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Top 10 Automotive Stories of 2012
With a heavy heart the staff of AutoGuide.com say goodbye to 2012, along with its triumphs and tragedies. We await the New Year with open arms, and welcome its promise of a better world.
According to the Chinese zodiac, 2012 was a year of the dragon, and it proved to be the stuff of legend, but thankfully it wasn’t a fire-breather. The Mayans were flat-out wrong; their doomsday prophecy was about as accurate as Bernie Madoff’s promise of a sound investment opportunity.
Still, the year brought other significant stories. Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland discovered a subatomic particle consistent with the legendary Higgs boson. Astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, passed away, and in a brutal political battle Barack Obama won a second term as president of the United States.
Of course the automotive industry made its share of headlines throughout the year. Here’s a rundown of the Top 10 stories from the past 12 months.
Auto journalists, like all journalists, shouldn’t be biased. And yet before we test a brand new car it’s hard not to have a good idea of what it will be like already.
Back in July, when AutoGuide.com reviewed the 2013 Cadillac ATS, Editor-in-Chief Colum Wood extolled the virtues of its handling, but also commented on the shortcomings of the car’s manual transmission. It appears AutoGuide wasn’t the only one that felt the manual transmission could be better.
Over the decades Cadillac has devolved into a brand who’s popularity is highest among those in retirement communities. A plan to change that has been in place for a decade now, focusing heavily on performance machines with Cadillac even honing its own performance V sub-brand to challenge German rivals like AMG and M. But the brand’s biggest push yet to target more youthful buyers comes with the youngest product in the lineup, the new ATS.
Ten Turbocharged Cars We Can't Wait to Get Our Hands On
Turbocharged vehicles are quickly becoming the answer to having a fuel-efficient vehicle, with exciting performance. They seem to all be geared towards the sensible enthusiast, offering sporty dynamics, while still getting solid fuel efficiency.
Here’s some of the upcoming turbo-charged vehicles you can expect in the next few years. We’ve got some spy-pictures, and concept designs, even though some details of these cars are still unknown.
Cadillac has just revealed the pricing for its 2013 Cadillac ATS sport sedan that is poised to take on the highly competitive segment. Available in three powertrains, and tested at various racetracks around the world, the ATS is looking to make a big splash in the sport sedan market.
Cadillac has released a dozen or so new photos of its upcoming 2013 ATS sedan along with a new video showing off its lightweight chassis, further teasing us about the new model that hasn’t even had its pricing announced yet.
The luxury American automaker also went so far as to compare the ATS 2.0L turbo variant against its German counterpart, the BMW 328i with a 2.0L turbo motor. The ATS will pack 270-hp and 260 lb-ft of torque compared to the BMW 240-hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. In addition, Cadillac wanted to remind everyone about their Magnetic Ride Control while the ATS will also have massive Brembo brakes with four-piston calipers while the BMW has a single-piston, sliding-caliper design.
The 2.0L turbocharged engine won’t be the only powerplant Cadillac will offer with their new ATS sedan; it’ll also get a 2.5L four-cylinder with 200-hp and 188 lb-ft of torque, and a larger 3.6L V6 with 318-hp and 267 lb-ft of torque.
Hopefully we’ll get pricing info soon on the new ATS sedan and we’ll have a clearer picture whether or not it’ll be a real BMW killer.
Check out a video of the 2013 Cadillac ATS below.
GALLERY: 2013 Cadillac ATS Sedan
Cadillac Global Vehicle Line Executive, Dave Leone, recently disclosed at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show that future models of their new ATS will offer a torque-vectoring system in either its rear- or all-wheel drive configurations.
Even though torque vectoring won’t be available when the ATS hits dealerships this summer, Leone wanted to make sure everyone knew that Cadillac is already looking at future improvements on the 3 Series rival. “That comes later,” Leone said, adding, “Is it necessary? No. But it’s the next step in refinement.”
And the torque vectoring that will make its way to the ATS won’t be the run-of-the-mill pinch-a-brake setup that most automakers describe as torque vectoring. Cadillac is planning to make the ATS differentials deliver extra torque to an individual rear wheel – or front wheel in the AWD models – when required.
Interestingly enough, Leone also said that he expects that 35- to 40- percent of all ATS sales will be all-wheel drive. And even though Cadillac still hasn’t officially announced pricing on the new ATS, Leone still believes it’ll be in the mid-$30,000 range to stay competitive with the BMW 3-Series models and the Audi A4.
GALLERY: Cadillac ATS
[Source: Inside Line]
One of the stand-out cars at this year’s North American International Auto Show, the Cadillac ATS looks extremely promising. In the 4th installment of Cadillac’s “The Journey” series, we witness GM’s commitment behind this product, from conception, to development, to its debut at the Detroit Auto Show.
Tuned during Nurburgring shakedown testing, the ATS aims to take on the best of what Germany has to offer– the luxury compact sedan segment. Weighing less than 3,400 lbs, the ATS is expected to carry 100 lbs less than either an Audi A4 or Mercedes-Benz C-Class. What’s more, the ATS will also possess an all-original chassis attaining 50/50 weight distribution, must like the segment leading BMW 3-series. But most of all, the party piece of the ATS’ handling dynamics will be its magnetic ride shocks– a first in this segment.
The Cadillac will come with as many engine trim options as its German rivals, offering a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder base power plant producing 200-hp, a 270-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder and a 318-hp 3.6-liter V6. Expect a diesel engine offering later in the ATS lifecycle as well.
A lot rests upon the ATS as its success will draw implications to Cadillac’s future in the global market. GM North America President Mark Reuss is confident, boldly introducing the ATS at the Detroit Auto Show as, “this is the car to finally challenge the German cars at their own game and win.”
GALLERY: 2013 Cadillac ATS
Watch the 4th video of “The Journey” series below and look out for an appearance by AutoGuide’s very own Editor-in-Chief Colum Wood!
10. Chevy Tru 140S Concept
For some of the more minor auto shows, a Top 10 list of the most important cars often covers most of the new debuts, but not so at the North American International Auto Show. Held each January in Detroit it’s the obvious launch site for major products by the Big Three domestic automakers and over the years has also become the venue for important new models by the rest of the auto industry.
Domestics made their mark at this year’s Detroit show, starting with one very different concept car revealed by Chevrolet. Called the Tru 140S it may look like some outrageously fast and expensive exotic machine, but it’s neither. Based on the same front-drive platform as the Chevy Cruze, it is powered by the same 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, which makes just 138 hp in that car. Designed, along with the Code 130R concept, as part of an initiative to attract youth buyers back to the brand, Chevy seems serious about the concept, even announcing that if it made production, the target price would be around the $20,000 mark.
Unveiled on the eve of the Detroit Auto Show, we had our first chance to run our paws over Cadillac’s new luxury sports sedan, the ATS. The car is a bold move by Caddy, which claims the ATS was built not just to compete along segment hallmarks like the BMW 3 Series, but to beat them.
Notable highlights include a low 3,400 lb curb weight, an optional 270-hp turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, real carbon fiber on the interior, Brembo brakes and magnetic shocks absorbers – a first for the segment.
GALLERY: 2013 Cadillac ATS
For more on the new ATS, watch the video below:
Speaking in bold proclamations, GM North America President Mark Reuss said the new Cadillac ATS compact luxury sports sedan “will win” against German rivals. What makes that statement so much more significant is that no one but the Germans, with cars like the BMW 3 Series, have been able to achieve success in the segment.
Reuss said the ATS “represents the new soul of Cadillac”. Marketing VP Butler commented that the three words that can best describe the car are “nimble, quick and fun” – with Reuss even admitting that the term “light weight” isn’t one that could be applied to past Cadillacs.
And yet, the ATS is “mass efficient” weighing “well under” 3,400 lbs say Reuss and commenting that it will be 100 lbs less than either an Audi A4 or Mercedes C-Class. It’s that weight that helps translate into a dynamic vehicle, not to mention the all-original chassis, 50/50 weight balance, Brembo brakes and magnetic ride shocks – a first in the segment. As for those brakes, they’ll bring to ATS to a top from 60 mph in just 109 ft.
Motivating the car in the opposite direction will be a choice of three engines, a 200-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, a 270-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder and a 318-hp 3.6-liter V6. Reuss also dropped a bombshell at the cars unveiling, stating that during it’s lifecycle, GM will offer a diesel engine option in North America.
As a proper sports sedan the ATS is, of course, rear-wheel drive, though an all-wheel drive option will be available.
Looking like a flatter CTS and borrowing the wider grille from the new XTS flagship sedan, Caddy promises big with the interior of the ATS. Along with real wood and metal there’s genuine carbon fiber trim on some models, while gloss black plastic helps give a high-tech look – as does the massive CUE telematics screen.
For more on the ATS, including available features, see here.
GALLERY: 2013 Cadillac ATS Debut
GALLERY: 2013 Cadillac ATS
Cadillac has been steadily improving its products for a decade, shedding its old man stigma in favor of a new brand identity, favoring luxury with a performance twist. After all this time, on the eve of the Detroit Auto Show, the GM luxury division is finally ready to put its money where its mouth is, launching the ATS as a direct rival to the segment leading BMW 3 Series.
With a choice of a 4-cylinder, turbo 4-cylinder or V6, the ATS matches solid power with one of the lowest curb weights in the segment, with Caddy claiming the ATS will come in at under 3,400 lbs.
Weight reduction was key in the development of the ATS, helping to maximize the performance and efficiency of the powertrains while making the vehicle more nimble overall. Cadillac says every component of the vehicle was checked to see if a lighter alternative could be found. To help keep weight to a minimum the ATS features an aluminum hood, magnesium engine mounts and “natural-fiber” door trim panels. The result shows in the vehicle’s balance as well, with a 51/49 weight distribution.
Based on an all-new rear-drive architecture, the ATS uses a MacPherson front suspension and the brand’s first 5-link independent rear end. Both automatic and manual transmissions will be offered, as will all-wheel drive.
To maximize performance the ATS comes with an adjustable Magnetic Ride Control suspension standard, a ZF variable electric steering system and 17-inch wheels. Brembo brakes and 18-inch wheels are optional.
As mentioned, three powertrains will be available with a base 2.5-liter 4-cylinder making 200 hp and 188 lb-ft of torque. A mid-level turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder will deliver 270 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque from just 2400 rpm, while a top-level direct-injection 3.6L V6 makes 318 hp and 267 lb-ft. Cadillac says the ATS will get over 30 mpg highway – aided in part by grille shutters that close at highways speeds.
In terms of design, the ATS is clearly a Cadillac, with an overall shape similar to that of the CTS, while taking design cues from the new XTS flagship sedan. Most evident is a wider two-piece grille that’s still imposing but toned-down on the chrome.
Inside the cabin is a solid leap forward, using real wood, metal and carbon fiber as well as hand-stitched leather on the instrument panel, console and doors. Numerous color options are available and Cadillac says the cabin was designed to offer a driver-focused experience. Of note, sport seats with power-adjustable side bolsters will be available.
A focal point in the cabin is Cadillac’s new CUE telematics system, designed to be both high-tech and easy-to-use, with iPad like controls on the 8-inch LCD screen.
In addition, Cadillac has stuffed its new car with numerous safety and convenience technologies that include: a back-up camera, full speed adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, adaptive forward lighting, hill hold assist, a collision alert system and even intelligent brake assist that will stop the car on its own (going forward or in reverse) if a collision is detected.
“More than just another new entry, the ATS aims to change the status quo of the European-dominated segment,” says Caddy VP of marketing Don Butler.
The 2013 Cadillac ATS will go on sale this summer.
GALLERY: 2013 Cadillac ATS
GM has announced the official debut of the anticipated Cadillac ATS at the upcoming 2012 Detroit Auto Show. According to GM, the Cadillac ATS will be available in three different engine trims. A new 3.6-liter V6, a 2.5-liter four cylinder, and a new-generation 2.0-liter turbocharged Ecotec four.
While a relaxed, naturally aspirated V6 and a fuel efficient inline-four comes as no surprise, the new 2.0 turbo caught our attention. The high-performance, direct-injection 2.0 turbo is tuned to produce 270-hp. Translating to 135-hp/liter, GM boasts that its power dense engine has greater horsepower per liter than the BMW M3, Porsche 911 GTS, or Lamborghini Aventador (although these are all lack forced induction). Most importantly, the turbo 4-cylinder ATS packs 30-hp more than the turbo 4-cylinder found in the 2012 BMW 328i.
GM powertrain officials noted that the 2.0T Ecotec found in the ATS is 95 percent brand new compared to the 2.0T found in the Buick Regal GS. The new 2.0T features direct-injection, four-valves/cylinder with continuously variable valve timing, twin-scroll turbocharger with air-to-air intercooler, forged steel crankshaft with modular balance shaft system, and a two-stage variable displacement oil pump with jet-spray piston cooling.
In short, Cadillac vice president of Global Marketing Don Butler says, “This engine is the perfect match for the new ATS, which will be a refined performance luxury sedan. The 2.0T has an exceptionally smooth and responsive power curve that will make the ATS, nimble, quick and fun to drive.”
Chief engineer of the 2.0T, Mike Anderson, adds, “The 2.0T is one of the most advanced and efficient engines of its kind and contributes to the ATS’s exceptional balance of performance and great fuel efficiency.”
Check out the video introducing the new 2.0T after the jump: Continue Reading…
Cadillac is drumming up a lot of excitement for its upcoming ATS model, which will be GM’s answer to BMW’s ever popular 3-Series. To get everyone excited about the new ATS, Cadillac has been releasing a series of videos teasing the vehicle as it gets put through its paces of testing and tuning.
The newest video highlighting the ATS’ journey shows Cadillac developing and refining the sedan on the Autobahn and the Nurburgring. By gathering an elite team of drivers and engineers, Cadillac threw everything it possibly could at the ATS in order to develop the perfect sports sedan.
Check out the video below:
In the first chapter entitled “Welcome to the Green Hell,” the ATS is run through its paces at the infamous German race track. Caddy intends that this car will be a true rival to the BMW 3 Series and is taking great pains to see that it does – and to see that it’s perceived that way as well.