By on December 12, 2014

2015 Cadillac XTS VsportGM delivered the Epsilon II platform to the company’s most upmarket division to produce a car with, among other things, more flamboyant styling. Later on, Cadillac added all-wheel-drive, threw in enough equipment to call it a Platinum edition, and by replacing the 3.6L V6 with a twin-turbocharged 3.6L V6, yielded enough straight-line performance to justify the Vsport label.

This all-wheel-drive Cadillac XTS is not an outright Cadillac V car, not like the XLR-V, the STS-V, and what will soon be the third-generation CTS-V. Instead, the Vsport tag, first seen on the third-gen CTS, is a midway point. Except in the XTS’s case, there will be no V, presumably because upping the ante would just be silly, given that the 410-horsepower XTS Vsport already manifests torque steer despite its AWD configuration.

This, therefore, is Maximum XTS, the latest, flashiest, fastest car in a long line of big Cadillacs stretching back to your grandfather’s Fleetwood Brougham and his boss’s post-war Sixty Special.

In the United States, a base front-wheel-drive XTS starts at $45,655, destination fees included. $51,995 is the starting point for the all-wheel-drive XTS. The Vsport model begins at $63,730, but the Vsport Platinum ($70,780) can be optioned up beyond $72,000 with rear seat DVD. The XTS Vsport is rated by the EPA at 16 mpg in the city; 24 on the highway. Our XTS Vsport Platinum, supplied for the week by GM Canada, averaged 16 mpg over the course of the week and was priced at (CAD) $77,565 with fees and options, including $1295 for the lustrous crystal red tintcoat.

2015 Cadillac XTS Vsport rearThe sense of high quality is deeper than the paint. Moving inside, the XTS’s headliner and pillars are slathered in alcantara. There’s real wood sourced from real trees. Four of the 14 Bose speakers are perched just above the front occupants’ shoulders for impressive surround sound audio. CUE, though sluggish and frustrating when in use, makes for a stylishly minimalistic flip-up centre panel. The XTS Vsport’s gauge cluster is light years beyond the setup so often decried in the ATS.

Moreover, if “premium” and “luxury” and “upscale” still go hand in hand with acreage, the XTS is a winner regardless of equipment levels and material quality. It’s 19.2 inches longer than the ATS, 6.5 inches longer than the CTS, with a cabin that’s 7.4% larger than the CTS’s. If you want bigger luxury, long-wheelbase Germans are the way to go. The Audi A8L is 5.4 inches longer with 2.9 inches of extra rear legroom and a cabin that’s 17% larger. But the A8L, like most cars, can’t beat the XTS’s 18 cubic feet of cargo capacity.

(Compared with the final version of its DTS successor, the XTS is 5.6 inches shorter and nearly two inches narrower with marginally less rear legroom and 2.4 fewer inches of rear hiproom. The trunk and the overall cabin size are both slightly smaller than they were a generation ago, as well.)

2015 Cadillac XTS Vsport frontFortunately, once on the move the XTS doesn’t feel as immense as its dimensions suggest. Visibility is far better than in the smaller CTS and the XTS’s steering is more than light enough to ease slow-speed maneuvering. Naturally, there’s a lot of weight (4215 pounds) to toss around a corner. That avoirdupois, combined with slow and feathery steering and braking response that’s not up to the standards of modern performance cars, discourages the truly aggressive driving which the CTS Vsport constantly invites. Yet at the same time, the XTS performs the trick of driving like a somewhat (and only somewhat) smaller car, which becomes its most encouraging dynamic trait.

Still, the general lack of any feeling or connection causes you to question the legitimacy of the V badge on the XTS’s trunklid, if you haven’t already. But the road will open up, and when it does, you’ll be taken aback by the instant-on torque (369 lb-ft at just 1900 rpm) and the seemingly endless wave of power. As the speedometer’s readout climbs higher and you anticipate an ocean’s worth of disconcerting float, Magnetic Ride Control keeps body motions in check. The XTS Vsport’s ride quality isolates road imperfections to the extent that passengers were never aware of the imperfections. And though wind noise, more noticeable because of the otherwise hushed interior, barely creeps in around the A-pillars, passengers are not aware of the actual rate of speed.

2015 Cadillac XTS Vsport interiorRemembering the potency of this engine, you didn’t reach such speeds quite as quickly as you expected. The 3.6L twin-turbo makes 10 more horsepower and 61 more lb-ft of torque when placed under the hood of the CTS Vsport, which weighs less than 4000 pounds and sends power to the rear wheels with an 8-speed automatic. By the standards of that car’s transmission, the XTS Vsport’s 6-speed automatic is sluggish, but its all-around smoothness will be appreciated by the XTS’s dwindling clientele.

U.S. XTS sales are down 26% to just 22,059 units through the first eleven months of 2014. Thus, it may not have mattered if the XTS Vsport was equipped with a Hellcat-like V8 and ZF’s famed 8-speed automatic, as this still wouldn’t be a vehicle in which the typical car buyer of today has any interest. (And does the typical buyer of yesterday have any interest in battling the Cadillac User Interface on a daily basis?) Though relatively fleet-friendly, the XTS sells less often than the far pricier and recently redesigned Mercedes-Benz S-Class; more often than the Audi A6, Buick Regal, and Lexus GS. Cadillac sold more than 80,000 Devilles as recently as 2003, a year in which Lincoln sold more than 56,000 Town Cars.

2015 Cadillac XTS Vsport frontThe market has moved away from traditional full-size sedans and is moving away from Cadillac’s car division, too. The brand’s passenger cars are down 15% to 79,139 units with one month remaining in 2014 as Cadillac reportedly pursues a premium image not in keeping with price cuts.

Indeed, ever since the as-tested price was mentioned, you’ve been wanting to pipe in with the names of countless other cars available at a similar price point: BMW 550i xDrive, Lexus LS460, Audi A7 TDI, and Jaguar XJ, cars with reputations for athleticism, refinement, technological prowess, and panache which Cadillac can’t match. That might be missing the point. The XTS Vsport won’t be the car you buy because of how well it stacks up against the competition. It’s the XTS you buy because you were going to buy an XTS anyway, and this is the maximized XTS.

Of course, I wasn’t going to buy a regular 304-horsepower XTS. Sales figures suggest you weren’t going to either. But I won’t deny that for the prospective XTS buyer, this Vsport provides the kind of accelerative experience that makes the conventional XTS feel dreadfully pedestrian.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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142 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2015 Cadillac XTS Vsport...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Interesting setting for the photography, lots of contrasts

    Can’t we just throw in a vinyl roof and call it an even $80K?

  • avatar
    theupperonepercent

    The XTS is a far more ambitious car than most reviewers give it credit for.

    The target audience is older Americans from the days when Cadillac and Lincoln were America’s “Mercedes and BMW”.

    The interior is the best Cadillac has ever fielded.

    The seats are fantastic, supportive, cushy and comfortable on long drives.

    The Engine is fuel efficient, quick (the equivalent of the MKS Ecoboost)

    The only problems are:

    #1 CUE is terrible, slow and not as good as Uconnect or the revised Sync (in the Navigator 2015).

    #2 There is nothing about this car that screams at you. Dodge will sell gas-guzzling $70,000 SRT and Hellcats before they even arrive on the lots.

    Why couldn’t Cadillac give the XTS the same supercharged LSA from the CTS-V?

    It’s got AWD and it’s quick. That’s cool. But what else you got?

    They didn’t even give it an aggressive grill like you see on the Audi S8 or an SRT.

    A $70,000 asking price is beyond pretty steep when you could just as easily buy German or a TESLA.

    These cars – along with the MKS – serve the livery need. Big, professional looking entry-level-luxo barges.

    What many professional reviewers don’t recognize – or ignore – is that feature availability and looks trump driving dynamics at this price range.

    No one cares how sharply the XTS corners. But they do care that it has AWD and is reasonably powerful.

    They care more about leg space than driver position.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Yeah, about that nearly $80K… and don’t expect money on the hood, those days are over according to management

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “Why couldn’t Cadillac give the XTS the same supercharged LSA from the CTS-V?”

      The engineering investment to fit that powerplant to this platform would be way to high for the already low take-rate of this model.

      An AWD LSA car would be cool, though.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        There’s another issue, I think, “410-horsepower XTS Vsport already manifests torque steer despite its AWD configuration.”

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          Torque steer is down to chassis geometry, not drive wheels.

          You could, if you were really stupid, make a rear-drive car exhibit a form of torque steer.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            Old-school muscle cars do that every day.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            Thanks, I thought I was the only one here who knew that!

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @psar – It’s not the action of powering the front wheels, instead of the rear wheels, that causes torque steer, or brings it to light.

            It’s the ‘dual action’ of powering the front wheels AND steering from the front.

            The MR2 and Fiero took existing Corolla and Citation fwd sub-assemblies, complete with drivetrains, axles, knuckles, brakes, suspension, and moved them to behind the cab. Straight back. Presto, torque steer went away!

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            @DenverMike: if you badly imbalance the rear half-shafts or screw up the differential, you can indeed make a rear-drive car exhibit torque steer.

            But you really, really have to want to do it, so yes, I do agree with you in principle.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @psar – Unless you’re steering from the rear, rear torque steer is irrelevant. And easily fixed with limited-slip if so. Limited-slip on front axles makes torque steer worse.

            Steering drive-axles is just a bad idea, in this respect.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            “Torque steer is down to chassis geometry, not drive wheels.

            You could, if you were really stupid, make a rear-drive car exhibit a form of torque steer.”

            But you couldn’t, even if you were really smart, truly get rid of it in any realistic front driver putting down enough torque…. Theoretically, if you made the car infinitely long and gave it 0 degree steering lock, you’d probably be home free, but noone seems to think such cars would sell well enough to bother…

            On a rear driver, you don’t even have to be that “stupid.” Just lazy enough to not bother putting a “real” wheel back on after a puncture, and instead go hooning with a miniature spare on….

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Likely because you can’t stuff a big V8 in sideways. GM had to pull some neat tricks to cram the LS4 in the Impala SS/GP GXP/Lacrosse Super, and the LSA is a bigger motor.

      • 0 avatar
        theupperonepercent

        You say “low take rate”.

        I argue that the take rate would be higher if you gave people something they want to take.

        Dodge has worse interiors in the Challenger and Charger Hellcat, but they will not even have to think about selling one.

        I think Cadillac doesn’t need a larger car than this.

        This is a worthy S-Class competitor.

        Problem is, there’s too many corners cut.

        There’s nothing exciting about it.

        Even that Bigtruckseriesreview was right about that.
        The C-class has more to offer. It gets people talking about how great its interior is. The power features in the seats…

        Most importantly, it needs a name we can all recognize. “Escalade” conjures images in the brain. “XTS, CTS, ATS” don’t unless you know their product very well.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          This is not a worthy S-Class competitor. It’s a worthy MKS and S80 competitor.

          • 0 avatar
            theupperonepercent

            It could compete with the W221, but not the W222…only because they didn’t swing for the fences. Put more features in and luxurury choices for carpets and materials and Cadillac could change that.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The XTS has a shorter wheelbase than a Ford Fusion. The S-Class gives you AT LEAST eight more inches of space between the wheels. They may be about the same length, but that S-Class is “coming with length” where it matters.

          • 0 avatar
            Johnster

            With the standard (non-turbo) V-6 it’s a worthy ES350 competitor.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Out of curiosity’s sake, how many takers do you think there would be for a 560hp version of this already unpopular particular car?

          • 0 avatar
            theupperonepercent

            lots…

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            “lots..”

            Melody would like to interview you. That’s a firm enough data point for her.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            I’m betting that it would be far less than the 4 digit volume it would require to offset the costs.

            As for the LSA not fitting, it probably doesn’t, most likely height wise. But it could be made to…

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            @bball40dtw The S-class (like the DTS) is also 2″ wider, which sounds trivial but *really* isn’t.

            Every car I’ve driven that’s based on the Epsilon / Epsilon II architecture has terrible shoulder room for taller drivers, and the XTS is no exception.

    • 0 avatar
      vtnoah

      I had an AWD 2.0 Turbo version of the XTS for a few days in Chicago. Very comfortable seats, crappy infotainment andm it handled…. large. I then had a top level Malibu a few weeks later that I enjoyed a bit more. Handled better for sure and just felt livelier. I can see how the XTS appeals to the blue hair crowd though, it’s definitely a bit of a boat.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      The DTS had far more comfortable seats and tons more legroom for both front and back passengers, and it actually looked like a Cadillac.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      Are you sure you’re not BTSR? Your writing style and views are very similar. Only exception is the overuse of caps.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      The delusions about the XTS being anything OTHER than a warmed over FWD Chevy Impala are incredible.

      This is not a Cadillac.

      This is a 50k to 70k Chevy – and the rebadge remarks truly fit this time.

      The interior is a joke. In fact, look at the overall dash layout and compared it to competitor vehicles, or even vehicles such as the 2015 Hyundai Genesis (17k to 30k cheaper) or Mercedes E Class.

      Cadillac is a complete, total joke. Anyone who believes that this vehicle is pleasing aesthetically, inside or out, is delusional.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      “These cars – along with the MKS – serve the livery need. Big, professional looking entry-level-luxo barges.”

      Well…seeing that the MKS is about 5 years older than this effort, it beats it hands down…engine wise.
      The MKS feels faster and gets better performance from its 3.5 TwinTurbo.
      Having now driven mine through 66K..it is averaging 23 MPG. I got nearly 26 HW in an overloaded car this fall to Fl. The car was very overloaded!
      Personally, I am a bit disappointed in this motor.

    • 0 avatar
      Hank

      In world with $70k Hyundais, a special edition $70k top-of-line Cadillac is hardly steep, and adjusted for inflation, is barely more than a ’79 Seville when new. And just for a little more perspective, I was just looking at $67,500 Ford pickup recently. Life in the premium lane ain’t cheap.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      LMFAO! The Cadillac ImpalaXTS as a S Class competitor!

      The only thing the 50k to 70k “Cadillac” XTS competes with is a 35k to 40k Chevy Impala!

      The XTS should wear a RBS (Roger Bonham Smith) badge in addition to the now FUBAR Cadillac wreath. Badge engineering at its finest!

      And LMAOx2 on the “fantastic interior” comments. A 35k 2015 Hyundai Genesis interior blows the XTS POS interior out of the water.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    I thing Tim is smitten by the big Caddy. Oh, but wait…there is a ecu tune for the 3.6.TT for a nice 500/500 outputs.

  • avatar
    whynot

    I want to love this car (The interior is fantastic, and I couldn’t care less about sportiness in a car like this) but the proportions are just so goofy. The styling looks like it was designed for a longer RWD platform, but since they don’t have one they just shrunk and sculpted it to fit onto a smaller FWD platform.

  • avatar

    It was not that long ago that Cadillac was the bestselling luxury car brand in America. Cars like the first generation CTS and Deville/DTS successfully covered two completely different markets. During its glory days the Deville would easily outsell Cadillac’s entire car lineup today!

    I remember looking at the auto trade publications every year and finding the Deville was once again the bestselling luxury car in the land. Once Cadillac ditched the Deville/DTS and the North Star engine I knew Cadillac was going to fall on hard times. They basically abandoned their core customers in a futile pursuit of BMW. To Cadillac’s credit a contemporary Cadillac will outperform its German counterpart, but customers don’t seem to notice.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      akear,

      That may be true about the DTS, however they were consistently losing market share during those years. There’s no reason to believe that Cadillac would be any more relevant if they had kept their North Star lineup.
      It’s like arguing that GM’s market share was higher in 1980, so they should reintroduce the Chevy Citation.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        I have to disagree about the Northstar. My STS had one and it was a far superior engine compared to the 3.0 in my CTS. The Northstar had a lovely combination of effortless thrust and buttery smoothness. No 60 degree V6 will ever be as smooth as a 90 degree V8. The STS required a glance at the tach to confirm that it was running. No such glance is required in the CTS as the vibration and sound are always there. What did the V6 give us? Well one thing it didn’t bring was a significant improvement in fuel economy. With its departure, Cadillac lost something important.

        • 0 avatar
          raresleeper

          @Bunkie: my father purchased a pre-owned ’94 SLS back in ’99.

          Had 50k on it. It was champagne with the brown canvas top, beige interior, and gold emblems.

          They had it from 50k up to 125k. The transmission needed replaced during that time and (unrelated) the leather on the driver’s seat showed excessive wear. That was the only problems it gave, so I’m a little baffled with the notoriously unreliable Northstar issues, as well.

          At the time, I would say it was quick (for a Caddy), pulling 0-60 times in 7 seconds.

          An oh yeah, I still remember the music it made roaring to its redline. Sweet, sweet music.

          IIRC, the STS was 300 horse, whereas the SLS was 275 horses.

          The only way I’d have any vehicle with that infamous 4.6L 32V Northstar now would be stuffed in the back of a Pontiac Fiero :)

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            Mine was an ’06 and, by that time, the engine was nicely sorted. It was rated at 320HP (and, I believe, the early Northstars didn’t have VVT) and the SLS, being FWD, had a completely different transmission. Despite being a bit slow to shift, I had absolutely no transmission issues.

            I understand why Cadillac discontinued the Northstar, it was expensive to build, the take rate wasn’t all that high and the new-gen LS and LT pushrod small-blocks are less expensive, and have better packaging. But it epitomized what Cadillac should be, a *premium* offering. The Northstar definitely *felt* like a premium engine underfoot.

            My ideal Cadillac would be a new CTS with Magnetic Ride and an LT-1 priced at $60K nicely equipped. *That* would be a BMW-killer.

          • 0 avatar
            raresleeper

            Come to think of it, a friend of the family had a 96 STS which he purchased brand new and had for over 200k miles.

            Those were interesting times… Cadillac had its 4.6L Northstar, whereas Lincoln had its 4.6L InTech.

            Good times.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Golfing Buddy of my Father’s had a late production Mark VIII which was his fair weather car. Unfortunately he wrecked it one night (single vehicle accident, icy spot in a shady curve – weather wasn’t as fair as he thought). He replaced it with an STS from about 2002.

            Every time I see Dad, I ask: “How’s Bob’s STS treating him?” It’s been flawless so far and he’s owned it since 2008. It does seem that the issues are overrated.

          • 0 avatar
            raresleeper

            PrincipalDan, I still love the looks of those Mark Series Coupes.

            My dad would get cocky, try to run lots of cars at stoplights with his SLS (with the exception of TA’s and Z28’s, they would always (obviously) give that Caddy hell).

            He was always disappointed when he’d try to run those late-production Mark Coupes. They’d just dog walk that SLS something nasty, lol.

            Then the old man bought a Continental, with the InTech. That 96 Conti he ended up purchasing was no slouch, either (turn off traction control, and ahhh… smoky FWD burn outs!)

          • 0 avatar
            ponchoman49

            The Northstar issues are a bit exaggerated. Yes higher mileage examples could have head gasket issues and torque to yield bolts, improved head gasket design and a forged steel crankshaft were phased in during 2003 to elevate this along with new heads and 87 octane requirements starting in 2000. They are also tougher to work on especially if you have never wrenched on one before. The other odd two things about these engines are the anti-freeze cooled alternators and the starter located in the block which means if you ever need a starter replaced the entire top half of the engine needs to be ripped off! 2001 onwards went back to a traditional alternator design and for reliability the 2003 onwards motors are your best bet.

            Our mechanic has saved quite a number of high mileage Northstar engines with leaking intakes or bad head gaskets mainly from 90’s FWD Devilles and Sevilles. When in proper tune these engines run butter smooth, sound great and can eke out high twenties mileage on the large FWD variants such as the Deville. The 2000 on up 87 octane switch was also a money saver at the pump. If anything the 4T80 trans axle was the more troublesome element with these cars and there were many revisions up until it’s demise in 2011.

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          @ Bunkie – My parents used to have a ’99 SLS that they’d bought from a relative’s estate in ’01. The late relative had owned it from new and was a retired engineer, so the car had been immaculately maintained. They had the car for nine years and drove it from, I’m guessing, miles 25,000 through 125,000. The car suffered a few gremlins (power steering pump died, wonky CD player, wonky climate control), but the drivetrain was always right as rain. It was terrific, at least in that particular car. Powerful, smooth, and consistently delivered 29 mpg in highway driving.

          The SLS had a steering set-up that, IMO, skewed “traditional American luxury car.” With that engine, it was an odd combo. I still quite enjoyed driving it though. I’ve never driven an STS, but I’d imagine its steering would be more to my liking. Suspension-wise, I thought the SLS had a good handling/comfort balance.

    • 0 avatar

      When Cadillac started pursuing market share in the late 60’s, they first and foremost lost exclusivity…on top of all the other problems the brand began to experience from 1966 until recently, decontenting, poor build quality, cynical gussied-up Cavaliers…Caddies that “zig”…they forgot – or deliberately chose to ignore – the importance of exclusivity to their clientele.

      It’s the profits per transaction that matter.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        @ Budda-Boom, agreed. Caddy has done some right and some wrong in the past 50 years, but I think two salient points in the story are:
        – their chasing volume, as you’ve noted.
        – the build quality of Mercedes in the ’70s and ’80s (give or take however many years Mercedes aficionados want to assign to that date range).

        Pre-Lexus, the build quality of Mercedes was a win-win for the brand in that (a) good build quality is a virtue in and of itself and (b) the expense associated with that quality led to exclusivity within the North American Market, an exclusivity that Caddy had voluntarily abdicated at a time when it had killed off Packard and marginalized Lincoln and Imperial.

  • avatar
    turf3

    Need to ditch the giant center console, move the shifter up to the column, and add spaciousness. Also, make the upholstery color coordinated with the exterior paint color. (At this price the cost of carrying more inventory of different interior colors should not be a consideration.) To me the interior just looks like a knock-off of the big Mercedes, Audi, etc. interiors.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      The upholstery colour was something I didn’t mention – it’s subjective, and this was a press car prone to mistreatment – but this particular shade of beige/grey didn’t seem, to me, in keeping with the car. And it was gradually becoming really grimey, the kind of grime that sinks in all over the seat, not just the outer portions of the cushion, and doesn’t come out.

  • avatar
    northshorerealtr

    I really want to like this–I really do. But I’m mentally comparing this not just against the MKS/S80/Big Germans, but against Chrysler’s juggernaut 300C. Load a 300C up with Platinum package, Sunroof, all the electronic aids, and Hemi, and it’s probably pushing $47K or so. And the 300’s platinum interior is well trimmed, including real wood just like Cadillac’s, and (I think) has similar appeal. And perhaps the Chrysler has as much street cred and presence as this.
    Is it worth tens of thousands extra for the Cadillac? Yeah, I know, comparing FWD and RWD is apples to oranges, but for buyers of this type of car, do they care? And what happens if you get an XTS and 300C, each with V6 and AWD? For me, think the Chrysler comes out looking better and better.
    Damn shame–despite it’s missteps and faults, I really want to see Cadillac do well.

    • 0 avatar
      rodface

      The 300C is a well-proportioned car that has that “big slab” look that Cadillac needs to find. The XTS doesn’t have it.

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        Yeah, exactly. Chrysler is sucking all the oxygen out of this room.

        Some pissant car with narrow, stubby proportions and a 111 inch wheelbase, no matter how nicely styled, isn’t going to cut the mustard.

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      Yup, this. Especially in John Varvatos edition trim with the Hemi engine, the 300C is a big car with presence and power. And while the fancy versions aren’t cheap, they’re $25k less than the XTS.

      This XTS seems like a really nice $55-60k alternative, but at 7-series or base S-class money … doesn’t seem right.

  • avatar
    bryanska

    “It’s the XTS you buy because you were going to buy an XTS anyway, and this is the maximized XTS.”

    Exactly this. I have an irrational love for Cadillac.

  • avatar
    turf3

    I think the interior just looks like a knock-off of the big Mercedes, Audi, etc.

    Remove the absurd enormous center console, move the shifter up to the steering column (or on the dash), and make the upholstery and dashboard top color coordinated with the exterior paint. Voila, a more spacious interior that doesn’t look like the Germans.

  • avatar

    I also love this car for no real good reason aside from being a GM loyalist, loving big cars, and already having a driveway full of undesirable-to-anyone General Motors product.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    So CPO in three years for $20,000 (in 2014 $)?

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      Exactly.

      There ain’t a chance in hell I’d ever plop down over $70K+ on this ride.

      It rides nice? It’s quiet?

      Pffft. So did an ’02 Deville basey that my folks had as a rental.

      The twin turbo 3.6L that it shares with CTS-V may have shaven a bit of the Grandpa edge off it, but it still smells like an assisted living home to me.

      And I’ll be damned if that second picture from the top isn’t a screen shot from “The Sopranos”.

  • avatar
    GS 455

    I was looking at the XTS Vsport a couple of days ago. The salesman who looked like Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad) came up to me and in a booming voice said: THAT ONE HAS TOO MUCH POWER FOR YOU SIR! I chuckled because I knew he was using reverse psychology but I wonder what Melody Lee would think about his 1959 sales technique?

  • avatar
    MarcusP

    Awesome review! The Cadillac V-Net has spotlighted your review as well:

    http://www.cadillacvnet.com/capsule-review-2015-cadillac-xts-vsport/

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Cadillac needs to take a good look at what they’ve done on this interior, and apply the lessons to the Escalade (which barely manages to look nicer than the Tahoe it’s based on) and the ATS (which shows a few too many signs of engineering to a lease payment).

    This really is the nicest interior GM’s ever done. If they can replicate it for the CT6, they’ll have an appealing full-sizer on their hands.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      The 2015 Escalade’s dash and interior is no where near the Tahoe. In fact the doors and dash design are very similar to the XTS.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Dat true…

        http://media.caranddriver.com/images/13q3/543363/2015-cadillac-escalade-esv-interior-photo-544674-s-1280×782.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Have another, deeper look. The differences are all on the surface. The dash layout, if you look past styled elements, is identical to the Tahoe’s. And the materials aren’t even close to the standard the XTS sets.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          ” The differences are all on the surface”

          Well, where else would the differences be?

          2015 Tahoe interior

          http://www.chevrolet.com/content/chevrolet/northamerica/usa/nscwebsite/en/index/suvs-and-crossovers/2015-tahoe/photos-and-videos/interior/jcr:content/mm_gal_c2/thumbnailArea/mm_gal_item_c2_3.img_resize.img_stage._3.jpg

          2015 Escalade Interior

          http://image.truckinweb.com/f/features/1409_2015_cadillac_escalade_factory_fresh/75623325/2015-cadillac-escalade-interior.jpg

          They don’t look at all alike

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Beyond the materials, where the XTS excels and the Escalade lags, let’s look at a few things…

            The XTS has a beautiful slim center vent which helps give the whole dash a clean look. The Escalade just changes the shape of the Tahoe’s conventional vents.

            The XTS conceals a lot of secondary switchgear, again contributing to the clean look. The Escalade just leaves it out there in the exact same locations as the Tahoe.

            Continuing the theme, the XTS has a nice hidden cell phone compartment. The Escalade has the same trashy-looking rubber tray sitting right on top of the armrest as the Tahoe.

            The XTS has a bespoke shift lever, which would look great in other automatic Caddies but is XTS-only so far as I can tell. The Escalade’s column shifter is the same part as the Tahoe’s, a cheap-looking plastic stalk. Not a good show for something you touch every time you drive.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            One more thing…

            The Escalade is a TRUCK

            The XTS is a CAR

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            No excuses. The Escalade is priced right on top of the Mercedes GL-class. It’s cheaper than the full-size Range Rover but is still looking for the same buyers. Those SUVs manage to have luxurious interiors with top-notch materials and controls everywhere. They also manage to ride like luxury cars.

            The whole point of my continuing Escalade hate is that it’s overpriced for what it is, which is a full-size Chevy pickup with some superficial and not that well executed dress-up bits. It’s not luxurious like its competition.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            … and Bentley is a tarted-up VW, yeah, yeah

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            If the Escalade felt and looked as different from a Chevy pickup as a Continental GT does from a Euro Passat (which is a very distant relative), I wouldn’t be complaining.

            Or, if it were priced as close to a Chevy pickup as an S3 is to a Golf R, I wouldn’t be complaining either. As an example, you can find me all over this forum defending the Acura TLX against “it’s just an Accord” hate, because the pricing and value are sensible.

            GM’s trying to have it both ways.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “GM’s trying to have it both ways.”

            Well, yeah

  • avatar

    Current Cadillac engines are simply too noisy for their intended customers. The Northstar engine was a perfect match for Cadillac.

    I can’t believe how bad Cadillac sales are this year. So far this year they are ahead of Aura by just 4000 units. I should also mention the MKZ is now the best selling American high-end luxury sedan. However, Lincoln sales as a whole are poor even when compared to Cadillac.

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    So I guess the XTS is still technically Cadillac’s flagship sedan? Rather have a CTS. That said, this car is probably the best remaining embodiment of Cadillac’s traditional virtues…

  • avatar

    Tim how do jive these two statements

    “Fortunately, once on the move the XTS doesn’t feel as immense as its dimensions suggest.”
    and

    “Compared with the final version of its DTS successor, the XTS is 5.6 inches shorter and nearly two inches narrower with marginally less rear legroom and 2.4 fewer inches of rear hip room.”

    For a real comparison how does it compare with any 76 Caddy?

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    That 18 feet of trunk space would be more useable if the car didn’t have such a ridicuusly fast roofline, making the trunk opening look like the slot in a mail box. Can we please just bury the “four door coupe” roofline?

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    Do cadillac’s, or this one in particular source the same electronic boosted steering the impala has? Because if so, it sucks. It seems to turn off when going straight and to make a small correction, since no road or car can ever go completely straight, you have to apply significant pressure. Once the boost kicks on, the force your applying causes you to “oversteer”. Its jerky, annoying and ultimately tiring.

    But whatever. The interior may be nice, but it still looks like a nice version of a impala interior.

    If American luxury makes ever want to succeed, they need to differentiate their cars interior completely. Parts bin sharing is fine for certain stalks and buttons, but the general design and layout can’t be similar. Honda and Toyota seem to understand this.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Electronic steering is like that, it always feels like it sticks for just a millisecond. I don’t like it, but you get used to it

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        I have a GTI with electric steering and it doesn’t stick. I had a Optima rental that certainly did. It’s not something electric steering has to do.

      • 0 avatar
        See 7 up

        You can’t get used to it, because you have to push with more force than is necessary to steer with boost just to activate said boost. No human can react quick enough after it “kicks in” to not be jerky.
        About all you can get used to is that it sucks.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Ok, since there’s nothing I can do about it outside of getting rid of a car I like otherwise, then I’ve gotten used to the fact that electronic steering sucks, but I also know people pay a lot more and still get the same sucky steering, so there’s that

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      I got a letter from Chevy (re: my 2013 Malibu) stating that the steering could do this during ‘extended highway operation’ and extended the warranty period to 100k for this problem. Apparently, there are a lot of customer complaints for this issue, but nothing that reaches recall territory.

      I’ve never had the problem, as I’ve driven no more than 100 hwy miles in 4k miles. If it does happen, I’m curious as to what the “repair” would be; a reflash?

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Mine was recalled for electronic steering issues the fix ranged anywhere from a reflash to a complete steering mechanism replace. With mine it was just a reflash, but I didn’t notice any difference before or after

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          I’m certainly of the “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It” mindset – these embedded systems can have hardware problems, software problems, or a combination of both. You can “fix” one thing, and “break” something else with a re-flash; and it won’t always manifest itself until a particular situation arises.
          In other words, if the “Root Cause” hasn’t been firmly determined, any “fix” is a crapshoot.

  • avatar
    GS 455

    I really like the XTS interior and the seats are among the best I’ve sat in. I can live with it’s exterior styling but I despise the F CUE system.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I’d love this drivetrain in more formal roofline, true RWD CTS form. IE the CTS V-sport. My pick in the $60-75k sedan class.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    If you imagine this car as the Cadillac equivalent of the Lexus ES, it actually makes some sense. The issue, though, is that GM already has Buick for this job. I rather like the XTS, but it’s pretty obvious it’s a placeholder car.

    What I don’t quite get is why GM couldn’t have improved upon the STS: it was a good car that just wanted for the CTS’ interior and a little wheelbase stretch. Otherwise, it had this formula nailed.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The current CTS is an STS replacement pretty much square on the nose. Same size inside and out, one of the same engines, same mission of straddling RWD driving dynamics and Cadillac comfort with a bit of tension between the two.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        I know, but it took them years to get there, when they could have just kept the STS and improved it a few years ago.

        What they did do was release a CTS–for less money–that was all in all a nicer car than the more expensive STS.

        Then again, this is the same company that screwed up the XLR. That I don’t get: the Corvette is basically a world-class sports car with a rough interior. All GM had to do was lux-up a Corvette and they somehow couldn’t do that.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The XTS is priced a whole segment up (midsize lux as opposed to compact lux where the ES sits despite its full-size Avalon bones) and competes against the MKS and Acura RLX.

      The LaCrosse is the ES competitor.

      In the not too distant future, Cadillac will have 2 proper RWD flagship sedans – the CT6 and CT8 (long wheelbase flagship).

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I like this car. It’s not really trying to hard to be a BMW like the CTS and ATS. Other than the Escalade, this is the last REAL Cadillac.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Funny story, I was at one of the bigger GM dealers
    Chevy, Buick, Cadillac.
    I was getting some parts and I heard the secretary who works checkout ask one of the mechanics if the Cadillac ATS was a truck or a car, upon leaving I noticed an entire row at the very front of the lot. So basically even people that work at the dealers don’t understand what Cadillac is doing.

    Fullsize cars are being killed by manufacturers not consumers.
    In 1965 the impala was the number one selling car in America, with IIRC over 1 million sales?, the price with an option or two was ~$3,000 it was Chevrolets most expensive car, today that price is ~$22,000.
    You say ok, you get a lot more for your money now, well explain the compact prices.
    A 1965 Nova was ~$2,000, which is about ~$15,000 today.
    $15,000 can still get a compact, $22,000 isn’t getting a fullsize.
    No one is willing to put out a decent fullsize, content playing chase with the Camry. Look you don’t need RWD, or V8, but fullsizes have been artificially priced high to leave room for the midsize, and if that wasn’t worse fullsize development isn’t even taken seriously, the whole point of going fullsize is room – small windows, thick door panels, console shifters, 1.5ft wide center consoles, low rear roof; it defies the point.

    This is an article on Cadillac so the last part shouldn’t even apply, but let’s be honest the XTS is a very poor Cadillac, good car, but being a good car makes it a Chevrolet, being something that you hear sung on the radio(in regards to prestige) makes it a Cadillac.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Ford tried to sell the full size car you speak of: the Five Hundred. They even offered it in sedan and wagon (Freestyle) versions. No one bought it and the platform was saved by a butched up crossover.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I don’t understand the 500, the sales numbers make zero sense 14k, 107k, 65k, 32k or w/e

        Ignoring the issues associated with the goofy sales data, it wasn’t a great example, it had a poor design, again, smallish windows, accompanied the high door sills, poor rear visibility, and compact HP numbers. It was a poor attempt and it was replaced with an even worse car on those visibility terms. And really getting next to one, it size on the exterior is all in its bulk, not actual size, and what it does have doesn’t translate well to interior size.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The Five Hundred had good visability and the door sills are low by current standards. It was spacious as well. It was also much more open on the inside than the Taurus that replaced it. You didn’t mention anything about horsepower, that’s why I used it as an example.

          All the things you don’t like about the Taurus apply to the Explorer. Yet it is one of the 20 best seller vehicles in the US. People want crossovers man. That’s how it is.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          My original comment was eaten, but you are wrong about the Five Hundred being cramped. You also never mentioned HP numbers as a large car requirement.

          The funny thing is that all of this things you hate about the Taurus, for example, and blame those for it not selling exist on the Explorer. That crossover manages to be in the top 20 in sales while selling at a higher price. People want crossovers dude, deal with it.

      • 0 avatar

        The 500 wasn’t full-size, or what use to be considered full-size, to me and I think many others it was mid size, and a FWD scaled up Taurus to boot. To me full-size is three across seating in all rows, and body on frame abuser friendliness would is a plus to man y.

        • 0 avatar
          dtremit

          The 500 wasn’t a scaled-up Taurus; it’s mechanically unrelated to the Taurus that preceded it. It’s derived from the Volvo S80 architecture, and had more interior room (at least numerically) than the Crown Vic at the time of its release.

          As for full-size cars, I guess they don’t exist anymore, by your description — the last car available with a front bench seat was the retail W-body Impala. (The fleet trim doesn’t offer it.)

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      This is a surprisingly simplistic response to a very complicated question involving the evolution of the automobile which takes into account zero multiple external forces that have a huge impact on what cars are today. I’m kind of surprised

    • 0 avatar

      Wow Hummer well said!

  • avatar
    seanx37

    $80k. For a fancy Impala.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    This car has zero appeal to me. It has terrible proportions shoe-horned onto a platform it was never meant for, it’s of course, wrong wheel drive with a “fake” AWD system (let’s face it, most are i.e. slip and grip) and combined with way too much engine and a chassis that can’t handle it. The interior on the other hand, is nice, but it’s not spacious, which it should be for this car. Ditch the center console and go back to the rolling couch concept, those actually sold!

    This is an example of GM engineering at it’s worst. Chasing market trends in a half-assed way, alienating their customers who actually buy their cars, and still not appealing to car enthusiasts, all the while, pricing it at a level that screams “I’m too old to be making financial decisions, let alone driving.”

    I submit that there isn’t anything in this car that you couldn’t get in a Hyundai Genesis, at a price point that makes you look like a savvy deal hunter.

  • avatar
    shaker

    IMHO it’s a handsome beast, but with a lofty price point (and all of the “warts” called out by the B&B).

  • avatar

    Not to be “that guy” but my expectation of this car’s transmission lifespan is approximately 3 months past when the warranty expires.

    -it’s a transverse box where everything is crammed in
    -hooked up to AWD
    -Towing around like 4500lbs
    -making peak torque at 1900rpm of like 370lb-ft
    -they detuned the motor drastically to make it “safe” for this

    if my experience with the 4T65EV-GT in the 99-04 Volvo S80 T6 is any clue, I think this will chew through transmissions even faster than those cars did.

    It would be fun for the three years or so it ran to spank Z-cars and stuff off of traffic lights in a car that doesn’t look remotely special or interesting, but not 70 grand worth of fun for a car based on a 30-grand Buick LaCrosse.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The same transmission holds up OK in the Taurus SHO with similar power levels and weight. Performance in this car should be no different.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I brought that trans up one day myself, and I think at the time I concluded those higher power motors had only been out for four years, so its durable enough to last a few years but how many under more abusive conditions?

  • avatar
    mags1110

    Where does Cadillac get off asking that much for this car. But I can recall a few special edition Town cars and Cadillac’s going for over $55,000 in the late 90’s early 2000’s. Sooo i guess they arn’t out of line here. But i have to admit this is the last of the body styles I like from Cadillac. The new models are horrible looking. The last Caddy I liked was the early 2000’s Deville. Call me old school but I would bet you those will age better on the eyes then any modern jagged edged caddy today

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