When the new Cadillac ATS-V comes to market next year, the compact performance model will introduce a new feature the luxury maker is calling “no-lift shift.” Buyers who opt for the six-speed manual transmission will be able to keep their foot flat on the floor, rather than lifting off the accelerator to change gears, explained new Caddy brand boss Johan de Nysschen.
It’s an appropriate metaphor for what the South African-born executive has in mind for Cadillac. The launch of the ATS-V – available in both sedan and coupe trim – comes at the start of “the next chapter” for General Motors’ flagship brand. And there’ll be plenty to follow, with an array of new performance models, sedans, coupes and an all-new flagship now in the development phase.
“We have to shape consumer attitudes,” de Nysschen said during a preview at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It is all too apparent, he admitted, that luxury buyers no longer follow the brand or know “how competent our vehicles are.”
That may explain why the base ATS sedan has been struggling in the market despite being named North American Car of the Year. Caddy is hoping an infusion of power will help change that public perception by posing a formidable threat to such industry benchmarks as the BMW M3 and M4 models.
Caddy’s new pocket rocket will be churning out a blistering 450 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque from an upgraded version of the 3.6-liter twin-turbo V-6 currently offered in the Cadillac CTS V-Sport model. That will put it slightly ahead of the new BMW M3/M4 models in the horsepower wars, though just slightly behind the new Mercedes-AMG C63.
(A racing version of the ATS-V, dubbed the ATS-V.R, meanwhile, will bump that up to a full 600-hp.)
The street version will also be “100% track capable, right off the showroom floor,” stressed de Nysschen, appealing to the growing market for performance luxury cars that can be taken to private tracks, such as New York’s Monticello raceway.
The ATS-V will hit 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds, according to GM, which rates its top speed at 189 mph – “just right for the Autobahn,” joked de Nysschen.
In reality, Cadillac isn’t targeting Europe very heavily. It has, instead, shifted focus to China, which is expected to soon become the world’s largest luxury car market.
The typical Cadillac ATS-V buyers is expected to opt for an eight-speed automatic gearbox. But Caddy is hoping to increase the “take rate” for its six-speed manual by introducing the no-lift-shift system, an industry first.
The ATS-V follows the formula that has worked best for Cadillac in recent years, delivering power to the rear wheels. But unlike most other models, the performance coupe and sedan won’t be available with optional all-wheel-drive, at least not for now.
While the ATS-V engine might be the performance car’s heart and soul, it has more going for it, including a stiffened body and chassis, standard-gear Brembo performance brakes and the continuously variable Magnetic Ride Control system. Unique Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires also come standard. Buyers also can opt for an aerodynamic-enhancing track package.
De Nysschen stressed that “every element of the ATS-V has been developed for functional purposes. Nothing was added for design purposes only.”
That includes the extra-large front air intakes that feed the engine and cool the brakes. There are six separate heat exchangers, as well.
(Caddy revs up with ATS-V.R racer. For more, Click Here.)
Drivers will be able to shift between touring, sport and track driving modes. In track, the various brake and chassis intervention systems, such as electronic stability control, are largely disabled.
(Click Here for details about Chevy going off-road with the Colorado ZR2 concept.)
The ATS-V will be followed early next year by the debut of the next-generation Cadillac CTS-V sedan.
(To see Volkswagen’s new Golf HyMotion fuel-cell drive option, Click Here.)
And there is likely to be plenty more to come. Cadillac has already confirmed a flagship sedan, to be dubbed the CT6, while also revealing that development of an even bigger model will follow. According to de Nysschen, at least three more SUVs will join the Cadillac line-up, and the brand is reportedly working on coupe and convertible projects, as well.
“We will expand the breadth of our product offerings to draw new customers to Cadillac,” said the executive, who joined the GM brand in July, leaving his prior job as the Hong Kong-based CEO of Nissan’s Infiniti brand.
One response to “Cadillac ATS-V the “Next Chapter,” Says New Brand Boss”
IME those in Germany who buy U.S. brands do so just to see what they are like and to get noticed. Many military service folks who are able to bring U.S. cars to Germany do so and often sell them at a good profit. It’s not fun trying to get service or buy parts for these cars in Germany however.