Recent model introductions from Cadillac have been aimed squarely at European luxury and sport sedans, with the CTS and CTS-V taking on the BMW 5-Series and the ATS taking on the BMW 3-Series. It’s almost as if Cadillac has forgotten its history of building large cars with a softer side, aimed at drivers who have no idea what phrases like “late apex” or “trail braking” mean.
Enter the new-for-2013 Cadillac XTS, the brand’s latest offering in the full-size luxury sedan segment. Its exterior styling immediately identifies the XTS as a Cadillac, yet somehow the lines are a bit less harsh than on the smaller CTS and ATS sedans. There’s a bit of a resemblance to other GM luxury offerings (namely the Buick LaCrosse), but that in no way dilutes the XTS’ appeal. In fact, we’d be willing to bet that the car’s target demographic will find the exterior styling of the XTS more pleasing than that of the more linear CTS or ATS sedans.
Inside, Cadillac has gone upscale in both styling and content, and the dash is an eye-pleasing mix of soft contours and beveled trim with metallic accents. Dominating the center stack is Cadillac’s CUE (for Cadillac User Experience) display, an eight-inch capacitive touch screen that replaces the buttons, knobs and switchgear found in more conventional luxury sedans. Operating in much the same way as a tablet computer, CUE allows owners to customize menus for a tailored driver experience, and higher trim models even use a driver-configurable LCD instrument display (as seen in the Jaguar XJ sedan). Learning from the mistakes Ford made when it launched its MyFord and MyLincoln Touch systems, Cadillac has a call center in Austin, Texas, staffed with CUE experts ready to field customer questions on its operation.
Under the hood lies a 3.6-liter V-6 engine, good for 304-horsepower and mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The combination will get the XTS from 0-60 mph in a hair under seven seconds, yet is still capable of returning an EPA-estimated 28 mpg highway and 17 mpg city. Despite the car’s two-ton-plus curb weight, a well-tuned suspension (including MagneRide magneto-rheological dampers with air springs) delivers a surprising mix of both ride comfort and handling. You won’t mistake the XTS for a full-on sport sedan, but its composure on twisty roads will exceed the expectations of most full-size luxury sedan shoppers.
Comfort is the order of the day in the cabin, with plenty of head and leg room for both front and rear seat passengers. Active noise control (and generous use of sound-deadening materials) make the XTS a great platform to soak up highway miles, although we wish the front seats offered a bit more support for extended shifts behind the wheel.
The XTS has yet to be crash-tested by either the NHTSA or the IIHS, but we expect Cadillac’s newest sedan to score well. Optional safety features include things like blind spot detection; lane departure warning; rear cross-path detection and forward collision alert, and every XTS model comes standard with GM’s OnStar telematics system for added peace of mind.
Well-equipped even as a base model, the 2013 Cadillac XTS is also available in Luxury Collection, Premium Collection and Platinum Collection trims. All versions include the CUE interface, but only Premium and Platinum trims include navigation and the 14-speaker Bose premium audio system. All-wheel-drive is an available option for all but base model XTS sedans.
For a detailed look at the 2013 Cadillac XTS, see our comprehensive review on The Car Connection