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Cadillac signature styling enhances ATS performance

by Ian Palmer

2013 Cadillac ATS compact luxury sedan.

The 2013 Cadillac ATS’s all-new vehicle architecture provided designers with the unique opportunity to tailor the compact luxury sedan’s styling and refinement cues to improve driving performance.

According to the vehicle maker, this aspect of the ATS’s development is highlighted in the fifth chapter of a YouTube video series.

“The primary function of the ATS is to be a driver’s car, fun to drive, nimble and quick,” said Bob Boniface, Cadillac exterior design director, in a statement. “It has a great powertrain, great chassis, so we wanted the exterior design to reinforce that message. We worked very closely with engineering to ensure our design met all of the performance metrics they had set out.”

A long, 109.3-inch (2,775 mm) wheelbase and wide front/rear tracks are the cornerstones of the ATS’s firmly planted stance, which is enhanced by short overhangs and taut sheet metal that appears to wrap tightly around the tires.

Cadillac’s prominent shield grille is, according to the vehicle maker, more agile and athletic, featuring active grille shutters that close at certain highway speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag and enhance fuel efficiency. The centre, high mounted stop light on the rear decklid provides downforce to improve aerodynamic performance.

“When you start a new program, a new architecture, it’s much different than re-skinning something else,” said Taki Karras, Cadillac ATS exterior design manager, in a statement. “The opportunity is both challenging and rewarding.”

The ATS’s clay models and full sheet metal models spent hundreds of hours in wind tunnel testing to reduce wind noise and drag, improve air flow and performance and enhance fuel efficiency, according to the vehicle maker, which added that a driver-focused interior with integrated technology and crafted materials complements the exterior elements and supports the ATS’s driving experience.

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