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2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe

The 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe was a much awaited and highly hyped vehicle that many thought would deliver an added boost to Cadillac’s already wildly popular and successful ATS line of vehicles. The ATS was the brand’s first wholly new platform and promised to deliver an entirely new Cadillac experience. In our review, we found that it was a very good vehicle and impressed us on many levels, so we were very interested to see how the 2015 Cadillac ATS coupe could improve upon the ATS’ success.


Cadillac’s New Mobile Tech

Other than simply being a coupe version of the 2015 Cadillac ATS, the 2015 Cadillac ATS coupe also adds some features that had not been found in the Cadillac ATS line of vehicles or most other Cadillac vehicles. Those two primary features are the car’s ability to enable wireless charging through a Qi charger inside the infotainment system as well as the ability to be a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.


Qi Wireless Charging with the Google Nexus 5

The Qi wireless charging will only work for devices with built-in Qi charging capability (Nokia devices or Google Nexus devices) or devices with cases/adapters to allow for Qi charging like some Samsung phones. It also only exists within the cavity within the CUE infotainment system, which means that it doesn’t work anywhere else in the car (not in glovebox or center console). In addition to only working in the CUE infotainment’s ‘secret’ compartment, it also require that the device be very snug and stay in one spot because Qi charging is fundamentally very finnicky and has very tight tolerances for movement away from the charging coil. As such, the Qi charging functionality is designed to hold the phone ins a very specific part of the compartment and also causes users to lose some storage space in the compartment due to the height lost to the charging pad. The nice thing is that the car will let you know on the CUE system if your phone is charging as well as the charge level (while it’s connected via Bluetooth) so you don’t really have to worry about it not being charged.

ATT LTE Speed Cadillac ATS 2015 Coupe

Cadillac’s OnStar LTE Wi-Fi hotspot powered by AT&T’s LTE Network

The 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot feature is powered by Qualcomm’s LTE chipsets and AT&T’s LTE network, as such, users can expect fairly good LTE coverage across the US and fairly decent speeds. Obviously, we had to test this feature out as well and because this is running on AT&T’s network we got fairly good speeds, even though, they aren’t necessarily fast by any standard. The nice thing about having this feature is that if you already have an active AT&T LTE share plan, you can simply add this vehicle to your data pool without needing to have a separate data plan for it. If you aren’t an AT&T customer, you do have to subscribe to the OnStar LTE service powered by AT&T’s LTE and you do get the first 3GB of data on the car for free. This is very similar to how they give SiriusXM satellite radio to users for free and once they’ve gotten used to it, they start charging for it. This feature has already shipped on previous vehicles like the 2015 Cadillac Escalade we reviewed, but it was not activated yet at the time of review.


Twitter text message notifications

The third and less known feature is the ability to receive text messages via smartphone on the car’s infotainment system in order to prevent the driver from looking at their text messages while driving. They can also have their text messages read aloud, but they cannot respond to their text messages without making a phone call, looking at their phone or using one of the pre-defined responses built-into the CUE system. This is probably the biggest downfall of this feature because the point of SMS is to be able to respond to messages and not just see them. There is currently no way of responding to SMS messages outside of the pre-defined responses built into CUE and as such it makes the SMS feature of this car one that does not necessarily improve safety. iOS users with Siri should be able to use their voice features without any problems, but that completely goes around the car’s SMS functionality. Windows Phone also has voice to text capability, as does Android, but Siri seems to work the best.

If you’d like to see a video of these features in action, we’ve got them for you in the video below:

Design and Functionality

The 2015 Cadillac ATS coupe has a very aggressive look, which is increased from the standard ATS sedan in the sense that the grille has been changed and the rear of the car is also quite different. Cadillac did keep the same headlights, which are without a doubt a signature look for many of Cadillac’s vehicles now.

When compared side by side to the 2013/2014 Cadillac ATS sedan, the differences appear much more drastic than simply looking at the cars individually. Many of the stylistic influences between the two cars are very obvious and it isn’t much of a stretch to think that the two are part of the same line of vehicles. However, there is no denying that the 2015 Cadillac ATS coupe is an updated look to the ATS’ design, especially when you consider it includes the newly redesigned Cadillac logo.


2013/2014 ATS Sedan (left) and 2015 ATS Coupe (right)


In addition to the exterior design changes and the logo redesign, there are some interior design changes as well, albeit fairly minor.


The changes mostly come in the form of the use of suede in the interior in addition to the already available wood trim, which in my opinion isn’t as nice as the stitched carbon fiber that Cadillac also offers. They also moved the trunk release to the back of the driver’s door rather than the side of the door where it was difficult to find. They’ve also put in a type of bucket-style seat in the back for seating people, but the lack of leg room is going to make that back seat virtually useless unless the driver is very short or the people in the back are small children. This is technically a four-seater two-door vehicle, but really only comfortably seats two.


Possibly one of the biggest mistakes that Cadillac made in building the 2015 Cadillac ATS coupe was the reduction of the mirror size from the ATS sedan to the ATS coupe. Cadillac have decided to reduce the height of the rear view mirrors by about 30 to 40% and as a result, the mirrors are virtually useless for checking for vehicles and cannot accommodate a blind spot mirror either. That’s also one of my biggest complaints about almost all of GM’s luxury vehicles in the Cadillac brand, they all lack the built-in blind spot mirror that their lower-end Chevrolet vehicles have. Even the Chevy Sonic has a built-in blind spot mirror, yet none of the Cadillacs do. Also, in addition to having a smaller rear view mirror there is virtually no room for the driver to look over his or her shoulder to check for vehicles in their blind spot due to this car being a coupe and the second window being too tiny to see through. At least in the ATS you can see vehicles in your blind spot through the rear passenger’s window. Cadillac could have remedied this with a blind spot warning system like most luxury brands (and non-luxury brands) already have, but none of their current vehicles have such a system even though they do have adaptive cruise control, lane departure and collision avoidance systems.

One of the other things about the design of the 2015 ATS coupe is that if you get the rear wheel drive version, you cannot have the sunroof and the track performance package. But if you get the all wheel drive version of the vehicle, then you don’t have the track performance package and you can have a sunroof.

Read about our driving experience and conclusion on the next page.