News and Noise about Cadillac’s New ATS

Cadillac ATS teaser photo

It seems as though the ATS has been ballyhooed, videoed, blogged and reblogged for months now. The latest news is GM’s announcement that the car will have a completely new and very strong turbo 2-liter four that produces 270 hp and a broad torque band and is lightweight.

While we don’t know exactly what it will look like yet, there have been lots of spy photos on the Web of the car testing (see video after the break). The 2013 ATS will be live and in color at Detroit.

A number of writers have termed the new car the “BMW 3 Series fighter,” since GM has encouraged them to think of it as specifically designed to compete with that car—and the C-Class Benz, among others. It might be a good challenge for the Audi A5 and Infiniti G37 as well.

Think about it: If a GM car, first time out, can come anywhere near the style, performance and handling of these cars, all of us should get up and dance. The Germans, particularly BMW, have been at it for years, refining and refining. But there is a design stodginess, especially in the 3 Series, that is growing long in the tooth for many of us.

Earlier this week, GM told the press about the three-engine lineup for the ATS. We got details on the 2-liter in a New York Times report:

four valves per cylinder; continuously variable valve timing; a twin-scroll turbocharger with an intercooler to keep the charge dense; and direct fuel injection. G.M. claimed that, in the service of power and efficiency, internal friction was reduced 16 percent over the automaker’s previous-generation turbocharged 4-cylinder engine.

A high turbo boost of 20 lbs per square inch and a 9.5:1 compression ratio is possible without knocking, they tell us, through precise computer controls and oil-spray piston cooling.

This engine’s great power curve will make it appeal to enthusiasts. The standard engine will probably be the 2.5-liter four, with a 3.6-liter V6 also available—both without turbo. A twin-turbo 3-liter V6 with 380 hp is supposedly slated for an ATS-V later on. The battle against the Deutschers will then truly be joined.

Cadillac really proved something with its CTS-V. But the stakes are higher with the ATS. Can the company do it again?


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  1. After having worked for GM for decades and driven just about everything they make, both in track and street testing, I can tell you with confidence that claiming the car will compete favorably with 3-series beemers and c-series mercedes is one thing. After all, we know GM is a great talker but when it comes right down to doing EVERYTHING right, GM always falls short. The GM line is usually that they give you just as much but for less money, but if you can actually line their cars up side by side with their competition, you’ll see where they fall short. Frankly, given the option of having something like an M5 or a CTS-V, I’ll go with the M5 any day despite the higher price. When you look at both cars together, you can see the high level of engineering everywhere in the M5 while the CTS-V is just an overpowered CTS with some bolt-ons.

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