General Motors Co.’s Cadillac brand on Tuesday showcased its newest offering and first compact luxury coupe: the 2015 ATS Coupe, during a news conference at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The U.S. automaker and its growing luxury brand said the sporty and elegant ATS Coupe will arrive in showrooms this summer, complete with a new and updated Cadillac crest — the first production Cadillac to wear it.
Cadillac says the ATS Coupe, shown for the first time at the show and with hopes to win young buyers, is a natural step in the brand’s growth plans. In the past two years, Cadillac has begun production of its all-new XTS and ATS sedans, a new 2014 CTS sedan, and most recently a 2014 ELR extended-range plug-in luxury coupe. In the spring, it will roll out a redesigned 2015 Escalade to dealerships.
The ATS Coupe is built off the ATS sedan platform, but the coupe’s track has been widened for improved steering and handling, and the roof lowered, said David Leone, executive chief engineer for Cadillac.
“It’s a handsome fun-to-drive coupe that has got the ATS DNA throughout, but it’s even a little quicker and a little more fun than the sedan,” Leone said.
The coupe and sedan share the striking Cadillac headlamps. But the roof, doors, back fenders and trunk lid are unique to the coupe. It also has a different front fascia and front fenders, adding to the ATS Coupe’s bold stance on 18-inch wheels.
“It’s confident, it’s personal,” said Andrew Smith, executive director of Global Cadillac design. “It’s a sports coupe for today’s luxury consumer.”
Buyers can choose the standard 2-liter turbo four-cylinder engine, upgraded from the sedan model, that delivers nearly 14 percent more torque at 295 foot-pounds and 272 horsepower. Or they can opt for a 3.6-liter V-6 engine that delivers 321 horsepower and 275 foot-pounds of torque. A six-speed manual transmission will be available on the 2-liter turbo.
Cadillac estimates fuel economy of 21 miles per gallon city and 31 mpg highway for the 2-liter turbo, and 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg highway for the V-6.
The ATS Coupe, capable of going from zero to 60 miles per hour in 5.6 seconds, will come standard as a rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive will be available.
Leone said the ATS Coupe’s weight is the same as the sedan. Smith, at Tuesday’s unveiling, said the ATS Coupe is “the lightest in the segment.”
The ATS Coupe also will make available GM’s OnStar 4G LTE connectivity and Wi-Fi hotspot and the CUE (Cadillac User Experience) Collection of apps that customers can download to use in their vehicles.
Seventy percent of ATS buyers are new to the brand. While Cadillac executives believe the new compact luxury coupe will attract more new customers, the company isn’t giving volume expectations.
The new ATS Coupe will compete with coupes such as Mercedes-Benz C Class, BMW 3 Series (and soon to come BMW 4 Series), Infiniti Q60 and Audi A5.
Cadillac is not new to coupes. It has sold its CTS Coupe since 2010. CTS Coupe sales generally have accounted for 20 percent to 30 percent of CTS nameplate sales, Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell said. The brand sold about 12,000 CTS Coupes each in 2011 and 2012.
But the looks of the ATS Coupe are more sophisticated and conservative than the CTS Coupe. “We wanted to get more of a classic coupe proportion vs. something that was polarizing,” Smith said.
Edmunds.com senior analyst Jessica Caldwell said styling is important in the luxury space and there is room for coupes in the segment. Luxury coupe sales in the U.S. grew 5.6 percent in 2012 from 2011, according to IHS Automotive and Polk data. Sales figures in 2013 for the segment were not yet available.
Bob Ferguson, vice president of Global Cadillac, said he expects coupe sales will represent about 20 percent to 30 percent range of ATS sales and that overall ATS sales will grow with the addition of the coupe.
“I expect significant growth with this coming into the family,” he said following Tuesday’s reveal.
“Cadillac is a growing brand and they definitely need different ways to reach consumers,” Edmunds.com’s Caldwell said. “I think having models like the ATS and ATS Coupe … sets a different tone for a brand and can appeal to a wider range of customers.”
The brand’s U.S. sales last year totaled 182,543 vehicles, up 21.9 percent from 2012. That was a bit short of the 30 percent U.S. sales growth target Global Cadillac Vice President Bob Ferguson announced earlier in the year.
Cadillac sold 38,319 ATS sedans last year. That was up from just 7,008 sold the year before, but the ATS didn’t launch until late summer 2012. The car was Cadillac’s second most popular model last year behind the SRX.
Smith said the ATS Coupe also will appeal to consumers in Europe and China. Ferguson said vehicle likely launch in China later this year.
The ATS Coupe for the U.S. market will be built at GM’s Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant. The plant currently builds CTS models and ATS sedan.
Pricing has not been announced.