Cadillac CTS Lightens Up with Aluminum
Arguably, one of the most anticipated vehicles that will be introduced later this year is the Cadillac CTS.
The CTS is the vehicle that really started the renaissance of the Cadillac brand, so being the fashion-forward stalwart that it has been since the 2003 model year car first appeared, the 2014 is designed with more than a soupcon of elegance and excitement, manifest in sheet metal. And speaking of metal . . . the 2014 is using a whole lot of aluminum for various components, visible and structural.
* All four doors are aluminum. Weight-save vs. the steel used for the current gen car: 55 lb.
* The bumpers are aluminum. Weight-save vs. the steel used for the current gen car: 13.1 lb.
* The front strut towers are cast aluminum. Weight-save vs. the steel used for the current gen car: 14 lb.
* The powertrain cradle is made with extruded and cast aluminum. Weight-save vs. the steel used for the current gen car: 36.5 lb.
In addition to which (to be fair), the 2014 CTS will have an aluminum and stamped aluminum structure for the instrument panel, replacing cast magnesium; the weight-save is 7.2 lb.
There are still high-strength steels used for the structure of the car. Back in the development of the Sigma architecture that gave rise to the 2003 CTS, engineers made the first use of ultra-high strength on a GM vehicle. Those learnings have not been forgotten.
Said John Plonka, CTS program engineering manager, “Reducing overall weight is a key element in producing a car that delivers agile handling dynamics. By rethinking very traditional elements, such as materials used for dumpers and doors, we are able to save precious weight and stay true to delivering a vehicle that is fun to drive.”
The car has a base curb weight of 3,600 lb.
The third-generation CTS will be available with three engines: a 272-hp 2.0-liter turbo four; a 321-hp 3.6-liter V6; and a 420-hp 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6. All three engines have aluminum blocks and heads.
Honda is an engine company.
According to Sandor Piszar, Chevrolet truck marketing director, “We engineer and build our trucks with customers’ expectations in mind.”
While Ford has reset the stakes in the light-duty pickup market with the aluminum-intensive F-150, that’s not the whole story of what they’ve done to this new generation of America’s best-selling vehicle.