Low burn: 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe
Taking on the Germans in the compact sports coupe segment? There have been more sensible automotive ideas. The BMW 4 Series and the Audi A5 haven’t so much cornered the market as set up an Alpine road block, sneering at potential challengers with their grand-tourer styling and snarling, scrappy kid-brother performance.
Cadillac, though, have been trying and, with each iteration of the CTS, CTS Coupe and the smaller, nimbler ATS, have been getting admirably close. With all-new ATS Coupe, the company’s low-slung predator of a sports sedan, they may just have cracked it. Combining immediate kerb appeal, distinctly Detroit lines and rumble-in-the-chest power, it is a car that ought to win instant converts of anyone sliding into the driver’s seat for a test drive.
While that in itself might be a battle in Europe, where American manufacturers have long failed to make much of an impression, there ought to be an appreciative audience in the Middle East. Indeed, this Cadillac seemed to enjoy every inch of Dubai’s modern road network, from quick-off-the-blocks acceleration at Al Barsha’s innumerable traffic lights to the sweeping turns of the desert highways approaching Hatta from Jebel Ali. It made total sense out of getting out of bed at 8am on a Friday morning.
The pleasure comes from the 3.6-litre V6 engine, which pushed up to 321 horses through the rear wheels with a satisfyingly gravel-throated grunt on the emptier stretches of road. The magneto-rheological fluid-filled shocks, meanwhile, helped the car careen with purpose into the ever-tightening bend in Al Hessa Street tunnel.
With a clean, compact layout, including heads-up windscreen display, keyless start and high-quality interior, the Cadillac ATS Coupe is an exceptional car that has the potential to make serious inroads into Germany’s mid-range supremacy. Especially here.
Engine: 3.6-litre, V6
Transmission: 6 speed automatic
Top speed: 146mph
0-60: 5.5 seconds
Price: from Dhs190,000
BMW 4 Series
There aren’t many reviews that gave it less than full marks when it came out, and it remains the standard by which others will be judged.
Helped by a facelift in 2012, a range of engine sizes and an Ultra variant for 67.3mpg fuel efficiency, this is the sensible option on the block.
Mercedes C-Class Coupe
This is the most similar in terms of body shape to the ATS Coupe, with its elongated hood and squat stance. Impressive interior space, too.