2018 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe Review

ATS-V Coupe

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2018 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe Overview

The Cadillac ATS-V Coupe, the performance variant of the ATS, will intrigue drivers eager for a sexier look than the 4-door sedan offers. Like the sedan, the ATS-V Coupe comes with an aggressive front-end treatment that includes a narrow mesh grille, larger bumper vents, and a protruding carbon fiber hood with an integrated hood vent. The Coupe stands apart from its sedan sibling when drivers glance at its side profile. Cadillac’s designers extended and lowered the roofline to make the ATS Coupe pleasing to the eye. The Coupe takes this a couple steps further with body-sill extensions and a set of 18-inch wheels with a dark gray finish. A short rear end comes with a small lip spoiler and a quad-tip exhaust system. The ATS-V Coupe can stand out further with an optional carbon fiber package that includes diffusers for the front and rear, a carbon fiber hood vent, and a larger rear spoiler. A new paint color, Satin Steel Metallic, is available for 2018.

Cadillac trails competitors when it comes to interiors, and the ATS-V Coupe isn’t exempt from this. The sheet of piano black trim paired with faux silver bars for the audio and climate controls would look more at home in a mass-market sedan, not a high-performance luxury coupe. Cadillac uses the same instrument cluster found in the standard ATS with its small color screen under the gauges; this gives the impression that this model was built to a cost.

The ATS-V Coupe’s interior does have some strong points, beginning with the optional Recaro seats. These seats provide excellent support and adjustable bolstering for long trips and enthusiastic driving adventures. Other plus points include heated steering wheel and carbon-fiber accents. Drivers that plan to carry passengers might want to stick with the ATS-V sedan, because the coupe loses a fair amount of headroom due to its lowered roofline, and backseat legroom is very limited.

The 2018 ATS-V Coupe introduces the all-new Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system. The CUE hopes to fix many of the issues of the previous system. It starts with an all-new 8-inch interface. Cadillac has taken some ideas from smartphones by providing larger touch buttons and putting shortcut buttons for common tasks on the lower part of the screen. The system also features the ability for multiple drivers to each set up their own profile for the system. The profiles can be transferred to other Cadillac models via a cloud computing network. Optional is a Performance Data Recorder that uses a camera mounted behind the rear-view mirror and sensors around the vehicle to capture data during a track day. Drivers can download the video from the car and review the data to see where they can improve.

Under the carbon fiber hood resides a twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 packing 464 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission. Zero to sixty takes a scant 3.8 seconds when Launch Mode is activated, and the Coupe can hit a top speed of 189 mph. The only thing the engine lacks is the throaty, hair-raising roar found in a performance car. Reviewers like the manual transmission, as it offers crisp shifts and rev-matching mode when downshifting, but for outright performance, go with the automatic, as it delivers rapid shifts. Fuel economy figures for the ATS-V Coupe are 16 mpg city, 23 highway, 19 combined for the manual and 17, 25, 20 for the automatic.

The standard ATS Coupe is considered the gold standard in handling for the compact luxury class. A lot of this is due to Cadillac’s extensive testing at various racetracks around the world. The ATS-V Coupe takes this excellence a few steps further by lowering the suspension and adding the Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) system as an option. MRC features special shocks filled with magnetic fluid that can quickly adjust the amount of damping the suspension provides. This means the ATS can provide sharp handling around a corner or a comfortable ride for daily driving. A Brembo braking system takes care of bringing the ATS-V Coupe to a stop.

Standard safety features for the ATS-V include a full suite of airbags, traction and stability control, OnStar telematics, reversing camera, and the Teen Driver system, which sets limits on speed and volume through a special key set up by a parent. Automatic high beams, automatic wipers, a head-up display, lane-departure warning and intervention, forward-collision alert, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert come as part of an optional Safety and Security Package.

The ATS-V Coupe comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels. Winter drivers, take note: Cadillac offers this model for sale only with summer tires.

Drivers who purchase a 2018 ATS-V Coupe will get a complimentary 2-day course at V-Performance Academy in Nevada. The course will teach them how to extract all of the performance from their ATS-V Coupe along with imparting high-performance driving techniques. While Cadillac doesn’t pay for travel, it does provide two nights of lodging, transportation to and from the airport, and a Cadillac courtesy vehicle, as well as breakfast and lunch.


Ask William Maley how he started as an automotive writer and he would say he just fell into it. Based in Michigan, William has driven vehicles of all sizes and shapes. His work has appeared on Autobytel, CARFAX, Cheers & Gears, and U.S. News Best Cars.

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ATS-V Coupe

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