Premium automakers Mercedes-Benz and Audi have seen plenty of success with new small front-drive-based sedans. The CLA-Class had its best January ever this year, while Audi moved more of its new A3 in 2015 than its predecessor sold in 2005 through 2010 combined. The fact that Cadillac wants a piece of that pie is no surprise, then.
There's a new rumor that GM's luxury brand could launch its own compact – possibly called CT2 – to battle the Germans. Cadillac, a brand that's pushed hard to rebuild its rear-drive reputation, could develop a new entry-level model based on the front-wheel-drive 2016 Chevrolet Cruze's D2XX platform. Go ahead and make your Cimarron jokes.
Sources are telling GM Inside News that a Cadillac built on the Delta platform would ditch the Cruze's turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder for a 1.5-liter turbo in base models. General Motors' well received 2.0-liter turbo four would serve in higher-end models. According to GMIN, the Delta-based Cadillac would likely command a $6,000 to $9,000 premium over the Cruze, so figure $23,000 to $26,000 on the low end to $30,000 to $33,000 for something at the top of the range.
As much as we dislike the kind of badge engineering that brought us the Cavalier-based Cadillac Cimarron in the '80s, the company has done an admirable job of distinguishing vehicles on shared platforms lately. A Delta-platform Cadillac would at least have a good basis – the new Cruze is surprisingly comfy. That said, we question GM's rationale if this rumor is indeed true. Put simply, Cadillac needs another sedan like I need another student loan payment.
The company has four sedans, three of which overlap two segments, and none of which are selling very well. That's not because they're bad, but because customers want crossovers, of which Caddy has but one – the new XT5. Spending the time and money to add a fifth sedan to the mix when the company desperately needs to flesh out its CUV range would be a tremendous mistake. As much as we hate to say it, if Cadillac really wants to add a small, entry-level car to its range, it'd better be a crossover.