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First Drive: 2015 Cadillac ELR

Caddy hopes to plug into luxury battery-car market.

by on Dec.02, 2013

The Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid.

Even though U.S. motorists haven’t been all that charged up by the nascent battery-car market, there’s a flood of new products heading for showrooms in the coming month. But while most makers are struggling to drive down prices, betting that the cheaper the product the bigger the demand, a handful of manufacturers are targeting the other end of the spectrum.

Among the brands betting that even affluent buyers want to go green are Porsche, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and, of course, Tesla which has been beating even its own optimistic forecasts with the Model S electric vehicle. A few months from now, Cadillac will join the upscale list with the launch of its new ELR plug-in hybrid.

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Think of it as a mix of something old and something new.  The 2015 Cadillac ELR features the latest take on the maker’s distinctive Art & Science design language – as well as the most elegant and high-tech interior Caddy has ever offered. Under that sexy skin, however, is an updated version of the Voltec plug-in hybrid system already in use in the more mainstream Chevrolet Volt – albeit with some welcome improvements.


First Look: 2015 Cadillac Escalade

Bling, bling…bling, bling.

by on Oct.08, 2013

Cadillac's global chief Bob Ferguson with the 2015 Escalade during its NYC debut.

The bling is back – or so Cadillac is hoping as it gets ready to launch the long-delayed fourth-generation Escalade, a massive SUV that, to fans, once defined the pinnacle of luxury while, to critics, was a symbol of wretched excess.

Whichever side you’re on, an all-new version of the ‘Slade — as it was known among the hip-hoppers who became a major market — will reach showrooms early next year and, Cadillac promises, will deliver the latest in performance, technology and, hard as it might be for some to believe, the newest in fuel economy-enhancing powertrain systems.

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“The 2015 Escalade is completely new and elevated in design and technology, inside and out. The clear objective is to once again assume the leadership position among luxury SUVs,” said Bob Ferguson, the head of Cadillac’s global operations, during a preview of the 2015 Cadillac in Manhattan, traditionally one of the big ute’s largest markets.


2014 Cadillac CTS Will Be Bigger; So Will Price Tag

New sedan takes more direct aim at Euro imports.

by on Jun.14, 2013

The 2014 Cadillac CTS makes its debut at the recent New York International Auto Show.

In its first two incarnations, the Cadillac CTS was a so-called “tweener car,” sized somewhere between the BMW 3-Series and the bigger 5-Series.  And that was reflected in a price tag smaller than comparable European models.

Not anymore.  When the 2014 Cadillac CTS rolls into showrooms later this year it will be more directly targeted against its bigger German rival – and it will carry a larger MSRP, as well, the maker has announced, more in line with the BMW 5-Series.

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That means a starting price of $46,025 for the third-generation CTS, up from around $40,000 today – and much closer to the $48,725 base BMW 528i. The totally redesigned Caddy won’t quite reach as high as its German rival, however.  The new, high-performance CTS Vsport will go for $59,995 compared to $65,925 for the BMW 550i xDrive – the BMW term for all-wheel-drive. And the German maker’s own super-performance model, the M5 will set you back $92,425.


Images of New Cadillac CTS Leak Out

3rd-gen sedan set for launch in New York this week.

by on Mar.25, 2013

One of several images of the 2014 Cadillac CTS that have "leaked" out to the media.

Just days ahead of its planned unveiling at the New York Auto Show, images of the all-new, third-generation Cadillac CTS have “leaked” out on the Internet through what some suggest is a coy way for the automaker to drum up advance interest.

And it’s likely to do just that. That CTS has been Cadillac’s best-selling model for much of the past decade and is expected to undergo a significant makeover for 2014 that will result in a larger and more luxurious vehicle. Where it has been something of a “tweener” car in its first two generations, the 2014 Cadillac CTS is expected to take direct aim at some of the toughest competitors in the business, notably including the BMW 5-Series.

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Cadillac has shown an unexpected ability to take on the Germans with the smaller ATS model launched last year. The 3-Series-sized sedan has won an assortment of kudos, including being named North American Car of the Year last January.


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.


First Drive: 2013 Cadillac XTS

Bringing back the big American luxury car.

by on Jun.05, 2012

Cadillac gets back into the big-car game with the 2013 XTS.

The new 2013 Cadillac XTS is off to a shaky start – but that’s good news.  Cadillac’s big new sedan is introducing a variety of new high-tech features, including a “Driver Awareness Package” that  vibrates the driver’s seat to signal when there’s a potential problem ahead.

Ostensibly, the new XTS replaces the aged and largely unloved Cadillac STS and DTS models and is meant to better position the brand against the likes of the BMW 5-Series, Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.  The Detroit maker has stopped using the word, “flagship” to describe the new sedan, a subtle clue that an even more lavish premium-luxury model based loosely on the Ciel concept car is in the works.  But flagship or not, the XTS is going to be one very important entry into the 2013 Cadillac line-up.

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Along with the new compact ATS sedan – Caddy’s new 3-Series fighter – the bigger XTS will help flesh out what has been a relatively thin range of products.  And it should help position the one-time global luxury leader as ripe for a renaissance, as Cadillac executives like to call it.

But is the 2013 Cadillac XTS the right car to take on such a heavy load?


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.


First Look: 2013 Cadillac XTS

Caddy inadvertently releases pic ahead of public preview.

by on Nov.11, 2011

Cadillac will officially unveil the new 2013 XTS sedan at next week's L.A. Auto Show.

There are some basic rules on the Internet, like being careful before hitting “Reply All,” and for an automaker like Cadillac making sure you don’t publish a pic on your consumer website before you want the media to find it.

But that’s precisely what General Motors did when it put up a shot of the new Cadillac XTS, the big luxury sedan that will be making its debut at the L.A. Auto Show next week.  Caught in the act, so to speak, the General Motors division decided to make it official confirming what everyone already knew.

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The XTS is likely to be one of the most important products Cadillac has released in years.  It replaces two slow-selling models: the rear-drive STS and front-drive DTS, and is aimed at providing a more upscale compliment to the brand’s current best-seller, the midsize CTS.


GM Likely to Give Go-Ahead to Cadillac’s Flagship Omega Project

Encouraged by strong response to Ciel concept, Caddy will get new premium-luxury sedan, along with several hybrids and other new models.

by on Aug.29, 2011

Cadillac is expecting the go-ahead to build a new flagship based on the same platform as the Ciel concept car.

General Motors is expected to give the go-ahead to Cadillac’s flagship Omega project before year-end, according to senior sources, the maker’s top management encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive reaction of the luxury division’s new Ciel concept vehicle.

It’s unclear whether a convertible or sedan version based on the big Omega platform would be first to market, but there is a clear consensus that Caddy needs a super-premium model if it is to have a chance of regaining its position as “standard to the world,” as its long-time ad slogan declared.

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Omega would be just one in a wide range of new offerings that would be added to the Cadillac line-up, officials told, helping the once-dominant marque fill in the so-called “white space” between its current model mix.  That will include not only a new plug-in hybrid – but very likely some more conventional hybrid-electric models, as well.