2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T 6MT
  • 2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T 6MT
  • 2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T 6MT

  • 2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T 6MT
  • 2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T 6MT

"We were going to do a front-wheel drive Cadillac compact off of Delta because it was going to be less expensive," Doug Parks, General Motors' vice president of global product programs, told the Automotive News during the Detroit Auto Show in January of this year. That sentence, referring to early ATS discussions more than five years ago – a period when the automaker, and the industry, was struggling – reveals that Cadillac's highly acclaimed rear-wheel drive compact sedan almost never happened.

Parks revealed that that automaker actually built a 2.0-liter test mule, on GM's Delta platform (shared with the Chevrolet Cruze and Buick Verano) and tested it in Europe. While the prototype was "pretty darn good," according to Parks, the team realized that in order to compete against Mercedes-Benz and BMW it would have to invest in a new rear-wheel drive platform.

The resulting all-new Alpha platform would eventually underpin the Cadillac ATS, and many would argue that its balanced rear-wheel drive chassis is its single most important attribute. Thankfully, the Alpha's goodness won't stop with the ATS. The upcoming 2014 Cadillac CTS and the future Camaro will also share its architecture, meaning the Cimarron will remain a distant memory.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 126 Comments
      Anthony Williams
      • 2 Years Ago
      I have to say I believe GM's failure was a good thing for the company. Its not that hard to imagine GM's bean counters screwing up the ATS's potential to being a class leading car. It's my hope that GM doesn't revert back to their old ways. They're on a very good path.
        The Wasp
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Anthony Williams
        If they do not 'count beans', they will end up just as bankrupt as before. It's fine to say they need inspired and exciting vehicles, but to totally dismiss accounting would be a monumental mistake.
        William Flesher
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Anthony Williams
        Well said.
        riserburn99andre
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Anthony Williams
        They still have beancounters but they are not in control of decisions with vehicles. Instead of look they need a price point they say look we can make it to the price point but we can go a little higher and have a quality product... just make it happen. That seems to be what is happening at GM now compared to before. They also realize that they need to lead with luxury before anything else which is the way it should have always been, let everything trickle down with costs and make luxury be the priority. 1. make the luxury vehicle with higher profits first 2. make the vehicle the best one in the segment 3. watch the money roll in
      Mr. Bader®
      • 2 Years Ago
      Keep the great products rolling and people will buy them. It is that simple GM
      Dark Gnat
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is proof that GM can make good decisions. The ATS is a big leap forward, and the new CTS looks like it will continue. Now about that Malibu...
      mikeybyte1
      • 2 Years Ago
      Cadillac should avoid the trend to do entry level FWD cars. Let Mercedes and BMW continue to move downmarket with smaller FWD cars such as the CLA. It is only going to make them less aspirational. GM can let Buick continue to focus on FWD/AWD to take on cars such as Acura, Lincoln, and certain Lexus and Audi models.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        oRenj9
        • 2 Years Ago
        Buying (certain) BMWs supports the US auto industry as well.
      Jackie Ashley Wolf
      • 2 Years Ago
      So that means Cadillac was close to making another Cimarron... 'Lest We Forget' said the motivational poster back in the day... They did respect that after all, nice one, guys!
      ELG
      • 2 Years Ago
      and the catera
        carguy1701
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ELG
        The Catera was a good idea on paper, but it was unreliable.
        The Friendly Grizzly
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ELG
        The Catera was, after all, German! So, it should be given a pass on that basis alone. Shouldn't it? /sarc
      mikemaj82
      • 2 Years Ago
      Great. So now this car is basically undriveable for 3 months a year in the northern half of the country.
        Hal20xx
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikemaj82
        If you can't handle RWD for 3 months of snow, you should just give up on the other 9.
        carguy1701
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikemaj82
        You ARE aware that: a. the ATS IS available with AWD & b. there are these things called snow tires that work wonders for winter weather. ******* retard.
          akitadog
          • 2 Years Ago
          @carguy1701
          mikemaj82, Why would you swap out NEW tires every winter? The point is to have TWO sets of tires: one for winter, and one for the rest of the year. Swapping out tires will actually make both sets LAST LONGER, as they won't put on as many miles. How does this not occur to you?
          mikemaj82
          • 2 Years Ago
          @carguy1701
          you must love to waste money and time if you're willing to swap out new wheels/tires every time the weather changes. Really? Who does that.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @carguy1701
          mikemaj82: What can I do? The highest performing tires use a summer-only compound.
        BryanGx
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikemaj82
        Bull@$^&. I have a RWD Cadillac CTS wagon and I live in SYRACUSE, NEW YORK, the snow capital of the northeast. Hell, we got 8 inches of snow YESTERDAY. I have good all-season tires on my Caddy, and I've been able to do just fine as long as the roads are halfway plowed.
          Monthra 77
          • 2 Years Ago
          @BryanGx
          I grew up in Liverpool NY. I learned how to drive in a 1983 Chevy Monte Carlo. Good Snows and Sand Bags in the rear will keep you going.
        tloza7
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikemaj82
        pooooooooo-c hey,you know they have all season right? jack
        From The Back Seat
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikemaj82
        They're called "snow-tires". Go to TireRack.com and get a set of 4 on some decent rims, then all you have to do is swap them on and off quick and easy. And if you are only dealing with bad weather 3 months of the year, you're doing pretty good in my books (cleaned 6" of snow this morning and live below the 49th...). Honestly, I've never understood the argument that FWD trumps RWD in control in slippery conditions - yes I have heard the "weight over the tires" rational, but it is b.s. in the real world... plus you've just put ALL your control (go/stop/turning) on 2 wheels so when they loose traction.... bye bye. Of course the best set-up is AWD WITH Snows on all 4 (never ever ever put only 2 snows on a car regardless of drive... just dumb).
          oRenj9
          • 2 Years Ago
          @From The Back Seat
          Because it had wide-ass tires on it and they were probably performance oriented too. The rest of the cars you mentioned are underpowered and probably couldn't spin their 195mm wide all seasons in the wet.
          mikemaj82
          • 2 Years Ago
          @From The Back Seat
          I never had any trouble in the snow with my first 3 cars..grand am, cougar, and G6...then when I went to my G8, the car was basically useless in anything more than 3" of snow.
        Jay-Zeus
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikemaj82
        Tell that to the fleets of trucks, vans and police cars that operate year-round. They don't go away for the winter.
        Hello, Brian
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikemaj82
        Awd beats fwd in the snow every time
          carguy1701
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Hello, Brian
          mikemaj82: Correct. If you barely passed drivers ed. by the skin of your teeth, it doesn't matter if you've got ATTESA-ETS, Quattro, SH-AWD, xDrive, 4Matic, etc. under you, you're still likely to **** up.
          mikemaj82
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Hello, Brian
          awd is only as good as the driver behind the wheel.
        BG
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikemaj82
        I guess you don't remember hat in autumn, drivers in the old days installed snow tires and added a couple of bags of sand in the trunk. It's this AWD BS that lets people think they can get by without snow tires in harsh climates.
          mikemaj82
          • 2 Years Ago
          @BG
          nobody in my family ever mentioned using snow tires in the 60s. They laugh at me when I mention it. They said they just through sand bags in the trunk and used tire chains. They never wasted their money on an extra set of wheels/tires.
      mikemaj82
      • 2 Years Ago
      the sad fact is that Cadillac will never trump BMW simply because of the fact that, it's a "BMW". That's all yuppies know and care about. You see tons of BMWs on the road every single day, and rarely any Cadillacs. And whenever I do see a Cadillac, it's never new.
      rmkensington
      • 2 Years Ago
      You hear that Lincoln? Its the sound of your sales sliding even further.
      Scooter
      • 2 Years Ago
      Still only see old women in these things. I've yet to hear any of my young career friends or anybody they know even mention the ATS. Its good car, but its not going to replace the 3 series as poster child for the yuppie crowd.
        The Friendly Grizzly
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Scooter
        Yep, It's been out a whole few months now, and yet it hasn't run the 3 series back on the porch. So, it must be a tragic failure. As for old women at the wheel: the demographic reports never show who is old, but still young at heart.
        mikemaj82
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Scooter
        I still have yet to see any on the road.
        Victor W. Werke
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Scooter
        Oh what an idiot thou art! But alas, as I have mentioned once before on this blog, one day, if you are really unlucky, you too will become less and less "young career"ish and more "old woman"ish..... ...unless Craig Venter and chums crack the telomere shortening problem.
      carguy1701
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow, GM execs who get it. When was the last time that happened?
        rtkewley
        • 2 Years Ago
        @carguy1701
        The last time Maximum Bob worked there. It's a safe bet that he had a BIG hand in the ATS being rear drive.
          The Wasp
          • 2 Years Ago
          @rtkewley
          Believe it or not, not everything he touched turned to gold. It is not "a safe bet that he had a BIG hand in the ATS being rear drive" unless you have some insider info you care to share.
          The Wasp
          • 2 Years Ago
          @rtkewley
          @carguy Not at all -- I'm just responding to the notion that Bob Lutz was an angel and only did good.
          carguy1701
          • 2 Years Ago
          @rtkewley
          Wasp: are you referring to the G8? That was bad timing and the wrong brand.
          carguy1701
          • 2 Years Ago
          @rtkewley
          You're clearly referencing SOMETHING. He's human, yes, but he had better ideas than most of GM did at the time.
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