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First look: Detroit debut for compact Cadillac concept

Super-sedan: Cadillac CTS-V sedan will donate its blown 6.2-litre V8 to the CTS-V Coupe.

GM luxury brand to unveil edgy new concept and blown CTS-V Coupe at Detroit show

23 Dec 2009

CADILLAC has revealed a teaser image of a new concept car that will make its global debut at the Detroit motor show on January 12 alongside the supercharged CTS-V Coupe.

Described only as the latest Cadillac concept to develop the GM luxury brand’s ‘art and science’ philosophy, the unnamed showcar follows memorable Cadillac concepts like the 2003 Sixteen ultra-saloon and Volt-based 2009 Converj plug-in.

Judging by the single image provided, the concept could preview the mid-size rear-drive model Cadillac committed to building in August because it features what appears to be four doors and a cleaner, less flambouyant – although no less angular – family resemblance to the larger CTS sedan.

Cadillac’s first direct competitor for BMW’s dominant 3 Series, the new premium mid-sizer will emerge in 2012 as a replacement for the unsuccessful BLS sedan, which was based on the front-drive Saab 9-3.

Codenamed the ATS and based on GM’s new Alpha platform, the new compact Cadillac emerges five years after Holden rolled out a conceptually similar showcar in the rear-drive mid-sized TT36 Torana concept at the 2004 Sydney motor show.

163 center imageLeft: Cadillac CTS Coupe.

Apart from previewing the look of the then-secret VE Commodore, the TT36 was designed to demonstrate Holden’s ability to design and engineer a world-class compact sports sedan.

Although that project was still-born and Holden will instead commence production of the small Cruze sedan and hatch in Adelaide within 12 months, a new-age Torana mid-sizer could still eventuate in an improved economic climate after the ATS and its Alpha underpinnings become a reality.

The reveal of the new Cadillac concept capped an eventful few days for a seemingly rejuvenated GM, which the previous day reversed its decision to wind down its Saab brand following 11th-hour submissions from several potential suitors, including Spyker Cars, which last month announced it will relocate from Zeewolde in The Netherlands to Coventry in the UK.

Late last week GM also announced it had come good on its commitment to begin loan repayments the US, Canadian and Ontario governments, by paying $US1 billion to the US Treasury and $US192 to Export development Canada.

“We are grateful for the support the governments have provided us,” said GM. “We look forward to continuing repayments through June 2010, at which time the balances will be paid in full, assuming no downturn in the economy or business.”

Cadillac revealed the production CTS Coupe at the Los Angeles motor show on December 2, when it also confirmed a piping-hot CTS-V two-door would enter production in mid-2010. Both the CTS Coupe and its V-badged flagship will go on sale in the US next year as 2011 models.

The CTS-V Coupe will make its global debut alongside the concept at Detroit, but is certain to come with the same visual and mechanical upgrades as the 2010 CTS-V sedan, which in turns is based on the CTS sedan.

Launched globally in 2009, the latter was to have formed the basis of the historic Cadillac brand’s official return to Australia last year under the GM Premium Brands banner.

Cadillac’s Australian relaunch was cancelled in January, but had been earmarked to also include the new CTS wagon and SRX crossover, which debuted alongside the Converj at Detroit in 2009.

The 2+2-seater CTS Coupe was styled by former Holden designer Max Wolff, who is now the exterior design director for Cadillac, reporting to former Holden design chief and GM’s executive director of North American exterior design, Mike Simcoe.

Although its debut was delayed due to GM’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy process, the two-door CTS remains faithful to the 2008 Detroit show concept and is said to feature all-new sheetmetal. Outside, Cadillac says the CTS Coupe shares only headlights, grille and front guards with the sedan, plus its instrument panel and console on the inside.

Employing the GM Sigma II platform, the B-pillarless coupe rides on the same 2880mm wheelbase as the four-door, but is 51mm lower at 1422mm high, 51mm shorter at 4789mm long and features a faster (62-degree) windscreen angle.

The 1780kg CTS Coupe will come as standard with the same 227kW/370Nm direct-injection (SIDI) 3.6-litre V6 as the CTS sedan – up from the 2010 Commodore’s 210kW/350Nm version. Like the sedan, it will be mated to both six-speed manual and automatic transmission, but is unlikely to be offered with the sedan’s 2.9-litre V6 diesel.

It will, however, come with the same cracking supercharged 6.2-litre V8 as the CTS-V sedan, which delivers no less than 410kW and 745Nm of torque – both at 6200rpm. According to Cadillac, the engine propelled the CTS-V sedan to a new production sedan lap record at the Nurburgring in May 2008 – of 7:59.32.

As with the CTS-V sedan, the hottest coupe should come with a mesh grille and lower intake, bulging wheel-arches, four tailpipes, 19-inch alloy wheels (9.0 inches wide at the front and 9.5 at the rear), Brembo brakes and electric Recaro seats.

Weighing in at a hefty 1905kg, the high-performance Caddy coupe also features the Australian-developed Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) suspension system used by Holden Special Vehicles and also employed by the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.

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