January 22, 2014 9:45 AM | By Jeremy Sinek for MSN Autos

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe preview

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe (© Photo: Cadillac)

And now Cadillac does something completely expected

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe (© Photo: Cadillac)

Even if it’s true that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, BMW shouldn’t be feeling too smug. The Cadillac ATS – 2013 North American Car of the Year – doesn’t just duplicate the formula that made the BMW 3 Series sedan an icon; the Cadillac also, say most reviewers, does it better. The ATS may not out-point the BMW in every aspect of car-ness, but in the segment-defining criteria of steering and handling, the sport-sedan pupil is now the teacher.

But the 3 Series isn’t only a sport-sedan; it also comes as a coupe. And soon, so will the ATS (we hardly needed a crystal ball to see that coming). As it turns out, however, the ATS Coupe won’t be confronting a 3 Series Coupe, but the 4 Series, which is what BMW now calls the two-door since its recent redesign.

Of course, the Bimmer isn’t the only rival on the ATS’s hit list: others include the Audi A5, Infiniti Q60, Mercedes C-Class Coupe, and the upcoming Lexus RC.

At this point it’s not a given the ATS 2-door will out-handle its German rival the way the sedan did at its launch. The 4 Series is newer than the 3 Series sedan, and is “more sportier” relative to the sedan than its predecessor was. But following the ATS’s unwrapping at the Detroit auto show, this much we do know about Cadillac’s first ever compact coupe.

Lots more style, one less seat

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe (© Photo: Cadillac)

The two-door is a four-seater riding on the same wheelbase as the sedan, but it has a wider tread at both ends. The roof, doors, fenders, trunk lid and front fascia are specific to the coupe, Compared with the sedan it is 20 mm longer, 35 mm wider and 30 mm lower, while Cadillac claims the whole package is the lightest in its class. To our eyes the resulting shape is a looker, if not as rad as, say, the coupe version of the last-generation Cadillac CTS. In person, the ATS’ cabin looks as good as ever, with a few additional nice touches including faux suede lined front seatbacks.

Motor-vation is supplied by two of the three engines offered on the sedan: the 2.0T four-cylinder turbo or the 3.6-litre V6. Maximum power outputs are unchanged at 272 and 321 hp respectively, but for the coupe the 2.0T gets a boost in mid-range torque, from 260 to 295 lb.-ft. (though at higher rpm than in the sedan). A six-speed manual transmission is available on the 2.0T, a six-speed automatic optional on 2.0T and standard on the V6. Rear- and all-wheel drive are both available. Outputs for the rival BMW engines are 241 hp for its 2.0T (428i) and 300 for its turbo six-cylinder (435i).

Options for drivers ... and for driving as an option

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe (© Photo: Cadillac)

For committed drivers, an available FE3 suspension on RWD models bundles together quicker steering, magnetic ride control, summer-performance tires (all Coupes ride on 18-inch wheels), uprated springs, and a mechanical limited-slip differential.

For distracted drivers, an enhanced version of Cadillac’s CUE driver interface is optional on base models and standard on the Luxury, Performance and Premium. Enhancements include a new Text-to-Voice feature for smartphone users with Bluetooth profile (M.A.P.) and Siri Eyes Free for iPhone iOS 6 and iOS 7 users; and OnStar 4G LTE connectivity, with a Wi-Fi hotspot that can connect up to seven devices simultaneously.

A Bose premium audio system with Active Noise Cancelation is standard, and an available surround-sound audio upgrade includes a sound enhancement system that’s exclusive to ATS Coupe. Cadillac claims that unlike other systems that pipe recorded engine sounds through the audio system (ie. BMW M5), Cadillac’s system enhances only the car’s authentic powertrain sounds.

Also on offer are Driver Awareness and Driver Assist packages that can add varying levels of warnings (e.g. Lane Departure), assistance (e.g. new-for-2015 Lane Keep Assist) and fully automated driving (e.g. adaptive cruise control capable of a full range of speeds).

The ATS Coupe will be in Cadillac showrooms this summer.

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