2019 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe quick spin review

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The ATS-V is Cadillac’s smallest car, slotting below both the CTS and CT6 sedans. It’s also the automaker’s only two-door model, helping compete against the Audi RS5, BMW M4 and Mercedes-AMG C 63 . Based on the GM Alpha platform, the ATS shares more than a little with the Chevrolet Camaro. Unlike the Camaro, the high-performance V variant uses a twin turbo V6. Like the Chevy, power is sent to the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic.

Our Wave Metallic blue test car has about $10,000 worth of options, the most expensive of which are the $2,300 Recaro sport seats. The Luxury Package — alloy pedals, HID headlights, navigation and a Bose stereo system — tacks on another $2,100. There are some visual upgrades, too, including $1,295 for a dealer-installed carbon-fiber engine cover. All in, this ATS-V rang up for $78,775.

Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: has problems, but the ATS-V coupe isn’t one of them. It’s everything former president Johan de Nysschen hoped the brand could achieve in the sporting realm. The car has a tight yet tolerable suspension. The steering is direct but not overly weighted. The engine burbles and growls with noticeable attitude. It’s all underscored by the six-speed manual transmission, which has a heavy clutch and requires precise throws. It’s a serious sports coupe for enthusiasts.

Cadillac’s style is brash, edgy and sharp. It’s all of those things literally and figuratively. Note the cuts and creases. The ATS is borderline severe – but I like it. I think it’s smart for Cadillac to really go for it in the design department. Cadillac is again tweaking its lineup and the ATS sedan and ultimately the coupe will be replaced. Still, there’s a place for a car like the ATS-V coupe in the Caddy stable. There should be, anyway.

Associate Editor Reese Counts: I forgot how great this thing is to drive. I won’t repeat all of Greg’s comments, but suffice it to say that it’s everything you want in a luxury sports coupe — direct steering, a chassis that balances performance and comfort and a potent engine. Combine sharp styling and competitive pricing, and you have one of the most compelling non-German luxury cars on the market.

I’ve spent a few nights in the car over the past week, each one soaked with rain. I left all the aids on, but in Sport mode the car loosens the reins a little. Goose it and you can easily get the ass end to step out. It offers a little excitement without ever feeling out of control. Watch the video above and you can see me go through the gears, traction control fighting me through second. I’d love to get this thing on a track or a proper canyon road.

My complaints are few, and mostly rest with the car’s interior. CUE, Cadillac’s infotainment system, needs improved. The touch-capacitive center stack needs to go, too. I also wish Cadillac would tone it down with the use of materials. The overall design is nice, but there are four different types of leather as well as both piano black and carbon-fiber trim. There’s too much going on. It’s a good thing it’s so damn fine to drive.

Manager, Production, Eddie Sabatini: The four door may have the added practicality but I prefer the coupe variant. it has nice proportions and looks great from all angles. Inside there are some nice touch-points but a closer look/feel reveals some ugly/uncomfortable plastics. CUE is a mess but GM is working to replace it in all vehicles across the brand portfolio so infotainment will hopefully soon be a positive for this sporty Cadillac. Overall I loved driving the ATS-V. If you’re thinking of buying one I would for sure recommend the manual transmission. The throws aren’t that short but they are satisfying enough, especially for one of the sportiest, sharpest-looking daily drivers out there.

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