The all-new 2013 Cadillac ATS luxury sports sedan was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show. There may be a “few holes” found there but this is a good thing, according to chief engineer David Masch, who lives by the mantra, "Every gram, by every engineer, every day." Masch led the General Motors team that created Cadillac's BMW 3-series fighter.
Masch further explained that they approached development by counting all the ATS' grams, minimizing them where possible and putting them to the best use where needed. His team spent five years manufacturing the rear-drive ATS from scratch, including the two years spent in benchmarking the 3-series, the Mercedes-Benz C-class, the Lexus IS and the Audi A4.
Their study confirmed, in part, what they already knew -- In its own right, the Cadillac CTS is a competitive sports sedan; however, the vehicle is too large versus its trimmer rival in the worldwide marketplace. After making some decisions, the resulting ATS is now less than 3,400 pounds, which is around 500 pounds lighter and 8 inches shorter overall than the CTS.
Masch said that in this segment, "performance is the No. 1 attribute" which the people are looking for. He stated that it is all about "ride and handling" as well as making the vehicle fun to drive.
Aside from weight savings, performance was vital in decisions like the installation of undercarriage panels to manage airflow and in trunk-mounting the battery to help reach a 50/50 weight distribution. It is also crucial for the decision regarding the location of the variable-effort steering gear forward of the wheels for optimum steering feel and response in aggressive driving maneuvers.
Before deciding on the Cadillac's first five-link independent rear setup, the engineers have track-tested six different suspensions, disclosed vehicle-performance manager Robert Kotarak.
The power comes from a choice of engines: a 318-hp, 267-lb-ft, 3.6-liter V6 and two four-cylinders, one a naturally aspirated 200-hp, 188-lb-ft 2.5-liter and the other a turbocharged 270-hp, 260-lb-ft 2.0-liter. Manual and automatic six-speed transmissions are also offered. All-wheel drive comes as an option. The vehicle will be available for sale this summer. Mark Reuss, who is the president of GM North America, disclosed that a diesel engine will also be offered during the first product cycle of the ATS.