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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cadillac Working on Softtop Convertible to Slot Between the ATS and CTS

April 28, 2011 at 3:37pm by Jens Meiners

After ending production of the XLR following the 2009 model year, Cadillac is planning to re-enter the convertible market with a distinctly different approach. Twice, Cadillac has aimed high, first with the Pininfarina-bodied Allanté that went out of production in 1993, and then with the XLR, a folding-hardtop roadster that shared much of its architecture with the Chevrolet Corvette.

Burned by weak sales of these expensive boutique models, Cadillac will bring its next convertible in at a much lower price. It will be based on the upcoming Alpha platform, which underpins both the 2013 ATS compact sedan and the next-generation CTS. The new convertible won’t just be an open-top ATS, though. Instead, it will be positioned between the ATS and the CTS and have unique styling that sets it apart from both models. Think of it as the equivalent of the Audi A5 convertible.

There is one important aspect which the new convertible shares with the A5 cabrio: It will have a softtop. The luxury-convertible segment is split on this issue: The Audi, the upcoming Cadillac, and the Mercedes-Benz E-class cabriolet sport fabric roofs. On the other side of the fence are the convertible versions of the BMW 3-series, the Lexus IS, and the Infiniti G37, all equipped with folding hardtops. While this style of retractable roof eats up trunk space and adds substantial weight, it does give onlookers something to gawp at when the complex mechanism begins the transformation from coupe to convertible and vice versa. As enthusiasts, we’re fans of the lighter cloth-top approach—though we do understand the all-season appeal of folding metal for some folks.

Engine choices for the new Cadillac convertible are not clear at this point, but the platform could potentially host anything from a turbocharged four to V-6 and V-8 engines. Look for the new car to be launched in late 2013 for the 2014 model year.

Tags: Cadillac, Cadillac ATS, Cadillac CTS, convertibles |

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