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Cadillac plays catch-up with German rivals

Brand works on big sedan, small crossover

The 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe will be launched in late summer.

Cadillac is working to plug holes at both ends of its lineup as it tries to keep pace with the product onslaught from its German competitors.

At the top, Cadillac continues progress toward a 2016 model year launch of a long-awaited, big rear-wheel-drive sedan to take on the Mercedes-Benz S class and BMW 7 series. It appears the arrival of that car won't spell the demise of the XTS large front-wheel-drive sedan that debuted in 2012: A redesigned version is slated for 2017.

Meanwhile, a small crossover is in the works for sometime by early 2018, but it will be a late entry into a luxury niche that includes the BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA and Audi Q1.

General Motors' luxury brand will continue to build its performance bona fides with upcoming V-series versions of its ATS compact and CTS mid-sized sedans. Both should debut next year.

Here are highlights of Cadillac's plans for the 2015-17 model years.

ATS: A coupe will be launched in late summer. It will be followed by a V-series sedan in the second quarter of 2015, likely with GM's new 3.6-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine. (A V-series coupe also is planned, but further out.) A freshening of the base sedan is slated for the second half of 2015 as a '16 model. The addition of a diesel engine is likely during the sedan's current life cycle -- probably in 2016 -- before a redesign in 2017.

CTS: A V-series performance sedan is expected in mid-2015 as a '16 model. It should get the supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 that does service in the current Corvette Z06. The next major redesign isn't expected before the 2019 model year. As for the outgoing coupe, GM will make a limited-run V-series version this summer before phasing out the coupe in the fall. A next-generation coupe is not in the plans.

XTS: For now, the large fwd sedan will live on even after introduction of the big rwd LTS next year. The XTS should get a rearranged front fascia in a freshening in mid-2015 for the '16 model year, and a redesign in early 2017.

ELR: The slow-selling plug-in hybrid that launched in winter 2014 isn't due for a freshening until 2017.

LTS: The large rwd sedan that will sit atop Cadillac's lineup is on pace for a late 2015 or early 2016 rollout, the first vehicle to be built on GM's new Omega platform. Code-named LTS for now, the vehicle will get plenty of styling cues from the well-received Elmiraj concept coupe that debuted in 2013. The LTS will get the same 3.6-liter twin-turbo V-6 and Aisin-supplied eight-speed transmission that drive the CTS Vsport, before getting the 10-speed transmission that GM is co-developing with Ford in 2017. All-wheel drive will be available.

Small crossover: Cadillac is developing a fwd compact crossover that is scheduled to debut by early 2018 in the United States, probably as an '18 model, after its China arrival. It could get a 2.0-liter turbo as its base powerplant and likely would get a nine-speed transmission that's also being co-developed with Ford.

SRX: A redesign of the mid-sized crossover is due in early 2016 as a '16 model, when North American production is expected to shift to GM's Spring Hill, Tenn., plant, from Ramos Arizpe, Mexico. The crossover should keep its 3.6-liter V-6 engine, and should be among the first vehicles to get the nine-speed fwd gearbox.

Large crossover: GM in the past considered but rejected the idea of developing a seven-passenger, unibody crossover on the same platform that underpins the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Chevy Traverse. A large crossover on another architecture is under consideration, but would not be ready before 2018.

The Escalade is likely to be among the first GM vehicles to get the 10-speed transmission.

Escalade: The big, redesigned SUV that was launched in April is likely to be one of the first GM vehicles to get the rwd 10-speed transmission. Expect the gearbox to appear in 2017, likely coinciding with the Escalade's first significant cosmetic freshening.

You can reach Mike Colias at

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