Spied: Cadillac ATS Inches Closer To Production5
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.
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Ok, I feel like the ‘kid’ asking a dumb question in class, but here it goes:
“Are there more advantages to having the ATS with front-wheel drive than rear-wheel drive?”
As a kid growing up in the 1970’s, the big hype was front-wheel drive eliminates the additional weight of the drive shaft and differential. You can remove the transmission and drive shaft tunnel and use the extra space for the passengers. Plus, most of the weight will be over the drive wheels which would pull you through the corners rather than push you. I’ve found this very beneficial in snow and it helps to notify you when you’re hydroplaning.
The only advantage (that I can think of) about front-engine, rear-wheel drive is performance. You don’t smoke the tires as much and you don’t have the torque in the steering wheel, right? But that would be something you’d want in a competition car (Corvette, Camaro, Mustang, etc.)
My thinking is if you’re going to make a smaller Cadillac to save fuel, wouldn’t it make sense to also switch to front-wheel drive too? Isn’t Buick doing that?
I’d be interested in hearing your comments.
Buick and Cadillac are different breeds of luxury. Cadillac is the German fighting performance luxury while Buick is the Japanese fighting family luxury. That’s why it’s perfectly fine for Buick to be FWD, but it’s unacceptable for Cadillac to be FWD.
I guess it also depends on what your prefer, oversteer or understeer. I prefer oversteer more than understeer which is why I had a hard time going from a RWD car to a FWD car. And remember the ATS is going up against the 3-Series, C-Class, and A4, all of those are highly regarded in performance and all of those are RWD. If the ATS is going to be taken seriously as a competitor, it better be RWD.lol
FWD definitely helps in the snow because your drive wheels are your steering wheels too, but a good set of snow tires on a RWD car can even things up a bit vs a FWD or AWD car with all season tires.
Completely agreed. Not all “small/compact” cars are created with the purpose of being fuel-efficient. For example, the 3 series, C-Class, A4, Lexus IS – were all made with performance and sporing driving dynamics as a goal. And since the aspirational vehicle in that class is the 3 series, Caddy must emulate it as much as possible – and RWD is a prerequisite.
Soft luxury can be FWD or RWD, but performance luxury must be RWD.
Founder, GM Authority
I can see your point. However in-so-far as understeering/oversteering is concerned, ESC has pretty much nip-that-in-the-bud (unless you intentionally want to understeer).
In regard to the Audi A4, I thought that was available as either FWD or AWD?
Yeap, you’re right Tom – the A4 is FWD with available AWD. It’s interesting that you should bring up the understeering/oversteering topics as they relate to oversteer/understeer. I, too, thought that this is no longer a topic of contention today with advanced stability and traction systems…
Founder, GM Authority