By on January 19, 2011

Lord love the car blogs. On the same day TTAC was fooled by a local TV report’s use of a forum photoshop, the rest of the autoblogosphere has gone bananas for an “alleged spec sheet” that is in fact pure speculation on the part of a member of the GM forum Although the “document” in question “surfaced” in a forum poll entitled “2014 Cadillac ATS – Powertrain Predictions” (and was never presented as an official or “leaked” document), the High Gear Media Hive Mind proceeded to write up the “alleged spec sheet” as if they’d just found it in the RenCen’s executive washroom. Though unable to “confirm its authenticity,” the HGM Collective was able to determine that

the new Cadillac ATS-V will feature a 6.2-liter V-8 developing 470 horsepower and 428 pound-feet of torque. That’s more than the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, the bad boy of the current crop of executive sports sedans.

From there, it was inevitable that the big boys of the car blogging world would jump aboard the bandwagon, albeit with the decency to call the source a “speculative document” or “the rumormill.” Still, this document didn’t “surface”… it was put together by a fan who then asked the members of his forum to vote on whether they “love” or “hate” his speculative lineup. Meanwhile, in the rush to parrot the “news,” some basic considerations have been left out…

For one thing, the “news” that’s been going around, namely that the ATS series will use four, six and eight-cylinder engines, isn’t exactly new. Back in April, Motor Trend got word that the ATS’s “Alpha” platform was being “protected” to include four, six and LS-series V8s. And why not? This platform will reportedly underpin the BMW 3-Series competitor ATS, as well as the larger (195 inch-long) next-gen CTS… not to mention the next Camaro. Tasked with the burden of “being all things to all enthusiasts” for all of GM’s brands, it’s no surprise that the platform would be capable of holstering anything from a 2.0T to a V8. But that’s no guarantee that the ATS, which will be but one model on the Alpha platform, will actually offer all of those engines.

After all, if the ATS had a 470 HP version of GM’s next-gen smallblock, it would likely be pushing the limits of the engine bay’s capacity… which rules out the possibility of adding the forced-induction plumbing needed to create a credible replacement to the CTS-V on the same platform. Unless the CTS-V uses a (considerably) more potent, naturally-aspirated small-block, it will be incredibly difficult to differentiate these two top-tier sport sedans which will already be sharing a platform and numerous common components. It seems far more likely that GM will (or at least should) save the V8 for the CTS-V, and give the ATS-V a forced-induction six.

Nick Saporito of adds

Sources familiar with the program state that a pillar of Alpha development is mass reduction.

Saporito goes on to confirm that Alpha platform vehicles will offer engines ranging from four-cylinders to V8s, but offers only one clue to the differentiation between the ATS and CTS, noting that

ATS models are expected to house a multi-link front suspension similar to the BMW 5-Series in an attempt to reduce mass

But even if GM doesn’t care about product differentiation (crazier things have happened), there is still an open question about the wisdom of trying to stretch one platform from the Camaro, through a nimble 3-Series competitor, up to a full-size CTS sedan. And that question is reflected in the glaring omission from the cheersandgears “spec sheet,” namely vehicle weights.  As I wrote back in April

Trying to develop a single platform that’s capable of competitively executing every RWD application across several brands? Compromising mainstream variants in order to justify the insane engine requirements of low-volume halo versions? Does any of this sound like a new day for GM’s RWD reputation to you?

Don’t get me wrong: a sub-Zeta RWD platform is a great idea (in Cadillac’s case, probably an existentially necessary one), and my inner enthusiast thrills at the idea of both budget RWD treats and tiny, loony supersedans. But the last thing I want to see is GM spending taxpayer money developing a platform that tries to fill too many niches, only to end up a dud of a compromised-to-death mess. Sure, platforms are becoming more flexible but so are engines. With the Pontiac Solstice GXP’s Ecotec DI four-pot already making 260 horsepower, and with downsized, direct-injection turbo engines poised to become the short-term future of the car industry (to say nothing of CAFE), GM could make the Alpha platform four-cylinder-only and make up the performance difference with the reduced curb weight and engine technology. Too bad it probably won’t.

Funny how even a fan’s speculative engine wish list hasn’t changed that opinion.

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12 Comments on “This Is Not The Cadillac ATS Engine List...”

  • avatar
    SVX pearlie

    If the chassis is done right, enthusiasts will be able to buy the ATS, yank the 4-banger, and swap in a Camaro SS engine…

    Then ebay the Camaro “SS” with the leftover 4-banger!

  • avatar

    This is one of the things that separates TTAC from many of the other car sites. Another site might have pointed out that the “ATS Engine List” was actually fanboy forum speculation. Ed did that but then went deeper into the story to point out the drawbacks to having such a wide assortment of engines in one platform.
    FWIW, back in the 1960s, after the first muscle car, the fullsize Chevy w/ the 409 big block, Detroit offered plenty of vehicles with your choice of everything from an economy inline 6 to a big block V8. Come to think of it, no wonder those engine compartments were so large – offering a six meant the compartment was long and offering big blocks meant it was wide. Maybe that’s why the small block engines seemed to have so much open space around them. A buddy of mine had a Ford truck with an inline 6 and you could practically stand next to the engine.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      Even with a big block, there’s space to spare. We had a Country Squire LTD with the 400-2V and there was *plenty* of room for 2 guys to wrench on that thing. Same with the Continental we got later.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      One time at the junkyard I popped the hood on a ’64ish Chevy pickup with the 230 or 250 I6. There was enough room in there to stack another I6 on top of the first, and two more on each side. The ’66 GMC I was getting parts for- not so much.

  • avatar

    I don’t think the V8 would be wider than the V6. I’m to tired to look for the specs of both. As a matter of fact, I see a big packaging problem putting turbos in the V6.
    To me being able to put in whatever they need makes sense.

  • avatar

    I am just happy to hear that Cadillac is not going front drive with its smaller car. I had heard rumors that they were looking at an Epsilon based car which would be a huge mistake.
    I think this is the right direction for Cadillac as the current CTS fits into a strange netherworld niche that does not effectively compete in the 5 series/E Class or 3 series/C class markets.
    There is still plenty of time to screw things up though as Ed mentions above.

  • avatar

    I’m not sure why people still insist on thinking small blocks take up a shitload of space – GM’s own has been wedged into the fenderwells of the 3 series, the solstice (R.I.P.) the RX7 and even the suitcase that is the Porsche’s 911s tailbay, so what would be the problem here?

    The ATS should appear around the same time as the C7. If this happens, then the V8 it would get (if it were to get one) would be the next gen small block, not the current one. Considering that the Challenger is already hitting 470, and ford nearly being there with the coyote, I have a hard time believing a brand new small block from GM would have trouble getting to 470 without forced induction.

  • avatar

    The list may be speculative, but it’s all stuff thats in the GM portfolio today, except for the 8L50 trans and DI on the LS which is definitely in the pipeline.
    The LS small block packages in essentially the same space as the DOHC V6 (I’m talking natural aspirated LS here) because the heads are relatively narrow.  I bet the LS is cheaper to make than the turbo 4 too.

  • avatar

    A 450ish-hp naturally aspirated LSwhatever-powered ATS-V is actually not at all implausible, given that the next CTS-V will probably be in the 600+ hp range (and may well be pushed upmarket, north of $70k). Plenty of room for differentiation, and plenty of justification for what will probably be a $20k price difference. It isn’t necessarily the best route available, but I’d bet on it happening.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    And this fits into CAFE law how? 

  • avatar

    Every blog jumped on this “document” because some mouth-breathing “editor” was desperate to get yet another hit for SEO, and some more click through dollars. The ability to which “editors” fail to sift through the utter crap that comes across the news feeds is appalling. To anyone with a pulse, this was a forgery and the cascade of “news” outlets re-blogging this was comical. In my capacity as News Editor of I vetoed publishing this, and kudos to TTAC for doing the same  – not that we should expect any less.

    There needs to be a wholesale change in the way automotive “news” is reported on. Items like this diminish the value of blogs, despite the cries of “print is dead”. Unfortunately, the economics of online publishing reward quantity over quality.

  • avatar

    I thought the taxpayer dollars are being spent on designing the mid-engine Corvette?


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