by John Tallodi
The ATS-V is Cadillac’s answer to the European performance coupes that up until now have reigned with relative impunity. That all stopped in 2016 when the ATS-V coupe arrived and proved that American sports cars can handle as well as be rapid in a straight line. 2018 sees some updates to the infotainment system with the rest of the package remaining unchanged.
The ATS-V coupe offers a more upmarket interior compared to the regular ATS models and the leather surfaces and soft touch plastics all impart a higher quality feel. The cockpit design is showing its age now and when compared to some of the European rivals that it competes against, the ATS-V could do with a more modern dashboard cluster and improved minor controls.
There is plenty of room up front and the supportive front seats are just right from which to experience the available performance on offer. When it comes to the back-row things are quite a bit more cramped. Climbing into the rear requires some contorting and once in the shallow glass area, tight headroom and limited knee space make it unsuitable for taller people or longer trips.
The trunk is smaller than average too but the coupe does offer a standard split-folding rear seat facility which is only an available option on the sedan.
The suspension and braking system have been heavily upgraded over the vanilla ATS variants and the additional cornering ability and stopping power are greatly improved. Turn-in is sharp too and the ATS-V remains planted even when provoked which is reassuring in a car with this level of power.
The adaptive suspension can cope with rutted road surfaces too and the ride quality is commendable for a car with this level of handling ability and riding on such larger diameter alloys.The cabin does allow tire and road noise in, especially over coarse surfaces and the exhaust note is less than inspiring when the engine is extended.
The Cadillac ATS-V coupe fitted with a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 making 464 horsepower and 445 lb-ft of torque. Purists can opt for the 6-speed manual however the available 8-speed automatic transmission actually provides quicker acceleration times if not as much driver involvement.
The manual does offer a no-lift shift function and active rev matching though and the claimed 0-60 mph time of 3.8-seconds is quick considering that the power is sent solely to the rear wheels.That number bests a number of European performance benchmarks and if you happen to stray onto a deserted autobahn, the unlimited 189 mph top speed will see you pass just about everything else at higher velocities too.
The ATS-V coupe comes in one very well equipped trim level and notable standard performance features include 18-way powered and heated front sport seats, carbon fiber hood, Michelin Pilot summer tires and an electronic limited-slip differential.
Safety and luxury systems are taken care of with an updated Cadillac CUE infotainment system with smartphone integration, Bose premium audio system, front and rear park assist and a rearview camera.
The Safety and Security Package adds a number of extras including forward collision alert, lane keep assist, head-up display and upgraded headlights.
The Cadillac Cue and Navigation Pack adds a navigation system as well as an upgraded Bose audio system, larger touchscreen with voice recognition and a teen driver system.
The Luxury Package can only be specified with the above package and also adds adaptive LED headlamps and a universal home remote.
An available Track Performance Pack includes a data logger to help assess and improve lap times however it requires both of the above packs to be specified. An available Carbon Fiber pack adds further visual drama to the ATS-V.
The 2018 ATS-V coupe offers a blend of performance and technology that puts it on an equal footing with rivals like the BMW M4 and Mercedes C63.
The restricted rear space and an interior that does not quite match up to the best in class are small drawbacks that take little away from what is one of the most accomplished luxury sport coupes on the market today.