Cadillac ATS-V Turbo V6 or Supercharged V8

The Cadillac ATS-V needs to bring the power to put the BMW M3 away.  The Cadillac ATS-V will bring an exciting engine for the new Cadillac track star — we just don’t know which one yet.

Cadillac ATS Exterior

Cadillac ATS Exterior

The Cadillac CTS-V uses the LSA supercharged 6.2L V8.  This engine makes 556 hp in the CTS-V.  The Camaro ZL1 uses a modified version of the LSA engine, tuned to 580 hp.  We may reasonably see this modified variant in next year’s redesigned CTS-V as well, at 580 hp.

2010 6.2L V8 SC LSA LoR


The Camaro ZL1 is down on power compared to its arch rival the GT500, which makes 662 hp.  The ZL1 is a better overall package, but I am hoping GM Powertrain brings the power for the next iteration of the LSA and hits 700 hp.  A powered up CTS-V also gives more head-room for a powered up ATS-V.

Cadillac ATS-V – Turbo V6?

The ‘missing’ engine is the Turbo 3.6L coming as an engine for the 2014 CTS.  We don’t know the exact output for this engine yet, and it will likely arrive in several states of tune.  Rumors have been all over the place — 450 hp for an initial show car, down to 425 hp for production, and up to 475 hp.

A maximum effort ATS-V version of a turbo V6 engine could be tuned for 480 hp and still leave room for a slightly heavier CTS-V  with a 580 hp V8.  But besides avoiding  sibling rivalry, will that be enough for the Cadillac ATS-V?

Sizing the Competition

How much power does the Cadillac ATS-V really need?  The 2014 BMW M3 is the logical target.  The current M3 uses a 414 hp V8.  The next M3 is rumored to equip a tuned turbo V6, for 430-450 hp.  BMW manages to under-rate their engines; so when matching it is best to plan for an extra 25-35 hp for equivalent.  A good target for the Cadillac ATS-V powerplant then is BMW 450 +30 equivalent + 50 better or 530 hp.

And ding ding we have a 556 hp LSA engine available that can be slotted for the ATS-V.  Give the CTS-V a power-up to a 650-700 hp version that the Camaro ZL1 needs, and there is head room to give the ATS-V the current LSA.

If GM Powertrain can bring the same power range (500-530 hp) in the Turbo V6 of course, all the better…


3 thoughts on “Cadillac ATS-V Turbo V6 or Supercharged V8

  1. The obvious choice is never between a Bi-turbo V6 and the LSA Supercharged V8.

    The obvious choice is between a Bi-turbo V6 and a Naturally Aspirated DI V8 from the C7 Corvette. This allows clear distinction between the ATS-V and the CTS-V in the same manner that there was a clear distinction between the C55 and E55 AMG — the latter having a supercharged version of the powerplant the former did not.

    The Bi-turbo V6 is already being developed for various GM vehicles as a counter to Ford’s Ecoboost V6. The “Gen V” Pushrod V8 is already being developed for the 2014 Corvette (C7) and the next generation of GM trucks and SUVs. So both engines exist in some form albiet not the exact configuration that an ATS-V will use.

    The V6 (LF3) as it is being developed for the other vehicles displaces 3.0 liters and produces around 350~380 hp. It may have a slight fuel economy advantage although this remains to be proven. However, it is likely to be heavier and more expensive than the V8, while producing somewhat less power than what can be expected from the M3 and C-class AMG cars.

    The V8 will be a new generation powerplant which offers amongst other things direct injection. If displacing 6.2 liters will produce around 450~480 hp and better fuel economy than the current NA V8 engine LS3. It will also be lighter and less expensive. Output will be more inline with what’s needed to be competitve with the competition but it may suffer from higher displacement taxes in markets that have them.

    From a performance standpoint, the V8 has the clear advantage. Being cheaper doesn’t hurt either. From a fuel economy standpoint the picture isn’t quite as clear. The best case fuel economy numbers for the V6 Bi-turbo will be slightly worse than the Naturally Aspirated V6; approximately 18 / 27 MPG given the 19 / 28 MPG rating of the NA V6. The worst case fuel economy numbers for the V8 will be slightly better than the current port injected LS3 V8; approximately 17 / 25 MPG given the 16/24 MPG rating of the Camaro SS V8. Of course this is best case vs worst case, so it may end up being a wash if the extreme spread in results is not realized.

  2. We’ll see. The last rumor I heard was that the 3L V6 Turbo got simplified out as no mpg advantage compared to the more powerful 3.6L V6 TT.

    I like the LSA in the ATS-V but could make it TOO close to the CTS-V, so the normally aspirated Next Gen V8 does seem a logical middle road.

    I would like to see the ATS-V at 550+ hp and the CTS-V at 650+ hp though.

  3. The DI 3.0 Liter (LF1) was dropped from the lineup because there was no tangible fuel economy benefit in the applications it was employed in over the DI 3.6 liter (LLT) engine. However, it’s block archiecture survived and the recently updated DI 3.6 liter (LFX) uses the integrated exhaust collector from the LF1 — it has one exhaust port outlet per side and the heads have a built-in 3:1 collector.

    However, the LF3 engine the was being developed was based on the 3.0 bore and stroke because the 3.6 bore (94mm) leaves a 9mm thick cylinder wall which is a little weak for forced induction whereas the 3.0 bore (89mm) leaves a very robust 14 mm wall. At 120hp/liter a 3.0 LF3 will make about 360 hp and be roughly the equal of the Ford Ecoboost 3.5. At 135 hp.liter with a higher boost pressure it is will make about 405hp. As an engine for SUVs and heavier cars such as the next Gen CTS or the XTS, the 360hp output level and a very broad and linear torque curve is ideal. For a sports car higher output may be more desirable even if it means a little more lag. In anycase, the engines will have to be different because the size of turbochargers and their intercoolers needed will be substantially different.

    Based on a retention of the current 6.2 liter displacement, the addition of Direct Injection and a consequent 1 point jump in compression, we can expect a 9% increase in output from the current engine. This puts the Gen V V8 at approximately 469 hp.

    Cylinder Deactivation, Variable cam phasing will also be present on at least some versions of the Gen V engine although it is not apparently clear if the Sports Car version will receive them.

    The LSA we probably be phased out in favor of a supercharged version of the Gen V series as there is no intent to retain the Gen IV engines in production once the lines switch over.

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