2016 Cadillac CTS-V Hits 200 mph with 640 hp. Track-capable from the factory, with sophisticated road manners

2016-cadillac-cts-v-artists-rendering-photo-585499-s-1280x782DETROIT – Cadillac today introduced the 2016 CTS-V, the most powerful product in the brand’s 112-year history and the newest entry in the elite class of the world’s highest-performing luxury cars.

Launching in late summer with 640 horsepower (477 kW), 630 lb-ft of torque (855 Nm) and a top speed of 200 mph, the new CTS-V reaches higher than its predecessors, leading Cadillac’s product-driven expansion and elevation. It is the third generation of the acclaimed luxury sports sedan that launched the elite V-Series a decade ago – and redefined Cadillac for a new generation of enthusiasts.

“V-Series represents the very best of the Cadillac brand – the pinnacle of our design and technical capabilities,” said Johan de Nysschen, Cadillac president. “The new CTS-V is the most compelling example of Cadillac’s product substance and brand trajectory. The new CTS-V soars into the stratosphere of the most exhilarating luxury cars.”

Comprehensive updates make the new CTS-V essentially two cars in one: a luxury sedan with sophisticated road manners and a track-capable sports car straight from the factory. It also introduces a new supercharged 6.2L V-8 engine backed by Cadillac’s paddle-shift eight-speed automatic transmission, featuring launch control and Performance Algorithm Shifting.

With more horsepower and torque than the Mercedes-Benz 5.5L biturbo V-8 and the BMW M-series 4.4L TwinPower (twin-turbo) V-8, the new CTS-V is capable of 0-60 performance in 3.7 seconds.

Track-honed design, chassis and suspension elements complement the supercharged powertrain and elevate CTS-V’s capability, performance and driver control to new thresholds, while enabling track driving without modifications or special procedures. Key performance technologies include:

  • Standard carbon fiber hood and available carbon fiber vent, front splitter, rear spoiler and rear diffuser for greater aerodynamic performance
  • Brembo high-performance brake system developed to provide durability, consistency and the capability for track-day performance straight from the factory
  • Third-generation Magnetic Ride Control delivering 40-percent faster damping response
  • Integrated chassis controls that provide balanced performance for touring and the track, including competition-spec Performance Traction Management
  • Structural stiffness increased by 25 percent for improved ride and superior handling
  • Driver-selectable modes electronically calibrate performance variables for touring, sport and track driving conditions
  • Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires with tri-compound technology offering excellent grip with extended wear
  • An interior with performance-oriented, sueded microfiber accents and matte-finish carbon fiber trim and available RECARO high-performance seats for spirited driving
  • Advanced safety and parking technologies, including a front curb-view camera system that provides a visual cue of curbs to protect the front splitter; automatic parking assist to find and steer into parallel or perpendicular parking spots; side blind zone alert, forward collision alert, lane keep assist and rear cross traffic alert.

Additionally, the Performance Data Recorder in the CTS-V allows drivers to record high-definition video, with data overlays, of their driving experiences on and off the track, enabling sharing on social media.

More powerful supercharged V-8 engine
The power behind the new CTS-V’s capability is an all-new, more powerful 6.2L supercharged V-8 engine that makes more power more efficiently than the previous Cadillac supercharged engine. It employs a more-efficient, more-compact 1.7L supercharger and matches it with direct injection and Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation).

The supercharger’s rotors are smaller in diameter than the previous supercharged engine, allowing higher maximum rpm that enables power-enhancing boost to be generated earlier in the rpm band. That boost is achieved more efficiently via a more direct discharge port that creates less turbulence, reducing heat and speeding airflow into the engine.

The Cadillac supercharged engine also has several unique features designed to support its high output and the greater cylinder pressures created by forced induction, including Rotocast A356T6 aluminum cylinder heads that are stronger and handle heat better than conventional aluminum heads, and lightweight titanium intake valves.

The CTS-V’s complementing eight-speed automatic is tuned for world-class shift-response times. Smaller steps between gears keep the engine within the sweet spot of the rpm band, making the most of the output of the supercharged engine for exhilarating performance and greater efficiency.

The new 8L90 transmission offers full manual control via steering wheel paddles, and Performance Algorithm Shifting to deliver shift performance that rivals the dual-clutch/semi-automatic transmissions found in many luxury performance sedans – but with the smoothness and refinement that come with a conventional automatic fitted with a torque converter.

Stronger structure enhances body motion control
The CTS’s structure is highly mass optimized and designed to meet higher performance requirements, with enhancements to the V-Series developed to respond to cornering and torque loads that significantly exceed the levels experienced by the non-V models.

Unique and revised elements include:

  • Strut tower-to-tower brace
  • Strut tower-to-plenum brace
  • V-braces for the engine compartment
  • Strengthened rocker bulkhead
  • Stronger rear cradle-to-rocker braces
  • A unique aluminum shear panel at the front of the chassis
  • Upper tie bar-to-bumper braces.

The enhancements bolster structural stiffness by 25 percent over non-V models, for more precise handling and steering – and a more confident feel from a vehicle that conveys strength through exceptional solidity.

“With the stronger body structure – and more than a decade of V-Series production models and the CTS-V racing program experience – engineers tuned the CTS-V to deliver greater body motion control for a more agile feel, while maintaining excellent ride quality,” said David Leone, Cadillac executive chief engineer. “The result is class-leading capability on the highway or track, balanced with luxury and refinement.”

Track-honed chassis and suspension
The CTS-V shares the same 114.6-inch (2,910 mm) wheelbase as the CTS non-V-Series models, but has wider front and rear footprints that enhance grip, reduce body motion and contribute to more direct-feeling steering.

Nineteen-inch wheels wrapped with specially developed Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires give the CTS-Vits footprint and enable nearly 1g in lateral acceleration. The lightweight, forged aluminum wheels – measuring 9.5 inches wide in the front and 10 inches wide in the rear – are constructed of a low-mass forging that helps reduce un-sprung weight for greater agility and a more direct feel to steering inputs.

The wheels are 45-percent stiffer than previous CTS-V wheels, while the Michelin tires feature a tri-compound tread that delivers excellent grip in performance driving situations, while offering excellent ride quality characteristics and extended tread wear.

Additional contributors to the CTS-V’s responsive, connected and track-capable driving experience include:

  • A revised multi-link double-pivot MacPherson-strut front suspension delivers a quicker response and increased lateral control, incorporating “hydro” bushings, where traditional elastomeric bushings are replaced with zero-compliance cross-axis ball joints, higher-rate springs and a stiffer stabilizer bar – for 20-percent greater roll stiffness
  • The ZF Steering Systems Servotronic II variable-ratio electric power steering gear, with 14-percent greater system stiffness for an improved feeling of precision and greater driver feedback
  • Cadillac’s five-link rear suspension features reduced roll center migration, stronger lateral control and effective anti-squat geometry, complementing the front suspension with greater body motion control. Contributing components include stiffer bushings, new cradle mounts, higher-rate springs and a stiffer stabilizer bar
  • A standard electronic limited-slip differential supports optimal traction and enables maximum corner exit acceleration
  • Larger prop shafts and greater half-shaft asymmetry (stiffer driver’s side shaft) mitigate power hop during acceleration
  • A Brembo brake system provides durability, consistency and the capability for track-day performance. The system includes two-piece 15.3-inch-diameter (390 mm) front rotors with staggered six-piston calipers and 14.3-inch-diamter (365 mm) rear rotors with four-piston calipers.

Also, the CTS-V features third-generation Magnetic Ride Control and Performance Traction Management. Four driver-selectable settings – Tour, Sport, Track and Snow – electronically calibrate performance variables to optimize the car for driving conditions. Performance Traction Management is offered in Track mode and features five settings of torque reduction and brake intervention for track driving.

Magnetic Ride Control “reads” the road a thousand times per second, sending data to magneto-rheological fluid-filled dampers that can independently control the damping characteristics of all four dampers. Third-generation improvements enable 40-percent faster damping response. At 60 mph, the third-generation magnetic ride control system calculates the optimal damping force for every inch of the road.

Functional form
Almost every exterior panel on the CTS-V is unique, from the fascias and fenders, to the hood, rear spoiler and rocker moldings – and each was designed to support the car’s capability, contributing to lift reduction, enhanced cooling or both.

The unique elements include:

  • A lightweight carbon fiber hood featuring an air-extracting vent that pulls hot air out of the engine compartment and helps reduce lift at speed by channeling air pulled through the radiator out and over the top of car rather than allowing trapped air to exit under the car
  • Unique front and rear fascias provide optimal aero performance, with larger grille openings in the front fascia to feed more air to the supercharged engine. Even the mesh pattern of the signature grille openings is enlarged to allow more air into the radiator and multiple heat exchangers
  • A front splitter enhances handling by forcing air to push down on the front of the car rather than flow under it, where it can cause lift
  • Wider fenders to accommodate the wide, 19-inch wheels and Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires
  • The rocker moldings and rear spoiler are aero-optimized
  • The forged aluminum wheels and brake calipers are offered in three finishes, allowing owners to personalize the appearance of the CTS-V.

An available Carbon Fiber package takes aero performance and mass optimization to higher levels. The Carbon Fiber package includes a more aggressive front splitter, hood vent, rear diffuser and spoiler.

V-Series is the emotive core of Cadillac and the apex of the brand’s Art and Science design philosophy,” said Andrew Smith, executive director, Cadillac Global Design. “The CTS-V reflects that with a bold sense of arrival, serious performance, seamless integration of technology and precision in its craftsmanship. The exposed carbon fiber components, for example, are book-matched on the centerline for a more precise, tailored appearance.”

Performance-focused cabin
The CTS-V’s dual-purpose capability carries over to the interior, where the design and relationship of key components are focused expressly on performance-driving ergonomics.

“With the performance the new CTS-V is capable of delivering, the interior needs to be as functional as the other vehicle systems,” said Smith. “All of the contact points – the steering wheel, seats, shifter and pedals – are designed to make performance driving experiences direct and intuitive.”

The CTS-V features standard 20-way performance-oriented heated and ventilated front seats trimmed in semi-aniline leather, with sueded microfiber inserts and seatbacks. Available RECARO performance front seats deliver aggressive, adjustable bolsters that help hold the driver and front passenger in place during high-load cornering. They also have a luxury-performance feel, trimmed in Mulan leather with sueded microfiber inserts and seatbacks.

Additional features include Cadillac’s cut-and-sew elements, with decorative stitching and authentic materials such as available sueded steering wheel and shift knob. Three color combinations are offered: Jet Black, Jet Black with Light Platinum accents and Saffron with Jet Black accents.

The CTS-V features a unique version of the 12.3-inch instrument panel cluster display, with V-Series graphics and distinctive gauge readouts and complementing full-color, reconfigurable head-up display. It is also equipped with the latest connectivity technologies from Cadillac:

  • CUE with Bluetooth connectivity with natural voice recognition
  • Navigation with Bose Surround Sound audio
  • Siri Eyes Free and text-to-voice that converts incoming text messages to speech and reads them over the audio system speakers
  • Wireless inductive phone charging
  • OnStar 4G LTE connectivity with built-in Wi-Fi hotspot.

The Performance Data Recorder is controlled via CUE’s color touch screen, and recordings can be reviewed on the screen when the vehicle is parked.

The Backstory of Cadillac’s New Massage Chairs

article.articleDETROIT – No time today to make it to the spa or schedule a visit with the massage therapist, no problem. On two 2015 models, Cadillac is offering front driver and passenger seats that can knead, roll and relax your back as you drive. An anti-fatigue option is also offered for the driver.

The 22-way adjustable heated and ventilated seats now have a luxury option with a massage seat that works in the upper shoulder area, back lumbar or cushion.

“Many Americans have the common misconception that massage is just a luxurious way to relax. The benefits of massage are actually wide-ranging, especially for those that work that monotonous daily grind behind a desk or the wheel of car,” said Dr. Leena S. Guptha, board chair, National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.

While the seat is unable to provide the same experience as a trained practitioner, it can at least offer some comfort for a driver and passenger.

“This feature gives customers another way to improve their drive,” said Elizabeth Hayes, General Motors engineering group manager. “Once a massage setting is stored, a driver simply has to push the button and engage the luxury option. It is our goal to always find ways to make getting from point A to point B a little more pleasant.”

How it works
The massage seats’ settings can be stored in the car’s memory like the seat positions. With a toggle switch or activation button, both on the outboard base of the seats, the driver and front seat passenger can direct the illustration of adjustments on the infotainment screen. The desired massage and intensity can both be controlled from the screen.

Once the optimal massage is found, the driver can save the kneading, rolling or anti-fatigue setting by pressing the memory button on the door. Reactivation can then occur by simply pushing the button on the seat base.

The massage seat is available on the XTS Premium and Platinum Collections and on the Escalade Platinum Collection.

About The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB)

The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) is an independent, private, nonprofit organization that fosters the highest standards of ethical and professional practice through a nationally-recognized Board Certification credential. NCBTMB’s Board Certification is the highest voluntary credential attainable in the massage therapy and bodywork profession, demonstrating a deeper commitment to the profession, the public, and employers with more education, hands-on experience, passing a thorough background check, and maintaining a current CPR certification. NCBTMB’s Board Certification program is accredited by the National Commission for Certified Agencies (NCCA)—a national, non-governmental, public protection and standards-setting organization. For more information on NCBTMB or Board Certification, please visit www.ncbtmb.org.

Cadillac Adds Streaming Video to Enhance Driver Vision and Safety

Display eliminates visual obstructions, increases rearward vision by 300 percent

DETROIT – Cadillac late next year will add high-resolution streaming video to the function of a traditional rearview mirror, removing obstructions of passengers, headrests and the vehicle’s roof and rear pillars.

The streaming video mirror improves field of vision by an estimated 300 percent, or roughly four times greater than a standard rearview mirror.

“The closest comparison to this kind of rear vision would be driving a convertible with the top down,” said Travis Hester, Cadillac CT6 executive chief engineer.

“In addition to the increased field of view, the technology eliminates any rear seat, rear pillar or passenger obstructions, allowing the driver an unimpeded view of the lanes behind and traditional blind-spots,” Hester said.

Thanks to a high dynamic range, the camera’s video feed reduces glare and allows a crisper image in low-light situations, versus a traditional glass electrochromatic, or auto-dimming, rearview mirror. The in-mirror display is an industry-leading 1280 by 240-pixel TFT-LCD display with 171 pixels per inch, combined with a HD camera designed specifically to enhance rear view lane width and maximize low-light situations.

A water-shedding hydrophobic coating is applied to the camera to keep it clean to maintain visibility regardless of the driving conditions.

Researchers and engineers working on this Cadillac innovation have been awarded 10 patents – one for the streaming video mirror and nine for video processing. The patents cover innovations in the wide field of view camera image calibration, de-warping, glare reduction and camera hardware design.

Drivers can disable the mirror’s video streaming function; flipping the toggle on the underside of the mirror will revert it to a traditional electrochromatic rearview mirror.

“The streaming video is a significant enhancement for the luxury customer interested in purposeful technology,” Hester said.

The technology will debut on the 2016 Cadillac CT6.

Corvette Engine Repeats Win as WardsAuto 10 Best 6.2L LT1 among industry’s elite powerplants

1418156839916DETROIT – The high performance, technology-packed LT1 Small Block 6.2L V8 that powers the 2015 Corvette Stingray is a Ward’s 10 Best Engine for 2015. The engine also was recognized with this award in 2014.

WardsAuto reviewed 37 engines and propulsion systems from 12 manufacturers in this year’s competition, which looked at power, fuel efficiency, new technology and refinement and compared the attributes with data for similar engines.

“This recognition is another step in earning customers for life,” said Dan Nicholson, vice president, GM Global Powertrain. Having the WardsAuto experts choose the LT1 as one of the best in the industry two years in a row is proof of what this Powertrain team can deliver – uncompromised performance, durability and efficiency that helps make the Stingray one of the best sports cars in the world today.”

The LT1 Small Block technologies contribute to making the new Corvette the quickest, most powerful and most fuel-efficient standard Corvette ever. The engine delivers an SAE-certified 460 horsepower, helping propel the car from 0-60 in 3.8 seconds and a quarter mile in 12 seconds while offering EPA-estimated 29 mpg highway with an 8-speed automatic or 7-speed manual transmission.

“The 6.2L LT1 V-8 is the heart and soul of the seventh-generation Chevrolet Corvette, and it proudly upholds the 60-year legacy of small-block engines from General Motors,” said Tom Murphy, executive editor of WardsAuto World digital magazine. “This one’s been re-engineered from head to torque converter, and the LT1 is the crown jewel of this massive engine family.”

“In the Corvette, this 460-hp V-8 barks with authority, delivering an exhaust note reminiscent of Detroit’s finest muscle cars. And it’s efficient, too. WardsAuto editors flogging the ‘Vette for more than 300 miles managed better than 20 mpg with the new 8-speed automatic.”

The LT1, part of the Gen 5 family of Small Block engines, combines several advanced technologies – direct injection, Active Fuel Management, or cylinder deactivation, and continuously variable valve timing – to support an advanced combustion system.

Direct injection is a primary contributor to greater combustion efficiency by ensuring a more complete burn of the fuel in the air-fuel mixture. This is achieved by precisely controlling the mixture motion and fuel injection spray pattern. Direct injection also keeps the combustion chamber cooler, which allows for a higher compression ratio.

Increased power and efficiency result from more than 10 million hours of computational analysis including computational fluid dynamics, to make the most of the combustion system, the direct injection fuel system, active fuel management and variable valve timing systems that support it. The combustion system itself benefited from 6 million hours of dedicated CPU analysis time.

Other variants of the Gen 5 Small Block include the 4.3L V6, 5.3L and 6.2L V8 truck engines offered in the Chevrolet Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe, the GMC Sierra pickups, Yukon XL and Cadillac Escalade SUVs. The LT1 is manufactured in Tonawanda, N.Y.

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.5 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

GM Invests In Next Gen Volt and ‘Two Future Products’

General Motors has said it will not be caught behind in automotive propulsion electrification, and today it again backed that statement with substantial investments for its Chevrolet Volt and “two future products” yet to be revealed.

The company said it will invest $449 million to upgrade processes at its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly and Brownstown Battery Assembly plants.

This is the largest infusion of cash to these facilities to date, GM said. The breakout is $384 million for new body shop tooling, equipment, and additional plant upgrades at Detroit-Hamtramck, and $65 million for the next generation of lithium-ion battery production and future battery systems at Brownstown.


“General Motors is committed to building award-winning products and developing technologies in America, which helps to grow our economy from a resurgent auto industry,” said Gerald Johnson, GM North America Manufacturing vice president. “These investments will help the next-generation Chevrolet Volt build on its position as the leader in electrified propulsion.”

General Motors points out that Detroit-Hamtramck is “the world’s only automotive plant that mass-produces extended-range electric vehicles.”

Said vehicles are of course, the Volt, Cadillac ELR, and Opel/Vauxhall Amperas. These vehicles, particularly the Volt and its Ampera siblings, are marketed to 33 countries. Also built at Dham are the Chevrolet Malibu and Impala.

The Detroit-Hamtramck facility has on site a 264,000-square-foot photovoltaic solar array that can generate up to 516 kilowatts of electricity which is enough to charge 150 electric vehicles per day.


GM’s Brownstown Battery Assembly plant is a 479,000-square-foot, landfill-free facility south of Detroit that assembles the lithium-ion battery packs for the Volt, Ampera, and ELR. Production there started in October 2010.

The automaker says it is “the first high-volume manufacturing site in the U.S. operated by a major automaker for automotive lithium-ion battery production.”

Funding that made the Brownstown site a reality came through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding through the U.S. Department of Energy.

While GM is focusing on its current Volt, it did utter a few words as to the intent of its investments that speak volumes: “to build the next generation Chevrolet Volt and two future products.”

Speculation – some of it ambiguous and questionable – has been that more models may be announced in due time based on Voltec technology.

The hint was in the air today, as even Detroit’s mayor alluded to future product not yet revealed.

“This is a significant investment by General Motors and it helps to further position Detroit as a leader in the innovative technologies of tomorrow,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “We anticipate that the upgrading of the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant and the production of GM’s next-generation electric vehicles will create well-paying jobs for Detroiters. As we continue to bring real change to our city, we need partners like GM who are committed to investing in our future.”

Preparing For The Decade Ahead

Leaders including Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder were on hand to show support for job creation and economic stimulus being pumped in by GM, but advanced-tech car enthusiasts have been wondering whether GM will be left behind.


GM has been seen by some as less than fully committed as it has no full hybrids, only markets its all-electrc Spark for now in Oregon and California, and does not advertise the “niche” Volt much at all outside of California.

The $76,000-plus ELR was also seen by many as a weak response to the Tesla Model S.

While it looks like a tepid vehicle offering to some, that may be a bit harsh. The Volt enjoys an enormous fan base with owners taking it upon themselves to try and help GM’s marketers in getting the word out.

Somehow infighting between alternative vehicle fans has broken out even at this early stage. In part this has stifled or counteracted the enthusiasm and those for whom the Volt is not their cup of tea have spoken strongly against it and its maker.

GM’s official strategy has been to not display its hand, not hype its future, and some have taken this a vote of little or no confidence by GM in electrification.

Compared to companies like Tesla Motors and Nissan, both of which are bullish in their own right on EVs, some have said GM needs to show more enthusiasm.

Even with today’s announcement, “future” cars are not being named other than the already known of Volt. But to count GM out or a “second tier” player as some who’ve been fans but now losing the faith have said, this could be a mistake.


Obviously it would be more exciting for GM to all-of-a-sudden become gung-ho about future tech and start announcing more vehicles in the works.

GM’s strategy is different, but its engineering capabilities are strong. It has a massive battery lab, and global skunk works projects underway, and it is positioned to do things when it wants to.

Whether top management of the large multinational corporation decides to implement what it is capable of does remain in question.

GM otherwise says it will be there with Tesla when the start up actually has its mass market “Gen 3″ car that itself has been delayed from projections of 2015 to now maybe 2017 or so.

This electrified vehicle market is growing – not exploding, but incrementally growing. So for GM, people can either write it off as we’ve seen some saying they’re inclined to do, or they can wait and see what’s next.

2016 Chevrolet Volt Technical First Look A Closer Look at the Volt’s Radical Redo

2016-Chevy-Volt-1Some 69,000 of what marketing director Steve Majoros describes as “the happiest owners on earth” have already racked up 650 million electric miles on their Chevy Volts, and the 2011 model currently ranks tops in class on J.D. Power’s Dependability index. So we were expecting a steady-as-she-goes evolutionary redesign for the 2016 Volt. But what the development team calls the Gen II Volt will be far more radically redesigned than was the Gen II Prius. The entire drivetrain, power controller, battery, and virtually everything connecting the above has been redesigned, right down to the battery chemistry. The only carryover powertrain part is a little yellow shipping cap used to cover the attachment point for the shift linkage (and it gets thrown away at the factory). These new bits will get bolted into brand new bodywork too, but we won’t see that until January’s Detroit show.

The revisions are aimed at increasing performance and range at reduced cost. Despite the fact that most customers do their level dangdest to never fire the 1.4-liter engine, it has been swapped out for an all-new 1.5-liter I-4 from a new modular EcoTec small-engine architecture, featuring direct injection, 12.5:1 compression, cooled exhaust-gas recirculation, and cam phasing with wide-range authority to permit Atkinson-cycle operation. This more powerful and torquier engine is so much smoother and more refined that it can run at up to 5600 rpm (the old one was capped at 4800 rpm to tame the din). Official figures haven’t been released, but at a previous event for the EcoTec engine family, the 1.5 was listed at 112 hp and 104 lb-ft (up from the old one’s 84 hp and estimated 92 lb-ft). A new variable-displacement oil pump boosts efficiency, and it’s tuned to run on regular gas. Oh, and it will be built in Flint Michigan.

Further packaging improvements and mass reductions are being achieved by integrating the Traction Power Inverter Module and controller electronics onto the housing for the electric motors and transmission. This eliminates the big orange cables that used to connect the body-mounted controller to the transmission. This change, and the nature of ever-shrinking microelectronics, wrought a 60-percent volume reduction in the power electronics and helps the powertrain shed 100 pounds.

But the real kicker is the complete redesign of the guts of this transmission. Instead of having one big honker electric machine providing virtually all of the drive force through a single planetary gearset, there are now two separate motors of slightly different designs with different peak operating ranges. This allows them to work alone or together depending on the driver’s demands in different modes to better optimize efficiency. The smaller one uses a ferrite material in lieu of pricey and scarce rare-earth metals, and the other one uses a rare-earth formula that’s less rich in the rarest heavy metals (this model uses 60 percent less rare-earth metals). Two planetary gearsets now manage the five different operating modes (up from four, as reflected by the transmission’s official nomenclature: 5ET50, replacing 4ET50). There’s 10 percent less steel in the two motors for a 33-pound weight savings.

Low-speed acceleration is said to be improved by 20 percent, while overall drivetrain efficiency increases by 12 percent. So let’s make some wild guesses here. Let’s say the new Volt uses 70 percent of the battery pack that we’re guessing jumps to 20.5 kW-hrs (up from the current Volt’s 60 percent). That would suggest the current Volt’s EPA-estimated EV range of 38 miles might jump to 53. Factor in the 12-percent drivetrain-efficiency boost and you’re at 59 miles. One promise: Some of these assumptions are wrong, and factory claims will likely be conservative, but a 50-mile range will have a nice round marketing ring to it. Stay tuned for more info in January, and a complete explanation of the nitty-gritty planetary details when an SAE paper is published in February.

Read more: http://www.motortrend.com/future/future_vehicles/2016_chevrolet_volt_technical_first_look/#ixzz3M5EvDc4f

GM Foundation Contributes $2.875 Million to Higher Education


DETROIT – The General Motors Foundation today announced grants totaling $2.875 million to support 29 leading universities and organizations across the country in 2014 through its University/Organization Partner Program.

The initiative provides funding to advance secondary education curricula in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM, information technology and other fields important to the automotive industry.

“The STEM workforce is and will continue to be a vital component in building communities and transforming our nation’s future,” said GM Foundation President Vivian Pickard. “By strengthening higher education programs and encouraging students to pursue STEM careers, we’re ensuring that the next generations of leaders and innovators will have the skills and education they’ll need to succeed and compete globally.”

The GM Foundation has awarded more than $13.7 million in grants through the University/Organization Partner Program since 2011. Through this annual program, the GM Foundation provides resources that help more students to graduate with STEM-related degrees. The funds also support design and manufacturing degree programs, diversity initiatives, student organizations and career development resources.

This year’s list of GM Foundation grant recipients is comprised of: Art Center College of Design, Brigham Young University, University of California-Berkeley, Cleveland Institute of Arts, University of Cincinnati, College for Creative Studies, Duke University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Kettering University, Lawrence Technological University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, University of Michigan, Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, National Black MBA Association, National Society of Black Engineers, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Puerto Rico, Purdue University, Ringling College of Art and Design, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Society of Women Engineers,Stanford University, University of Texas-Austin, United Negro College Fund (Howard University), and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Additional financial support for college students comes from the Buick Achievers Scholarship Program which is funded by the GM Foundation and is one of the largest scholarship programs in the country. Since its inception in 2011, Buick Achievers and has awarded $28 million to 3,400 students entering or attending college to study STEM and fields related to the auto industry. Special consideration is given to students who are female, minorities, first-generation college students, military veterans and military dependents, as well as students who excel in the classroom and give back to their communities.

About the GM Foundation
Since its inception in 1976, the GM Foundation has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to American charities, educational organizations and to disaster relief efforts worldwide. The GM Foundation focuses on supporting Education, Health and Human Services, the Environment and Community Development initiatives, mainly in the communities where GM operates. Funding of the GM Foundation comes solely from GM. The last contribution to the GM Foundation was made in 2001. For more information, visit www.gm.com/gmfoundation.

2015 GMC Canyon-Mid-size utility without the full-size commitment.

General Motors has done a remarkable job of keeping its GMC and Chevrolet truck brands unique, even though they share virtually identical DNA. Both brands maintain loyal customers, and through careful analysis of buyer demographics, the carmaker continues to nurture the success of both. Thus, it didn’t stray far from the path when it came time to launch its latest pair of near-identical twins, the mid-size GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado pickups. (You can read our first drive of the Colorado right here.)


No design barriers were broken with the Canyon, GMC wisely choosing to adhere to the same styling cues that keep buyers lining up for its full-size trucks. According to Tyler Moffett, creative designer for the Chevrolet trucks, his team went for the “Camaro of trucks” vibe with the Colorado, whereas the GMC guys went straight for the “shrunken-down Sierra” look. GMC made sure to bake in some tasty standard features along with the brand’s traditional squared-off profile to keep the cash train rolling for what is ostensibly the slightly more posh version of the twins.

Projector-beam headlamps with LED accent lighting, 16-inch aluminum wheels, and a chrome rear bumper with a step come standard across the Canyon board, even on the rock-bottom SL trim with its utilitarian 2.4-liter four-cylinder and six-speed manual. Despite the austerity implied by its name, the “Base” Canyon is actually placed above the SL in the Canyon’s trim hierarchy; both come equipped with a complement of standard features that would have been reserved for top-tier trucks just a decade ago: A/C, a tilt wheel, a power driver’s seat (recline is manual), power windows, a 4.2-inch center screen, a rearview camera, and six-speaker audio. Moving up to the SLE will get you all of the features in the base trim and add a tilt and telescopic wheel, an overhead console, cruise control, a rear defogger, keyless entry, some soft-touch plastics, an eight-inch touch screen with GMC IntelliLink, and more. The SLT approaches content overload, adding automatic climate control, remote start, leather-appointed seating, heated front seats, and power adjustment for the front passenger seat. But that’s just for starters. GMC has always been fond of its extensive options lists, and buyers won’t be disappointed here.


Not only smaller in stature than the Sierra, the Canyon is intended to feel less daunting around town and in parking lots, key to bringing folks who defected to crossovers back into the truck fold and to making newbies feel less intimidated. Wheeling through the narrow, cottage-lined streets of ocean-side Del Mar, California, it felt infinitely more wieldy than even the smallest full-size truck. Critics who contend that the long-bed Crew Cab Canyon is nearly the size of a Sierra Double Cab (224.6 inches long and 74.3 inches wide for the Canyon versus 229.5 and 80.0 for the Sierra) are advised to get behind the wheel and experience how shaving a few inches here and there can make a vehicle feel far smaller.

The same quiet cabin and smooth ride we experienced in the Colorado are present in the Canyon, two attributes missing from the current Toyota Tacoma and the departed Ford Ranger. Because of the GMC’s well-sorted chassis, Canyon owners will have no complaints at the end of high-mileage journeys. Unique to the Canyon is an automatic four-wheel-drive setting. Dubbed AutoTrac, it allows users to set it and forget it, letting the system engage four-wheel drive when conditions dictate. Particularly useful when inclement weather looms or when traveling through varied terrain, it had no ill effects on drivability and displayed no binding when we used it on dry pavement. Those serious about off-roading will want to remember that GMC calls its version of the off-road package the “All-Terrain Package” (Chevy’s is Z71). It brings an automatic-locking rear differential and tow hooks (both standard with four-wheel drive), hill-ascent and -descent control, a transfer-case shield, 17-inch 255/65 all-terrain tires, a body-color rear bumper, and some minor interior tweaks designed to keep things comfortable inside while roughing on the outside.

With an EPA fuel-economy rating of 17 mpg city and 24 highway for a truck equipped with the V-6 and four-wheel drive, the Canyon—and the Colorado, for that matter—may not have hit the efficiency home runsome were hoping for, but it still handily beats the Tacoma, and a diesel model is scheduled to arrive next year. And like its Chevy sibling, a Canyon equipped with the 3.6-liter V-6 and the $250 trailering package can tow 7000 pounds—at that cost, we wouldn’t leave home, er, the dealership, without it.

GM says the Canyon is the “premium truck in the segment,” which, given its distinct lack of competitors, is a bit like saying that Google is a popular search engine. Still, the brand has come to the table with a convincing package that hits all the right marks for a truck in an easy-to-manage package. The question is whether buyers in the mid-size-truck segment will pony up the premium simply for the privilege of associating with the more prestigious twin. View Photo Gallery

12 GM Models Make IIHS’ First-Ever List of Recommended Used Cars for Teens


DETROIT – The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety today named 12 models from current and former GM brands to its first-ever list of recommended used vehicles for teen drivers.

The group, supported by automobile insurance companies, released its recommended vehicles with the results of a new survey in which more than half of parents said their teens drive 2006 model year or earlier vehicles, fewer of which are equipped with features such as electronic stability control and side-impact air bags.

“We know many teens are driving the older, smaller vehicles in the family fleet are less likely to afford optimal crash protection,” said IIHS Senior Vice President for Research Anne Mccartt. “The vehicles from GM brands on our list provide teens with important safety features across all family budgets.”

IIHS did not recommend any brand’s mini or small cars, or high-horsepower vehicles.

“These IIHS recommendations will help guide our customers as they seek safe and affordable transportation for their young drivers,” said Alan Batey, president of GM North America. “The technologies that help inexperienced teen drivers in many cases avoid crashes are found on many of our late-model vehicles.”

GM brands were recommended in two categories – Best Choices ($20,000 and under) and Good Choices ($10,000 and under) – and include Chevrolet (three models), Buick (four models), GMC (two models) and the discontinued Saab (one) and Saturn (two) brands. Pricing excludes tax, title and license and is based on oldest model and lowest trim levels in Good condition or Better condition found on Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com. They are:

Best Choices: Earned Good ratings in IIHS moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests; earned at least four out of five stars in federal government crash tests; and offer standard electronic stability, which helps drivers prevent rollover crashes.

Large Cars

  • 2011 and later Buick Regal: $13,500
  • 2010 and later Buick LaCrosse: $12,900

Midsize Cars

  • 2010 and Chevrolet Malibu built after November 2009: $10,900
  • 2012 and later Buick Verano: $14,100

Midsize SUVs

  • 2010 and later GMC Terrain: $14,900
  • 2010 and later Chevrolet Equinox: $13,700

Large SUVs (GM brands swept this category)

  • 2011 and later Buick Enclave: $19,900
  • 2011 and later GMC Acadia: $17,800
  • 2011 and later Chevrolet Traverse: $16,600

Good Choices: Earned Good ratings in the IIHS moderate overlap front test and good or acceptable ratings in the side test. Also earned at least four stars in federal front and side tests, offer standard stability control and a rating of marginal or better for head restraints and seats.

Midsize Cars

  • 2009 and later Saturn Aura (no longer in production): $8,800
  • 2005 and later Saab 9-3 (no longer in production): $4,000

Midsize SUVs

  • 2008-2009 Saturn Vue (no longer in production): $7,700

“GM continues to strive for outstanding safety performance in our vehicles,” said Jeff Boyer, vice president of GM Global Vehicle Safety. “Safety technologies also need to be paired with good judgment on the part of all drivers, including teens – keeping their eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and distractions to a minimum.”

Because behavior also influences traffic safety, GM and the GM Foundation are working to reduce injuries and fatalities to young drivers and passengers.

In June, Safe Kids Worldwide released “Teens in Cars,” a research report funded as part of a $2-million grant from the GM Foundation. The report was based on a national survey of 1,000 teens between 13 and 19. Of those surveyed, one in four reported they do not use a seat belt all the time for reasons that range from not making it a habit to discomfort.

The report, “Teens in Cars,” was based on a national survey of 1,000 teens between 13 and 19. Of those surveyed, one in four reported they do not use a seat belt all the time for reasons that range from not making it a habit to discomfort.

Next-Gen Chevy Volt Offers More User-Friendly Charging


  • GPS makes charging more convenient
  • Portable charger is easier to access
  • Intuitive visual cues show charge status

DETROIT – If there’s one thing Chevrolet Volt owners love about their cars, it’s being able to recharge the battery easily. Evidence of that is a U.S. Department of Energy study that shows more than 80 percent of all trips by Volt owners did not use the range extender.

Chevrolet has made the charging system in the next-generation Volt even easier for customers to recharge the battery – and to check the charge status. The next-generation Volt debuts in January at the North American International Auto Show.

“Chevrolet used the real-world experiences of today’s Volt owners to make the charging process simpler and more convenient in the next-generation Volt,” said Andrew Farah, chief engineer for the Volt. “The new Volt will give owners greater flexibility for charging it on their terms.”

The new and enhanced features include:

GPS location-based charging
Owners will now be able to set their charging preferences exclusively for their “home” charging location and the vehicle will automatically adjust to that setting when it is at that location. The car will recognize when it arrives “home” based on GPS data.

This will allow owners to pre-set their charging level (8 amps or 12 amps on 120V only) and whether they wish to charge immediately, set a departure time for each day of the week, or set a departure time and a utility rate schedule to charge only at off-peak rates. Owners can input their local utility’s rate schedule into their Volt to assure they’re charging using the cheapest electricity rates. They will only have to program the system once and the Volt will return to these settings every time it is at its home location.

New, more intuitive charge status indicators
The next-generation Volt makes it easier for owners to confirm their Volt is charging and gauge charge status. The new status system features a specially designed tone that indicates when charging has begun, with additional tones for delayed charging. It will even indicate if the charge port door was left open after unplugging but before entering the vehicle.

With a glance through the windshield, an updated charge status indicator light on the on the top of the instrument panel will show the approximate charge level through a series of flashes. In addition, an available illuminated charge port makes it easier to plug in after dark as well as indicate approximate charge level through a series of flashes.

Portable cord set enhancements
A new 120V portable cord set includes a cord nearly 25 feet long, longer than the current 120V portable cord. It can be locked using a small padlock to deter unauthorized removal during charging. Based directly on customer feedback, a new storage bin for the cord is now located on the left side of the Volt’s rear cargo area, above the load floor, for improved accessibility.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.