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 cheersandgears.com. 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 GMInsidenews.com 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.