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First Drive: 2013 Cadillac ATS

Let the buzz start here.

by on Jul.24, 2012

The 2013 Cadillac ATS is the brand's first compact sedan in a quarter century.

For all too many potential buyers the idea of a compact Cadillac brings to mind the last attempt by the U.S. maker to tackle the likes of the vaunted BMW 3-Series. Caddy’s dreadful Cimarron almost single-handedly brought the General Motors flagship brand to its knees, helping shatter its long-standing image as the “Standard of the World.”

It’s no surprise Cadillac officials spent nearly three decades dithering about whether to return to the compact market – a decision finally forced upon the brand by global sales trends.  As has reported, GM has given Caddy the go-ahead to produce an all-new flagship meant to tackle the likes of the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.  But the real sales growth is at the other end of the market – especially if Cadillac finally hopes to generate some real volume outside the U.S.

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So, the 2013 Cadillac ATS could become one of the most important products in the Detroit luxury brand’s history – as critical to Caddy’s long-term success as the finned wonders the maker rolled out a half-century ago.

That said, simply entering the compact luxury market is no guarantee of success.  The Caddy ATS will have to face off with not only the latest-generation BMW 3-Series but equally tough European alternatives such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4 – never mind the new Acura ILX, the redesigned Lexus ES and the upcoming replacement for the Infiniti G.

Putting the 2013 ATS through its paces at Atlanta Motorsports Park.


New Cadillac ATS Aims to Become Luxury Brand’s Best-Seller

Sedan will be followed by wagon, performance model, other spin-offs.

by on Jan.09, 2012

Cadillac's new ATS reaches showrooms over the summer, shortly after the launch of the big XTS.

It may be Cadillac’s smallest model but the new ATS sedan has some big shoes to fill.

Making its debut at the 2012 North American International Auto Show, in Detroit, this week, Caddy gave the automotive media a sneak peak Sunday night at the 2013 model, which will follow the luxury brand’s premium-luxury XTS sedan to market later this year.

Slotting beneath the current mid-range Cadillac CTS, the 2013 ATS will target some of the world’s most popular luxury models, like the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. But Caddy officials are nothing if not confident, General Motors President Mark Reuss suggesting that the new offering should eventually become the best-selling model in the Cadillac line-up – and give the U.S. brand the nudge it needs to crack key overseas markets like Europe.

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The 2013 Cadillac ATS will be produced at a GM plant in Lansing, Michigan, the same factory now producing the larger CTS.  The underlying platform for the two share some similarities, but Caddy Chief Engineer David Leone stresses that the “architecture” of the smaller model has undergone extensive revisions designed to not only improved its ride and handling but also to sharply reduce its weight.


Cadillac Will Offer Triple Engine Option for ATS

New small luxury sedan will introduce high-performance Turbo.

by on Dec.15, 2011

Caddy's new ATS gets a high-performance2.0-liter turbo engine making more hp per liter than Lamborghini's Aventador.

In an era when many makers are scaling back on the number of engine options available in any specific product Cadillac has decided to expand the range of offerings it will present when the new ATS compact luxury sedan goes on the market next year.

Among the options will be an all-new turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four that, the maker is boasting, turns out more horsepower by liter then the V-12 used in Lamborghini’s new flagship supercar the Aventador.

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The ATS itself will be one of two new models landing in the Cadillac line-up next year, part of General Motors’ effort to revive the luxury brand that once could boast of being the “standard of the world.”  The other is the premium luxury XTS sedan targeting the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, while the ATS will jump into a crowded segment dominated by the BMW 3-Series.


Caddy Likely to Launch 7-Series Fighter

Can Cadillac again become the “standard to the world”?

by on Jul.18, 2011

The Cadillac Sixteen - shown here in Beijing - could have strong influence on the 7-Series fighter Caddy is currently developing.

It long billed itself as the “standard to the world,” and in decades past Cadillac was indeed the marque to beat.  But that era is long gone and while Caddy has been regaining some momentum in recent years, it is struggling to catch up to competitors like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and even Lexus.

The domestic maker’s only serious passenger car offering is the midsize CTS.  It failed to generate traction with the larger STS and has nothing at all to challenge premium luxury models like the 7-Series and S-Class.  But that could be ready to change as Cadillac sets out to prove itself a truly world-class competitor.

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With the maker confirming plans for a compact luxury model, codenamed ATS, as well as the larger XTS, could it push even higher?  Apparently, yes, reports Mark Phelan, in the Detroit Free Press, confirming long-standing rumors that Cadillac could finally enter the lofty land of premium luxury sedans dominated by the Germans.

While such products generate relatively modest volumes, they provide the halo upon which brand reputations are built.  And, in fact, they could generate even more demand in the years ahead.  In China, newly affluent motorists are showing a distinct affinity for not just high-line marques but also for some of their largest and most expensive products.


Cadillac Developing New Convertible

Will slot in under next-gen CTS.

by on Apr.29, 2011

Caddy will develop an all-new soft-top convertible, rather than going the folding hard-top route or modifying the current CTS Coupe.

Cadillac is looking to go topless.  Years after abandoning its last drop-top, the domestic luxury maker is reportedly developing a new convertible that will be part of a wave of new products coming to market by mid-decade.

The Detroit maker is apparently opting for a soft-top, rather than the more heavy, complicated – and expensive – folding metal roof that a number of makers, including BMW and Volkswagen, have been adopting.

As reported earlier this week, convertible sales have plunged precipitously in recent years, from 247,519 in 2005 to 112,914 just four years later.  Ford has seen demand for the  Mustang ragtop drop from 25% of the pony car’s overall sales to just 13% lately.  But there are signs of a ragtop renaissance.

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Convertible sales rose 9% last year, to 122,949 – though that was below the overall U.S. market recovery – and a forecast by consulting firm IHS anticipates the segment’s volume will reach 223,224 by 2015, about the time Caddy goes al fresco.

There had been some talk of stripping the roof off the striking CTS Coupe, but that approach was apparently abandoned in favor of a more ground-up design that doesn’t need extensive shoring up to maintain the convertible’s body dynamics.


First Drive: 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe

The long wait for a world-class Caddy coupe is over.

by on Jun.21, 2010

Cadillac's 2011 CTS Coupe is the latest addition to its "entry" luxury line-up. A high-performance version, the CTS-V Coupe, will follow.

Cadillac’s burgeoning family of CTS-branded vehicles, the original four-door sedan, the high-performance CTS-V sedan, and the slick CTS sport wagon, now includes a radically edgy coupe.

It’s been a long wait.  Caddy’s last true coupe, the Eldorado, went out of production in 2002.

Is it different from the CTS sedan?  Yes, and in more than a few key places and dimensions.

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The 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe is virtually identical to the concept vehicle shown at the Detroit auto show in January 2008.  The 2-door’s wheelbase is the same as the sedan’s, but the roofline is two inches lower, the body is two inches shorter, and the rear track has been widened by two inches compared to the existing sedan, to plant those big tires.  The windshield rake angle is much steeper than the sedan’s, at 62.3 degrees, and the rear window is nearly flat when viewed from the side.


Cadillac Sets $38,990 Price on New CTS Coupe

High-performance 2011 Caddy CTS-V Coupe starts at $62,990.

by on May.20, 2010

The 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe will start at just under $40,000, including destination charges.

Looking to get your hands on the new 2011 CTS Coupe?  Start putting away your pennies…nickels, dimes, quarters and plenty of folding money, as well.  The well-reviewed 2-door will start at $38,990 when it goes on sale in the weeks ahead.

That will cover the standard-issue 3.6-liter, Direct Injection V6, which will make 304 horsepower.  Not enough?  Start a second piggy bank.  The supercharged, 556-horsepower, 6.2-liter CTS V-Series Coupe will set you back $62,990, GM reveals.  (All figures here include destination charges.)

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Caddy has been steadily expanding its “base” model line-up, starting with the econd-generation CTS sedan, then 4-door V-Series and the CTS wagon.  But the Coupe version has been generating buzz ever since its debut, several years ago, in concept form at the Detroit Auto Show.


2010 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards

Detroit dominates; Toyota hurt by safety scandal.

by on May.20, 2010

Cadillac takes top honors in the new Vehicle Satisfaction Index. Can GM's flagship brand keep the momentum going with future products, like the XTS?

Which brands and models are most likely to satisfy American motorists?  According to a new study, Detroit dominates the list.

Cadillac is not just the top luxury brand but the most satisfying brand overall, with Buick being chosen as the top “popular” brand, according to the 2010 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards.  The annual study, produced by California-based AutoPacific, Inc., also shows Ford models winning top honors in seven individual vehicle categories, while the two Japanese makers, Toyota and Honda, capture just four each. Nissan and General Motors both scored three category wins.

“Vehicles that score highest in the Vehicle Satisfaction Awards are delivering value and satisfaction across a wide range of attributes,” says AutoPacific President George Peterson. “The winners perform well in 48 separate categories that objectively measure the ownership experience.”

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Cadillac’s double victory as both the overall most satisfying brand and top luxury brand comes at the expense of Toyota’s own high-line marque, Lexus.  It’s particularly significant considering the increased role Caddy will play, going forward, as one of just four GM brands – out of the original eight – to survive the maker’s bankruptcy, last year.


First Look: 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon

Balancing performance and utility.

by on Mar.29, 2010

Caddy will unveil the high-performance CTS-V Sport Wagon at the New York International Auto Show.

What is it about station wagons American motorists just don get? In Europe, wagons are hip and hot, but State-side, they still have an image of being old and out-of-date, a remnant of the Leave it to Beaver era.

Perhaps the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon can help remake that notion. Making its debut at this week’s New York International Auto Show, it’s anything but stodgy with its striking Midnight Silver paint – and a 556-horsepower supercharged V8.

The high performance wagon is the latest addition to Cadillac’s growing V-Series line-up.  (Think “V” as in “velocity, suggests General Motors’ soon-to-retire Vice Chairman Bob Lutz.)  And it adds yet another spin to the expanding list of variants from Caddy’s entry model, the edgy CTS.

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“The CTS-V Sport Wagon is a natural extension of both the V-Series and the CTS lineup, offering an uncompromising performance car to enthusiasts who want the extra room of a wagon,” said Don Butler, vice president for Cadillac marketing.


First Drive: 2010 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon

What do European drivers know that we don't?

by on Feb.16, 2010

Caddy's first 2-box, the 2010 CTS Sport Wagon, shares a platform and lines with the CTS sedan.

A fuel prices rise, there’s been a slow but steady shift in demand in the U.S. market, buyers downsizing both the cars they drive and the engines that power them.  In fact, the American market is beginning to look more and more like Europe’s, where compact models serve the same purpose as mid-size models do here.

But one gap remains.  Europeans love station wagons, the body style that Baby Boomers abandoned as they entered their rebellious youth.  Too bad.  Wagons are a functional and fuel-efficient alternative to the crossovers and sport-utility vehicles that dominate American roads.

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But the 2010 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon could help shift that mindset.  Based off the same platform as Caddy’s CTS sedan, it’s stylish as well as utilitarian.  And it’s drawing a small but loyal following that could give momentum to those reluctant industry planners considering other wagon programs.