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Cadillac ATS-V vs. BMW M3

The Matchup Everyone's Waiting For

Michael Febbo –
Feb 6, 2012
It wasn't that long ago the idea of a Cadillac being mentioned in the same breath as a BMW M car was laughable. However, the undeniable badassness of the current-gen CTS-V has changed the performance world forever. Although both the F30 M3 and ATS-V will undoubtedly be produced, neither manufacturer is talking specifications or performance numbers. Which leaves us to speculate...
Photo 2/6   |   BMW M3 Front Three Quarter In Motion
Word on the street is that the next-gen M3 will drop the thirsty V-8 in favor of a more frugal force-fed I-6. BMW insiders have hinted at as many as three turbochargers, although one of those would be electrically powered, so we'd be more inclined to call it an electric supercharger. Output estimates are hovering around 450 hp and 400 lb-ft, with transmission choices including a six-speed manual and a twin-clutch auto that may receive a bump to eight speeds. Weight will be shaved, thanks to more high-strength steel and aluminum pieces, as well as the use of additional carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic. The final performance upgrade will be the latest electronically controlled rear differential. Alas, we don't expect to see the new M3 in showrooms until late 2013.
Photo 3/6   |   Force Fed: The next M3's turbo I-6 will outpower the previous V-8, while delivering around 30-percent-better fuel economy.
With a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 whispered to be in GM's pipeline, it seems a natural choice for the ATS-V. The other school of thought, given GM's history, is a small-block V-8, possibly the direct-injected 5.5-liter rumored for the 2014 Corvette. Either way, expect comparable output to the M3. Suspension will be a further development of the magnetorheological system found in the Camaro ZL1, with transmission choices including a six-speed manual and conventional six-speed automatic, though rumors of an eight-speed auto have also been swirling. Expect a body makeover similar to the CTS-V's, with mesh grilles, more aggressive fascias, and larger wheels. Fast Caddy fans should keep their collective fingers crossed that some of the composite technology developed for the ZL1 finds its way into the ATS-V's body. On-sale date? Likely the same time a certain BMW hits the market.
Photo 4/6   |   Cadillac ATS V Front Three Quarter In Motion

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