General Motors said Thursday that a new high-performance turbocharged, four-cylinder engine that will debut in Cadillac's new 2013 ATS compact luxury sedan. GM will unveil the ATS sedan at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month.

The 2.0T is one of the most advanced and efficient engines of its kind, and contributes to the ATS's exceptional balance of performance and great fuel efficiency, said Mike Anderson, chief engineer for the 2.0T engine.

GM said the Cadillac-tuned, direct-injected engine will produce an estimated 270 horsepower, and with 135 horsepower per liter, it will be among the most power-dense automotive engines, besting the highest-performing engines from luxury competitors such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes.

At the same time, the four-cylinder engine provides better fuel economy for a consumer base that is increasingly placing it among its top priorities.

It definitely addresses the consumer's mindset in terms of fuel, Ivan Drury, an analyst with Edmunds.com, told the International Business Times in a phone interview Thursday afternoon.

He said he was somewhat surprised to see Cadillac's shift, but said it was a natural response to consumer interests.

Fuel costs are high. After a while, they're accustomed to seeing $3 gas, Drury said. But then the next thing you know, you see $4 gas, and they are reminded, reinvigorated and say, 'I'll get something smaller.' Now automakers will have that offering available.

Drury said it will help Cadillac compete with Audi's A4, which has offered a four-cylinder, turbocharged engine since its inception in the mid-1990s.

Cadillac will also offer a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine and a 3.6-liter, V-6 engine in the new ATs.

But the 2.0T, GM said, augments the features of past GM turbo engines and improves on efficiency, durability and refinement. It improves efficiency through two ways. First, it reduces engine friction by up to 16 percent, delivering power more resourcefully. GM engineers also developed a new combustion system with a higher compression ratio.

The engine's wide-torque curve helps it deliver 90 percent of torque from 1,500 to 5,800 rpms, providing power in the first stages of acceleration.

It has the exhilarating, responsive power available when you want it, yet can provide the fuel efficiency that will make the ATS a fully competitive vehicle in global markets, Anderson said.

The ATS will launch in the second half of 2012 after its introduction on stage in Detroit next month.