The Truth About Cars » XTS http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 18 Jul 2014 20:52:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » XTS http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Review: 2014 Cadillac CTS 2.0T (With Video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/review-2014-cadillac-cts-2-0t-with-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/review-2014-cadillac-cts-2-0t-with-video/#comments Fri, 27 Dec 2013 14:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=686066 2014 Cadillac CTS 2.0T Exterior-001

It’s been decades since Cadillac produced the “Cadillac” of anything. However, when car buffs dismiss the only American luxury brand left, they fail to see Cadillac’s march forward. 2002 brought the first RWD Cadillac since the Fleetwoood. A year later the XLR roadster hit, followed in 2004 by Cadillac’s first 5-Series fighter, the STS. Not everything was rosy. The original CTS drove like a BMW but lacked charm and luxury fittings. The XLR was based on a Corvette, which made for excellent road manners, but the Northstar engine didn’t have the oomph. The STS sounded like a good idea, but the half-step CTS wasn’t much smaller and ultimately shoppers weren’t interested in a bargain option. That brings us to the new ATS and CTS. Ditching the “more car for less money” mantra, the ATS has been created to fight the C/3/IS leaving the CTS free to battle the E/5/GS head-on. Can Caddy’s sensible new strategy deliver the one-two punch fans have hoped for? I snagged a CTS 2.0T for a week to find out.

 

Click here to view the embedded video.

Exterior

I found the outgoing CTS a little discordant, but 2014 brings an elegant more aggressive refresh. GM’s Art and Science theme has matured from “cubism gone wrong” to shapes that flow and jibe with a larger grille and softer creases. The 5-Series continues to go for elegant and restrained, I find the XF and A6′s design a mixture of plain-Jane and snazzy headlamps while the Infiniti Q5o and Lexus GS are going for flowing elegance.

The demur side profile continues with a simple character line to draw your eye from front to rear. One thing you’ll notice during that eye-movement is the distinct RWD proportions that separate the CTS, E, 5, GS, XF and Q50 from the long-nosed Audi A6 and near-luxury FWD options. Out back the CTS’ rump is a bit less exciting but employs all the latest luxury cues from hidden exhaust tops to light piped tail lamps. I was hoping Caddy’s fins would be further resurrected,  but the “proto fins” on the XTS are absent. Pity. Obvious from every angle is an attention to build quality absent from earlier generations with perfect panel gaps and seams.

Structurally, the CTS has jumped ship to a stretched version of the Alpha platform the smaller ATS rides on. Thanks to the automotive taffy-pull, the CTS is now 2.3 inches longer than a BMW 5-series. However, because of the Alpha roots, the CTS has actually shrunk for 2014 by 3 inches in length while getting 2 inches wider and a 2 inch roof height reduction.

2014 Cadillac CTS 2.0T Interior-006

Interior

GM has proven they are able to create a car that drives competitively and looks sexy on the outside, but interiors have always been a mixed bag. The last gen CTS felt as if it was built with a mixture of custom parts and Chevy hand-me downs. No more. Like the ATS, the Caddy shares little with the rest of GM’s mass market-rabble. It is hard to find fault in the CTS’s dashboard’s combination of injection molded soft touch plastics, leather, faux suede, real wood, carbon fiber and contrasting stitching. Cadillac continues their dedication to shiny touch buttons on the dash and no luxury sedan would be complete without a little gimmicky drama. The CTS’s motorized cupholder lid ties with the XF’s automated air vents for the feature most clearly designed to brag about. I’m not sure how long that little motor will crank away, but it can’t be any less reliable than Jaguar’s theatrical air vents.

Because of the way Cadillac chose to stretch the CTS’ donor platform, cargo and interior space aren’t the primary beneficiaries. This means that rear legroom actually shrinks for 2014 to the smallest entry in this segment by a hair. Trunk volume also drops from a competitive 13.6 cubes to 10.5 which is a 20% reduction compared to the Lexus and BMW and 30% smaller than the Mercedes. The CTS makes up for some of this with comfortable thrones all the way around and when equipped with the optional 20-way front seats the CTS ranks #2 in the segment just behind BMW’s optional 24-way sport seats in comfort. Taller drivers and passengers beware, dropping the CTS’ roof height made the profile sexier but cuts headroom to the lowest in the segment.

2013 Cadillac ATS Instrument Cluster

2013 Cadillac ATS Instrument Cluster

There is one glaring flaw. The decidedly dowdy base instrument cluster is shared with the ATS (pictured above) and the XTS. Our Facebook followers were so put-off by Caddy’s base dials, the fervor spawned a Vellum Venom Vignette. While the ATS is saddled with the four-dial layout, the CTS and XTS have a savior: the most attractive LCD disco dash available. (My tester was so equipped.) Perhaps it is this dichotomy that is so vexing about the base CTS models. If you don’t fork over enough cash, you’ll constantly be reminded that you couldn’t afford the Cadillac of displays.

The 12.3-inch cluster offers the driver more customization than you fill find in any other full-LCD cluster. Unlike the Jaguar and Land Rover screens that simply replicate analogue gauges, you can select from several different views depending on whether you feel like analogue dials or digital information and the amount of information overload you prefer. (Check out the gallery.) My preferred layout contained a high res navigation map, digital speedo, fuel status, range to empty, average fuel economy, audio system information with album art and track information and the speed-limit on the road I was traveling on.

2014 Cadillac CUE - CTS 2.0T-001

Infotainment

I have been critical of Cadillac’s CUE system but 2014 brings some important software fixes resolving the random system crashes and demon possessed touch controls I experienced in the ATS and XTS. After driving the CTS for 852 miles, the CUE system proved rock solid in terms of reliability. Unfortunately, little has been done to address the sluggish response to inputs, unintuitive menus and old-school nav graphics. Despite the still flaws, I have to stick by my words when MyFord Touch landed: I’d rather have slow infotainment than none at all. BMW’s iDrive still ranks 1st for me because the interface is intuitive, attractive, responsive and elegant. BMW continues to add new features to their system and, unlike other systems, the new features in general operate as smoothly as the rest of the iDrive interface. You may be surprised to know that CUE ranks second for me.

CUE’s graphics are more pleasing to my eye than MMI, COMAND, Sensus, MyLincon Touch, Enform or AcuraLink. COMAND’s software should have been sent out to pasture long ago. The graphics are ancient and trying to load any of the smartphone apps is an exercise in frustration. Instead of reinventing their software, Lexus reinvented the input method taking their system from most intuitive to least in a single move. Senus isn’t half bad but Volvo’s screens are small and the software lacks the smartphone integration found in the competition. MyLincoln Touch is well featured but lacks CUE’s more modern look and the glass touchscreen.

2014 Cadillac CUE - CTS 2.0T-006

The scratch resistant glass touchscreen and proximity sensors used by Cadillac are part of what give the system a clean modern look. Most systems use resistive touchscreens which are pressure sensitive and require that the surface of the screen actually move to sense your touch. This means they need to be made of a ductile plastic which is several layers thick. The consumer comparison is to think of your iPhone or Android phone vs a color Palm Pilot from years past. Cadillac uses the screen to allow intuitive finger-sliding gestures and the proximity sensor to reduce visual clutter when your finger is away from the screen. Move you hand closet to the screen and the less critical interface buttons reappear.

Cadillac continues their relationship with Bose, giving the base model an 11-speaker sound system that brings everything but navigation to the party. Our model was equipped with the up-level 13-speaker Bose sound system, navigation software and the optional single-slot CD player hiding in the glove box. Compared with BMW’s premium audio offerings, the Bose systems sing slightly flatter and lack the volume capable in the German options. However compared to Lexus’ standard and optional systems the Cadillac holds its own.

Ecotec 2.0L I-4 VVT DI Turbo (LTG)

Drivetrain

Thanks to the new GM Alpha platform, all three engines sit behind the front axle which is ideal for weight balance. Base shoppers get the 2.0L direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder worth 272 ponies and 295 lb-ft of torque, besting BMW’s 2.0L by 32 HP and 35 lb-ft. On “Luxury” trim and above you can opt for GM’s ubiquitous 3.6L V6 (321HP/275 lb-ft) for $2,700, but I’d probably stick to the 2.0L turbo if I were you. Aside from being lighter, the turbo delivers more torque at lower RPMs and has a more advantageous power delivery which make it a hair faster to 60.

Shoppers looking for more shove and willing to part with $59,995 can opt for a 420 horsepower twin-turbo V6 in the CTS V-Sport that cranks out 430 lb-ft. Despite sharing thee 3.6L displacement of the middle engine, GM tells us that only 10% of the engine components are shared. Sending power to the pavement in the 2.0T and 3.6 models is essentially the same GM 6-speed automatic transmission BMW used to use in certain models of the 3-series until recently. Optional in the 3.6L and standard on the twin-turbo V6 is an Aisin 8-speed automatic that is essentially shared with the Lexus LS.

2014 Cadillac CTS 2.0T Exterior-014

Drive

Unfortunately, the first thing you’ll notice out on the road is the coarse sound from under the hood. GM’s 2.0L engine is no less refined than BMW or Mercedes’ four-bangers, but the difference is you can hear the engine in the CTS. In fact, based on the overall quietness of the cabin (a competitive 67 dB at 50 MPH), I can only conclude that Cadillac designed the engine to be heard. I don’t mind hearing the 3.6L V6, but most luxury shoppers would prefer not to be reminded they chose the rational engine every time they get on the freeway. On the bright side, because GM does not offer start/stop tech, shoppers are spared the inelegant starts and stops that characterize 528i city driving.

While I’m picking nits, the 6-speed found in the 2.0T and most 3.6 models lacks the ratio spread and shift smoothness of the ZF 8-speed automatic found in most of the competition. While I prefer GMs 6-speed to the somewhat lazy 7-speed automatic in the Mercedes E-Class, the rumored 8-speed can’t come soon enough. The 8-speed used in the V-Sport (optional on the 3.6L) solves the ratio and marketing issue, but the Aisin unit feels just as up-shift happy and down-shift reluctant as it does in the Lexus LS 460. As a result when you use the shift paddles, your actions feel more like suggestions than commands.

2014 Cadillac CTS 2.0T Exterior-013

The reason I label those flaws as mere nits is because of how the CTS accomplishes every other task on the road. Acceleration to 60 happens a 4/10ths faster than an E350, a half-second faster than the 528i,  a full second faster than a GS350, and practically years ahead of the A6 2.0T. Part of this has to do with the engine’s superior torque curve and higher horsepower numbers, but plenty has to do with curb weight. At 3,616 lbs, the CTS 2.oT is 200lbs lighter than the BMW or Lexus, 400lbs lighter than an E350. The comparable Audi A6 would be the front-wheel-drive 2.0T model with the CVT at 3,726. If you think that’s an unfair comparison, the 2.0T with Quattro is 3,900lbs and does little to correct the A6′s front-heavy weight balance.

As a result of the CTS’s near perfect 50.3/49.7 % weight balance and the light curb weight, the CTS feels more agile and responsive on winding mountain roads, especially when you compare it to the V6 competitors. The steering is as numb as anything on the market thanks to electric power steering, but you can get faint whiffs of feedback now and then and the steering weight is moderate rather than strangely firm in the 528i. Admittedly we’re splitting hairs here when it comes to steering feel, as there is precious little difference between the CTS, GS and 528i. Even the hydraulic system retained in BMW’s 550i doesn’t feel as crisp on the road. Helping out the handling is a standard moderately firm spring suspension or an optional MagneRide active suspension as our tester was equipped. The adaptive dampers feel more refined than in previous versions, despite them not changing the vehicle’s personality much from regular to sport mode. The CTS never felt out of sorts on rough or uneven terrain and despite being moderately firm, never felt punishing. This places the CTS right in line with the modern Germans. Toss in standard Brembo brakes and the CTS is far more willing to hike up its skirt and dance than the establishment competition.

2014 Cadillac CTS 2.0T Exterior-007

For 2014, Cadillac added $6,035 to the MSRP and put “value” on the back burner. At $45,100, the CTS starts $4,400 less than the 528i and $2,600 less than the GS350. Of course the Caddy’s base model has fewer features, so an apples-to-apples comparison brings the delta up to around $1,500 less than the BMW. That’s a much smaller window than there used to be, and it’s not surprising when you consider the CTS’ interior is finally equal to or better than the Germans. The pricing deltas get more interesting as you go up the ladder. The CTS 3.6 is a few grand less than a BMW 535i. In that mash-up, the BMW provides superior thrust but when the road gets winding the CTS is more enjoyable. Then we get to the CTS V-Sport. The V-Sport brings a twin-turbo V6 to a twin-turbo V8 fight. At 420 HP and 430 lb-ft the numbers are stout to be sure, but trail the 443 HP and 479 lb-ft from BMW’s 4.4L V8 and most importantly, the V8 delivers a far superior torque curve delivering all of its torque 1,500 RPM earlier. Still, the Cadillac is 325 lbs lighter, handles better, is $4,830 cheaper and by the numbers gives up little in terms of straight line performance.

The two sweet spots for the CTS are a nearly loaded 2.0T with the LCD disco dash and a moderately well equipped V-Sport. The 2.0T offers the best road manners of its direct competition at a reasonable value. The V-Sport on the other hand offers BMW shoppers an interesting alternative. At an $1,800 up-sell over a comparably equipped 535i and $4,800 less than a 550i, the V-Sport is probably the best value in the luxury segment for 2014. After a week with the middle child Cadillac, GM seems to finally be on the right path with their luxury brand. As long as the XTS is replaced with a large rear driver sedan soon I might even say that the American luxury brand is on a roll. While I can think of a few reasons to buy a BMW 5-Series over a CTS (the base CTS instrument cluster is a good reason), shoppers have no reason to dismiss the CTS as they might have done in the past. Although the CTS is still 20lbs of sound deadening and an 8-speed automatic away from being the Cadillac of mid-size sedans, it is a truly solid competitor.

 

 GM provides the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.3 Seconds

0-60: 5.9 Seconds

1/mile: 14.36 Seconds @ 97.5 MPH

Average observed fuel economy: 24.8 MPG over 852 Miles

Sound level at 50 MPH: 67 dB

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Akerson Confirms: Cadillac Will Build Large RWD Flagship, Just Not the Ciel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/akerson-confirms-cadillac-will-build-large-rwd-flagship-just-not-the-ciel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/akerson-confirms-cadillac-will-build-large-rwd-flagship-just-not-the-ciel/#comments Mon, 22 Jul 2013 20:15:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=496686

During a visit to USA Today‘s editorial offices, CEO Dan Akerson of General Motors clarified the question of a rear wheel drive Cadillac flagship.  Akerson confirmed that Cadillac is indeed working on a RWD based model that will likely slot in above Cadillac’s current top of the line XTS sedan and probably go on sale in 2015.

 

According to USA Today, that car will be “very loosely based” on the platform underpinning the new 2014 CTS, not a platform from GM’s Australian subsidiary, Holden, which has supplied platforms for many recent RWD GM cars like the Camaro, the new Chevy police car and the Chevrolet SS. It will come in an AWD version, considered by many in the luxury field to be an essential feature to be able to sell cars north of the Mason-Dixon line. Though the XTS also comes in an AWD version, the new sedan is not likely to replace the biggest current Caddy. Though sometimes derided by enthusiasts, the XTS sells well, in this country and in China. In North America, GM sells about as many XTS models as it does with the CTS. Akerson made a point of saying that the new large sedan will not resemble recent Cadillac concept cars, making it clear without saying so that the Ciel is dead, as was reported recently. The flagship, along with other upcoming Cadillacs will, however, pick up styling cues from the Ciel and other concepts, as evident in the front end of the new CTS that features headlamps units that extend back along the ridge of the front fenders.

 

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Confirmed: XTS-V To Arrive In June As Early 2014 Model http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/confirmed-xts-v-to-arrive-in-june-as-early-2014-model/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/confirmed-xts-v-to-arrive-in-june-as-early-2014-model/#comments Mon, 01 Apr 2013 12:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=483051

While snapping shots of the new Chevrolet SS at the end of the show on Thursday, TTAC’s NYIAS crew was approached by General Motors vice president Mark Reuss. “You guys are always trying to make GM look bad,” he growled, his two personal assistants standing behind him and positively radiating menace, “but I’m going to show you that you can’t stop the largest car company in the world from making great product for great customers. Come with me.”

We didn’t have much choice, but after being given an industry exclusive on the biggest product reveal to not make news at the show, we’re glad we followed him down that dark corridor.

There, sitting alone and forlorn in a distant corner of one of the Jacob Javits Center’s loading docks, was a fierce-looking version of the new Chevrolet Impala. Slammed to the ground, with heavy negative camber and monstrous carbon-ceramic brakes peeking from behind the Corvette-ZR1-sourced lace wheels, the Impala really looked like it was worthy of the name Impala, as opposed to the current Impala, which could have been truthfully been called the “Biscayne Extra Suck Edition”.

“If we hadn’t been able to get the SS past the EPA and DOT this year, we’d have done this project instead,” Reuss noted. “But since ninety percent of the SS platform is shared with the G8, type approval was actually easy as pie. Which left this Impala SS with nowhere to go. What you’re looking at is the development mule for the XTS-V.”

“XTS-V?”

“Absolutely. Specs run like this. Transverse LS7 with lower redline to preserve the carryover 6T70. We’re targeting an announced power level of 470 or so horsepower. Possibly a torque bump if we decide to use the Camaro cam.”

“The LS7 fits in the Epsilon II?”

“OF COURSE IT DOES!” Reuss laughed. “What, you think we’re so stupid we don’t bother to make sure we can put our marquee engines into our marquee brand? Did you really think we were going to leave the XTS with the same shitty six-cylinder we put in the LaCrosse? Why would anybody buy an XTS if we did that, given the price difference? Of course, the XTS has a longer wheelbase coming, because obviously it won’t cut it for livery duty with the rear seat room we have now. It’s possible we’ll use the LS3 in a livery LWB XTS for late 2014 as well.”

Scheduled to appear before the new CTS in showrooms, the XTS-V will likely circle the fabled ‘Ring in under eight minutes and twenty seconds, thus setting a new record for FWD luxury sedans over 3,850 pounds. Paddle shifters and stitched Alcantara will complete the interior for a truly premium experience, while the CUE system will be augmented with something that Reuss told us “you’d better not fucking call ‘Track Apps’, Ford owns that.”

The XTS-V will be priced about where the old STS-V was, but in our brief convo, Reuss told us he wasn’t concerned about market penetration. “Listen, it’s been proven again and again that you can sell Cadillacs for big money. Look at the Allante, the XLR, the STS-V itself. We’ll be head to head with the M5 on this, the same way we were were head-to-head with the M3 on CTS-V and we’ll be head-to-head with the 1M with the ATS-V that I’m supposed to pretend isn’t already running laps at Milford.”

In a rare moment of candor, Reuss admitted that the XTS-V has already won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award. “We don’t have a production-line XTS-V running yet, but luckily for us we draft all our advertising checks as, ahem, one-offs, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.”

An exclusive press event for the nation’s biggest auto journalists will be held at the Stelvio Pass in approximately sixty days, with long-term loaners being distributed shortly afterwards. Our requests to participate in either program were met with the terse response “Fuck off,” and a follow-up suggestion for a week with an XTS-V press car were met with the terse response, “I already told you to fuck off, don’t make me tell you with these two fists.” The advertising campaign will be built around the concept of “Torque Can Steer You Anywhere You Want To Go,” and will feature, according to GM press flack A. T. Tappmann, “some black golfer who isn’t Tiger Woods, probably.”

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Will China-made Cadillac XTS Change Caddy’s China Fortunes? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/will-china-made-cadillac-xts-change-caddys-china-fortunes/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/will-china-made-cadillac-xts-change-caddys-china-fortunes/#comments Thu, 29 Nov 2012 04:51:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=468387

A China-made Cadillac XTS was announced and expected for “this fall, just months after the car’s North American launch.” It has not appeared yet. But they are working on it hard, as the picture by Carnewschina attests.

The car was caught on a highway near Shanghai, being shuttled between the many locations GM has in and around the city.

According to Carnewschina, “the China-made Cadillac XTS will debut on the April 2013 Shanghai Auto Show, it will be launched on the Chinese car market in the first half of next year.”  Better late than never.

Cadillac needs Chinese production badly.  In the wake of the mentally challenged punitive tariff on Chinese tires, China retaliated with a punitive tariff on cars imported from China. The tariff was expertly crafted to hurt GM the most. Said The Guardian last year:

“General Motors faces the greatest impact, almost 22% extra on some sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and other cars with engine capacities above 2.5 litres. Chrysler faces a 15% penalty, while a 2% levy will be imposed on BMW, whose US plants make many of the cars it exports to China.”

The XTS will be followed by other Made-in-China Cadillacs, such as the CTS and ATX. Currently, only the Cadillac SLS, a long version of the STS, is being produced in China. Reception of the Cadillacs in the Middle Kingdom has been lackluster. January through October,  24,000 Caddys were sold in China. As a comparison Audi sold 36,000 cars in China in the month of October alone, and sold 330,000 January through October.

 

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Review: 2013 Cadillac XTS http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/review-2013-cadillac-xts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/review-2013-cadillac-xts/#comments Wed, 31 Oct 2012 13:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=463855

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.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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

2013 Cadillac XTS, Exterior, Tail Fin, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Cadillac XTS-002 2013 Cadillac XTS-003 2013 Cadillac XTS-004 2013 Cadillac XTS, Exterior, Front, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Cadillac XTS-006 2013 Cadillac XTS-007 2013 Cadillac XTS-008 2013 Cadillac XTS, Exterior, Rear, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Cadillac XTS-010 2013 Cadillac XTS-011 2013 Cadillac XTS-012 2013 Cadillac XTS, Engine, 3.6L V6, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Cadillac XTS-014 2013 Cadillac XTS-015 2013 Cadillac XTS-016 + 2013 Cadillac XTS-018 2013 Cadillac XTS-019 2013 Cadillac XTS-020 2013 Cadillac XTS, Infotainment, CUE system, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Cadillac XTS-022 2013 Cadillac XTS-023 2013 Cadillac XTS-024 2013 Cadillac XTS-025 2013 Cadillac XTS-026 2013 Cadillac XTS-027 2013 Cadillac XTS, Infotainment, CUE system, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Cadillac XTS-029 2013 Cadillac XTS-031 2013 Cadillac XTS-032 2013 Cadillac XTS-034 2013 Cadillac XTS-035 2013 Cadillac XTS-036 2013 Cadillac XTS-037 2013 Cadillac XTS-038 2013 Cadillac XTS, LCD Digital Gauges, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Cadillac XTS, Interior, Dashboard, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2013 Cadillac XTS-041 2013 Cadillac XTS-042 2013 Cadillac XTS-043 2013 Cadillac XTS-044 2013 Cadillac XTS-045 2013 Cadillac XTS-046 2013 Cadillac XTS-048 2013 Cadillac XTS-049 2013 Cadillac XTS-050 2013 Cadillac XTS-051 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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In The Fierce Battle With Morgan For German Sales Supremacy, Cadillac Relies On The Heavy Artillery http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/in-the-fierce-battle-with-morgan-for-german-sales-supremacy-cadillac-relies-on-the-heavy-artillery/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/in-the-fierce-battle-with-morgan-for-german-sales-supremacy-cadillac-relies-on-the-heavy-artillery/#comments Mon, 30 Jul 2012 14:15:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=454686

“Two questions.” Our European contributor, Mirko Reinhardt, wants to test my knowledge. “First question: Last month was a pretty big month for Cadillac in Germany, relatively speaking. How many Cadillacs did GM sell? And second question: Which model sold best?

Oh, man.

“To answer your first question, I want to be all sarcastic and say a hundred units or something snarky and haterade-ish like that, but maybe it was more like a thousand?”

“Sorry, you’re wrong. The answer is: Eleven. Cadillac sold eleven units. That’s actually more than their monthly average for the year. Now, one particular Cadillac model sold 10 out of the 11 sold. Which one was it?”

“Um, was it the one that Scott Burgess called ‘The Cadillac of compact cars,’ the Burgerkingring-conquering ATS?”

“No.”

“Maybe it was the one that Scott Burgess called ‘The Cadillac of coupes’, the almighty CTS Coupe?”

“No.”

“I’m guessing at this point that it was the one that Scott Burgess called ‘The Cadillac of sports sedans,’ the super-awesome CTS-V?”

“No.”

“I give up. What was it?”

“The Escalade.”

“Oh! The one that Scott Burgess called ‘the Cadillac of Cadillacs.’ No, wait, that’s the hybrid. In another review, he called it ‘the Cadillac of hybrids.’ So it’s the Cadillac of Cadillac hybrids. I think. I wonder why he never called it the ‘Cadillac of Tahoes’? But the Germans aren’t stupid enough to buy Escalade Hybrids. Has to be the regular version, right?

“Yes. Morgan sold 13 cars, just for perspective.”

“That’s, like, 20% ahead of Cadillac! Morgan is beating Cadillac! They must be even more autobahn-ready than the Cadillac of German Cadillacs, also known as the Escalade.”

“Lamborghini sold 12. Wiesmann, 7. That’s a very exclusive group Cadillac is in. Ferrari did 78
Don’t want to drive a Ferrari like everybody else? Buy a CTS. The one Cadillac that the company sold last month that wasn’t an Escalade was a CTS.”

“Of course! Naturally the Germans would love the CTS. Former TTAC staffer Jonny Lieberman called his CTS-V ‘the best German car sold today’, or something like that. There must be a Motor Trend reader in Germany, right?”

“Well…”

“Maybe somebody checked the wrong box on the order form, otherwise it would have been 11 for 11 on the Escalade tip. What do you think Cadillac can do to catch Morgan in this month’s sales race?”

“It’s past my bedtime.”

It turns out the Germans aren’t particularly convinced by Cadillac’s ostensible domination of the Burgerkingring. When they buy Cadillacs, the Lords Of Der Autobahnen Und Schtuff want what the rest of us want: a real Cadillac. Body on frame. Plush. Bouncy. In your face. Proper size. The hell with an Escalade. We know what Germans like. We know what Krauts want.

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Cadillac XTS Debuts, Doesn’t “Blow The Doors Off” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/cadillac-xts-debuts-doesnt-blow-the-doors-off/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/cadillac-xts-debuts-doesnt-blow-the-doors-off/#comments Wed, 16 Nov 2011 19:45:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=418488

Throughout its history, Cadillac has fed the press some glorious concept cars dripping with opulence, snazzy features and WTF styling. This works when production cars live up to the concept’s hype, but a history of histrionics is less helpful when you’re launching a car that somehow defies hype  altogether [Ed: see AutoWeek's headline: "Cadillac aims its flagship XTS at imports and traditional buyers"].  Don’t get it wrong, the XTS is not intended as a true flagship for the brand (GM’s release calls it “the newest addition to the lineup” and “the most technologically advanced production car in the brand’s history”), but at the launch at the LA Auto Show the XTS’s FWD proportions, slab sides and generally predictable exterior dominated the first impressions. Put simply, the midsized sedan exudes none of the presence that makes the CTS-V coupe exciting, possibly due to the fact that it has what may be Cadillac’s shortest hood ever. No wonder GM CEO Dan Akerson warned us that the XTS “wouldn’t blow the doors off” the competition.

Inside, however, we found perhaps the best interior Cadillac has fashioned in decades. Cadillac spent a great deal of time telling the assembled press masses that this Caddy is different, this Cadillac is world class and this Cadillac will be at the top of the luxury food chain. And yet the competitive comparisons are all against the mid-line sedans from Europe. Which is really no surprise, considering the XTS is still motivated by the same 300HP V6 we see in other GM products, mated to the same 6-speed FWD transmission and AWD. New to the midsized party are Magnetic Ride Control shocks and and an eLSD in the rear which promises to improve handling when the going gets twisty. Not that anyone will take the XTS to the track mind you. Blue hairs will however love the new full-stop radar cruise control and the “virtual bumper” which will stop you automagically when you try to run over Joey on his trike. The new Cadillac infotainment system also appears to be a winner combining Apple-like multi-touch gestures with Android-like haptic feedback. All in all, it’s a strange beats, this XTS.

IMG_4901 IMG_4902 IMG_4903 IMG_4904 IMG_4905 IMG_4906 IMG_4907 IMG_4908 IMG_4909 IMG_4910 IMG_4911 IMG_4912 IMG_4913 Shortest. Caddy Hood. Ever? IMG_4915 IMG_4916 IMG_4917 IMG_4918 IMG_4919 IMG_4920 IMG_4921 IMG_4922 IMG_4923 IMG_4924 IMG_4925 IMG_4917 IMG_4918 IMG_4919 IMG_4920 IMG_4921 IMG_4922 IMG_4923 IMG_4924 IMG_4925 IMG_4926 IMG_4927 IMG_4928 IMG_4929 IMG_4930 IMG_4931 IMG_4932 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Shocker: Cadillac XTS Looks Just Like The Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/shocker-cadillac-xts-looks-just-like-the-cadillac-xts-platinum-concept/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/shocker-cadillac-xts-looks-just-like-the-cadillac-xts-platinum-concept/#comments Wed, 09 Nov 2011 21:37:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=417427  

 

Jalopnik says it managed to snag this image of the production Cadillac XTS from the Cadillac website earlier today before anyone at GM’s luxury brand realized it had been inadvertently posted. The funny thing is, this could just as easily be an image of the XTS Platinum Concept, which first introduced us to the idea of a Epsilon II-based DTS/STS replacement… this purported production model looks exactly like the concept. Then again, it also looks exactly like you’d imagine a rebodied-for-Cadillac Buick LaCrosse would look… which is basically what this is. And since we know what the XTS’s interior will look like, this ends a lot of the suspense about the first all-new Caddy since the SRX. Well, except for the “how it drives” and “how it sells” parts…

 

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Cadillac XTS: The High-Tech… Livery Car? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/cadillac-xts-the-high-tech-livery-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/cadillac-xts-the-high-tech-livery-car/#comments Thu, 13 Oct 2011 19:14:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=414587

Though we haven’t even seen a production version yet, Cadillac’s forthcoming XTS has already lived a full, controversy-laden life. Initially suggested as a replacement for the DTS/STS, the Cadillac faithful quickly recoiled at the idea of a luxury “flagship” based on a stretched version of the Epsilon II midsized platform that underpins the Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Malibu. But with the Cadillac Ciel Concept showing the way forward for a “true” Caddy flagship which will eventually become the brand’s standard-bearer, the XTS’s role has been somewhat redefined. Expectations for the XTS were walked back by GM CEO Dan Akerson, who famously said that it was

not going to blow the doors off, but will be very competitive

And this week the enigma that is the XTS only deepened, as Cadillac announced two bits of seemingly contradictory information about it: first, that it would spearhead a new high-tech interface (see video above) and second, that it would mark GM’s return to the livery car business.

Cadillac’s CUE system will debut on both the XTS, ATS and 2013 SRX, all of which debut next year. You can find out more about it by watching the video above, but according to a GM presser, the system will offer several industry “firsts” including

Proximity Sensing: As the user’s hand approaches the LCD screen, command icons appear. Icons can be customized and arranged by consumers to improve ease of use.

Haptic Feedback: Buttons on the fully capacitive faceplate pulse when pressed to acknowledge the driver’s commands and helps keep the driver’s eyes on the road.

Multi-Touch Hand Gestures: interactive motions (tap, flick, swipe and spread) popularized by smartphones and tablets allow tasks on the LCD screen, such as scrolling lists, zooming maps and searching favorites to be easily accomplished.

12.3 in. LCD reconfigurable gauge cluster (on select models) offers four selectable displays – Simple, Enhanced, Balanced and Performance – that can mix traditional vehicle data such as a speedometer and fuel gauge with navigation, entertainment and 3D vehicle image.

Natural Speech Recognition lets consumers speak logically with fewer specific commands to recall stored media or input navigation destinations. CUE’s text-to-speech feature will also allow consumers to receive text messages by system voice and to send recorded text messages in return.

Linux operating system, “open” software platform and ARM 11 3-core processor, each operating at 400 million of instructions (mips) per second. This hardware setup offers 3.5 times more processing power than current infotainment systems, and allow developers to write applications to CUE that be downloaded by consumers.

Though not unique to the XTS, GM is using the forthcoming model to highlight the system, and has released pictures of the production interior. Which makes a certain amount of sense, considering that Cadillac has long considered the XTS an “inside-out” design, focusing on luxurious appointments rather than dynamic performance or bold exterior looks. And that emphasis continues, as XTS marketing manager Patrick Nally tells Automotive News [sub]

A lot of people will not consider Cadillac that buy Mercedes or BMW… We will really impress people vis-a-vis the back seats of those cars.

Now, you might think that quote, with its import-conquering swagger, might be emphasizing how well Nally expects the XTS to do on the retail market… but it’s not. Quite the contrary, as it turns out. Here’s the full passage:

Speaking of the XTS, Nally said “the black car business is important to us.”

“A lot of people will not consider Cadillac that buy Mercedes or BMW,” he said. “They do not put us on their shopping list. There is an opportunity to get the right people in the vehicle who would not otherwise” be sitting in a Cadillac.

Nally said the appointments in the livery model will be nearly identical to the high-quality appointments in the retail version of the XT

In other words, the XTS is going to conquer the consumer market, by replacing the now-extinct Town Car as the livery car of choice… and given that its main competition will be a version of the Lincoln MKT, it might just have an opportunity on its hands. Assuming, of course, that private consumers are going to want to buy a vehicle that they mainly know from livery fleets. Fleet-sales-as-marketing is a ploy we hear fairly regularly, but thus far there’s not a lot of evidence that it works especially well. Particularly in the luxury space, where exclusivity is an important factor. But I suppose that this is what Cadillac meant when it said the XTS would replace the DTS and STS… it’s not a true exclusive flagship, but an everyday luxury car with a cosseting interior.

Automotive News [sub] says that “the chopping and stretching” of the ATS will “be handled by approved coachbuilders,” and it’s likely already underway. In fact, earlier this week when I was at Milford Proving Grounds, I not only saw several camo’d XTS prototypes testing, but also what appeared to be a long-wheelbase mule with a stretched Buick LaCrosse body. Whether it was a stretched XTS mule or a China-bound LaCrosse long-wheelbase model wasn’t clear, but it seems safe to say that the Epsilon II platform is going to spawn some form of LWB sedan. And, with expectations for the XTS already blunted by its humble underpinnings and Akerson’s seeming diss, a stolid, interior-centric, fleet-oriented model seems to be a logical approach for the XTS. Too bad that orientation is a bit at odds with Cadillac’s dynamically-driven “Red Blooded Luxury” branding approach.

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GM Approves Cadillac XTS For Production, Lincoln MKS/Taurus SHO Benchmarked? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/03/gm-approves-cadillac-xts-for-production-taurus-sho-benchmarked/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/03/gm-approves-cadillac-xts-for-production-taurus-sho-benchmarked/#comments Wed, 24 Mar 2010 15:53:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=350172

Motor Trend reports that Cadillac’s long search for a flagship is over. After debating a number of options, including importing a stretched Chinese-market STS, GM has decided that the “Super Epsilon”-based XTS will be the future range-topper for its luxury brand. The XTS was developed on a stretched version of the platform that underpins GM sedans including the Buick LaCrosse, Chevy Malibu and the forthcoming Buick Regal, and was shown in concept form as the XTS Platinum concept at the Detroit Auto Show. That concept was shown with a theoretical plug-in drivetrain made up of Cadillac’s 3.6 liter DI V6 and the plug-in components from the canceled Vue plug-in, and according to MT, the recent cancellation of the Converj plug-in means “there’s profit and green image to be had in the plug-in XTS.” Until that technology is production-ready, choosing the XTS’s engine options will be an interesting challenge.

Should Cadillac offer the XTS with the stock 3.6 V6? It’s the only engine option that’s ready to go out of the box, but it would also mean the XTS “flagship” will be motivated by the same engine that’s available in the aging CTS. As if the XTS’s CamCord-killer underpinnings weren’t enough of a luxury liability. And it seems that this liability is already being considered. According to MT:

to compete with large German sedans like the Mercedes S-Class and Audi A8 in this category and establish the right image, Cadillac may have to shoehorn a small-block V-8 transversely under the hood.

But because GM’s execs know best, they’ll probably push Cadillac, kicking and screaming, out of the V8 era. As MT puts it:
Cadillac could become a bold leader in engine downsizing and offer the XTS only with V-6s.
Alternatively, Cadillac could admit that it cheaped out by putting the XTS on a gussied-up version of a pedestrian mid-sized platform, and that no engine choice will ever make the XTS the kind of brand-building flagship the brand desperately needs. But hey, Hyundai gets journo-props for downsizing to 4-cylinders only for its new Sonata [check out a great interview covering this issue and others with Hyundai USA boss John Krafcik here], why shouldn’t Cadillac play the same game? You know, besides the fact that Hyundai has nothing to lose image-wise, while by virtue of its heritage, Cadillac should arguably be one of the last brands in the world to give up on V8 flagships.
Still, with CAFE ramp-ups looming, the chances of Cadillac offering a V8 aren’t good. And not just because GM is taking inspiration from Hyundai’s bold downsizing strategy. The General has taken notice of the good press garnered by Ford’s EcoBoost, and they’re out to build one of their own, with the XTS in mind. GMInsideNews.com reports:

According to GM engineering sources, GM is currently working on a twin-turbo 3.0L V6. Development on the new engine is so far along that it has a RPO code of “LF3.” The naturally aspirated 3.0L debuted in several 2010 products with direct injection and has the code “LF1.”

GMI was not able to obtain projected power ratings on the new engine, however output is very application specific under new SAE testing rules. Sources did say to expect the engine to rival Ford’s EcoBoost 3.5L.

The engine’s introduction is expected in late 2011 or early 2012 in the Cadillac XTS. Sources also state that GM is looking to use the engine in the Cadillac ATS and possibly even the next Chevrolet Camaro. Cadillac has historically always debuted new variants of the High-Feature V6 lineup, so it comes as no surprise that the XTS is the likely to pioneer the 3.0L twin-turbo.

Of course, this raises some interesting powertrain strategy questions. The 3.0 clearly lacks the torque needed to lug around larger (er, heavier, anyway) vehicles, but it also gets the same fuel economy numbers as the 3.6. Turbocharging will help with one of those problems, but not necessarily the other. Meanwhile, what happens to the 2.8 turbo V6 (LP9) currently found in the Cadillac SRX? Or, for that matter, GM’s in-house experiments turbocharging the 3.6, which it claimed could make 425 HP in a 2009 SEMA Jay Leno Camaro concept?

Any way you cut it, GM is worrying about the color of lipstick to put on a pig. If the XTS debuted as a plug-in only model, it might offer some brand-halo benefits, but the pricetag would likely keep sales to niche levels at best. On the other end of the scale of options, if GM offers a base model with the stock 3.6 or a shoe-horned small-block V8, it might sell decently to old-school Cadillac buyers and luxury value-hunters, but it would do nothing to take the brand in the upscale direction GM wants it to go. But then that ship probably sailed when GM decided to base its luxury flagship on a beefed-up Buick platform. Which leaves little choice but the derivative middle ground, and developing a new EcoBoost-alike engine.

And where does that leave the XTS? Assuming GM can match the Taurus SHO’s 365 hp EcoBoost output (which isn’t guaranteed), the XTS offers .6 inches of length over the SHO (203.5 inches for XTS Platinum Concept compared to 202.9 for the SHO), but with an inch shorter wheelbase (111.7 inches vs. 112.9 inches). And at 74.8 inches, the XTS will be 1.4 inches narrower than the SHO. In other words, Cadillac’s range-topping flagship will be competing primarily with a $38k Ford (not to mention its Lincoln clone). The Taurus SHO ain’t a bad car, in fact it was almost too luxury-oriented for our “mad” Jack Baruth. But is it the benchmark for a world-class luxury brand flagship? Hardly.

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Cadillac XTS: The Phantom Flagship http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/cadillac-xts-the-phantom-flagship/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/cadillac-xts-the-phantom-flagship/#comments Tue, 12 Jan 2010 15:46:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=341529 2010 Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept

The Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept, which debuts today at the NAIAS, is a look at the new Cadillac flagship which goes into production in early 2012. The XTS’s brief is to replace the moribund DTS and STS sedans, a task that Cadillac desperately needs done properly if it wants to be taken seriously as a luxury competitor. So why is the XTS concept little more than a glorified Buick LaCrosse?

2010 Cadillac XTS Platinum ConceptThe XTS has the exact same 111.7 inch wheelbase as its LaCrosse cousin, bringing it in several inches shorter than the “entry” Cadillac, the CTS. This is no surprise, considering the XTS will be built on an AWD version of the same Epsilon II platform that underpins the LaCrosse, Regal and Saab 9-5. We had heard that a stretched “Super Epsilon” platform was being developed by Holden, but based the dimensions of the XTS, it seems clear that this is a plain-Jane midsized GM sedan under the skin.

To make up for the pedestrian underpinnings, Cadillac designers stretched the XTS out to 203.5 inches. The fact that much of the extra length is in the rear overhang might be Caddy’s attempt at fixing the EpsiII’s legendary trunk shortcomings. One thing is for certain: a LaCrosse with more weight and longer overhangs isn’t going to exactly embody the dynamic-forward, BMW-competing brand values Cadillac is supposed to be cultivating. And at 74.8 inches, it offers only 1.7 inches of width advantage over the LaCrosse, so it’s not exactly a stately cruiser either.

According to Cadillac’s release:

The XTS Platinum Concept design artfully conveys its focus on functionality through technology. It is the antithesis of the conventional three-box sedan, suggesting the active evolution of Cadillac’s design language.

Which means that it looks like a larger version of the Cadillac Converj, no bad thing in and of itself. But if you cover up the fascias, it’s harder than ever to shake the feeling that this is just another midsized car. But, says Cadillac, the XTS was an “inside-out” design. With an interior inspired by the natural beauty of an orchid, Caddy is banking on the XTS’s in-car comfort and “Platinum”-level luxury, including touch-screen navigation, laser-etched suede seats, other “hand cut-and-sewn” materials and organic light emitting diode displays. 2010 Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept

The concept has a theoretical plug-in hybridization of Cadillac’s famous 3.6 liter engine, making 350 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. What, you were expecting a V8 in Cadillac’s flagship? Magnetic Ride Control is another technological add-on that might make the XTS somewhat distinctive from its Buck brother.

Still, the contrast between the XTS concept and the production version of the Lexus LS or even the Hyundai Equus is stark. GM is clearly spending its Cadillac development money on the ATS BMW 3 Series competitor, rather than trying to keep up with the high end of the luxury flagship market which already has strong contenders on the value (Equus), technology (LS) and snobbery (Merc S-Class) fronts. But then, the 3 Series segment isn’t exactly short on competition either. And without a flagship that screams Cadillac brand values, it’s hard to see where the brand has to go. 2010 Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept 2010 Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept 2010 Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept 2010 Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept 2010 Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Cadillac: In With The New, And Let’s Keep The Old Stuff Too http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/cadillac-in-with-the-new-and-lets-keep-the-old-stuff-too/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/cadillac-in-with-the-new-and-lets-keep-the-old-stuff-too/#comments Tue, 22 Dec 2009 19:50:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=339945 The Cadillac XTS ConceptCadillac is showing off this teaser of its XTS concept, previewing the look of its forthcoming “flagship.” It’s edgy, it’s wedgy… too bad it’s almost certainly another Epsi-II variant in a GM lineup that hardly needs another. And while Cadillac keeps GM’s perpetual tease going, it’s come to our attention that the brand has become the carrier of a now-expired GM legacy, visible after the jump.

Courtesy: @joelfeder

Cadillac’s SRX, by virtue of being released just before the Chevrolet Equinox, is the last GM vehicle to bear the now-extinct “Mark of Excellence,” a fact that had escaped us thus far [Hat Tip: Twitter's Joel Feder]. And as a new 2010 model, those two nasty letters will grace the Caddy CUV for years to come. Sure, some vehicle had to be the last to bear the badge of pre-bankruptcy corporate pride, but how inappropriate is it that GM’s luxury brand is the last one wearing The General’s chiclet?

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