By on June 19, 2017

2018 Cadillac XTS, Image: General Motors

Thanks to China’s media, as well as General Motors’ aggressive pursuit of new buyers in that populous, prestige-seeking country, we’ve already seen the facelifted 2018 XTS sedan. The Chinese market model appeared a month ago, powered by a downsized motor you won’t find in U.S. variants.

Despite this, the refreshed XTS is now official. Cadillac has released details and photos of a model that wasn’t supposed to have a second act — until it realized you don’t drop a vehicle with steady sales, no matter how outdated it may appear. Say hello to Cadillac’s front-drive full-sizer, now gussied up to look like Cadillac’s rear-drive full-sizer.

For 2018, the XTS dispenses with the previous model’s swept-back face and headlights, adopting a more upright grille reminiscent of the newer CT6 and Y-shaped LED headlamps. The game of dressup continues with vertical LED running lights flanking its new face and a badge adorning the front fender. More chrome trim appears in the remolded lower fascia.

All of these changes amount to a car that’s 1.1 inches shorter than before.

2018 Cadillac XTS, Image: General Motors

While there’s nothing new about the model’s flanks, the sharp character line now flows into L-shaped LED taillights and a newly sculpted trunklid. You won’t mistake it for a CT6. Still, Cadillac models need to toe the company design line, especially if they’ve been granted a last-minute stay of execution. The automaker had planned to discontinue the XTS following the CT6’s launch, but strong sales of the old model swayed Cadillac brass.

Inside the XTS, Cadillac promises more comfort — both for your ears and backside. Increased use of sound insulation and new tire designs should make for a quieter cabin, while your derrière will apparently rejoice at the prospect of “changes to seat foam geometry, wire frame structure and heat pad redesign.” Revolutionary changes these are not.

Tech-savvy owners will note the adoption of Cadillac’s cloud-based user experience system, which groups together key applications on one screen. Want to add apps? Fancy some connected navigation? Eager to personalize any number of infotainment settings? Cadillac makes it possible, though just how tech-savvy the non-livery buyers of this traditional sedan might be remains a big question mark. At least the updated CUE interface is designed to be easier to operate.

2018 Cadillac XTS, Image: General Motors

Whether owners know it’s there or not, Cadillac’s suite of driver aids now includes low-speed automatic braking and lane change alert (with the Driver Awareness Package) and forward/reverse automatic braking and adaptive cruise control (with the Driver Assist Package).

As before, buyers can choose between a standard 3.6-liter V6 making 304 horsepower and 264 lb-ft of torque, with optional all-wheel drive and Magnetic Ride Control for those concerned about handling limits. The V-Sport model returns, boasting a twin-turbocharged version of the 3.6. Count on that mill to generate 410 horses and 269 lb-ft. As before, a six-speed automatic remains the sole transmission.

New 19- and 20-inch wheel choices and interior trim patterns and colors round out the menu of choices for XTS buyers. The automaker hasn’t released pricing, preferring to wait until closer to the official launch later this year.

[Images: General Motors]

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23 Comments on “2018 Cadillac XTS: You’ve Seen the Face, Now Ask About the Seat Foam...”

  • avatar

    It would be foolish indeed to kill this model off. Heck, with BMW and Merc increasingly looking to FWD platforms to fill our their portfolio and make some money from the lower upper-income brackets, in this case Caddy can assert that they were decades ahead of the curve. Though in this case it’s more like sitting still and waiting for the tide to come in, rather than paddling out to catch the wave…

    Not to mention that FWD doesn’t necessarily have to mean it automatically achieves lesser-tier status. Audi A6 anyone?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Well, the Audis are longitude-FWD, which is a bit different. The majority of them seem to be sold with Quattro, making them quite like their RWD-based AWD competition—albeit with the engine stuffed way at the front of the engine bay—but for the ones that are solely FWD, they are sort of entry-level.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, the FWD/Haldex4 works it RWD charm when the electronics are off. With just the throttle the rear end has no problem rotating at will.

      I’ll have to wait until more pics of the front end show up as the Hyundai look grill may be over exposed.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I figured this would happen. I’m sure the XTS is more profitable than the ATS and CTS combined, so it makes sense for Cadillac to keep it around. It’s a big FWD American car, like my MKS, but far more polished—and with less unnecessary overhang.

    However, the XTS does not fit into Cadillac’s current nomenclature.

    • 0 avatar

      It is odd that with the XT5 they took the opportunity to apply the new nomenclature, but passed on the XTS. One could argue that the XT5 was a significant platform change while the XTS was a styling an content evolution, but I challenge the customer set of each vehicle to identify the evolutionary vs. revolutionary changes between the two.

    • 0 avatar

      They could rename it DeVille if they are worried about nomenclature. However, the XTS outsells the CTS. It outsells the ATS except the last couple months. It has a strong record of outselling or matching the Escalade. What’s the point of the naming scheme for the two duds (ATS and CTS)? It just needs a little fresh pizzaz.

      Cadillac should make this thing more like a Lincoln Continental and focus on keeping this big boat sailing for a long time as it sells luxury SUVs.

      If anything, that the XTS swims so much against the headwinds of being hated by Cadillac and being out of step with the Manhattan sensibilities of how Cadillac should smell and feel on your skin should give GM pause to consider jettisoning the entire extraneous New York contingent and going back to this sort of big, comfortable model. Cadillac has spent how many decades failing to ape BMW? RWD for Cadillac is a failure outside BOF SUV.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I wholeheartedly agree. Cadillac has failed at trying to out-BMW BMW. The previous CTS worked because it was priced like a 3-Series, but sized closer to a 5-Series. The new one, however, is just overpriced…alienating previous buyers, while not providing a convincing deterrent to the German mainstays. Honestly, if you want a non-German value proposition, the Genesis G80 is a better bet (and a relatively-cheap way to get a RWD V8 sedan).

        If Cadillac was smart, it would do what Land Rover has done with the Range Rover nameplate and create a whole sub-brand. Land Rover has three distinct Range Rover models (soon to be four, once the Velar hits the market later this year), and is making money hand over fist.

        • 0 avatar

          Oh please what a load of you know what. Go and drive a CTS sometime, I cannot fathom how you would NOT say that its a fantastic car. It’s now headed into it’s fifth (and second to last) model year and it still ranks out amongst the top in it’s class. In no way, shape or form is a Genesis equal to the CTS, except in the TTAC echo chamber.

          The reason for the poor CTS sales are quite simple:
          1. Sales of mid-size lux sedans are in the toilet
          2. Cadillac does not have the built in customer base that BMW or Merc does for this type of vehicle. Cadillacs continued “old man” image is not at all in line with this class of vehicle.
          3. Cadillac is taking the long road and not whoring themselves out to be a “value/discount” alternative aka Genesis, Lincoln, Acura, etc. and they are holding the line on price.

          They reason they are selling on the merits of the car and not discount pricing is because GM understand’s they have the hard stuff (engineering) correct, but the rest of the ship still has a lot of catching up to do.

          • 0 avatar

            The Genesis offers me a V8 car for under $70K. The Cadillacs don’t.

            Once Hyundai drops the V8, the appeal for me will drop considerably.

          • 0 avatar

            Genesis is competitive on paper. But when comes to driving dynamics not many can compete along with it’s discounted price. Comments from owners on Car & Driver G80 reviews support it.

          • 0 avatar

            CTS sales stink because it’s back seat is too small (compared to it’s competitors) and it’s price is too big.

  • avatar

    Might be some killer deals on this off-lease in 2021 if the current XTS is anything to go by.

  • avatar

    This is the only current model Cadillac I would consider owning.

  • avatar

    More people are going away from the drivers car craze back to comfort ride of traditional cars. Looks like…again Cadillac is going in the wrong direction. Even BMW is going toward comfort and more luxury ride.

  • avatar

    The best Cadillac available today – new or used.

  • avatar

    I could never understand why they wouldn’t put comfortable seats in their cars. I believe they were trying to out German the Germans. they also have a culture that insists on raising the price no matter what. do they actually believe that being over priced makes their cars better?

  • avatar

    Americans only want firm driving vehicles if they have a German badge, and even the Germans are getting softer. Cadillac is still chasing yesterday’s customers, having no idea what customers will actually want by the time they introduce their new models. Product planning at GM is horrendous – by the time they attack a popular segment, customers have moved on. BMW will have 12 SAVs before Cadillac launches another CUV.

    • 0 avatar

      Not always true. They seem to be doing pretty well in the subcompact CUV field, which is fast growing. Not to mention they were a part of it from about the start, with Encore.

  • avatar

    Thank-you for the offer, but I take the Hyundai Genesis over this deformed Caddy, any day.

  • avatar

    It’s a boring update….. it doesn’t work with the proportions of the car. The front end of the car is much too broad and tall for such a small lighting treatment. I have a 2013 and I prefer the much more bold look of the older model’s face…. people should notice when a Cadillac is bearing down on them in their rearview mirror. The one thing that I think they could have done to improve proportions from the rear would have been to widen the rear fascia and squared it off more, then made the vertical light treatments taller and deeper.
    I am a repeat Cadillac buyer, and I am 42 years old…. so I should have a few more cars to buy in my life. I think that my next car will be a Black Label Continental given the direction of Cadillac.

  • avatar

    I love the way this refresh looks. Frankly, Cadillac makes the mistake of not being Cadillac. Who cares if it’s somewhat German? Their biggest mistake is overpricing. They need to do what Hyundai does: Car with cool stuff in it at a significant savings. Then, they can try one special model with stratospheric pricing. This car costs more than I’m generally willing to pay. A neighbor has one in a metallic red that really looks nice. Before I got over my SAAB addiction, the local Cadillac dealer did its servicing and I got either an ATS, a CTS, or an XT5 loaner. I really liked the ATS, but couldn’t get past the fact it used run-flats. The CTS was OK, but felt too big for me (average build). The XT5 was very comfortable but I felt like I had to go shopping at the Galleria when I got in it.

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