GM is in the process of developing the platform that will underpin the 3-series fighting Cadillac ATS range. Dubbed Alpha, GM is expected to also use the architecture for the 2014 CTS as well as the 2015 Chevy Camaro (sixth gen).
The 2014 CTS will make the move to definitively compete in the midsize luxury class and is expected to add approximately six inches to its length. This would peg the overall length of the next-generation CTS at 195 inches.
Moreover, Motor Trend has learned that the Alpha platform is being “protected” for a range of engines including fours, supercharged and turbocharged sixes, as well as GM’s excellent small block eights.
The protected classification is an engineering stage where the design of an architecture (and/or part) is not finalized. Rather, the project remains open to include other features and/or characteristics.
In the case of the Alpha platform, the design has a classification of protected to allow for proper fitting of various engines. It should be noted that this does not actually guarantee that all of the aforementioned powerplants will be offered to the public. Instead, the platform will be made flexible to accommodate the various engines should the product team decide to offer them in the final product.
Since four-cylinder engines are smaller than sixes and eights, the platform must be able to have properly-placed active engine mounts to account for the less inherent refinement and smoothness found in smaller powerplants. And since forced induction engines need room in the bay for blowers, turbos, and intercoolers, one can see where this may become even more important. In fact, protecting for boosted engines is easier than doing so for a small block, since a small block’s overhead valves are more compact at the top of the engine than dual overhead cams (with four valves per cylinder) of breathed-on sixes.
The Caddy ATS, which is expected to go head-to-head with premium compacts such as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C Class, and Lexus IS, would most likely get naturally aspirated and boosted V6s. All signs point to the current 3.0L LF1, the rumored LF3 (a twin-turbo’d version of the same engine), and possibly the high-feature 3.6L. However, the competition – most notably Mercedes and BMW – are planning to bring four-cylindered C-Classes and 3 Series to the U.S, while Audi already sells its A4/A5 2.0 TFSI. As such, a 2.0-liter turbo or even GM’s global 2.4-liter in the ATS may not be out of the question. We should also not forget the hybrid powertrains GM is working on that will be fitted in the ATS and possibly the CTS.
The third-generation CTS is expected to have the 3.0 (LF1) and 3.6-liter high-feature engines, with the rumored twin-turbo 3.0L (LF3) most likely becoming the top-of-the-line powerplant (not counting any V-Series variants).
MK3 CTS To Shed Coupe, Wagon Variants
What’s more, while the ATS will be available in multiple body styles (sedan, wagon, coupe, and possibly a convertible), Motor Trend believes that the next-gen CTS will only be sold as a sedan. This may be a mistake in this blogger’s humble opinion, since midsize wagons such as the 5 Series, A6, and E-Class are fairly popular in Europe – a geographic region where Cadillac is struggling, to say the least.
Check back for more Alpha, ATS, and CTS coverage right here on GM Authority and take a listen to this week’s GM Authority Weekly Podcast (published Mondays) for a more in-depth discussion.[Source: Motor Trend]