It appears that the future of Cadillac’s red-hot ATS-V doesn’t involve a growling V-8 engine. Instead of dropping something like the venerable LT1 into the car, the luxury brand’s engineers have a completely different plan, according to a recent report from Road & Track.
While it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that Cadillac is merely bowing to the pressure imposed on it by the federal government through the ever-restrictive CAFE fuel economy standards, it’s more than just that. It’s true that all automakers who want to be a big force in the United States need to worry about doing more with less, or finding a replacement for displacement, there are some inherent advantages that play into what Cadillac is doing with the ATS-V.
When Cadillac created the current ATS-V, it did so with the idea of using a twin-turbo V-6. Even though it has two fewer cylinders than the Corvette’s LT1, the engine actually puts out around the same amount of peak horsepower and torque.
The ATS-V’s twin-turbo 3.6-liter V-6 engine is more than the car’s heart, the powerplant is also part of its equilibrium. While a nice V-8 engine sounds great and impresses anyone’s friends upon popping the hood, the truth is that it would be big and heavy. Some people think that’s no big deal, but that kind of a powertrain can lead to some compromise in handling and the overall driving characteristics for a vehicle.
Thanks to modern technology, engineers seem to be able to extract more power out of four- and six-cylinder engines economically than ever before. It’s a good thing, too, because while we might all miss the plethora of V-8s that ruled domestic performance models from the past, at least there won’t be a repeat of the 1980s when most American muscle vehicles were pathetically weak.