Remember when Opel CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke told the world that Cadillac will be better than BMW in unsprung mass? Well it turns out that might not happen after all with the latest developments regarding the upcoming Alpha platform — GM’s rear-wheel-drive based architecture that will underpin the upcoming Cadillac ATS, next generation CTS , Chevrolet Camaro, and possibly others.
What was at one point a derivative of the stillborn Kappa II platform, the Alpha platform has skewed far from its original purpose as a lightweight RWD chassis that was only meant for four-cylinder engines to become something more of a multi-role platform capable of cradling four, six and even eight cylinder powerplants, all wheel drive, and the ability to stretch to a full-sized length. Such upgrades put on extra weight for the platform, as well as make it more expensive to develop. Speculation is that as much as 500 pounds have been added to the platform, and that upcoming Alpha-based products such as the ATS could tip the scales at a porcine 4,000 pounds. To compare, a BMW 328i weighs in at 3,362 pounds.
As much as we are advocates here for the increased use of certain platforms, it seems GM is shooting itself in the foot in this case. But we won’t know for sure if the project is a bust until we drive the Cadillac ATS, which is still a ways off.