Cadillac ATS mule - click above for high-res image gallery

Look what the spies have caught. Fresh from our time in the nothing-else-looks-like-it Cadillac CTS Coupe, comes these furtive shots of what we think is the upcoming Cadillac ATS. We've heard different rumors, but the dedicated BMW 3 Series fighter will either show up in 2013 as a 2014 model, or 2014 for the 2015 model year. Whenever it shows up, the ATS will be riding on a smaller version of GM's new/upcoming Alpha platform, the same basic RWD chassis that will also underpin the third generation CTS as well as the next Chevy Camaro.

We've taken a long, hard look at these spy shots, and have concluded that whatever sits under the CTS shell has had its wheelbase shrunk, leading us to believe this is in fact an ATS mule. The wheels are far too close to the passenger compartment. The other giveaway are the two places to insert fuel. At first we thought perhaps this is an XTS prototype and that the second orifice was (maybe) because of the new big Caddy's plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain. However, we think the vestigial door in the photographs is actually there because of the shortened chassis of the ATS. Also, GM will be placing PHEV plugs on the driver's side for convenience. We've also heard nothing about an ATS PHEV, though an ATS Hybrid has been rumored.

As for the mule in these pictures, here's hoping whatever's under there is worthy of all six ducks.

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