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Scoop: GM Flexes Alpha Platform Options

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Scoop: GM Flexes Alpha Platform Options

Fours, V-6s and V-8s in the Mix, and Maybe an Eight Speed Auto

March, 2010 / By Todd Lassa

Last month, we reported that the new rear-wheel-drive General Motors platform, Alpha, designed for the 2013 Cadillac 3 Series-fighter, also will underpin the 2014 CTS and 2015 Chevrolet Camaro. The platform is proving flexible enough to serve as the basis for expensive Cadillacs as big as the next CTS, which we expect to grow to about 195 inches long, plus a smaller Chevrolet and/or Buick sedan, as well as the next-generation Camaro.

Now we’ve learned that the platform is being “protected” for a variety of engines, including four-cylinders, supercharged or turbocharged V-6s, and the small block V-8. By “protected,” we mean the bodies are designed to allow for proper fitting of the various engines, whether they are offered with all the engine choices or not. You don’t “close off” the design to make it impossible to add a different engine or transmission initially unplanned. While four-cylinder engines are smaller than sixes and eights, of course, the cars also must accommodate active engine mounts to account for less inherent refinement and smoothness in the fours.

Breathed-on V-6s need engine bay accommodation for the blowers or turbos, and for intercoolers. This makes it easy to protect for a small block -- overhead valves are more compact at the engine’s top than dual overhead cams with four valves per cylinder. Therefore, they fit more easily than the breathed-on sixes.

The Alpha four-cylinder almost certainly will be the ’15 Chevrolet Camaro, which should be somewhat smaller and much lighter than the current model. A turbo- or supercharged V-6 could be the Camaro’s premium engine, though of course, a lightweight, Hyundai Genesis-size Z/28 with a small block would be killer.

The 3 Series-size Cadillac, codenamed ATS, obviously would get naturally aspirated and breathed-on V-6s, probably of the current 2.8 (but with gas direct-injection) and/or 3.0-liter configurations, and maybe the 3.6. However, Mercedes and BMW are planning to sell C-Classes and 3 Series in the U.S. with four-cylinder engines (and Audi already is there with the A4/A5 2.0 TFSI), so a 2.0-turbo or 2.4-liter four in the ATS wouldn’t be a surprise.

The new, bigger, Alpha-based CTS will stick with 3.0- and 3.6-liter high-feature engines, of course, but given where the competition is looking, a turbo four could be in its future. As we reported before, the Mk III CTS will again be sold only as a sedan, with no coupe or wagon variants. The ATS will get multiple bodystyles instead, including probably a convertible. The bigger question may be whether a small block or a turbo 3.6 powers a next-generation CTS-v.

These plans are fluid. GM is said to be in a quandary over the transmission designed to accommodate these cars. It's developing an eight-speed automatic for its V-6s. The question is, will the eight-speed be designed for front-wheel-drive or rear-wheel-drive?

Before you say, "both, of course," be aware that new transmissions are very expensive. Adapting an eight-speed for both FWD and RWD can double the already healthy cost of doing it for just one configuration. And while BMW and Lexus eight-speed automatics so far serve only RWD-based cars, if GM decided to design it for transverse mounting, it would serve a much higher volume of cars and trucks.

If it designs the transmission for RWD to better compete with BMW and Lexus, it probably would have to add the transmission to trucks and big SUVs in order to get enough volume to make it economical. An eight-speed automatic would be a very expensive component in the traditionally low-cost, high profit margin Chevrolet Silverado.

Read more: http://www.motortrend.com/features/auto_news/2010/112_1003_gm_flexes_alpha_platform_options/eight_speed_transmission.html#ixzz0jRCQF0IS

Read more: http://www.motortrend.com/features/auto_news/2010/112_1003_gm_flexes_alpha_platform_options/index.html#ixzz0jRBZSs7L

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if a camaro didn't have a v8 ss or z-28 model i think quite a few people would be upset. but maybe a low pressure turbo 2.4 and a hipo turbo 3.6 could work...

the 3.0L needs more applications is seems.... the nox, terrain, and srx bunch along with the cts and wagon, am i missing another one?

Edited by loki
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Interesting...195 inches...sounds like Alpha will replace Sigma and maybe Zeta as well? First I've heard of it intended for the CTS also..

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The CTS is plenty big enough, they plan to make it bigger? We already have an enlarged 195 inch long CTS, it is called the STS and it was a sales failure. Looks like the CTS coupe will be on sale about 3 years and gone. I don't like the idea of the CTS and ATS on the same platform, but even worse is the engine choices. In 2014 they are still going to be running the 2.8 V6 out there, that engine is old now. And it's fuel mileage for the power it puts out is no good. And the 3.0 V6 seems like a waste in a Cadillac, Buick is already dropping it, it is just for lower end Chevys, why put it in a Cadillac 4 years from now. This doesn't look like promising news, aside from the 8-speed transmission part of it, that is good news for Cadillac.

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hmm, so the XTS jus replaced the DTS, while the CTS will replace the STS, at ATS cover the ground better than cts.

i will be happy as long as CTS is now lightest in class, thats what they should work for, the inerior is great, athoughim sad that the coupe is dead, does that mean there will be no wagon for europe? or will there be a new old gen SRX like RWD?

Edited by CanadianBacon94
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The CTS is plenty big enough, they plan to make it bigger? We already have an enlarged 195 inch long CTS, it is called the STS and it was a sales failure. Looks like the CTS coupe will be on sale about 3 years and gone. I don't like the idea of the CTS and ATS on the same platform, but even worse is the engine choices. In 2014 they are still going to be running the 2.8 V6 out there, that engine is old now. And it's fuel mileage for the power it puts out is no good. And the 3.0 V6 seems like a waste in a Cadillac, Buick is already dropping it, it is just for lower end Chevys, why put it in a Cadillac 4 years from now. This doesn't look like promising news, aside from the 8-speed transmission part of it, that is good news for Cadillac.

Perhaps, since GM is indicating it will not be chasing BMW and MB in volume, they'll place (size-wise) the ATS between the 3-Series and the 5-Series and the CTS between the 5-Series and the 7-Series.

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So the 3 and 5 BMW are not on the same platform? SMK you complain about the CTS not being the same size as the 5 series

now you complain how Cadillac wants to make it the size of the 5 series. What would make you happy? No, a Jaguar special with DOHC V8 is not in the cards. Give GM some constructive criticism here.

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So the 3 and 5 BMW are not on the same platform? SMK you complain about the CTS not being the same size as the 5 series

now you complain how Cadillac wants to make it the size of the 5 series. What would make you happy? No, a Jaguar special with DOHC V8 is not in the cards. Give GM some constructive criticism here.

195 is bigger than a 5 series

BMW 5 series 191.1

7 series: 199.8

______________________-

EDIT:next gen 5 is 193.1

Edited by CanadianBacon94
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If the next CTS is only going to be a sedan, then I think GM is making a HUGE mistake...I know they can't afford to develop an entire range right now, but it seems like a step backwards to discontinue the coupe and wagon before they even know how well they do on the market. The XTS is fine as a sedan only but the ATS and CTS both need to have multiple body styles.

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If the next CTS is only going to be a sedan, then I think GM is making a HUGE mistake...I know they can't afford to develop an entire range right now, but it seems like a step backwards to discontinue the coupe and wagon before they even know how well they do on the market. The XTS is fine as a sedan only but the ATS and CTS both need to have multiple body styles.

definetly a wagon for europe on both platforms

Edited by CanadianBacon94
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It doesn't really bother me that the next CTS will be a sedan-only. The current CTS is about a half inch longer than the 5-series. If it grows, it will be somewhere between the 5-series and the 7-series. Once you start moving into that territory for size, a coupe doesn't necessarily make much sense. I'd love them all to have a coupe option, but GM is only going to do coupes where there will be volume and they can make a profit off them.

A coupe will work much better on the ATS, which will slot between a 3-series and a 5-series. Look for the ATS to become the volume Cadillac if the CTS gets larger.

Edited by mustang84
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So the 3 and 5 BMW are not on the same platform? SMK you complain about the CTS not being the same size as the 5 series

now you complain how Cadillac wants to make it the size of the 5 series. What would make you happy? No, a Jaguar special with DOHC V8 is not in the cards. Give GM some constructive criticism here.

The CTS is as big as a 5-series and E-class already, why make it bigger. My complaint about the CTS, is for a car of its size, the base price should be about $49,000. But the CTS lacks the build quality, materials and technology of the BMW and Benz. And I have other minor ones like how the grille is all plastic and my knee hits the console (which it didn't in the old cts). Styling-wise, I think they just over did the CTS and it comes off a bit tacky.

195 inches long is just too big, the ATS should be 180 inches long, if the CTS goes up in size, I can see them making the ATS like 188 inches long, which is too big for that segment. There is still no mention of a DOHC V8, Cadillac needed one yesterday.

The problem with Cadillac is GM runs it the way they run the rest of GM. GM's thinking over the last 2 years has been that fuel economy is the most important thing, and perhaps warranty #2. Those are important on mass market cars, although I don't think they are the most important. On luxury cars however, image and status are what matters. Fuel economy doesn't. Cadillac doesn't need turbo 4's and little V6s to try to beat Mercedes in fuel economy, that won't win any buyers. They way you build and sell Chevy's is not the way you build and sell Cadillacs, but GM doesn't realize that.

The 2014 CTS should get 75 mpg and do 0-60 in 5.0 seconds and have a top speed of 155 mph. They have 4 years to get there, that should be easy, Mercedes will be there in 2.

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...I know they can't afford to develop an entire range right now,

Ahhh, but they could afford it if they hadn't wasted money on Saturn and Pontiac for all those years, and continue to waste it on Buick and GMC right now. It isn't a matter of can't afford it, it is just that Cadillac is a low priorty for GM. Pick-ups and large SUVs/Crossovers are what matter to them.

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Good points SMK. I don't like the all plastic grill either. But Mercedes and BMW have plastic grills. I don't know about Jag, it looks metal.

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Good points SMK. I don't like the all plastic grill either. But Mercedes and BMW have plastic grills. I don't know about Jag, it looks metal.

They do? Looks like metal to me.

mercedes_e-class_sedan_fd_08.jpg

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We all read post after post here last year about metal grilles in BMWs, and they're ALL plastic, including the bezels. Hve been for years & years. Just more over-hyped 'factos de superiorie' that fall flat on it's face in the light of day, like most of the urban legends about the spread-thin German twins.

-- -- -- -- --

^^ I don't care for mercedes' cribbing of Cadillac's Art & Science styling at all. Nor audi's LED strips, nor lexus's GS/ Buick LaCrosse's split lights. Stylistically, mercedes is out of gas.

Edited by balthazar
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>>"The CTS is as big as a 5-series and E-class already, why make it bigger.""<<

Because BMW is making the 5-series bigger. E-class will follow.

Waitwaitwait! Lemmee guess; 'The CTS doesn't compete with the 5-series because the {next} 5-series is 193" long and the {next} CTS is 195" long.' :roflmao:

Edited by balthazar
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They do? Looks like metal to me.

mercedes_e-class_sedan_fd_08.jpg

Vacuum plated plastic? Yes. Metal? I seriously doubt it. The same especially goes for BMW grills.

In fact, I'd be very surprised if there are many passenger vehicles available today with true metal grills besides OEM mesh inserts and after-market billet accessories, and possibly some higher end vehicles like a Rolls Royce.

Metal weighs more and costs more while adding no aesthetic benefit whatsoever, unless of course you find pleasure walking throughout a parking lot flicking grills to hear what sound they make.

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We all read post after post here last year about metal grilles in BMWs, and they're ALL plastic, including the bezels. Hve been for years & years.

We have? I would've put that one to bed real quick...cheap plastic kidney grills with clips that break off very easily. They are two pieces, the bezel and the slats. The only thing holding them together on my car right now is some tape and the fact that they slide in from the front, of course, so they are held on by pressure from forward movement as well. A person could literally give a slight pull and slide my grills right out of my car right now if they wanted to. Garbage.

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If the next CTS is only going to be a sedan, then I think GM is making a HUGE mistake...I know they can't afford to develop an entire range right now, but it seems like a step backwards to discontinue the coupe and wagon before they even know how well they do on the market. The XTS is fine as a sedan only but the ATS and CTS both need to have multiple body styles.

I'd say cancel the image damaging XTS and work on improving/expanding the ATS and CTS lines. I think these 2 car lines are essential in permanently transforming Cadillac into a world class luxury competitor. If funds are tight, then GM needs to focus its resources on products that will properly define and position their brands. I'm a little confused on how the XTS accomplishes this task. It seems like it's a product that will help the brand hold on to its traditional DTS type buyers (which I thought was a demographic that GM hoped to lose or possibly move over to Buick).

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BTW wouldn't switching to alpha raise the Camaro's price?

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BTW wouldn't switching to alpha raise the Camaro's price?

I am sure the price will rise no matter what but Motor Trend claims they have found ways to make this platfrom cheaper to be used as the Camaro.

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