Under the blanket of winter, Detroit is smoking hot, caught in the throes of the 2010 Detroit Auto Show. And the latest hot concept to hit the Web is the 2012 Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept.
The XTS Platinum Concept is a preview of the upcoming Cadillac flagship sedan, intended as a range-topper to top the CTS in its many forms. But can it live up to the hype? Excellent question. Styling is the first potential stumbling block--first impressions are everything when it comes to cars, and the first inkling is that XTS isn't the stunner Cadillac may have hoped for. It's not an objectionable design, but it's more of an increment on the DTS/STS than a revolutionary re-take. From some angles it even brings the new Buick LaCrosse to mind.
It is, however, a plug-in hybrid powered by a 3.6-liter V-6 engine and a hybrid system that can charge via a standard electrical outlet. Because the XTS can run exclusively on electricity, this enables shorter trips--Cadillac hasn't revealed how far--can be done without any on-board use of fossil fuels. That's not exactly revolutionary, but it does put Cadillac on the heels of Mercedes-Benz's S400 Hybrid and the upcoming BMW ActiveHybrid7
But the powertrain technology isn't the only interesting aspect of the XTS Platinum concept. It also has a high-tech and contemporary interior that incorporates bright, clear Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) display panels in place of traditional gauges and standard LCD screens. Part of the theme behind the XTS's interior design is the "dead front" concept: the dash looks largely blank, and black, until the car is turned on. This highly integrated use of panels as instrumentation and input devices is also part of a strategy to make interaction with the car more intuitive by minimizing the number of buttons and switches.
And that's before you get to the lacquered burl wood trim, brushed metal accents, and plush leather upholstery. The dashboard layout itself is familiar to anyone that's been in a recent Cadillac and well-executed, and the seats, especially the rear, look spacious.
Overall, it's a stylish and high-tech vehicle, presenting a fresh yet familiar face at a time when Cadillac needs a winning design. So far the XTS isn't officially confirmed for production, and its model-year appellation is not yet certain, but Construction is expected to start in GM's Oshawa, Ontario plant in late 2011 or early 2012.
For a much more detailed report, check out Viknesh Vijayenthiran’s article over at MotorAuthority.com.