By on October 31, 2012

Once upon a time, being the “Cadillac of <insert a noun here>” meant something magical. The problem is: it’s been 60 years since Cadillac was “The Cadillac of cars.” While the phrase lingers inexplicably on, GM is continues to play off-again/on-again with a flagship vehicle for the brand. The latest example is the all-new XTS. Instead of being “the Cadillac of flagships,” the XTS is a place holder until a full-lux Caddy hits. Whenever that may be. In the mean time, Detroit needed to replace the aging STS and the ancient DTS with something, and so it was that the XTS was born of the Buick LaCrosse and Chevy Malibu.

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Exterior

Engineers might have tried stretching the STS, or re-skinning the DTS yet again, but cash was in short supply so Caddy found their platform further down the food chain. Engineers took the Epsilon II platform (shared with everything from the Opel Insignia to the Roewe 950), stretched it to 202-inches long and hey-presto, the XTS was born. Unfortunately Cadillac wasn’t allowed to change the platform hard points, so the same 111.7-inch wheelbase and 62-inch track as the rest of the Epsilon rabble remains. With the wheelbase staying the same, the cabin had to be pushed as far to the wheels as possible to maximize interior space. For some gangsta feel, the belt-line was kept high, and for practical reasons the cabin was extended over the trunk to create a coupe-like profile and more rear headroom. Just for kicks the XTS’s narrow nose was raked to create a “cowcatcheresque” profile. The result is a sedan with awkward proportions, especially when parked next to the CTS, ATS, STS or DTS. (Wow that’s a whole bunch of TSs.)

Of course, style seems to be a problem for American luxury brands lately. Lincoln’s new nose took the recently refreshed MKS from country-farm-girl to tragic-farming-accident and while Chrysler doesn’t pretend to play in this segment, the new 300 is less attractive than its predecessor. (The 300 is unquestionably the most attractive and commanding sedan in this trio however.) What redeems the XTS? It still has plenty of bling and the fin is back. I must admit, I have the fin-love that dare not speak its name. Honestly.

Interior

The problem with an awkward exterior is that first impressions matter. Pity. The XTS has GM’s best interior ever. Aside from the bugaboo of a plastic airbag cover (an ailment many luxury brands suffer from), every  touch point is near perfection. From the tasteful two-tone stitched dash to the microfiber headliner, the XTS’s materials would pass an Audi taste test. Compared to the MKS, the Cadillac is more attractive and assembled with more precision. Compared to the Chrysler 300′s new luxury level interior, the Caddy is the place to be even though the 300′s leather dash is sublime. Unfortunately every silver lining has a cloud, and so it is with the XTS. There was a pleather dash part that was strangely crinkled and the glove box would routinely fall open beyond its stops and crash completely to the floor. (Check out the video for that.)

Thanks to the XTS’s odd profile, rear seat legroom measures out at 40-inches, 1.4 ahead of the MKS while also providing 46-inches of legroom up front (four more than MKS.) In addition, the XTS provides more head room in the rear and much nicer trappings. As proof that more traditional body shape provides more rear room, Chrysler’s 300 bests the XTS by 1/10th in rear legroom and rear headroom but in true-livery fashion leaves less space to the driver. Because the XTS is narrower than the competition, sitting three abreast in the rear is a “cozy” affair.

Infotainment

All XTS models get the new “Cadillac User Experience” or CUE system controlled by a gorgeous 8-inch LCD in the dash. Most navigation systems use a resistive touchscreen with a matte plastic surface that can easily scratch and causes images to look “fuzzy” at times. Cadillac stuck out their neck and used a more expensive capacitive touchscreen with a glass surface that is easy to clean and delivers graphics that are crisper than any system I have seen to date. What was Caddy’s muse? Think iPad.

Powering the LCD is software that gives MyLincoln Touch a run for its money. CUE supports “natural” voice commands to control the majority of system functions from iPod control to destination entry. Cadillac has gone USB crazy with three USB ports that all provide enough power to charge an iPad, something very few systems can do. CUE takes a novel approach to using multiple USB devices, the system indexes them together as if they were one music library so there’s no need to switch from one to the other to look for a song. CUE also sports the best iOS device integration available, for more information, check out the video at the top of the review.

Base XTS models come with an 8-speaker Bose system while upper trim levels of the XTS get a 14 speaker surround system with speakers integrated into the front seat backs. The 8 speaker system is well-balanced but seemed unable to handle moderate volume levels without some distortion. Thankfully the 14 speaker system proved an excellent companion and competes well with the up-level systems from the Germans.

As you would expect with a first generation system, I encountered a few hiccups. Despite the screen being large and high-resolution, CUS uses fairly “chunky” maps that lack detail and aren’t as attractive as iDrive. In addition, the “soft” menu buttons around the map cut the window down to a narrow slot making it difficult to use CUE as a map when navigating around downtown. The ability to “multi-touch” gesture on the screen for zooming sounds cool, but the response time is slow and the process proved more aggravating than useful. Lastly, much like Ford’s Touch system, CUE crashed frequently (four times in a week). While the crashing is a concern, my statement about Ford’s system applies equally to CUE: I can handle occasional crashing as long as the rest of the system is snazzy and does everything I want my car to do. Still, let’s hope Cadillac has a software update pronto.

 

Gadgets

The XTS is a conflicted vehicle. For every awkward exterior angle, there is a tasteful dash seam. For every complaint I have about CUE, there is a 12.3-inch LCD “disco dash” that stole my geeky heart. Sure, the cost of LCD-admission is the $54,505 XTS Premium, but this is the best LCD instrumentation ever. Yes, Jaguar/Land Rover/Mercedes have been toying with large LCDs for a while and even Dodge has a moderately configurable screen in the Dart, but the XTS makes use of the LCD. Huh? In JLR products, the LCD has one “look” (imitating traditional dials) and if you don’t like it that’s just tough. Cadillac gives you four layouts that range from traditional gauges to a modern digital theme and allows sections of the display to be further customized.

In addition to the LCD gauges, the XTS offers available pre-collision warning, lane departure warning, cross traffic detection, blind spot monitoring, heads-up display, adaptive cruise control and a system that will automatically stop you if you try to back over Jimmy on his skateboard. Most of these systems communicate with you through your backside via a seat that vibrates the cheek corresponding to the side of the vehicle that is in danger. Sound strange? It was, yet I found myself changing lanes sans signals so the “Magic Fingers” would feel me up.

Powertrain

Under the stubby hood you’ll find one engine: GM’s 3.6L direct-injection V6. Instead of the 321HP/275lb-ft tune the baby Caddy uses, this mill produces a more sedate 304HP at 6,800RPM and 264lb-ft at 5,200RPM (400RPM higher than the ATS’s peak). While there are rumors of a twin-turbo V6, I will believe it when I see it. Until then, all the power is sent to the front wheels via the GM/Ford 6-speed transaxle, or to all four wheels if you opt for a $2,225 Haldex AWD system.

Our AWD tester hit 60MPH in 6.1 seconds so it’s hard to call the XTS slow, but neither is it fast. The problem is the 260lb-ft versus a 4,200lb curb weight. While the base MKS (3.7L V6) is slower at 6.5 seconds, Lincoln’s twin-turbo bruiser gets the job done in 5.1. The 300 hit 60 in 6.3 thanks to its greater mass, but the 300′s 8-speed transmission allowed it to tie the XTS for a 14.9 Second 1/4 mile at 93 MPH.

Drive

My week with the XTS started with a journey to sample the 2013 Chevy Malibu turbo. The event made me wish GM’s new 2.0L turbo had been jammed into the XTS. Why? Because the Malibu hit 60 in 6.2 thanks to 260lb-ft plateau from 1,500-5,800RPM and delivered 24.7MPG in mixed driving. Our AWD XTS eeked out 18.9MPG in a highway-heavy cycle and FWD XTS shoppers should only expect one more MPG.

Acceleration quibbles aside, the XTS’s road manners are impeccable. The XTS proved a faithful companion on Northern California mountain highways thanks to the AWD system, GM’s “HiPer Strut” suspension design and Magnaride electronically controlled dampers. The oddly named suspension design moves the steering axis to a more vertical orientation closer to the center of the tire, reduces the scrub radius and helps keep the contact patch more consistent. Whatever the name, the system just works. The benefit is most obvious in the FWD XTS where it quells the torque steer demon but it also pays dividends in the AWD model by keeping the wheel more vertical thereby improving grip. While I wouldn’t call the overall dynamic “sporty,” the XTS is confident and predictable. Of course the 300′s rear-wheel setup makes it more fun and the MKS exhibited less body roll, but the XTS’s well sorted suspension and Magnaride system make it an excellent all-around performer.

I left my week with the XTS more confused than when we met and I’m no closer to understanding who the XTS is for. The Chrysler 300 makes a better performance vehicle with the 5.7L V8 and a better livery vehicle due to the rear seat dimensions. Lincoln’s twin-turbo V6 is insane and addictive in its own way, and Lincoln will (optionally) toss in quantities of real-wood that would make Jaguar blush. BMW, Audi and Mercedes have better brand names, more polished interiors and a complete line of engines that range from normal to 400+ horsepower. The XTS on the other hand is a confident-handling technological four de force dressed in a corduroy leisure suit. With leather elbow patches. And a fedora.

 

Cadillac provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of fuel for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.48 Seconds

0-60: 6.1 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 14.9 Seconds @ 93 MPH

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81 Comments on “Review: 2013 Cadillac XTS...”


  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    Like other Cadillacs, it makes little sense to buy one of these new. The high entry price and steep depreciation make it a no-brainer to buy used.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Definitely seems like that it occupies the old-man’s land occupied by the DHS/DTS. A direct competitior to the N/A MKS, another middle of the road sedan designed as AARP fodder.

    The 300 is just plain the winner in this category. For the price of an XTS, you could get into an SRT 300 with all the toys and nearly 500hp.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree. But, once you drive the Tesla Model S, you won’t ever want a gas guzzler again.

      If I could get rid of this Jag right now and snag a Tesla Performance I’d be there.

      $2.00 PER WEEK to charge it… that’s remarkable.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        That’s fine, but here in the real world, the Tesla isn’t even an option.

      • 0 avatar
        Alex L. Dykes

        It really would depend on your electric rates. At my weekly average mile numbers (800), assuming I could achieve the EPA’s assumed combined 3.6M/kWh (60kW Model S) on my commute over a mountain pass, and at my electric rates it would cost $53 a week to charge. While that is more than $2 a week, that is still less than a Prius C ($58) at $4 a gallon. Of course, the car is expensive and the charging infrastructure is expensive…

      • 0 avatar

        NYC= 11c per kW.
        I drive 10 miles max per day- 6 miles typically roundtrip.

        Even if I were to charge it every 5 days it would be a hell of a lot cheaper than a 9mpg and 17mpg car.

      • 0 avatar
        stroker49

        If you own a car I guess that the cost for fule is way less than 50% of your total cost. 10miles per day! It would be cheaper for you to order a limo each day than own and ride in a Corolla. Only the depreciation on a car is several hudnreds of dollar per month, you are driving 10 miles per day and are thinkning about fuel costs! I ride 100 miles per day, the gas is 8,55usd/us gl and my Cadillac is still cheaper than any new car, any electric vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        Silvy_nonsense

        “That’s fine, but here in the real world, the Tesla isn’t even an option.”

        danio3834, if your round trip between home and work every day is more than 200 miles, then you don’t live in the “real” world (you live in some horrible, punishing hell). For a huge number of people, a car with a 200+ mile range is more than sufficient for 99% of their everyday driving.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        @silvy
        Not even talking about the capabilities of the car but
        1. Availability. You can’t get one.
        2. Price. If you want one with range it’s 90+ grand. I guess if you could hypothetically go and buy the cheap one of a non-existent dealer lot you could have a $60K commuter only car.

      • 0 avatar
        indyb6

        I’m glad to see that you changed your opinion about electric cars, bigtrucksreview@Youtube.

        It does make a lot more sense as a commuter car, given you have disposable income. Doesn’t it?

        I hope you realize how one-sided your comments about electric vehicles were, when you said things like “Electric Vehicle manufacturers are the “PALM Computing” of the automotive industry” or ” Electric cars require MORE ENERGY to produce and electricity IS NOT more efficient because of the laws of thermodynamics” or “If you really wanna argue how much more efficient EV is, I’ll tell you what: you pick an EV and you RACE ME from NYC to FLORDA and we’ll see who gets there first” or “AND WHERE ARE YOU GONNA CHARGE IT?” and the gold – “The Tesla Model S might be better, but a regular 4 cylinder car is more efficient, green and cost effective”

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      Let’s not forget how expensive the gas infrastructure is: huge military spending to protect supply lines and thousands of deaths due to wars to control the same. Electricity is domestically produced.

  • avatar

    You got 0-60 in 6.1 seconds. I made a video on my Youtube of going FLAT OUT in a Caddy XTS AWD and it took me closer to 8 seconds. [youtube.com/watch?v=5lH-K8M0QXc]

    I am disappointed this car only offers a V6 and there’s no turbo version available (especially at these prices) because there is a HUGE gap between the base model and… the non-existent XTS-V which may or may not be created. The same problem exists between the CTS V6 and CTS-V – although the CTS isn’t as much weight to lug.

    The interior is nice to me – definitely the best American luxury sedan interior, but it pales in comparison to Mercedes E350.

    Why can’t Cadillac give you fully powered seats with waterfall cushions and headrests that extend/retract at the touch of a button? HYUNDAI is doing it (by copying the Germans).

    I’d considered getting the XTS before we got the Jaguar XJ-L. For what they want for an XTS, I’d more likely drop my money on a TESLA MODEL S 60kWh (so I could use Supercharger networks).

    CUE is a very attractive infotainment system, but designing it like iPad without making it as fast/responsive as iPad was a mistake. Chrysler’s Uconnect Touch 8.4N is the best of the bunch.

    The collision warning “kickinyourass” system sucks. Every luxury car should have heated/ actively cooled (not just ventilated) and massaging seats.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I have a very hard time believing someone might shell out $61,000 for a top of the line XTS with that powertrain.

      • 0 avatar

        Danio

        When you tell old people they are going to get over 20mpg… old people who don’t ever speed and drive well below the speed limit… you’ll sell a $55,000 “luxury car” with ease.

        Have you noticed how E350 is the number one selling luxury sedan in most areas (Forbes) and it has DEAD STEERING and takes just as long to get to 60?

        People buying these cars are buying rolling caskets. Rich woods, quiet inside – just like a casket.

        Enthusiasts would take that same money and get something ridiculously fast.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I agree that many buyers of these vehicles are in old-man’s land and probably won’t give a large care to the powertrain.

        But if Cadillac is seeking out conquest buyers, they will make comparisons with the competition.

        I average 19mpg in mixed driving in my Charger R/T. If Alex was averaging 18.9mpg with the much weaker V6 in the XTS, why wouldn’t someone making comparisons take a 300 Luxury with a Hemi over this?

        Fuel consumption wise they could find similar performance with better mileage in a 300 luxury with a 3.6/8speed for far less coin.

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    Let’s face it: the only ways 99.9% of us are ever going to experience this car are (i) sitting in the back seat on the way home from the airport, or (ii) as a free “upgrade” when Hertz runs out of Malibus. Black car fleets tend to be pretty conservative in their car choices, and somehow I can see them finding this to be a safer, more respectable choice than the 300, both on styling (the 300 has been de-butched a bit, but my very old-school boss would still raise an eyebrow if he saw one waiting for him at the curb) and the badge. I’d never buy one, but I certainly wouldn’t object to sitting in it for an hour or two. Low bar, met.

    • 0 avatar

      The 300 has a RWD/ AWD platform with more power/torque even in the base trim. Taxi/Limo companies will PREFER the 300 because it’s easier to lug full passenger loads and luggage back and forth to the airport in one than in this car. The AWD version XTS is too heavy for the V6 so when you add 4 passengers + luggage, it becomes a snail.

      I live in NYC. S550, 300 and panther platform Ford’s/Lincolns are the goto car for limo/taxiing.

      In a lot of ways, the Chrysler 300 is capitalizing on the lack of a proper RWD Lincoln Town Car taxi.

      Don’t be so pessimistic. As soon as someone returns an XTS off the 2 year Caddy lease, you’ll be able to get it for the price of a Chevy Malibu. Lease one and you can get it $4000 down/ $600 a month.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        I have yet to see even a single 300 in airport livery service. The Chrysler badge just doesn’t cut it for that application, even if the car itself may be more practical than a Cadillac or Lincoln.

        But with the demise of the Town Car that market is wide open …

      • 0 avatar

        th009

        The 300 is being WIDELY used here in NYC.

        they’ve ever adapted them for stretch Limo duty. SEE:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SuBRh82dRY

        YES – It does work very well for that purpose.

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        I moved out of NYC a year ago, so it’s possible that things have changed without my knowing, but I also can’t recall seeing many (any?) 300 livery cabs. I took a car home from work probably 150 nights a year and never had a 300 once. Mix was probably 80% Towncars, 10% Avalons, 10% a smattering of S500s, DTS’s and whathaveyou.

        Again, I think maybe the biggest thing is the old-guy conservatism and snob factor. My boss would have laughed (and not in a good way) at a 300, but wouldn’t turn his nose up at one of these.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        Yes, I have seen a 300 stretch limo. But I have seen a Hummer stretch limo, too, and that doesn’t mean it’s the vehicle of choice for livery service.

        Maybe there are a lot of 300 limos running about in NYC, but across the river at EWR that’s not the case. Or at the other airports I fly to.

        As I said, I didn’t claim it doesn’t work for that. But the level of luxury, and most importantly, brand cachet/perception are a notch below Cadillac and Lincoln. And that does matter for livery service.

      • 0 avatar
        Silvy_nonsense

        “The 300 is being WIDELY used here in NYC.”

        That’s because they’re cheap to acquire – that’s not much of an argument for how great the car is. If I’m paying a premium for black car service, I’m sure as heck not riding in the cramped back seat of a 300.

      • 0 avatar

        SILVY

        I don’t have to make an argument as to whether or not 300s are being widely used as Taxis here. THEY ARE. That’s a fact and there’s a number which accurately tells how many of them are actively being used as taxis.

        #2 A Kia soul is “cheap to acquire”. Haven’t seen them being used as taxis.

        #3 The 300′s backseat is not cramped – especially when the drivers have the seats way forward.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        @bigtruck, you say you have numbers, can you please share? As I said, I haven’t seen any 300s in livery duty at various airports, I’m curious as to what percentage of the NYC livery (not taxi!) market they have now.

        Inquiring minds want to know …

      • 0 avatar

        th009 “you say you have numbers, can you please share?”

        do me a favor and show me in which sentence I said that I had a number?

        There IS A NUMBER…but one I can’t quote.

        and if that’s too much for you, come down here to my city and we’ll go around and point out all the 300s being used as Taxis.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        @bigtruck, OK, fair enough, the way I read your post (“there is a number …”) it sounded like there was data on this. It appears not, all right.

        But Astigmatism and I are talking specifically about the use of 300s as livery limos, but your last two posts refer to taxis. Which is it?

        Again, I’m not arguing that the 300 couldn’t work, just that I am not seeing them in livery service. And neither was Astigmatism.

      • 0 avatar

        th009

        We have them being used a limos by limo companies that normally use S550′s and A8′s and we also have them as regular taxii/cabs.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        OK … I’m ignoring the taxi bit as almost anything can be used as cab (such as Panther, Prius, Camry, Transit Connect etc).

        But you say that when you book a car from the same company, you might get any of an S550, A8 or a 300? And that customers would be equally satisfied with a ride in any of the three?

      • 0 avatar

        “But you say that when you book a car from the same company, you might get any of an S550, A8 or a 300? And that customers would be equally satisfied with a ride in any of the three?”

        You can specify which car you want at many of the call-in limo companies. Of course it costs extra.

        To clarify: New Yorkers call all livery cars “taxis” even if they are limousines – because the taxi companies themselves use the word interchangeably. “YELLOW CABS” are probably what you are talking about. No – I’ve not seen any 300′s used as “YELLOW CABS”.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    You guys get much better 0-60 times than any other source and 6.1 seconds in the heavier AWD model is pretty darn quick and probably more than 98% of the clientele purchasing this vehicle will ever need. I’m also trying to figure out Cadillac’s target audience for this vehicle. While many DTS shoppers will probably check this car out many of the older ones will instantly be turned off by all the electronic mumbo jumbo and confusing for them to use touch screen and the fancy multi- disco dash. The narrower width, reduction in trunk space and higher belt line won’t help the cause. The lack of a V8 might even be an issue because the DTS had one std. Then there is the younger set who gravitates to all the tech but will find a larger sized FWD based oddly styled Cadillac not to there liking. I give Cadillac credit for trying something new here but will be curious to see who buys these.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      0-60 times depend on temperature, road surface, and a number of other factors so you should really only compare 0-60 times against the same publication. In other words, compare out 0-60 times on this to our 0-60 times on the 300 or the MKS for an apples-to-apples comparison. Still, I know that a number of other publications had similar times in the AWD XTS, 300 and MKS.

  • avatar
    PintoFan

    I don’t think it’s an unattractive car. Not my favorite in the segment, but not ugly either. It’s certainly better than the equivalent Lexus “Predator” offering, which is all that really matters.

    I think it will fit the target demographic well. It’s a shame about that glovebox, though.

    • 0 avatar
      Freddy M

      I agree. Styling wise, the only brand I prefer over Cadillac is Audi for its elegance and tasteful simplicity. For some reason I really really dig the hard angles on Caddy’s.

  • avatar
    stroker49

    As the new full size flagship from Cadillac there is a stretched Opel Insignia/Buick Regal! In other worlds a variant of the latest version of the SAAB 9-5 minus turbo + nice interior. You can not compete on this level with a FWD (unless you are Audi). The smaller Cadillacs like the ATS and CTS are RWD, so this don’t make sense at all.Volvo has tried to compete with a big FWD almost luxury car without success (S80). Make a real luxury car, copy S-klasse, Siebener and the LS and charge the same as them.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      The target customers for this car cannot tell the difference between FWD and RWD. Maybe they’ll understand AWD but beyond that …

      Anyway, as Derek said, this is a placeholder, and as such, I think it’s a competent offering.

      • 0 avatar
        stroker49

        Most people buying BMWs, Mercs or Lexus have no idea which wheel is doing what. FWD is in most ways much better, cheaper, utilising the space better, safer, better in snow and make perfect sense. But in this category sense if way lost. It would have been better to remade and improve the outgoing STS. The journalist in the youtube review is complaining about the price. But a high price is very important for this type of cars. It would be better to price it at or even over the competition. But then you have to deliver at least the same.

      • 0 avatar
        Alex L. Dykes

        Stroker,

        The problem with the price is more a question of value. Yes the Germans command a higher price but they also bring more to the table with better performance, better fuel economy and more polished design. The XTS is really in the Lincoln MKS, Lexus ES, Acura RL, Volvo S80 segment. Viewed in this realistic light, the XTS is a bit spendy.

    • 0 avatar
      stroker49

      @ Alex L Dykes: Ok I agree. But I don’t think Cadillac should compete with the second bests. They should aim at the best. BMW, Merc and Lexus. The almost best segment is soon dead anyway. People wants cheap transportation (Kia, Toyota, Ford, Skoda…) or they have so much money they can afford something expensive, better to pay a little more and get real premium. Harley Davidson (Half as good Double price) woulden’t be the bike to have if it was half as expensive. A premium product should bee almost unavailable for most.

      I’m living in Sweden Europe and drives a 2005 STS. I like picking up a four year old Cadillac for the same price as a three year old Toyota here. 25000 miles and 46000 USD in depreciation!

      • 0 avatar
        Alex L. Dykes

        Stroker,

        On that I completely agree. The pricing would be fine if this was a twin-turbo V6 producing 360HP with AWD standard and some sexy exterior lines. The XTS is so close to being the right car for Cadillac…

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    The 14 speaker stereo should be STANDARD to show that GM is trying harder than the competition.

    The thing that strikes me as odd about this car is the narrowness which of course is a result of the Epsilon platform.

    This car sounds like a good buy once the depreciation hammer has hit it. I look for many gently used examples from car dealers in Florida.

    “There was a pleather dash part that was strangely crinkled and the glove box would routinely fall open beyond its stops and crash completely to the floor. (Check out the video for that.)” Unacceptable.

    “The XTS on the other hand is a confidant-handling technological four de force dressed in a corduroy leisure suit. With leather elbow patches. And a fedora.”

    So the perfect car for the long dead Detroit executives who used to insist on room for wearing their hats while in the car?

    • 0 avatar
      stroker49

      There should be internet maybe an iPad!

    • 0 avatar

      Having seen one in person, I thought, aside from the slight stitching and wrinkle niggles, that the interior was much better than that of a 5-Series or an E-Class, neither of which have standard leather anyway. And BMW is particularly known for excluding features below a certain price-point in an effort to lure buyers into higher trims.

    • 0 avatar
      oldfatandrich

      Remember the words of Chrysler CEO K. T. Keller: we build our cars to sit in, not piss over. The aged among us will recall that he presided over the descent of MOPAR from number 2 to number 3. And yes, a $61,000 sticker on this car is absurd. For a ginned up Regal/Insignia ? Reuss is as clueless as his father.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Ugly, ugly, ugly, and I actually rather like the Cadillac Arts and Sciences motif. The proportions are just plain wrong for anything with any pretense of being a luxury car. And wrong-wheel-drive to boot.

    Surely they could have stretched the CTS platform instead??

  • avatar
    racebeer

    Tell me you weren’t actually listening to Chris Matthews on MSNBC …. PLEASE!!!!!

  • avatar
    86er

    How is hip and shoulder room? The new Malibu was supposed to have been “widened” by four inches over the outgoing model.

  • avatar
    86er

    A 111.7 inch wheelbase on an obstensibly top-line Cadillac is just pathetic. This would’ve been a striking car if it was on a LS460L-like footprint.

  • avatar
    86er

    Why do the ceiling materials not colour-match the seating upholstery and dash? Is this a Japanese car?

  • avatar
    th009

    The Epsilon II allowed GM to create this car at a low cost. But the platform constrains the wheelbase and width, which are likely the biggest issues with this car.

    What GM needs is an architecture similar to VW’s MQB/MLB that allows the wheelbase and width to be changed without impacting the rest of the components. But I think most manufacturers are still working on getting the basic platform consolidation done.

  • avatar
    Waterview

    Perhaps I’m lost on the meaning of a Cadillac “flagship”. In my mind, it should compete with S-Class, A-8, and 7-Series. It shouldn’t be a slightly more expensive Buick. That was the Lexus target with the first LS400 (Japanese reliability and German luxury) and seems to be target for the Hyundai Equus. Hyundai may end up missing the mark, but I think they’ve set their bar high. If Cadillac views their only competition as the Chrysler 300 and the Lincoln, that’s very disappointing.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Every time I see an XTS in the wild, I have to squint to make sure it’s really an XTS. You’re spot on in you observation that this is an awkwardly-proportioned, conflicted-looking vehicle – which looks okay from some angles but downright odd from others. The interior is sublime, but compromise is compromise, and a proper Cadillac shouldn’t be compromised to the extent this is. The REAL Caddy flagship (long hood, V8, RWD, S/7/A8/LS competition) can’t come soon enough.

  • avatar

    I think this stubby-nose thing is becoming a GM trademark. The LaCrosse, XTS and SRX all have it, and it looks like more models may adopt it in the near future. On the other hand, I love what they did with the new Malibu; it looks stately and muscular.

    As far as the 2013 MKS’s new grille goes–I hate it. Lincoln needs to come up with some design trademarks…quickly.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’d get a Sierra Denali, even if I didn’t need a truck.

    If this is just a “stop-gap”, and the interior is the best part of the car, why couldn’t GM have put the fancy interior in the STS and DTS rather than replace them both with yet another awkward “large” Epsilon car? We already know that the 3.6L/6A combo fits in the W-body, so it should fit fine in the K-body if GM was hellbent on killing the Northstar.

    The profileration of the 3.6L and Epsilon platform across the GM lineup is troubling. Does GM have no money at all for anything different these days?

    The 3.6L is an okay engine, but it competes with the Pentastar and Duratec 35/37, which are used as base or mid-level V6s. GM needs a premium engine for Cadillac and Buick. I’ve been hearing about the mythical “twin turbo V6″ for a few years now. Like Alex wrote “I will believe it when I see it”.

    As for the Epsilon platform, it works great as an N-body replacement, is passable as a W-body replacement, but falls on it’s face when trying to replace the H/C/K-body (which weren’t exactly mack-daddy Fleetwoods to begin with). The dimensions and proportions just aren’t there. The platform isn’t as modular as GM thinks it is.

    CUE is also going to tank Cadillac’s ratings in CR and JD Powers.

    • 0 avatar
      stroker49

      Regarding the engine, yes it is an okay engine but.. I have a 3,6L in my STS-05 (255 hp and not the latest DI with over 300 hp) but I think it lacks some bottom grunt. America forgot what is most important with an engine, the torque. My engine has 342 Nm at 3200rpm. The XTS has 358Nm at 5200rpm! The dead Saab 9-5 had the same engine but 2,8l+turbo and 400nm at 2000 rpm!
      The Germans have also their diesels, 300hp and 600Nm from under 2000rpm!!!! Do you get the big mighty diesels over there?

      But the Cadillac flagship should have a modern V8 at least as an option. And mighty diesel if to be sold in Europe.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      The dimensions and proportions just aren’t there. The platform isn’t as modular as GM thinks it is.

      +1 that is the BIGGEST problem. A true full size Caddy flagship should be able to hold 3 adult Goombas across the back seat without too much complaining. And 4 dead wiseguys in the trunk.

  • avatar
    hurls

    ConfidEnt… unless the car is listening to your secrets while you corner… in which case it is a confidant.

  • avatar
    carguy

    The sticker price certainly seems excessive, but the same used to said about the DTS and Towncar which never sold anywhere near sticker.

    If GM can sell decently equipped versions of this car in the mid 40s then they will have no problems finding customers.

    The XTS should also not be mistaken for a flagship model to compete with the S Class. It’s a successor to the Lincoln Towncar and should be viewed as such.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    What this car doesn’t have — and should have — is presence. Say what you will, presence is a function of size. That’s why people buy Escalades; they have presence.

    The Chrysler 300 has presence, too, as does the Lincoln, even if the grille is ridiculous.

    I remember a great uncle who had a 1956 Cadillac Fleetwood. That car had presence.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Agree on the need for presence with this type of car, and also agree that the Chrysler 300 has it. But the Lincoln MKS does not…the Taurus is more impressive in this regard.

  • avatar
    oldowl

    From the amount of time spent on gadgetry on the video it seems as if the car itself
    is an accessory to its accessories.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    A center touch system that crashes 4 times, wrinkled faux leather, and a broken glovebox are un-acceptable for a chevy, let alone a cadillac. Sorry GM, attempting this car (trying to build a flagship on the epsilon II) was a mistake to begin with and with the obvious quality issues a total debacle.

    Should have done one of the follow instead of this:
    1. Stretched the STS a couple of inches (which would have been my preferred solution as it came with a proper powertrain and proper design proportions).

    2. Kept the old DTS until a *real* flagship was built instead of wasting money on a stop-gap car that is a total flop.

    As far as I’m concerned there is only one good thing about cadillac: I can go buy an overlooked used STS with a v8/RWD for less than a comparible 4 door RWD sedan such as GTO/BMW/Charger/300.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      +1.

      Cadillac also needs to change their vehicle naming pattern. Who really knows the difference between them, unless they’re already Cadillac fanboys?

    • 0 avatar
      ranwhenparked

      Cadillac already had a stretched STS – in China. Actually, it’s still in production at Shanghai General Motors, and was face-lifted last year with a bolder front end. http://www.cadillac.com.cn/pz2.html. The wheelbase is lengthened by 4 inches over the old STS, to 120.4in, which is usefully longer than the XTS.

      Surely it couldn’t be too difficult to shift a few SLSs stateside, though they no longer have the capacity to manufacture it here, and attempting to sell a Chinese-built luxury car in America would be suicidal. The STS just never got much respect in the United States, but I always thought it was a much more credible effort at a flagship than the DTS.

  • avatar
    blarfmarfle

    I test drove the XTS, along with an S80 and the new ES350, about two weeks ago. My wife is thinking maybe we downsize one of our cars (the Flex in this case) and just have a sedan in addition to our Odyssey.

    On the whole, I liked the XTS a lot. Personally, I like the styling in person, I like the interior and I think CUE is a pretty great first attempt at an all digital infotainment system. The things I didn’t like were the capacity buttons on the center stack, the steering feel and the lack of torgue on the freeway. So I guess my impressions were in line with Alex’s. I also liked the heads up display on the model I drove.

    For us, the ES350 was just a better proposition- Lexus reliability, a nice interior, and no capacitive buttons. Plus, you can option up an ES to $47k, and you get EVERYTHING; the XTS is going to be $10k more expensive if you go crazy. That’s GS territory, and that’s RWD with the F-Sport package.

    The S80 had a lot of nice aspects, especially its clean, minimalist design interior. But it feels a little old, frankly, and the infotainment stuff was kinda last gen. The T6 is awesome.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    If you were sad that GM killed of the Impala, rejoice.

    Everyone else, keep moving, nothing to see here.

    I am shocked at to how expensive this thing is… The old farts who bought CTS with vinyl tops are long dead.

    So who will want a sluggish, not that sporty, Caddy land barge for 60 grand?

  • avatar
    ranwhenparked

    It really looks like the designers really tried to do their best with what they had to work with, but as nice as many of the details are, the proportions totally kill it. The track is too narrow, the wheelbase and hood are both too short and the cowl is too high, it looks like someone grafted a minivan front clip onto the new MKZ’s body.

    An extra 6 inches in the wheelbase and a another 4 ahead of the firewall would do wonders, too bad they didn’t have the budget for that. This will sell well to the geriatric crowd that buys Cadillacs because Cadillacs are Cadillacs, as well as to rental fleets the livery companies that won’t stand anything less than a “luxury” badge.

    It’s never going to be a serious rival to the LS, XJ, S-Class, A8, or S-Class in any way.

    Dan Akerson may have pulled the rug out from under this one before it even went on sale when he commented that it “won’t blow the doors off” any of the competition, but that it will be a decent car. Truly a ringing endorsement from the man at the top.

  • avatar
    Nick

    ‘when parked next to the CTS, ATS, STS or DTS’

    Names destined to live on in the pantheon of automotive greatness.

    Do those mean anything to anyone?!

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    God the buttons to the left of the steering wheel are just like those found in the XJ6/8 through about 1999.

  • avatar
    NJRonbo

    I have always wanted to own a Cadillac. I look at the Cadillac brand as the absolute pinnacle of what the General Motors company is able to manufacture. This is my third vehicle I have leased in the last 5 years, and I have continued to stay with the brand because I find their vehicles to provide that signature “ride” and luxury that one would expect.

    In November of last year, as my 2010 SRX lease was about to expire, I already had my mind set on leasing a 2013 vehicle. I had done my research, and the thing I was more excited about than anything else was this new, revolutionary tech product called CUE. Being a huge gadget freak who needs to be the first to own everything new in tech, I wanted the new SRX solely for that CUE technology. In fact, when I went to the dealership and said I was interested in the 2013 SRX, the dealer talked endlessly about how fantastic the CUE system was. No doubt, dealers had been properly trained to make CUE the main focal point when trying to sell these vehicles.

    I couldn’t believe how fast my level of excitement sank as I plugged in my iPod and found that every time I selected a favorite song, it played another. The way CUE handled playlists was atrocious.

    Then, I was amazed to discover that upon trying to make a phone call, shortly after entering the vehicle, that I kept getting “the device is still attempting to initialize” response from the CUE system.

    Of course, now all of us know that the biggest problems the CUE system faces are all caused by some engineer’s bright idea that none of the information from your phone or iPod should be permanently stored in its database. Every time you enter and leave the vehicle, the CUE system has to reindex itself and re-upload the same information over and over again. This is why you can’t make a phone call in the first 5-10 minutes of your drive. This is why if you have an iPod with thousands upon thousands of songs, it can never upload it all fast enough for you to be able to play the song you want.

    Who looked at this kind of functionality and thought it was workable? Even worse, how the hell did Cadillac green light these systems to be installed in their vehicles?

    Before I get to the meat of this story, I have to give credit to the CUE team. Not only have reps participated on this forum, but I have their direct phone number and have been invited to call them anytime that I have concerns.

    The problem is, as much assurance as we have received that they are looking to fix these issues, I don’t think there has been a clear roadmap of what is going to be fixed in the update due this March (which was originally supposed to be due in January). If you look at the latest press release that GM has issued, you may think that a major fix is on the way — and you would be right. But exactly what is being fixed? I see nothing about iPod incompatibility nor the fact that you can’t make a phone call as soon as you get into the vehicle. I talk to a CUE rep on the phone and I am told that perhaps these problems can’t be fixed without the addition of a hard drive, and another CUE rep talks about flash storage capability. In other words, the stories change pending on who you approach at CUE.

    Still, I give the CUE team a huge amount of kudos. At least they are trying. I can’t seem to say the same for GM Executives….

    I decided to write a letter — an actual typewritten letter that you put a stamp on — to Daniel Akerson (Chief Executive Officer) and Robert Ferguson (GM VP of Cadillac). I questioned how the CUE system, with all its bugs, was ever approved for placement in their company’s flagship line of vehicles. Not an unfair question to ask, given the fact that people who buy a Cadillac expect the very best from the brand. You just don’t throw in some cool-looking dashboard entertainment system without making certain that people who pay good money for a product have to spend their initial months of ownership coming to a forum like this and complaining about how it doesn’t work.

    And you know what? I wasn’t expecting that my letter would actually be read by Mr. Akerson or Mr. Ferguson. But I did expect that I would get some sort of professional, concerned response from the team that stands behind the Cadillac brand.

    Well, the response did come in the form of a phone call. I hate to sit here and insult the people that are hired to deal with consumer complaints at Cadillac, but I felt as if I was dealing with someone who had no right to be in that position. The individual that called me seemed to be the kind of person I would talk to if I were calling the complaint line at my local Target store. I am certain the woman I spoke with was nice, but it was very apparent to me that she was uninformed, and was simply someone who was working in a call center so far beneath the Executive level.

    After pouring out my heart in a letter about being unhappy with the CUE system and that Cadillac should be ashamed for putting it in their flagship brand, the response I got was, “There is nothing we can do for you.” When I asked if my complaint had even reached the Executive level, the response was something like, “Well, your letter did reach the Executive offices.” Really? And they had someone like you contact me to say “There is nothing we can do for you?”

    Actually, after repeatedly voicing my disgust for the response, I was given some sort of compensation on service. It was a nice gesture that I would not have gotten without the objections I raised, but I am afraid the entire experience has left me somewhat “cold.”

    Listen, there may be some of you who think I am making too much of this in light of the fact that the CUE team is trying.

    My continued frustration is that the answers to exactly what has been fixed and what has not, is still not clear. Now three months into the ownership of my SRX, I still can’t make a phone call and I don’t even use my iPod, because I can’t.

    Listen…..perhaps some of you can relate to what I am about to say….

    One of the places I find the most solitude is in my Cadillac. As I drive to and from work, I immensely enjoy the ride beneath me. It is my time to relax, enjoy the drive, make a phone call or two, and enjoy the large collection of music I own on the vehicle’s sound system. The most pleasurable part of my day is often the time I spend in my SRX.

    But you know what? I can’t listen to the music I want because the CUE system can’t properly play music from iPods with large libraries. I can’t make a business call without having to wait 5-10 minutes for the vehicle to initialize. This is not the kind of problems that customers who pay a premium for a vehicle like this should have to deal with. Furthermore, I would hope for more direct answers from the CUE team as to whether these problems will definitely be fixed. Lastly, the one thing you don’t want to hear when you bring the complaint all the way to the top of the GM Executive chain is, “There is nothing we can do for you.”

  • avatar
    fps_dean

    I question the accuracy of 6.1s to 60. The CTS with the same engine and a RWD base gets about 5.9 best-case and the AWD CTS is somewhere closer to 6.5s. FWD would be slower than both, and due to how the AWD works it’s just extra-weight on dry pavement, so that would be even slower. I’d guess around 7.0-7.5 seconds.

    Still though, it’s not a performance car. A more powerful engine in a FWD platform makes absolutely no sense.


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