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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Under Consideration: Higher-Performance Cadillac V-Series Models, Diesel Four and Six-Cylinders, Other Powertrains

    Even More High-Strung V-Series, and What Cadillac is looking at for powertrains in the future

    Car and Driver have gotten some intriguing information about what Cadillac is looking at for the future with their V-Series and powertrains.

    We'll start with V-Series. Now as we reported before, Cadillac is planning on adding more V-Series models. Some of those could be higher-performance versions of current models - something akin to Black Series for Mercedes-Benz AMG models. When asked about this, Cadillac's chief engineer David Leone said, “We might have something down the road that is a little bit more aggressive.”

    A source says a we could see something with this idea in 2017. No hint was given as to what model could be in the cards. Our guess is that it would be the ATS-V Coupe.

    Now onto the powertrain stuff. Leone reiterated comments made by Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen late last year about offering diesel engines.

    “They are both new engines,” said Leone.

    In this case, the new engines happen to be a four and six-cylinder diesel. The engines will be tailored for the products they will go into. Now these engines are being built with Europe in mind, but sources say the engines could be offered in the U.S.

    Leone also talked about future technologies such as electric super/turbochargers which minimize lag when compared to conventional turbos.

    “Electric charging is a novel approach, a way of getting a fast response,” Leone said, adding: “You don’t need to limit it to gasoline engines.”

    Now there are some issues that need to be addressed such as adding a 48-Volt electric system and packing it into a vehicle.

    Also under investigation for Cadillac? Three-cylinder engines.

    “The world is ever-changing, the fuel-economy requirements are different, and those things are possible.”

    Source: Car and Driver, 2


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    Diesel four and six cylinder is for sure needed, and they need it in the USA, that shouldn't even be up for debate.  The A4 and C-class are getting a diesel, the Jag XE will have one and the 3-series has it.  I'd imagine the next Jag XF will have a diesel here, and of course the 5-series and E-class have one.  Cadillac has to have diesels for the ATS and CTS, and a diesel would be good in a crossover where torque matters more than horsepower.  Most of the German SUVs offer a diesel engine already, Cadillac should put a diesel in the XT5.

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    They will need the Diesels for Europe but unless they really market them here and sell why they are better they will be doomed to fail as other diesels.

     

    Americans do not understand Diesels and they do not care for them.

     

    The real issue is the ever increasing government regulation on the new Diesels. My aftermarket Diesel performance suppliers are loosing a lot of sleep with the regulation issues. One was just fined millions of dollars.

    This is not an issue in Europe as the governments have been fair to them.

     

    The other issues is the price of gas and Diesel. People do not see the value when the fuel is more expensive and if they never drive the car they never feel or see the need if what it can do,

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    Gas prices will eventually go back up.  This is what doomed GM the first time around, they thought gas would always be cheap so bet the farm on huge trucks and SUVs, and in 2008 or 2009 whenever it went to $4.25 a gallon and the economy tanked, those big truck sales died.  You have to diversify the portfolio.

     

    Marketing a diesel is easy.  425 lb-ft of torque and 38 mpg.   I fail to see how near Corvette like torque with Chevy Sonic fuel economy is a hard sell.  Or for people that don't understand that, "the new CTS diesel, 30% more fuel economy, 50% more torque than the gas V6 model."  That is a pretty easy advertisement, even Cadillac can get that one right.  Although they might make an ad that says "Dare to be different, Dare to Diesel"  and it will be really vague and no one will understand it.

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    Yes gas will go up but they are not betting the farm on trucks and SUV's. You may want to take notice of all the new cars they are bringing to market like the Malibu that will be class leasing in MPG and the many other models that will be lighter and better MPG than the cars they are replacing. Add to this the expansion of the new CUV models that will also improve their MPG with less weight. The Ford Edge just match what my Terrain will do and GM is just now replacing the Terrain in a year with a model that will be lighter and have more MPG. 
     

    Not sure how you can diversify more than that. If people want to buy trucks then you had better sell them but I do not see GM ignoring the cars and letting them rot like Chrysler has. How old are their RWD models now and if you add the Daimler origin years on top of the 12-13 Chrysler years?

     

    Marketing is not that easy. Let me list the ways.

     

    The majority of customers have no clue what torque is or how it feels. I see it here even with the anti turbo fans.

     

    Second people still remember the issues of the past with the Olds. Yes even their kids still speak of it.

     

    Third most could not tell you where they can buy Diesel so if they have no interest they never look and hold a fear they may not find it if they are nearly out. Logical no but real yes. Call it range anxiety.

     

    Fourth people still thing of Diesels as black smoke rolling busses and trucks or a Benz with a tail panel all black from soot. They see today kids rolling smoke in their trucks with no clear understanding of what is going on.

     

    Five is the added cost of the engines and needed parts. It is not cheap to buy a diesel and it take commitment that many are not willing to take. They do not love the engine enough to pay the extra price.

     

    Six Government emissions will only get worse. They want more MPG and yet they kill off the best option. You figure that one out.

     

    Seven many automotive models will now need to add the emissions fluid like the trucks. We already have people who hate to fill washer fluid, check the oil and some do not even want to wait to fill the tank with fuel and now they have to carry a jug of fluid to fill something that does nothing for them in return like more MPG or power?

    Eight. GM for many years tried to tell people what they need to buy. Well today that does not work anymore especially GM trying to tell them to buy a Diesel. It is like Charlie Sheen telling you should live healthy.

     

    Finally how much would they have to invest to get people to change their minds. The demand for Diesels in America outside of trucks are limited at best. We just saw the Cruze  go on the market and fail. If everyone who said they would buy one had bought one they would have told 100K units but yet they sold just a small number.

    Dare to be Different is one thing but Dare to take a great risk and fail miserably is just stupid.  GM is smart to develop the diesels for Cadillac as they will need them in Europe and they have the advantage to start small here and grow them slowly. They will be able to handle the low volume as Europe will eat up most of the production as may China.

     

    You can spout all the numbers you like about torque but when it is falling on ears that have no clue and already thing all cars cost too much they will show little interest to step up.

     

    Audi did a hell of a job marketing Diesels here but yet it is rare to see one. They do well over in Europe but here not so much. BMW not so much either. Benz has their group as does VW and they keep coming back because they are happy. Even the Passat at a lower price is still not a common site with all the marketing.

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    But if the German trio all have 40-45 mpg sedans and the ATS and CTS can't crack 31 mpg, Cadillac has a problem. Not only will BMW and Benz have a diesel is almost every model but a plug in hybrid of almost every model also. Gas only isn't enough anymore.

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    They will find ways to work around it. The fact is selling diesels to Americans is not easy as if it were we would have a hell of a lot more of them around than we have now.

     

    If you have some realistic way to sell them e mail Johann as he could use the help.

     

    The fact is Benz and BMW may offer Diesels but they are of little help here in the states as they are a very low percentage of sales.

     

    I agree with the thinking we need diesels but you have a way to optimistic way of thinking Americans are just going to march right out there and buy enough of them to make it profitable. Until GM goes to Europe there is no money in a diesel for America right now. To take a low volume car and add a even lower volume engine is just nuts no matter how bad you need it. 

     

    I think the all electric sedan is where they will go here in the states first. The CT6 Hybrid is only the first effort. They will expand on this to other models and increase the range as well I expect an all electric car will also joint he group.  Americans appear to have a bigger love for this than most  auto diesel now. Especially any state near salt water.

     

    Also BMW and Benz may be facing more issue as they move forward with EPA regulations that are only going to drive up the price of a Diesel.

     

    By the way have you priced some of the replacement parts on some of these EPA approved Diesels? The Exhaust alone are the price of a small car and that is just for a truck. The US government will have to show some love for the Diesel or it will price itself out or make the such a pain to buy and maintain that few people will hold interest.

     

    Most people have no clue about the exhaust fluid you must put in now. Once they get a hold of that it will only make it more difficult.

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    Cruze diesel was overpriced. There is interest in the car clearly if you read it on the net, but no one wants to have a Cruze with a 30k sticker.

     

    VW sells enough diesel that 5-10,000 cruze diesels a year should not have been a problem.  GM needed to offer a version in LT trim and kept the MSRP at about 22 or 23 grand to get people into the showroom.

     

    Now all those diesels are sitting as leftovers and actually are getting close to being cheaper than the gas LTZ's etc.  Still not cheap enough yet I say.....

     

    Problem is now Chevy will have the Malibu hybrid.  So that will base out close to what the Cruze diesel did.  Chevy's best bet for a diesel now would be to make an Impala diesel.  

     

    I don't consider the Cruze diesel a failure other than pricing.  And diesel fluctuates so much.  Last week one place i saw it was only .15 difference.  Last couple months it has averaged about a 20-30 cent difference.  We need to fix the diesel tax.

     

    In general GM has a big problem and so do other makers.  They have pushed the limit too far with the rising MSRP's.  The market doesn't have enough people making enough dough to support it.  The leasing deals can only get them so far and that comes back to bite when the lease turn ins come back en masse.

     

    The notion of a Cruze of any kind with a 29k sticker is absurd and so if GM didn't deliberately set up things to fail like only lux trims for the Cruze diesel, or same deal with the SS.  I see my hometown dealer moved its new 14 SS over to the used side of the lot.  They must have titled it and used it for demo or something.  I can see why.  SS is a great car but not 45k great.

     

    Tying this to Cadillac, we already know how stupid MSRP pricing has hurt Cadillac.......

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    The AdBlue stuff the diesel cars need is once every 15,000 miles and is like $80 or something.  If you get a new or certified BMW it has prepaid maintenance, so you don't even pay that the first 4 years.  It isn't overly expensive.  Plus diesels run forever and ever, the longevity of diesel engines is another argument for it.

     

    The regulations do need work though, the gas tax should be raised to make regular gas and diesel prices the same, make diesel cheaper than premium gas and watch it sell.  A gas tax is a better way to influence consumer purchasing and fund new roads.  Most of our roads are crap, higher gas tax could be used on better roads (if they do the right thing and don't waste the money which the government may likely do).  And if 87 octane gas and diesel cost the same, you encourage more high mileage diesels to be sold.  This would work better than CAFE. 

     

    On a side note, gas guzzler tax should be applied the same to all vehicles, not just cars, trucks should have the same gas guzzler rules.  The Escalade or Ram Hemi pickup, should have the same gas guzzler tax an Aston Martin or Ferrari would have.  Pick a number of like 16 mpg combined, if it is lower, then you pay a gas tax.  Watch how fast something like the Escalade would get a diesel option if the V8 came with a $3000 gas guzzler tax.  And for people that don't care about money and are going to drop $80k on an Escalade, they'll just pay the tax like people buying a Dodge Viper pay it. 

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    The blue fills I have seen are coming sooner on the V8 models. While not a big deal if you want a Diesel not something someone who is not sold on one wants to hear. Their thinking is I like my gas and why bother. it is hard to get a guy to marry an ugly girl even if she is a good cook.

     

    Ya like there is a politician that will put his name on a bill to raise gas taxes.  You have to play reality here. The price difference will remain in place. Heck I already enough cars that are premium recommended and people still running the cheaper gas. The difference is small but many refuse to pay it.

     

    Guzzler tax? That will work like the raising of the gas tax.

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    The Cruze was priced high and the engine was the biggest parts. You could sell the same engine on a lower model and it would just have made it a over priced lower model. GM tried to dress it up to make it appear more appealing at a already too high price.

    With American regulations the Diesels are not cheap and will not be cheap.

     

    I think failure is a too harsh term but I think it is proof that there are problems in offering Diesels in America that just can not be designed out yet.

    The first thing that has to be done is to change the thinking of Diesel in America and that will not be easy. In Europe they grew up with low powered small engines while we had V8 engines. To them the Diesel was a major step up. Today we have the smaller engines but our 4 and 6 engines are as powerful or more powerful than some of our V8 engines and get twice the MPG. So you combine that with the past perceptions of Diesel and few here see or feel compelled to pay more. 

     

    I am not Anti Diesel but I do understand that there is a lot of work needed to make it mainstream.

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    But if the German trio all have 40-45 mpg sedans and the ATS and CTS can't crack 31 mpg, Cadillac has a problem. Not only will BMW and Benz have a diesel is almost every model but a plug in hybrid of almost every model also. Gas only isn't enough anymore.

     

     

     

    Cadillac is getting the Voltec powertrain in the CT6. JDN has also said that it will be going in the CTS, ATS, and SRX follow-ups. IN fact the said that the entire line-up would be getting electrification. It is the way of the future, as much as Diesel preponderates love that stinky mess.. and the added torque, which does very little in terms of actual performance gains.. Its no way on Earth I'd buy a diesel luxury car over an electrical one. The deal is sweeter when one considers that the torque portion of the Diesel stronghold is moot.. when an, for example, CT6 Plug-in has 335HP /432lbs of torque. Bluetec doesn't match that and nor does BMW's diesel inline 6

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    But if the German trio all have 40-45 mpg sedans and the ATS and CTS can't crack 31 mpg, Cadillac has a problem. Not only will BMW and Benz have a diesel is almost every model but a plug in hybrid of almost every model also. Gas only isn't enough anymore.

     

     

     

    Cadillac is getting the Voltec powertrain in the CT6. JDN has also said that it will be going in the CTS, ATS, and SRX follow-ups. IN fact the said that the entire line-up would be getting electrification. It is the way of the future, as much as Diesel preponderates love that stinky mess.. and the added torque, which does very little in terms of actual performance gains.. Its no way on Earth I'd buy a diesel luxury car over an electrical one. The deal is sweeter when one considers that the torque portion of the Diesel stronghold is moot.. when an, for example, CT6 Plug-in has 335HP /432lbs of torque. Bluetec doesn't match that and nor does BMW's diesel inline 6

     

     

    I like the hint of a diesel-electric hybrid though... best of both worlds. 

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    The Germans will have a load of plug in hybrids also and that adds more cost to a car than a diesel engine would and talk about weight.  The battery pack alone in a plug in could be 400 lbs.  A Tesla Model S is nearly 5,000 lbs because of the batteries.

     

    There is talk that the Mercedes quad turbo diesel will make 400 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque.  That sounds pretty sweet, if it gets 35 mpg highway, that is hard to pass up.

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    In this segment technology and novelty sells. Diesel is far from a new or novel technology in fact it is one of the oldest.

     

    The Tesla has shown that technology is trendy and exiting for many with the means to buy one. It is like the I phone even with only small changes people will stand in line for the latest model because they want the latest and most technology they can. Technology is like what HP used to be.

     

    It still comes down to the public here embracing the diesel engine. At this point there is nothing the American public can see that they value for the extra price. You either need to create a greater selling point to market a point that they are just not getting to make them want this combo. As of now there is no love.

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