Dave Leone, Cadillac's chief engineer, says he wants to differentiate Cadillac powertrains in terms of power, refinement and sound. Leone, 57, spoke with Staff Reporter Richard Truett in Austin, Texas, during the first media drives of the ATS-V high-performance sport sedan.
Q: Why re-engineer the ATS-V to compete with top European sport sedans when few buyers look to Cadillac for that level of performance?
A: Anyone can put a high-power motor in a car and get it to go fast in a straight line. But to get it to go around a track -- to be able to get the maximum amount of lateral acceleration, so that they all work together seamlessly -- is where the real skill is. And that's what defines the best performance. Cadillac is all-around excellence.
There has been talk of Cadillac having exclusive powertrains.
There will be some powertrains that remain unique to Cadillac, such as the 3.0-liter turbo we announced for the CT6. And we also have some more in the works -- with a couple of added cylinders -- that will remain unique to Cadillac.
Until around the mid-1960s, Cadillac's powertrains were built to more exacting standards than engines from other GM divisions. Is Cadillac getting back to that?
There's work under way to restore some of that separate and special standing. We are working to isolate the team that works on Cadillac to be a unique team within General Motors so that we can house some of the expertise that is necessary to create the highest level of execution.