Hot on the heels of GM’s $190 million investment in its Grand River assembly plant to build “a new Cadillac model,” eagle-eyed spy photographers managed to capture an early prototype of that very same “new” car that will be built at the facility – the Cadillac ATS.
The spy shots show an early mule of the Caddy ATS that will do battle with the likes of the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C Class, Audi A4, and Lexus IS. The ATS will utilize an all-new rear-wheel drive architecture dubbed Alpha, which will also underpin the next-generation CTS.
The prototype pictured here uses a current-generation CTS body for disguise, with front and rear axles moved towards the middle of the chassis to reflect the shorter wheelbase of the ATS. Additionally, the prototype’s fuel filler door has been moved towards the center of the body by several inches.
The mule also sports dual tailpipes, suggesting that a six-cylinder powerplant resides under the hood. This is in contrast to previous mules of the ATS, which only had a single exhaust pipe.
We expect the ATS to have a variety of engines, ranging from a turbo-charged 2.0 liter ECOTEC four banger to various six-cylinder mills, including the 3.0 liter LF1 and 3.6 liter LLT. It will be interested to see whether The General’s twin-turbo LF3 will make its way into the ATS.
The ATS sedan is expected to commence production at Lansing Grand River assembly sometime in July 2012. It will be joined by a coupe variant in July 2013. A wagon version is also likely. Cadillac’s entry-level offering is expected to have a starting price in the low $30,000 range, pushing the next-generation CTS upmarket to compete head-to-head with the likes of the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E Class, Audi A6, and Lexus GS, among others. Hat Tip to Justin.