Welcome to Pop The Hood, a weekly autoMedia.com feature that examines the industry’s latest innovations and what makes them tick. Recently, we’ve poked around inside the Shelby GT500, Infiniti M35h hybrid, Hyundai Veloster Turbo and many others. Today, we take a detailed look at the innovative construction of the 2013 Cadillac ATS.
We all want cars that are fun to drive, and with more innovation in the automotive industry than ever before, dynamic driving is becoming more and more affordable. You can snatch up a new Scion FR-S for around $25k these days. But after a while, problems will arise.
Dang, I knew this thing was small, but, this thing is small. I thought you said a child’s seat could fit in the back? I thought you said I could fit in the back?
Enter the 2013 Cadillac ATS, which will go on sale this summer and combine sporty handling with a proper sedan that starts at just $33,990. That’s practicality, performance and value wrapped up into one sweet mesh-grilled package. With Cadillac recently releasing new info on their entry-level car, let’s take a look at what makes the new ATS special.
Turbo I-4 Engine: The ATS offers three different engine types, including the familiar GM 3.6L V6 and a 2.5L Inline-4. We’re most interested in the brand new 2.0L turbo I-4, however, which promises to return 270 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft of torque at just 2,400 rpm – a whopping 90 percent of peak torque kicks in from 1,500-5,800. Direct fuel injection and variable valve timing increase efficiency and Cadillac promises at least 30 mpg highway.
Magnetic Ride Control: This is Cadillac’s baby, the sport suspension setup developed in 2002 and marketed heavily over the past year, which uses hi-tech engineering to produce real-time damping and has been adopted by Ferrari in their road cars. Electronically controlled shocks and struts are filled with a magneto-rheological fluid containing minute iron particles. When sensors detect a magnetic charge, the particles align and within five milliseconds can adjust to provide the best possible handling. MRC is available with the FE3 Sport Suspension package that includes a mechanical limited-slip differential and 18-inch performance wheels and tires.
Five-Link Independent Suspension: More on the handling. For the first time, Cadillac is using a five-link independent suspension in their road cars, the purpose of which is to reduce roll in hard turns and keep all four tires on the ground at all times, without compromising performance or ride quality. Wikipedia has a nice graphic to illustrate the motion, here.
Braking Systems: The ATS will be outfitted with Brembo brakes in the front, which is great news to the ears of anyone who geeks out over things like brakes. Brembo are the industry leader and will provide fixed calipers on the 11.8” front rotors. The ATS will also feature Front and Rear Automatic Braking to slow the car down in the event of a collision, Automatic Collision Preparation to sense impending collisions and Intelligent Brake Assist to add brake force if it senses panic braking. The ATS will have no trouble slowing down, especially with optional AWD and…
Lightweight Materials: Cadillac engineers went to great lengths to keep the ATS under 3,400 lbs., employing the use of things like an aluminum hood, magnesium engine mount brackets and natural-fiber door trim panels. The safety cage and other protective structures are made of high-strength steel (HSS, four times stronger than conventional steel) and ultra-high-strength steel (UHSS, four times stronger than HSS). The increased strength allowed Caddy to use less of the materials, saving massive amounts of weight in the process. Aluminum is used heavily throughout the suspension, and Cadillac is confident that the result will prove itself in speed, braking and fuel efficiency tests that the ATS will undergo in the months leading up to its debut.
Now, just raise your hand if you'd like to see an ATS-V on the horizon.
What excites you most about the 2013 Cadillac ATS? Let us know in the comments below.