I figured there might have been some small chance, that GM might have surprised us with a 6th gen Camaro reveal today. When I got to the Chevy press conference a few minutes early, it was obvious that the two vehicles under the covers on stage, were not Camaros. Arggghh....I would have slept in later had I been 100% sure.
One was the new Equinox. I guess it's got some new features, like fancy lights or whatever. There's a whole thread on it elsewhere on the site, if that's what floats your boat. Chevy also revealed the Silverado Custom. Basically a crew cab Silvy, with cloth seats, 20" wheels, a 5.3L and a $33K starting price tag. Essentially a truck like people used to buy before $50-$60,000 was the norm.
I did have a chance to meet and chat with David Leone, Executive Chief Engineer for Cadillac. First time meeting Dave, seems like a cool guy and also a REAL car guy - which is something I especially appreciate. We talked about the the ATS-V, CTS-V and touched a bit on the Camaro - you guys knew I'd have to get around to that, right? I'll try to summarize our conversation.
Manual transmissions: I did bring up the point about the CTS-V not offering a manual trans. As we're aware, the CTS-V's, (and ATS-V's), 8 speed, 8L90E auto, can shift far faster than any human can work a shifter and clutch pedal. No arguments there. Dave also reminded me that contrary to popular belief, GM is in business to make money, and the take rate on a manual trans CTS-V would be infinitesimally small. Fair enough. He did mention that he expects the manual take rate on the ATS-V to exceed 15% though. That's because GM expects the ATS-V to appeal to a different performance car buyer than the CTS-V.
Carbon ceramic brakes: Do we remember Dave's comments to one of the big mags, that the CTS-V doesn't need a $9,000 brake option to be track capable? We talked quite at length on this topic. Leone claims that during all of GM's testing, they were never able to get the six piston, 15.4" front and four piston 14.4" rear, steel, Brembos to ever fade. They even ran the CTS-V, flat out for 24 hours on the "Lutz-ring" at Milford, with stops only for fuel, fluids and consumables, and still never faded the brakes. BTW, during that 24 hours, they went through three sets of tires and and two sets of pads, but the rotors were still in good shape. I've always suspected that CC brakes were a VERY PRICEY piece of driveway bling-bling, which virtually no one will use to their fullest extent. I feel even more strongly about that now.
320i vs base ATS: Okay, this has been a peeve of mine. And I guess I figured, Dave would be the guy to tell. Why is it that you can buy a 320i, with BMW's sweet 2.0L turbo, for less money than a base 2.5 ATS? Doesn't make any sense to me, especially as Cadillac is trying to compete toe to toe with BMW. And I also mentioned to him that it's 2.0T is just a detuned version of the same motor in the 328i. Dave responded that the Chinese built ATS has a detuned version of our 272 horsepower 2.0T which makes 220 horsepower. Well......there you go. Don't know if this will have any effect on the ATS line up - but I did get it off of my chest to someone more influential than you guys.
Camaro: We talked a little bit about the Camaro. Here's a highlight. I mentioned how the 5th gen ZL1 was going to be the Z/28, but enough of us moaned and groaned over the prospect of a supercharged, 4200 pound Camaro, carrying the Z/28 emblem, rather than a light weight, high revving, normally aspirated smallblock - as God Almighty had intended - that it was renamed ZL1 and a REAL Z/28 was then developed, (Thanks Al O. and Mark Reuss!!!!!). I mentioned that it appeared to me that we may have to go through the same ordeal again, with a possible LT4 powered, 6th gen, Z/28 in the works. So now, just to be clear, there is no way that a guy like David Leone is going to talk about future products with the likes of me, and I'll tell you that right now. But what I asked was, conceptually what do you think the right formula for a Z/28 should be. He answered that the current formula is the right one. Good! I'm going to hang my hat on that until I hear otherwise.
We talked a bit more on the two V's, most of that stuff you've already heard.
Dave, if you are reading this, feel free to get with your people and drop off an ATS-V or CTS-V, (your choice ), at my residence, and I'll be happy to post my driving impressions. of either Great meeting you!
I'll post some other impression from the show a little later. I'll look through my pics and see what catches my interest. BTW, I got some undecarriage shots of the Avenir. Omega looks pretty Alpha-esqe to me. I'll post those later as well.