Cadillac VP divulges plan to create small SUV to rival BMW’s X3

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 11, 2012

General Motors Co. is considering a small sport-utility automobile to rival the X3 of BMW, Cadillac's vice president of sales Kurt McNeil disclosed during the Detroit Auto Show. GM is attempting to increase sales for Cadillac with smaller vehicle models compared to those of BMW, which outperformed Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus in the U.S. luxury sales race in 2011.

GM is already targeting BMW with a small vehicle. Last Sunday, GM introduced the Cadillac ATS sedan to rival BMW's 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. A small premium SUV could build on Cadillac's gains from the larger SRX SUV, which boosted U.S. sales 11 percent in 2011.

BMW's refurbished X3 aided the automaker to displace Lexus, which had held the top position among U.S. luxury automobile brands for 11 years. GM has not decided yet on a small Cadillac SUV, McNeil stated, adding that the fact that the Cadillac is becoming "more of a global brand" will have weight in the decision. The sale of the new ATS sedan of Cadillac is set to begin in the third quarter.

Monthly lease prices have a major role in the sale of compact luxury vehicles, with Mercedes and BMW advertising deals for the C-Class and 3 Series as low as $349 and $299, respectively, on their websites in December. McNeil revealed that GM reduced Cadillac fleet sales by 33 percent in 2011 in line with an effort to boost the brand's resale values.

The United States version of the base BMW X3 xDrive28i is powered by the N52 magnesium/aluminum 3.0-liter inline-six engine that delivers 240 hp of max output at 6,600 rpm and 230 lb-ft of peak torque available between 2,600 and 3,000 rpm. These numbers allow the BMW X3 xDrive28i to sprint from zero to 60 mph in just 6.7 seconds.

That's nearly a half-second quicker than the previous BMW X3 xDrive30i equipped with an automatic transmission. This N52 engine was named as one of Ward’s 10 Best Engines of the Year in 2006 and 2007.

Considered as the lightest six cylinder engine in its size class, the N52 features Valvetronic variable valve lift and Double-VANOS. On the other hand, the range-topping BMW X3 xDrive35i is powered by N55 engine, which is BMW's newest turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six powerplant.

Featuring direct fuel injection, Valvetronic and twin-scroll turbo technology, the N55 engine delivers 300 hp in max output at 5,800 rpm and 300 lb-ft of peak torque available between 1,200 and 5,000 rpm.

This N55 engine -- with a redline at 7,000 rpm – allows the BMW X3 xDrive35i to accelerate from nil to 60mph in just 5.5 seconds and -- when equipped with the optional Sport Package – achieve an electronically limited of top speed of 150mph.

Aside from delivering these dynamic figures, both the BMW X3 xDrive28i and the X3 xDrive35i return the most encouraging levels of fuel consumption and emission levels in their class.

Topics: cadillac, bmw, bmw x3

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