New auto designs flood 2012 Detroit Auto Show

Article by Anita Panait, on January 17, 2012

The 2012 Detroit Auto Show seems more like a festival of car design than a gathering of gloomy car companies, which was the trend for past three straight years. Automakers and their executives were making positive forecasts for 2012, confident that their products would be a hit to the riding public. Though there were some unrecognizable cars and concepts, the Detroit Auto Show was beaming with success by the showcase of attention-getter vehicles.

One reporter gave his take of the show: the Acura NSX hybrid was the star of the show, drawing applause when it was unveiled; the Acura ILX, which is using the Honda Civic platform while Integra and RSX never looked cheap. He took note of the Ford Fusion, which had a front part that looks like Ashton Martin. He described the Fusion as having sleek, and faux-aluminum interior details highlighting the cleaned-up center console.

He also took note of the Honda Accord Coupe, which he depicted as a current mashed with Mitsubishi Galant fitted with over-blown fog-light cutouts. He spotted the Lexus LF-LC, noting that the concept doesn't look cartoonish even with the gorgeously sculpted air intakes. He also remarked that the concept’s LED headlight accents hint at the Nike’s “Just Do It” motto. He also looked at Mercedes-Benz’s SL-Class, saying the "athletic" description fits the car’s muscular look.

He, however, criticized the Cadillac ATS compact, remarking that proportions of the car's width, hood, wheel arches, greenhouse and trunk do not match.

The Cadillac ATS is considered as one of Cadillac’s lightest cars. Its development heavily relied on this fundamental criterion and guiding principle of being the lightest car which is why it was created in a slightly different manner just to ensure a more refined driving experience.

According to ATS chief engineer David Masch, the low weight of the Cadillac ATS is the primary reason why it is nimbler and more controllable. On top of that, its powertrains have been developed to achieve optimum performance and efficiency. As much as its weight has become the center of attraction on the Cadillac ATS, its engineers have also maintained the segment’s signature levels of refinement.

There is actually a certain four-pronged philosophy that was followed in the optimization of the Cadillac ATS’s mass. First of all, it was developed in strict adherence to the original architectural plans of the ATS. Second, load management was measured throughout the vehicle. Also, components were benchmarked to be able to spot the availability of lighter solutions. Lastly, each of the car’s components has been weighed against all the aspects within its development.

Reflecting the systematic approach in evaluating the low overall mass of the Cadillac ATS are its aluminum hood, magnesium engine mount brackets and its lightweight, natural-fiber door trim panels. All these contribute to the car’s light weight. Moreover, not only is it beneficial in terms of weight but it’s also an essential part of the overall driving experience. In fact, its cast iron differential has been found to help in the improvement of the fuel economy instead of the lighter aluminum version.

Weight savings was attained mostly because Cadillac focused more on the load management and straight links instead of using alternative materials (all of which was attained even when its rear suspension is made mostly of steel). All these have been essential to offset the engine’s weight and front-wheeled transmission and deliver a near-perfect 50/50 weight balance and noise reduction. This has also been done similarly on the wheels so that it comes with extra structural aluminum to reduce vibration.

The Cadillac ATS is the segment’s lightest car all because of its system of counting all of its component’s weights and minimizing it so that it is placed properly where it should be needed.

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