2017 Cadillac XTS Rental Review - Personal Emerald Aisle Sedan
(Everybody say HAYYYYYYY to our guest reviewer du jour, Danger Girl! —jb)
The creaky old 737-300, lacking wi-fi and assigned seating but chock-full of oversized roller luggage, touched down in Queen City at about 9:40 p.m. on a Monday night. My hopes for what I would find in the Charlotte Douglas International Airport Executive Emerald Aisle were about as high as the hopes I’d had when I ran from gate A8 to B15 at BWI, knowing my connecting flight had been boarding for a solid 15 minutes. Which is to say: lower than low. To my surprise, this was not the case at the Executive Emerald Aisle. I’d expected the automotive equivalent of my back-cabin center seat, but this was more like the delightfully unoccupied space on the aisle side of the exit row.
I walked past the Tahoes, the Escalades, and a Cadillac XTS thinking I was in some alternate universe known as the Elite section, or that “Hertz Dream Car” area Jack sometimes rents from. I was looking for the standard 300C, Challenger, or base Mustang to which I’ve become accustomed. An agent happened to walk by me. In an effort to pinch myself and make sure this was really happening, I asked him if the XTS was, in fact, part of the Executive Emerald Aisle. “Sure! Take it!” he said.
Well, alrighty then.
Cadillac's Super Cruise is Super Late, Takes Aim at Autopilot
Cadillac announced its autonomous driving system Super Cruise is ready and will be available this fall. The system, designed to compete directly with Tesla’s Autopilot, will first appear on the Cadillac CT6.
It doesn’t sound like GM has pulled any punches. Super Cruise is touting some serious features.
QOTD: Where Will Cadillac Be A Decade From Now?
Cadillac is in a curious state.
Many would rightly argue that Cadillac’s products are more competitive now than they’ve been in decades. Cadillac is making headway in China, a market which accounted for slightly more than half of Cadillac’s global volume in the first-quarter of 2017. Cadillac’s average U.S. transaction prices are also above the norm thanks in part to a high percentage of its sales being produced by the high-dollar Escalade.
But sales in Cadillac’s home market continue to slide. U.S. volume has fallen by a fifth over the last decade and has decreased in two of the last three years, falling to a four-year low in 2016. More recently, U.S. sales at Cadillac are down 5 percent in early 2017 after decreasing on a year-over-year basis in six of the last twelve months.
Long gone are the days when Cadillac could sell new vehicles in America at the same rate as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, or Lexus. Indeed, Cadillac is well back of Audi now, as well. To put an exclamation point on Cadillac’s difficulties, little ol’ Infiniti — also historically reliant on the U.S. market and rather weak globally — outsold Cadillac by a margin of more than 40 percent in March.
What’s next? Which brands will be outselling Cadillac in ten years, or even five, or even two?
Spied: Refreshed 2018 Cadillac XTS, Showing Plenty of Sameness
Thanks to loyal reader Frylock350, we’ve received a glimpse of what can only be Cadillac’s upcoming 2018 XTS — a long-in-the-tooth model given a stay of execution (and a styling refresh) by its struggling parent.
The XTS was supposed to die after the appearance of Cadillac’s CT6 flagship, but continued healthy sales of the front-wheel-drive full-sizer prompted a change of heart. Why axe a steady performer, especially when your smaller sedans have the sales buoyancy of the Lusitania?
No Fixed Abode: Release the Mad Men!
Don’t listen to anybody who tries to tell you that all new cars are about the same nowadays, even if they’re referring to the inhabitants of a particular market segment. While I was at my local auto show last week, I took a few minutes to pretend that I was still my 2005-or-thereabouts self and that I was in the market for a new car. I was a different man back then: childless, fancy-free, still pushin’ those Schedule Twos, and personally addicted to flossin’ in the finest full-sized sedans that did not attract a Flying Spur’s worth of attention from the authorities.
Back then, I divided my street car, four-door wheel time between a Volkswagen Phaeton, Audi A8, and Mercedes-Benz CL55 AMG. I thought I’d look at a few bland big-ballers and pick a favorite using the same criteria that drove my decisions lo these many years ago. Started with the Genesis G90. Now this is a nice car. Lots of room, acceptable interior quality, and the blank-faced menacing mien that used to come standard with fuselage New Yorkers. And such a bargain, too. Make mine the V8 AWD. Hell, I thought about buying one right now but I can no longer justify spending more than $50,000 on a new car unless it has a snake badge on the nose.
Next up: Lincoln Continental. The G90 makes it feel tight inside but this is the one to have for interior ambiance. Bright, airy, and chock-full of unashamed, authentic design for design’s sake. I never thought the day would come when an American car would be able to compete heads-up with Audi in the cockpit, but the Continental absolutely makes the case.
Last on the list, the Cadillac CT6. Well, what can we say about that?
Wayne Taylor Racing Sweeps Florida at Sebring's Famously Abusive Racetrack
Ricky Taylor pulled away from Joao Barbosa and gave Wayne Taylor Racing and Cadillac a victory during 36 Hours of Florida at Sebring Raceway. Taylor pushed his Konica Minolta-sponsored No. 10 Cadillac DPi-V.R to a 13.6 second win over Barbosa’s Action Express-backed entry, following a long mid-race battle between the two Cadillacs.
Much of the race was a recreation of the prototype duel between the Taylor family and Mustang Sampling Racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. However, with three hours to go at Sebring, Jordan Taylor passed Filipe Albuquerque for the lead in dense traffic and built up a sizable gap. Calling in the No. 10 Cadillac to pit and swap drivers in the final hour, just moments before the race’s final course caution, resulted in Ricky Taylor maintaining a commanding lead for the remainder of the event.
Cadillac Has an Official Name for Its New Crossover, Due in 2018
The first of several new utility vehicles to roll into Cadillac dealers won’t carry the name many expected.
Recent spy photos show a heavily camouflaged compact crossover due to launch next year, part of Cadillac’s bid to boost sales by going all-in on the SUV craze. The automaker has offered a name for this looming profit machine, and it doesn’t stray far from place-holder we’ve used for some time.
CUE Something Better: Cadillac Raises the Bar for Its Abysmal User Interface
Cadillac’s user interface has been one of its consumers’ biggest grievances. Last week, I heard a private chauffeur in an Escalade — a $75,000 car that makes you feel simultaneously wealthy and powerful — refer to the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) as “bullshit.” Even Johan de Nysschen admitted that CUE did not pass muster.
Clearly aware of how supremely loathsome the interface is, the automaker has announced that the next-generation user experience system will debut on the 2017 Cadillac CTS this spring. According to General Motors, the updated user experience will evolve with a customer’s connectivity needs — adjusting itself over time while offering a plethora of personalization, connectivity and apps.
24/7 Wall St. Declares 'Book by Cadillac' a Failure; Cadillac Shrugs Off Questions
General Motors’ luxury division isn’t content with brewing coffee and showing off fashionable new threads at its new SoHo space — it also wants you to drive its cars.
Book by Cadillac, a monthly subscription lease service that launched one month ago, aims to get more people in the metal to the tune of $1,500 a month — and 24/7 Wall St. is already calling it a “major flop.”
According to the self-described “financial news and opinion” website, “[Uwe] Ellinghaus [Cadillac’s chief marketing officer] in particular has to be humiliated,” as there aren’t enough subscriptions available to supply the demand.
Say what now?
Cadillac Still Has a Plan for Sedans, Even as It Plays Crossover Catch-up
Okay, who’s getting all excited about the upcoming refreshed XTS? Anybody? Hello?
While the prospect of a mildly revamped front-drive holdover might not set the enthusiast blogs on fire, the sedan’s recent salvation from the Island of Defunct Models is a prudent move for the troubled automaker.
It’s also the only “new” product you’ll see between now and the middle of next year.
Hey, Look - Cadillac Finished First In Something: The Rolex 24
Cadillac took a definite “more is more” approach for its return to prototype racing. By handing over its engineering masterpiece, the V8 DPi-V.R, to the distinguished Wayne Taylor Racing, LeMans veteran Massimiliano “Max” Angelelli, and NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon, it assured itself the one-two victory at the Rolex 24 in Daytona.
However, despite an ideal finish, it wasn’t a perfect day for the team.
Cadillac is Cutting Dealers Some Serious Slack Over Project Pinnacle
Cadillac’s rollout of Project Pinnacle has been, let’s face it, a categorical mess. The program faced an immediate backlash from dealerships when General Motors explained it would categorize them based on sales projections and require an adherence to a higher standard of customer service. This was followed by smaller dealers refusing to take Cadillac’s buyouts, forcing the company to delay Pinnacle’s launch on two separate occasions.
The most recent postponement was so dealers could have more time to understand the program’s finer details — or so Cadillac claimed. However, now the automaker is altering portions of the incentive program so that dealers receive payments sooner and are eligible for partial bonuses even if they fall as much as 15 percent short of monthly sales goals. Caddy is also easing on some of those high standards it demanded of dealers and eliminating the appeals process for those deemed noncompliant.
Bark's Bites: If You Won't Buy A Cadillac, Maybe You'll Borrow One?
Oh, Cadillac. Sometimes I feel bad for you, what with your rebadged Impalas, your ATS wasting away on dealer lots for $15,000 under sticker, your XT5 badges that look exactly like XTS badges — it’s enough to make a man pity you.
But then you go and do stupid shit like starting a “Luxury Subscription Service,” and I lose any sympathy I have managed to scrape together. Yes, Cadillac thinks that renting you a car (that nobody wants to buy) for $1,500 a month is a great idea, and it has all the early signs of being something that Cadillac has excelled at recently — being a complete and total failure.
Cadillac Will Let Fickle People Borrow From Its Fleet for $1,500 a Month
If you’ve ever found yourself buying someone a $10,000 handbag or worrying that not enough of your clothing is made from cashmere or silk, you’ll want to know that Cadillac will let you “subscribe” to its cars for a tidy monthly sum of $1,500.
“Book” by Cadillac is a $500 app that lets you select the most premium offerings from the brand and have it delivered to your door. However, you’re not leasing or purchasing a vehicle from General Motors’ flagship brand — you’re just borrowing one. Cadillac is touting this as some sort of transformative, fancy-free way to own a car. Still, it doesn’t actually alleviate most of the problems associated with car ownership, especially not in the urban markets it plans to test the service in.
QOTD: What Was the Best GM Vehicle of 2016?
Not that one, obviously. That one’s mine, and it’s pretty old. As 2016 finishes itself off, I want to get your take on the best GM vehicle sold this year.