2013 Cadillac ATS and Chevy Trailblazer caught testing in UAE
Pre-production cars seen pounding up and down Jebel Hafeet
By Shahzad Sheikh
Yesterday morning we caught a convoy of GM cars at Jebel Hafeet engaged in hot weather testing. The cars immediately caught our attention whilst we were there doing a separate shoot, especially the very handsome Cadillac ATS, which clearly has a lot of road presence.
The Jebel Hafeet road is around 12km long and rises over 1200m with more than 20 corners, and with temperatures rising up to 50 degrees centigrade in the summer, it’s a popular place for manufacturers to conduct endurance testing on pre-production cars, particularly for cooling systems under duress.
We did wonder if we’d see some new test cars before we went out early yesterday. Sure enough we found these parked at the car park at the top.
The ATS is going on sale in the US now, and is likely to launch here at the end of this year. It is a compact saloon that will fit under the CTS, aimed at rivalling the BMW 3 series and Mercedes C-Class, as a rear-drive saloon initially but also likely to be offered as a coupe later. Prices in the US start at $34k rising to $42k for the range-topper.
Based on the new Alpha platform, it will be offered with 200bhp 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, a 2.0 Turbo with 270bhp and a 3.6-litre V6 offering 318bhp wit six-speed autos and manuals available in the US market. Here in the Middle East we will be getting the V6 model and these cars were badged as 3.6.
Of course that still leaves the possibility of a V8-powered ‘V’ spec version. Although recent reports suggest a supercharged or turbocharged V6 might be employed putting out nearly 400bhp.
We saw the cars on a couple of runs and they didn’t look as if they were struggling all. We don’t know what engines these cars were running but the black one in particular made a meaty growl as it stormed past us.
Both cars have a substantial look about them, and don’t appear any smaller than the CTS in the metal. They feature strong, sharp lines and solid profiles, with a nose down, tail-up stance. The black car looked particularly mean with the contrast between the chrome highlights and the day time running lights which are cleverly employed to accentuate the front angular front styling.
The Trailblazer was certainly a less distinctive and dramatic car to look at, but this second generation car was displayed at the Dubai Motor Show last year. A body-on-frame construction, this is based on the 2012 Chevrolet Colorado pick-up truck recently launched in some markets, and which our own Imthishan, drove in Thailand at the launch.
At the show the SUV was said to be equipped with either a 2.8-litre four-cylinder, 177bhp or 2.5-litre 150bhp diesel engines. However these cars were badged V6 VVT, which is the 3.6, so it looks like the Trailblazer will be getting a petrol-powered V6 for the GCC market.