Teaser sketch shows the side profile of the new 3 Series rival.

We've known for a while now that Cadillac has been working on America's real answer to the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Let's not pretend that the BLS, essentially a reskinned Saab 9-3, was ever really a contender in that market.

What you see here, in GM's first official teaser sketch, is the all-new ATS that GM has purpose-built to compete against the formidable Germans in the compact luxury segment.

Despite the shading in the image, it's clear that GM has opted for a 'baby CTS' look for this new car, which at this stage is codenamed 'ATS'. It certainly hasn't strayed far from Cadillac's contemporary design language.

Beneath the skin, the ATS answers its rivals directly with a rear-wheel drive chassis although little else about the car has been divulged at this stage. American sales are expected to begin around the middle of next year but don't expect to see it in South Africa given that GM no longer sells Cadillacs here.