We present a comprehensive comparison of the available experimental data for the Drell-Yan lepton
angular coefficients \(\lambda\) and \(\nu\) to calculations at leading and next-to-leading order (NLO) of
perturbative QCD. To obtain the NLO corrections, we make use of publicly available numerical codes
that allow us to compute the Drell-Yan cross section at second order in perturbation theory and from which
the contributions we need can be extracted. Our comparisons show that overall perturbative QCD is able
to describe the experimental data rather well, even in the fixed-target regime.
There appears to be little evidence for effects that go beyond fixed-order
collinear factorized perturbation theory, although the presence of such effects is not ruled out.
We also address the recent ATLAS data which show tension with NLO theory for the