The Car Connection Cadillac XTS Overview
The Cadillac XTS is a full-size luxury four-door sedan that for a short time, occupied the top slot in the General Motors' luxury lineup. In a range of cars including the redesigned mid-size CTS and the compact ATS sport sedans, the XTS instead focuses more on comfort and space.
Since it was new, the XTS has been the flagship Cadillac. But for the 2016 model year, a new CT6 sedan assumes that mantle, leaving the XTS a still strong choice for drivers that might otherwise choose vehicles like the Infiniti Q70 and Acura RLX, as well as the Chrysler 300 and Lincoln MKS.
MORE: Read our 2016 Cadillac XTS review
Available in front- or all-wheel-drive models, the XTS is more affordable than German or Japanese luxury entries. It effectively replaced the former full-size DTS four-door—which supplanted the longstanding DeVille name—when it was introduced for the 2012 model year.
The Ontario, Canada-built XTS is based on GM's beefiest front-drive car architecture, sharing some of its underpinnings with the Chevrolet Impala and Buick LaCrosse. It's longer than both of those models, with a longer wheelbase, which means more interior space, especially in the rear. It's being marketed to the livery drivers who recently lost their rear-drive Lincoln Town Cars, bringing with it much more modern looks and Cadillac's latest design language stretched over GM's biggest front-drive architecture.
The XTS was initially offered with a single drivetrain, a 3.6-liter V-6 with 300 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque, coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is rated at 17 mpg city/28 mpg highway for the front-drive XTS, while all-wheel-drive models are rated at 17 mpg city/26 mpg highway. A twin-turbo XTS VSport was soon added, with a 410-hp forced-induction version of the same engine, standard all-wheel drive, and revamped suspension tuning. That model fairs only slightly worse in testing by the Environmental Protection Agency despite the power boost, with ratings of 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway.
As for ride and handling, the XTS bridges the gulf between the old DTS and the crisper Caddys with a new suspension that features standard Magnetic Ride Control, a set of adaptive shocks that use a magnetically charged fluid that changes shock response according to road conditions. Performance struts and Brembo brakes are included on some versions.
Overall interior space of the XTS matches many full-size sedans, though in certain dimensions it's more comparable to some mid-size four-doors. In the rear seat, for example, the XTS has 40 inches of leg room—less than today's VW Passat but more than a short-wheelbase Jaguar XJ. The XTS's trunk is large, at 18 cubic feet, though it's down a few cubes from the Ford Taurus, which checks in at 20 cubic feet.
Cadillac has also rated this big sedan for fleet service. Certain upfitters can transform the four-door into a hearse, flower car, or limousine; jobs the biggest and best Cadillac sedans have been taking on for decades.
The XTS has some of GM's most advanced infotainment technology built into its cabin. It was the first Cadillac to offer CUE, which uses a fully haptic touchscreen with proximity sensing and multi-touch gestures like those used with smartphones and tablets to control secondary functions. CUE has received some criticism for its complexity, and Cadillac is already planning a range of updates to improve the experience. No word on when exactly they will show up, though.
Along with the in-cabin electronics, Cadillac introduced new short- and long-range radar systems with the XTS. These systems are used for adaptive cruise control, front and rear sensing for automatic braking, and rear cross-traffic alert. The XTS also features a driver alert system that vibrates the seat in the direction of an object behind them. Perhaps the most useful example would be backing out of a parking spot with crossing traffic. The XTS also features ten standard airbags.
The XTS will remain on sale for a few years, but it's been strongly hinted that the XTS will only be offered until Cadillac's new CT6 sedan is in full production. The CT6 is a new full-size sedan with a lightweight body and the dimensions of a BMW 7-Series. It will be available with a new 400-hp twin-turbocharged V-6 and will have standard rear-wheel drive, although all V-6 models will use all-wheel drive. The CT6 went on sale in early 2016.