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Cadillac ATS sheds doors, adds drama

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Wearing lines that have made Cadillacs instantly distinguishable from their German and Japanese competitors on the road, the ATS Coupe was unveiled 14 January at the Detroit auto show.

The coupe rolls on the same 109.3in chassis as the existing ATS sedan, but benefits from improvements that likely will reach the four-door for the 2015 model year.

Although the coupe has a wider track and carries more standard equipment, the curb weight matches that of the sedan as a result of thoughtful interior optimisation. "We didn't want a two-door sedan," said Dave Leone, the car’s executive chief engineer, on 14 January. That impression is further fed by the decision to give the car two distinct rear seats rather than a cramped three-place bench.

Under the hood, Cadillac turned up the boost from the standard turbocharged 2-litre four-cylinder engine, increasing torque by 13% to 295 pound-feet. Horsepower remains unchanged at 272, but drivers ought to sense the extra torque when accelerating in the cut-and-thrust of daily traffic. Cadillac estimates the ATS Coupe 2.0T will accelerate to 60mph in 5.6 seconds – quicker than the BMW 428i coupe (5.7 seconds) and the Audi A5 2.0T (6.3 seconds).

The optional 321hp 3.6-litre V6 power plant is unchanged from the ATS four-door. Buyers of the 2.0T can choose between a Tremec six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic, but those who select the 3.6 will be limited to the automatic. Both cars, however, can be configured with either rear- or all-wheel drive.

On the safety front for 2015, Cadillac’s Cue infotainment system will feature integration with Apple’s Siri Eyes Free, a voice-control smartphone link intended to reduce driver distraction. A new Front and Rear Automatic Braking system uses a combination of radar, optical cameras and ultrasonic sensors to first alert the driver of an impending collision risk and then, if he or she is unresponsive, automatically brake the car to a safe stop. And a new lane-departure warning system and lane-keeping assistance system automatically keeps the car between the lines.

Cadillac is positioning the car above the sedan in the product hierarchy, with a richer spread of standard equipment, such as 18in alloy wheels, automatic park assist and capless fuelling. Pricing should exceed that of the sedan, though Cadillac said the premium should be in line with standard industry practices for such cars. Buyers in the US should expect a roughly $2,000 premium over a similarly equipped sedan.

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