Sign of CAFE to come: Caddy with a 3-banger

Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News
"Three-cylinder engine" and "Cadillac" in the same sentence.

It happened Tuesday night, at General Motors design studio in North Hollywood, Calif., during an event prior to the Wednesday opening of the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The four-passenger Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept unveiled Tuesday is aimed at luxury car buyers who live in congested metropolitan areas. The car is small, a little shorter and several inches wider than a Mini Cooper.

The concept signals three things.

First, a three-cylinder engine, even in a Cadillac, is a real possibility to help GM meet tough new CAFE rules.

Two, it's a response to BMW and Mercedes-Benz, both developing similar-sized cars for the United States and other markets.

Three, mini-size doesn't mean boring or boxy. The Cadillac concept is a stylish head turner.

The world has indeed changed.