil­lac’s new ATS get mil­len­ni­als in­ter­ested in the leg­endary crest?

There aren’t many small lux­ury coupés that stand out as much as the ATS. For the 2017 model year, Cadil­lac gives it a few tweaks to en­sure it’s at the top of its game, says wheels’ Im­ran Ma­lik

Friday - - Contents -

When you think of Cadil­lac, I bet cars from the Fifties, Six­ties and Seven­ties spring to mind. They drew on in­flu­ences such as the Jet Age and have been in­deli­bly sketched in our psy­che be­cause they were so out­landishly gor­geous. Those clas­sics looked like they could have been launched into outer space, what with those huge tail­fins, fake jet ex­haust pods and af­ter­burner-style dual tail­light tips.

Ev­ery­one wanted to be seen in these chrome-laden land yachts back then – but Gen­eral Mo­tors had a harder time in the fol­low­ing decades to get buy­ers into its premium brand. The cars from the Eight­ies, Nineties and early Noughties were largely for­get­table (the only de­cent one was the 1992 Seville...), but it’ll have an eas­ier time get­ting Gen­er­a­tion Z to fall for the leg­endary crest thanks to cur­rent models that are con­sid­ered as flashy as those El­do­ra­dos and DeVilles, such as CT6, XT5 and ATS. And for 2017, GM has re­fined the coupé ver­sion of the lat­ter to keep it on the coat­tails of the Ger­mans.

This year, it’s the op­tions that have been shuf­fled around in the four trims avail­able (ATS, Lux­ury, Premium Lux­ury and Premium per­for­mance) and the good news is that which­ever ATS you buy, it’ll come with the CUE sys­tem and 12-speaker Bose au­dio as stan­dard. And the Lux­ury trim sees the ad­di­tion of the Cold Weather pack­age – which gets you heated front seats and steer­ing wheel – as stan­dard equip­ment too.

Our tester, the Premium Lux­ury, is loaded with good­ies such as a 3.6-litre V6, a lux­u­ri­ous cabin and a host of tech­no­log­i­cal ap­point­ments.

Start­ing with the mo­tor, pack­ing 335 horse­power and 386Nm of torque, it isn’t just a po­tent per­former – it also packs a cylin­der de­ac­ti­va­tion sys­tem and stop-start tech­nol­ogy to help im­prove fuel econ­omy by nearly 10 per cent com­pared to the pre­vi­ous V6. But, al­though the en­gine has star ap­peal, it’s the eight-speed au­to­matic that ac­com­pa­nies it that steals the thun­der. The sound it makes as it shifts cogs is akin to that of load­ing a shot-gun and then when you ham­mer the throt­tle with Sport mode en­gaged, bang! It ex­plodes into life. With all the power sent to the limited-slip rear diff, the Coupé would be bril­liant fun to man­han­dle in an ap­pro­pri­ate set­ting. With ra­zor-sharp han­dling, a com­posed chas­sis and a pre­cise elec­tric steer­ing of­fer­ing good feedback, this is one coupé that’s sure to live long in the mem­ory.

Even with­out the Mag­netic Ride Con­trol, the ATS Coupé still han­dles with aplomb when you’re on it and then dou­bles up as a but­tery smooth boule­vard cruiser when you just want to re­lax. This one also gets 18in premium pol­ished forged-alu­minium wheels, bold ex­te­rior light­ing (it has

high-in­ten­sity dis­charge head­lights, light-emit­ting diode ver­ti­cal light sig­na­ture el­e­ments, and steer­ingdi­rected adap­tive for­ward light­ing) and il­lu­mi­nat­ing door han­dles that pro­vide a warm glow in the dark, round­ing off the edgy ex­te­rior. It’s avail­able in two new colours this year, Bronze Dune and Sil­ver Coast Metal­lic. The driver-fo­cused in­te­rior, which looks re­splen­dent with the mauve leather and car­bon fi­bre trim adds 14-way driver and 12-way pas­sen­ger per­for­mance seats, mag­ne­sium pad­dle shifters, al­loy sport ped­als and a stan­dard sun­roof.

As for safety, it fea­tures ad­vanced tech that in­cludes radars, cam­eras and ul­tra­sonic sen­sors, which com­bine to help pre­vent ac­ci­dents. Some of the high­lights in­clude for­ward col­li­sion alert, lane de­par­ture warn­ing, lane keep as­sist, blind zone alert and rear cross-traf­fic alert. It also has an Ad­vanced Se­cu­rity Pack­age, which in­cludes a new re­mote lock­ing fuel filler door, shielded theft-de­ter­rent alarm sys­tem, ve­hi­cle in­cli­na­tion sen­sor, steer­ing col­umn lock and lock­ing wheel lugs. That’s all good to know, but the real joy of this coupé is in its per­for­mance.

The light­weight ar­chi­tec­ture and finely tuned chas­sis gives the ATS Coupé loads of agility around the cor­ners. With a nearly per­fect 50:50 weight dis­tri­bu­tion, a wide front track and a low cen­tre of grav­ity, this car breeds more con­fi­dence in you the harder you push it. And it’s good to know it packs Brembo brakes in case you need to bring pro­ceed­ings to a sud­den halt. Most of its ri­vals hail from Ger­many but even though the new C-Class, the 4 Se­ries and the A5 are ex­ceed­ingly good, this one still man­ages to stand out in that im­pres­sive crowd.

This is a com­fort­able, stylish and im­pres­sive all-around driver’s car that eas­ily com­petes with the best of Europe. If you’re on the hunt for a com­pact lux­ury coupé, then this ought to fea­ture very high on your short­list.

Fifty years from now when we think about models by Cadil­lac, it might just be the one that ap­pears in the fore­front of our minds.

‘Al­though the EN­GINE has star ap­peal, it’s the eight-speed au­to­matic that ac­com­pa­nies it that steals the THUN­DER. The sound that it makes as it shifts cogs is akin to that of load­ing a SHOT-GUN’

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The ATS coupé might be the style icon in Cadil­lac’s line-up, but it also has the go to match the show

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