As the Cadillac ATS launch begins, and thumbs-up reviews pour in, eyes once again begin looking forward towards the car’s future and other variants it could possibly offer. The most important of which, is the all-but-official ATS-V — which is expected to be a red, white and blue middle finger to Germany’s best-truth-in-ultimate-driving-machines-or-nothing compact performance models. But how the compact performance Caddy will do it is still a mystery.
For instance, it’s long been rumored that an ATS-V would cradle a twin-turbocharged 3.6L LFX V6 engine — a counter-punch to the rumored triple-turboed I-6 that is said to come from the all-new F80 BMW M3 expected to launch within a year or so. And as that seems like a very real possibility, there is another possibility for the ATS-V: a bellowing small-block V8. According to sources, such an engine can fit into the ATS’ engine bay.
So, what are the benefits of bringing an ATS-V to market with a next-generation small block? For starters, an all-aluminum V8 block would be less complex than a turbocharged setup. There’s a lot less valvetrain, and a low inertia of rotating mass. Small-blocks also have fantastic power for their weight, putting less of an emphasis on horsepower per liter. And let’s face it, small blocks are easy to modify. And believe it or not, it’s lighter than a twin-turbo V6.
To gauge on how much a twin-turboed LFX V6 would weigh, a similarly proportioned 3.5L Ford Ecoboost V6 tips the scales at 449 pounds. That’s not including the intercooling system. Oppositely, the GM Performance Parts catalog says that the LS3 engine weighs in at a lighter 415 pounds out of the crate, and there’s no reason to doubt that the Gen V LS engines will weigh even less.
So, why bother with a TTV6 at all? One of the most obvious answers is gobs and gobs of low-end torque compared to a naturally aspirated engine, giving the driver a sensation of propulsion off the line that could only be found in the high revs of a plain V8. And some people prefer the high-tech sound of the spools spinning up to the primal rumble of a V8.
So, which camp do you represent? Would you rather see a the ATS-V with an advanced TT V6? Or a visceral V8? Discuss in the comment section below, and participate in our poll!