After Cadillac’s general manager Jim Taylor acknowledged the growing demand for fuel-efficient cars, but described a compact, 4-cylinder Cadillac as “a bridge too far,” rumors have begun swirling that the new Cadillac CTS might be fitted with a diesel option instead. Initially, GM intended for their newly-developed 4.5L Duramax V8 diesel to be fitted into their SUVs and light-duty pick-ups, but recent financial woes and sales in a steady nosedive have execs rethinking their options.
Technically speaking, fitting the Duramax diesel into the Cadillac CTS’s engine bay wouldn’t require any design modification beyond upgrading to the CTS-v raised, roomier hood – which means GM won’t be squeezed for more cash they don’t have. Unlike other fuel-efficient cars, the Duramax V8 wouldn’t turn the CTS into a slouch on the asphalt either, given its impressive capability to produce 310-hp and over 520 lb-ft of torque. So the risk GM would run by introducing a clean diesel engine isn’t performance related, but rather market related. Although the diesel engine is wildly popular in Europe, U.S. consumers still largely associate “diesel” engines with black smoke and big rigs and as a result, only about 3% of the cars currently on the road are running on diesel fuel.
Recent revisions to federal CAFE regulations have put many automakers into a green spiral, prompting them to slap together half-assed hollow hybrids and laud themselves as “innovative.” Unfortunately, small, compact little fuel-sippers are not what Detroit is known for, and they’re not what most American consumers want to see dominate the Michigan production lines. What we do want are domestic automakers who can learn to swiftly integrate the American love for driving performance with the reality of the oil crisis – and a 310-hp, diesel Cadillac would do just that. Bottom line: the possible long term benefits of a Cadillac CTS diesel option vastly outweigh the negatives – get to work, GM.