We don't know whether this was a 'factory leak' or whether somebody at USA Today broke an embargo, but the Cadillac CTS genie is out of the bottle with this set of official pictures, just days ahead of the car's scheduled premiere appearance at the New York Auto Show.
And the all-new 2014 CTS (in Americanspeak that means it will go on sale in the third quarter of 2013) is a real show-stopper. Cadillac's heavily-sculptured Art & Science design language hasn't changed, but this application has been ruthlessly revised.
What's most important is that the platform is bigger; the new CTS will compete directly with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series, instead of being stuck just above the C-Class and 3 Series.
Cadillac have aimed significantly higher with this CTS and, visually anyway, we think they've hit the mark.
The chunky, slightly clumsy look of the previous CTS is gone, replaced by a sleeker, crisper and, above all, better proportioned interpretation of the mid-size premium sedan, with projector headlights (just one on each side; nice touch, Cadillac) faired into a front treatment comprising three vertical sections so deep they look like they were borrowed from an Aitcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad locomotive.
In profile the car flaunts its rear-wheel-drive pedigree with a neatly-faired glasshouse (not too small, like most Chrysler/Dodge offerings - maybe the new CTS isn't aimed exclusively at rap artists) set well back on the body, a short front overhang and an elegant, longer rear overhang.
A not-too-obvious double-decker waistline enables the designers to place the bottom line of the glazing below the bonnet/boot line, and the C-pillar-to-rear-fender intersection looks deceptively simple - somebody has put a lot of thought into an area that's often neglected.
If you want to see what we mean, check out the rear three-quarter view of a mid-eighties Mercedes 350SEL.
The interior styling takes its cues from the more recent ATS and XTS models rather than the previous CTS, but updates it again with what appears to be a virtual instrument cluster, not unlike that of the Jaguar XJ (if you're going to copy, copy from the best!), while retaining the large infotainment touchscreen that takes up most of the centre stack.
The rest is clothed in acres of smooth tan-coloured leather and enough wood veneer to start your own rain forest.
The Cadillac CTS will launch in the US with a choice of three petrol engines, starting with a 200kW two-litre turbocharged four. Then there's a naturally aspirated 3.6-litre V6 rated at 236kW, but the star of the engine bay is a new twin-turbo, direct-injection 3.6-litre V6 for which GM claims 313kW - making it the company's most powerful V6 yet.
A pair of smaller turbochargers and an intercooler help reduce turbo lag; 90 percent of the engine's 583Nm peak torque is available from 2500-5500rpm, taking the new CTS form 0-110 in an estimated 4.6 seconds and on to 274km/h flat out.
The new engine runs machined domed pistons with a 10.2:1 compression ratio on strengthened con rods, breathing in through a patented intercooler with low-volume intake manifolds.
It's built on a special block with cast-in provisions for turbocharger coolant and oil connections; even the cast-alloy sump is bolted to both the block and the bell-housing to reduce vibration and increase stiffness.
SINGLE THROTTLE BODY
A single, centrally located throttle body on top odf the engine controls the air charge from both turbochargers after the temperature is reduced in the intercooler. The charge-cooling heat exchangers lower the air charge temperature by more than 75 degrees C, packing the combustion chambers with cooler, denser air for greater power
All three engines are paired with a paddle-shift eight-speed automatic transmission with a “tall,” 0.69-ratio eighth-gear that maintains an engine speed of only 1800rpm at 120km/h.
Electronic control enables the transmission to select the best gear for the conditions and allows it to “skip” one or more gears, if appropriate, when up-shifting or down-shifting. In manual mode, torque converter lockup is used from second to eighth gears.
Rear-wheel drive is standard; the two base engines will also b e available with all-wheel drive as an extra-cost option.