Sneak Peek: 2013 Cadillac ATS

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 3, 2011

General Motors’ new stop-start technology called eAssist costs $2,000, according to North America President Mark Reuss who was a speaker at the recently held Management Briefing Seminars. He also gave a sneak peek of the ATS, the upcoming Cadillac compact. Reuss announced that eAssist boosts the fuel economy of the Buick LaCrosse, Buick Regal and next-generation Chevrolet Malibu by 25%. These are the vehicles that are initially targeted to receive this technology.

Reuss claims that the mid-sized sedans could attain a fuel-efficiency of 36 to 38 mpg on the highway. The ATS, which will be smaller than Cadillac's flagship CTS sedan, will feature numerous comfort features that would categorize it as a luxury entry into the compact segment.

The ATS will be produced at GM's assembly plant located near Lansing, Mich., alongside the CTS. For this new model, GM invested $190 million in the plant, which is expected to add 600 jobs.

The next-generation CTS will be bigger and is expected to rival the BMW 5-series. It clears the way for the rear-wheel-drive ATS to go up against the BMW 3-series. Reuss said that with the ATS, GM is offering a “truly unique, American performance entry." Reuss added that GM is consistently improving, citing that in the second quarter, it posted a net profit of $2.5 billion. This is the sixth straight quarter that GM has posted a profit.

From the beginning, the Cadillac ATS was developed to be among the lightest cars in its segment. This was its main design principle but the company went about it taking meticulous steps to ensure that the car drove in a refined manner.

David Masch, ATS chief engineer said that the Cadillac ATS’s light weight makes it more agile and responsive, and fine tunes the powertrain performance and efficiency. At the same time, extra care was given to preserve the expected refinement Cadillac is known for.

The Cadillac ATS’s weight was optimally minimised with the guidance of four principles: (1) conformation to the exact original construction goals; (2) calculated load management in all vehicle areas; (3) component scaling to determine the best and lightest appropriate solution; and (4) a tenet to measure every component’s mass in each step of development.

The resulting low mass of the Cadillac ATS was attained thanks to components like the aluminium hood, magnesium engine mount brackets and the natural fibre door trim panels. These materials were chosen methodically where every gram added was carefully scrutinised. However, some weight was determined to be indispensable to achieve the other objective about the Cadillac ATS's driving experience. One example is the use of the cast iron differential which was tested to contribute more to fuel efficiency than the lighter aluminium kind.

The rear suspension retains the use of steel predominantly. However, weight reduction was still possible thanks to optimised load management and straight links. This balances the vehicle’s weight distribution to nearly the ideal 50/50 by countering the engine and transmission weight at the front part. It also helps to reduce vibration and noise. Likewise, more aluminium was purposefully used for the wheels to aid in vibration reduction.

Masch explained that all grams were counted critically during the ATS development process. Weight was reduced wherever possible and placed optimally for best use.

Design architecture refines the Cadillac trademark style

The 2013 Cadillac ATS expresses the brand’s Art & Science design philosophy in updated proportions. It adapts the hallmark Cadillac style and sophistication for the company’s most compact offering, while retaining and even improving on the brand’s renowned technological innovativeness and attention to detail.

The Cadillac ATS has a firm and stable stance because of its wide front and rear tracks, elongated wheelbase of 109.3 inches (2,775 mm), short overhangs and a smooth metal sheet that seems to wind snugly around the tyres. Standard wheels are 17 inches, but these can be swapped for 18-inchers.

The Cadillac ATS also carries a technologically edgy look. Details like its striking vertical lights, including the new front LED signature lighting detail, the illuminating door handles and the active grille shutters which close at a given high velocity help improve both streamlining and fuel efficiency.

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