It was 2012 when Cadillac launched the ATS, its first-ever compact sedan, in an attempt to enter a market dominated by the likes of the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. But with the luxury brand set to expand even more by the end of the decade, it seems the ATS will remain the smallest vehicle of the Cadillac stable only until 2016, when the manufacture will reportedly introduce an even smaller sedan. Likely dubbed CT2, according to Cadillac’s new naming strategy, the compact four-door will walk in the footsteps of its bigger brother by entering a segment packed with German-built, premium cars. This time around, however, Cadillac will be targeting compacts such as the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class and the Audi A3 Sedan, both of which have been received with great enthusiasm in the U.S.

While the upcoming CT2 is nothing more than a trademark registered with the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office at this point, the company’s current strategy provides a great deal of info as to what this compact might bring to the market. From the already familiar design language seen on the CTS, the new in-car technology, to the powerful, yet still efficient 2.0-liter four-banger, the CT2 is far from being a mystery. I expect the new sedan, which will slot below the ATS, to debut in early 2016 and reach U.S. dealerships for the 2017 model year.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2017 Cadillac CT2.

  • 2017 Cadillac CT2
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • 0-60 time:
    6 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    30000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Rendering

2017 Cadillac CT2 Exclusive Renderings
- image 614176

Exterior

Although the CT2 is just a mere sketch for us as of January 2015, its exterior design will be based on Cadillac’s current style language, which debuted on the CTS and trickled down to the smaller ATS. Slotted below the ATS, soon to be renamed CT3 according to Cadillac’s new naming strategy, the CT2 will essentially look like a shrunken ATS with slightly reshaped body panels, and shorter overhangs and wheelbase.

Expect the CT2 to sport quasi-identical headlamps and grille up front, with minor differences in the apron area, and similar taillights and trunklid area around back. The waistline and the lower body creases should carry over from the ATS. However, I expect this new compact to have a less sporty appearance overall due to its smaller dimensions and angular cues. I’d dare say it will look rather boxy compared to the ATS.

Interior

The interior of the CT2 should also mirror the ATS’, with its focus on luxury, convenience, and segment-leading rear legroom. Expect plenty of leather, wood, and aluminum surfaces, Caddy’s familiar handcrafted, cut-and-sewn upholstery, and the latest in terms of connectivity. A revised CUE infotainment system should find its way into the CT2, along with OnStar 4G LTE connectivity with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and an optional Bose premium audio system. The company’s Active Noise Cancellation system will come standard, helping to make the CT2’s interior one of the quietest in the segment.

Naturally, a host of options will allow customers to customize their sedans even further, but it remains to be seen whether the CT2 will be able to match the Mercedes-Benz CLA in that department.

Drivetrain

A lot may change in Cadillac’s engine lineup before the CT2 goes into production, but the turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-banger now offered in the ATS seems to be the most likely candidate for the company’s smallest sedan. The unit generates 272 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque in the ATS, but it’s not yet known whether Cadillac will detune it for the CT2 or not. Either way, the brand will likely want the CT2 to be more quick and powerful and than the Mercedes-Benz CLA, currently the most successful vehicle in this segment.

Should Cadillac use the exact same engine in the ATS, expect the compact to need less than six seconds to sprint from 0 to 60 mph, and go to a top speed of 149 mph. Transmission choices will include a manual and an automatic.

While everything above is speculation, we do know for a fact that the CT2 will ride on a rear-wheel-drive platform. Yes, it will be the only RWD sedan in its segment, a feat Cadillac’s marketing department will hype to great extent. What’s important here though is that RWD enthusiasts will finally get a third option besides the already familiar front- and all-wheel-drive platform.

Prices

With the current ATS priced from $33,215, it’s safe to assume the base CT2 will fetch less than $30K before options. In fact, expect it to be cheaper than its main rivals in the U.S. — the Audi A3 Sedan and the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, which retail from $29,900 and $31,500, respectively.

Competition

Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

2014 - 2015 Mercedes CLA-Class High Resolution Exterior
- image 489080

Introduced in 2013, the CLA-Class has been met with great enthusiasm in the U.S., with the initial allocation for North America selling out in a matter of months. With montly deliveries surpassing 2,000 units on a regular basis, the CLA will be the car to beat once the CT2 arrives in dealerships. For 2015, the "four-door coupe" is available only as the CLA250, meaning it’s motivated by the company’s turbocharged, 2.0-liter, inline-four engine. Rated at 208 ponies and 258 pound-feet and mated to a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission, the four-banger propels the CLA from 0 to 60 in 6.9 seconds.

Although only available in front-wheel-drive as of January 2015, the CLA250 will receive a 4MATIC all-wheel-drive options later in the year. Pricing starts from $29,900 and goes into the $40,000 range once all the optional packages are added.

Audi A3 Sedan

2015 Audi A3 Sedan High Resolution Exterior
- image 499263

Also unveiled in 2013, the A3 Sedan crossed the pond to the U.S. in early 2014 as the only premium competitor to the Mercedes CLA. Essentially a shrunken A4 designed for crowded cities, the A3 is as luxurious as its bigger brother and comes with the company’s latest in terms of technology and convenience, including the MMI operating system and a Bang & Olufsen sound system.

Unlike its rivals, the A3 can be had with one of three engines, starting with the 170-horsepower, 200-pound-feet 1.8-liter TFSI. With this unit under the hood, the sedan charges from 0 to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds. More oomph comes from the 2.0-liter TFSI unit, which cranks out 220 ponies and 258 pound-feet. 0-to-60 drops to only 5.2 seconds, thanks to the extra 50 horses and 58 pound-feet. Lastly, customers looking for great fuel economy above anything else can go with the 2.0-liter TDI. Rated at 150 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, the diesel A3 might be slower than its gasoline siblings from naught to 60 mph, at 8.1 seconds, but its EPA estimates (31 mpg city/43 mpg highway) make it the most efficient vehicle in its class.

Pricing for the A3 Sedan starts from only $29,900, but jumps to at least $38,350 once the range-topping Prestige trims are selected.

Conclusion

Although it will take a couple more years to find out whether the CT2 is able to give its German competitors a run for their money, it’s safe to assume the compact sedan represents a big step for the brand in its long-term strategy to play with the big boys of the premium market. Meanwhile, RWD enthusiasts can start celebrating the arrival of the first rear-wheel-drive sedan in this small, luxury niche.

  • Leave it
    • * The CLA is already off to a great start
    • * Tough segment
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