GM's Alpha Platform: What We Know

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    GM's Alpha Platform: What We Know

    GM's Alpha Platform: What We Know
    GMI has been quietly gathering information on GM’s next RWD architecture.
    www.gminsidenews.com
    June 1, 2010
    By: Nick Saporito


    Rendering of ATS done by GMI's "MonaroSS"

    UPDATE: It seems that after posting our Alpha article yesterday, we stirred the pot a little as we have some more Alpha details. According to our sources in recent weeks GM has made more decisions on the powertrains of the Alpha products. The ATS will have a V6 engine option (in addition to the four-cylinders). The better news is that the upcoming twin-turbo V6 we broke news on will be found in the Alpha+ Cadillac CTS.

    The Alpha time line has also been refined, see below.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Alpha. If you’re reading GMI you are probably already aware of what that Greek designation is infamous with in the world of General Motors. Alpha is GM’s next substantial rear-wheel drive vehicle architecture. There have been copious amounts of rumors; some even reported by “mainstream” media that we can confidently say were factually incorrect. Over the last few months GMI has been working with sources at all levels to obtain the most detailed information we could possibly report about Alpha. We feel we have accomplished just that.

    Let’s clear up the most substantial of misinformation. Technically there are two iterations of the Alpha platform. There is “Alpha” and “Alpha+.” Alpha is the variation of the platform that is going to underpin the upcoming Cadillac ATS. As has been reported in the past, this car is internally referred to as the “BMW fighter” and will be extremely close to the BMW 3-Series in size.

    Alpha+ is already in development for the next-generation Cadillac CTS. Alpha+ is both longer and wider than the ATS’s Alpha. The exact size of the platform is not yet known, however we expect it to fall close to BMW’s 5-Series as the CTS continues its drive up-market.

    The third vehicle slated for Alpha is the sixth-generation Camaro. It was only recently approved for Alpha use by GM’s executive committee. At this point very little is known about the car due to the fact that development is in its infancy.

    Other models from various GM brands (including Buick) are looking at Alpha to identify possible uses, though none have been approved for production at this time. GM product plans are set in stone through 2014, so any additional models are certain to be 2015 or later launches.

    Contrary to popular belief, Alpha is not yet considered a “global” architecture. A vast majority of the development is taking place in North America, with GM Europe having a little involvement in some of the testing. In order for Alpha to become a “global” architecture, manufacturing of Alpha vehicles would have to take place on more than one continent.

    Powertrain


    Sources working on the Alpha program have stated that all Alpha cars will have four-cylinder engines as the standard fare. With the ever-increasing power output by modern four-cylinder engines and the impending CAFÉ legislation, it is no surprise that four-cylinders will find their way into the Alpha products.

    Expect the ATS and CTS to both offer at least one four-cylinder engine for North America and perhaps additional options for export models. We’re told to expect GM’s familiar 2.0L Turbo to show up as one of the engine choices. The CTS is also confirmed to have a V6 engine option as well and at this time it appears as though it will not be a turbocharged mill.

    V8 fans need not worry. Both V-Series iterations of the ATS and CTS will sport Generation V Small Block’s. As with all Gen V V8’s, the V car’s will have direct-injection, Active Fuel Management and variable valve timing.

    Engines for the next Camaro are not yet finalized; however we’re hearing chatter that it too will have four, six and eight cylinder engines.

    Expect six-speed transmissions to be the standard on the Alpha products; however that may not be the only selection. Sources informed GMI last week that GM executives have agreed to explore the feasibility of an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission for Alpha products. New manual transmissions will also be offered, replacing the current Asin unit in the Cadillac CTS.

    Technology

    A reoccurring theme we have been getting from our sources is that Alpha products will not be short on technology. Not only is the platform itself expected to be technologically advanced, but we’ve also heard Alpha products will have a “state of the art” infotainment system.

    The new infotainment system is allegedly intended to rival Ford’s upcoming myFord Touch system, which features a capacitive touch screen and LCD panels in the gauge cluster. GM’s Alpha vehicles will also have large screen displays in the gauge cluster that will work in conjunction with the car’s infotainment system.

    Alpha Time line




    More On Alpha

    GMI's Renderings of the ATS, Based on Feedback from Bob Lutz
    Last edited by nsap; 06-02-2010 at 07:34 AM.

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    Re: GM's Alpha Platform: What We Know

    Alpha Camaro in '15? Wonder how many times that'll get put back?
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    Re: GM's Alpha Platform: What We Know

    awesome.....though as much as i'd like to see a cheap rwd sedan for chevy, i hope they dont dilute the platform too much.

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    Re: GM's Alpha Platform: What We Know

    Good stuff, NSAP - thanks for the update. Good to see GM moving forward with Alpha at a reasonable rate. I am hopeful that the ATS will be the GM product that can replace my G8 in a couple of years....
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    Re: GM's Alpha Platform: What We Know

    This is just like news of the NA Zeta that was FOR SURE going to happen back in 2004/5.

    I really want it to happen, but my sky-high hopes got swatted out of the air once, so I'll be more guarded with my enthusiasm this time.

    Alpha is something I want so badly, so I'm not going to get excited until I see them coming off of the trailers at my local dealership.
    Last edited by Titanic; 06-01-2010 at 11:09 AM.

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    Re: GM's Alpha Platform: What We Know

    1. Awesome chop.

    2. Please tell me the CTS grows in size. Wait, you did.

    3. Prepare for a boatload of fail too if they just want to emulate BMW.

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    Thumbs up Re: GM's Alpha Platform: What We Know

    Sounds like some awesome products coming for Cadillac in the next few years.

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    Re: GM's Alpha Platform: What We Know

    That rendering by MonaroSS is very handsome! I hope the real one looks this sharp!
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    Re: GM's Alpha Platform: What We Know

    Finally a product worthy of being called a Cadillac. Unlike the SRX,XTS and whatever the dolled up Lambda is going to be called

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    Re: GM's Alpha Platform: What We Know

    why would the CTS still be 4 years away? I hope they mean model year 2014. the car is already 3 years old.

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    Re: GM's Alpha Platform: What We Know

    Quote Originally Posted by TuffG929 View Post
    awesome.....though as much as i'd like to see a cheap rwd sedan for chevy, i hope they dont dilute the platform too much.
    So...where would the introduction of Alpha leave Zeta (as far as possibly increasing it's foothold in NA in the next 2-5 years)? Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Zeta platform relatively modern as well? Is there anything written in stone that says GM can't use a continuously revised and improved (many thanks to Holden) Zeta platform for future RWD vehicles too?

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    Re: GM's Alpha Platform: What We Know

    Does anyone know how much Alpha and Alpha+ are expected to weigh? I'd like to see the next gen CTS drop a few pounds, or at least hold the line on weight. The ATS should weigh less than 3500 pounds with the 4 banger. Really, 3300 should be a realistic goal for the 4 cyl version.

    One of the real problems with developing the platform to be so versatile is that it will have to be "overbuilt" to accomodate the torque of a V8. This overbuilding will result in extra weight for the 4 cyl to lug around. I'd rather Alpha be designed to accomodate 4 and 6 cylinders (turbo 3.6 would make a fine V-series), then beef up Alpha+ to handle the loads of a V8.

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    Re: GM's Alpha Platform: What We Know

    A reoccurring theme we have been getting from our sources is that Alpha products will not be short on technology. Not only is the platform itself expected to be technologically advanced, but we’ve also heard Alpha products will have a “state of the art” infotainment system.
    hmmm, I was hoping for a RWD Chevy sedan where all of the expense is in the components relating to driving dynamics and driver touch points. You know, basic gauges and controls, basic radio/CD, even manual windows would be OK.
    Simple, reliable and fun.

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    Re: GM's Alpha Platform: What We Know

    Good.
    ATS convertible falls into a respectable timeline for me in my search for a convertible.


    We also do know that a GM executive gave an estimation of the actual size of the Alpha "ATS." With a little math, it was approximately the size of the current generation C-Class. I remember this because I did the math, based on that GM exec's quote. IMHO, that's the perfect size. Any larger, and it would be out of any real significant contention in its class.

    The other major problem I have with this car is the name. This so-called "entry level" car should really be the CTS. The CTS as it stands now, should really be the STS. I'm afraid that the name will alienate buyers on both sides. CTS' push up market will be met with opposition from current CTS owners who can't quite afford that up-market price. GM already proved that with its price increase and near immediate decrease earlier this year.

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    Re: GM's Alpha Platform: What We Know

    Quote Originally Posted by oklapike View Post
    So...where would the introduction of Alpha leave Zeta (as far as possibly increasing it's foothold in NA in the next 2-5 years)? Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Zeta platform relatively modern as well? Is there anything written in stone that says GM can't use a continuously revised and improved (many thanks to Holden) Zeta platform for future RWD vehicles too?
    Zeta has been deemed too large and heavy for the products which will use Alpha. Zeta development will continue at Holden, probably through the end of the decade. Once the 5th gen Camaro runs it's course, NA Zeta production will end.

    BTW Nick, timing-wise, I've heard that the ATS convertible will come after the coupe and before the Camaro, but who knows......
    Last edited by Z284ever; 06-01-2010 at 11:24 AM.

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