Op-Ed by MonaroSS
GMI Contributor – 20 February 2012
At a time when Benz is shutting down the Maybach brand and Euro carbon rules and US CAFE are putting immense pressure on builders of large heavy luxury vehicles, the future looks set to be much kinder to a new breed of smaller ultra luxury vehicles. This is especially true for those living in large increasingly congested cities in Europe and Asia. Even Aston Martin has decided its owners need a luxury City Car for when their Aston is not the best weapon for the job-at-hand. Aston Martin's idea behind their Cygnet City Car starts to make some sense. And something similar could too for Cadillac owners both in Metropolitan US and Europe; and especially in the growing cities of Asia.
Imagine you have an Escalade or the forthcoming large Omega based sedan or coupe (or the next CTS in Europe or Asia), but you just need to zip down to the shops for some more bubbly and foie gras and traffic is murder. Or imagine you love your large Caddy for those trips to your country estate or the wine country, but for your short commute to work you would like something that's nippy, looks 'socially conscious' to the liberal neighbours and is easier to park and manoeuvre. While it may not haul a weeks shop for a family, a City Car addition to your garage would certainly fit groceries for a yuppie, professional or retired couple. Unlike the ungainly looking FWD Aston Cygnet or even the Space Age looking FWD Cadillac ULC, the RWD Caddy CitySport or CityCoupé would make for a stylish second runabout car for the Cadillac family. And then there would be those who buy them as graduation gifts for the kids to go off to college in.
I am not proposing such vehicles be small ‘entry level’ Cadillac’s. The ATS should be the entry-level vehicle. The CitySport or CityCoupé would be a stable mate to the larger Escalade or Omega such that choosing to take your smaller City Cadillac does not mean taking less luxury or less performance. Luxury levels should start at ATS and be able to be optioned way up. The interiors should be no less luxurious and loaded with quality and extravagances, for those who can afford to option them up, than their larger brethren. Smaller should not, at least at Cadillac, stand for cheaper or nastier quality luxury – it should be the same luxury just scaled down. Indeed, performance wise, if you look at the specifications data below you can see that even the base engined CitySport can stay with a 2.7 Boxster, a CityCoupé 2.0-liter CDTI Bio-diesel could keep up around town with a V8 CamaroSS and a CitySport-V packs Corvette levels of performance.
Rather than the odd shapes of the Aston Cygnet or Cadillac ULC I have chosen a more traditional long hood / short rear deck shape for the two seat CitySport Roadster and the CityCoupé I like to think of more as a shooting brake rather than a hatchback. In fact the CityCoupé shouldn’t have a hatch but rather a fold down tailgate to extend the load floor when needed. Or to provide a place to sit and picnic on with wine and watercress sandwiches when attending events like the local polo match. The styling of course needs to be unique and even a little avant-garde, but within the bounds of normalcy that I think the Cadillac ULC steps too far over.
A few weeks back I started thinking about vehicles like this when it was suggested by a GM exec that the Alpha platform under the ATS could be scaled both up and even smaller, and I wonder how much smaller? So these have been designed to essentially share components with a Chevy 130R, although they would use a lot more aluminium for things like hood, front fenders, doors trunk-lid/tailgate. As can be seen in the data they are 3 inches less wide than the ATS but the tracks would not be so different as, while the body is narrower, the wheels are pushed out under those fender bulges. The actual track decrease could be accounted for by wheel offset and some small geometry changes. The net effect being that the engine bay would be remarkably similar in size, inside of the suspension components, to the ATS.
So while I propose only using I4 engines – I have no doubt custom shops would be shoehorning small block V8’s into these if the ATS-V has a V8. These City Cars would use thinner gauge high strength steel pressings in their platform than ATS to keep weight down. So heavier suspension and other components from the ATS-V would probably be needed to also be swapped in, such as the thicker alloy cross member, to support and cradle the extra weight; along with some extra body bracing to handle the extra torque loads. But when you look at the performance to be had from the standard engines below, you would have to wonder if unsettling the handling balance with all that extra mass over the front wheels would be worth it.
Specifications and Power to Weight & Torque to Weight Comparisons
Note: While many people often speak of the importance of power to weight ratios, an often-unconsidered measure is the torque to weight ratios, which I list at the end for each below. While power may be important for extreme top end speed, the ‘feel’ of power and get-up-and-go in normal driving is actually due to the torque of the engine being able to accelerate the mass of the vehicle. The original muscle cars were so addictive and popular because they put big engines with big torque into smaller, lower weight vehicles. The ‘easy power’ of a muscle car is actually derived from its torque.
What separates these CitySport & CityCoupé vehicles from ordinary small City Cars is their easy torque, which was once and can still be a defining Cadillac quality.
The engine power and torque figures below are estimates of what they will be when these models would be released as 2015 and 2016 models.
Cadillac ATS Sedan 2.5 (202 hp 195 ft-lbs)
WB 109.3 in L 182.8 in W 71.1 in H 55.9 in Wt 3400 lbs (lb/hp 16.8) (lb/ft-lb 17.4)
Cadillac CityCoupé 2015 2.5 (220 hp 205 ft-lbs) 19in wheels
WB 104 in L 148 in W 68 in H 57 in Wt 2750 lbs (lb/hp 12.5) (lb/ft-lb 13.4)
BMW Mini Cooper Works 1.6T (208 hp 192 ft-lb)
WB 97.1 in L 146.8 in W 66.3 in H 55.4 in Wt 2668 lb (lb/hp 12.9) (lb/ft-lb 13.9)
VW Golf Mk5 2.0Turbo FSI (197 hp 207 ft-lb)
WB 101.5 in L 165.5 in W 69.3 in H 58.2 in Wt 3,200 lb (lb/hp 16.2) (lb/ft-lb 15.5)
Cadillac CityCoupé-V 2016 LHU 2.0T (295hp 315ft-lb) 19in wheels
WB 104 in L 148 in W 68 in H 57 in Wt 2800 lbs (lb/hp 9.5) (lb/ft-lb 8.9)
Cadillac CityCoupé-V Bio-Diesel 2015 2.0-liter CDTI (205 hp 320 ft-lb)
WB 104 in L 148 in W 68 in H 57 in Wt 2850 lbs (lb/hp 13.9) (lb/ft-lb 8.9)
CamaroSS 3850lb (426hp 420lb-ft) (lb/hp 9.0) (lb/ft-lb 9.2)
Cadillac CitySport 2015 SIDI 1.4T (149hp 162ft-lb) 18in wheels
WB 94.5 in L 139 in W 68 in H 52.5 in Wt 2250 lbs (lb/hp 15.1) (lb/ft-lb 13.9)
Boxster 2.7 2772 lb (220hp 192ft-lb) (lb/hp 12.6) (lb/ft-lb 14.4)
Cadillac CitySport 2015 2.5 (220 hp 205 ft-lbs) 19in
WB 94.5 in L 139 in W 68 in H 52.5 in Wt 2350 lbs (lb/hp 10.7) (lb/ft-lb 11.5)
Smart Roadster 700cc (80 bhp 81 lb-ft)
WB 92.9 in L 134.9 in W 63.6 in H 46.9 in Wt 1851 lb (lb/hp 23.1) (lb/ft-lb 22.9)
Original Mini Cooper S 1275 (76 hp 79 lb-ft)
WB 80.3 in L 120.1 in W 55.1 in H 53.1 in Wt 1450 lb (lb/hp 19.0) (lb/ft-lb 18.4)
Cadillac CitySport-V 2016 LHU 2.0T (295hp 315ft-lb) 19in wheels
WB 94.5 in L 139 in W 68 in H 52.5 in Wt 2420 lbs (lb/hp 8.2) (lb/ft-lb 7.7)
Cadillac CitySport-V Bio-Diesel 2015 2.0-liter CDTI (205 hp 320 ft-lb)
WB 94.5 in L 139 in W 68 in H 52.5 in Wt 2520 lbs (lb/hp 12.3) (lb/ft-lb 7.9)
Corvette 3208lb (430hp 424lb-ft) (lb/hp 7.5) (lb/ft-lb 7.6)
Ford GT500 3940 lb (540hp 510lb-ft) (lb/hp 7.3) (lb/ft-lb 7.7)
Now I’ve read some of the ULC thread, even though I wasn’t here at the time, so given the number of people who vehemently disagreed with Cadillac having a City Car, I don’t expect a lot of support for this Design Study. However, I would suggest that given that my proposal is not an entry-level vehicle, leaving that to ATS, preferring to ensure these have higher levels of performance and luxury than ATS, it’s a little bit different. These are conceived of as being ‘additions’ to a Cadillac family that already has the large Cadillac experience to drive. These offer a complimentary luxury urban experience. They would also help Cadillac meet carbon levels in Europe and offset CAFÉ in the US. And now with the future Cadillac line-up more clearly defined, it may be time to revisit this.
I would suggest they even be marketed to promote paring with larger Cadillac’s. For example, buy a new Escalade and get an $8,000 credit for a Cadillac City. An XTS or CTS gets you a $5,000 credit. And for some bemoaning the fact that the next CTS will not have a mid-range V8, because GM believes such would harm it’s CAFÉ, then perhaps a midrange V8 CTS could be offered only ‘if’ bought with a Cadillac City to offset it. The future holds compromise for the automobile, whether we like it not, and a Cadillac City range could help offset or defer some of that compromise that would otherwise have to all be borne by the larger vehicles.
Then again, the CitySport-V Roadster below, with the performance of a Corvette, doesn’t sound a whole lot like compromise to me….