The 2013 XTS starts at $44,995 (including destination), and goes to $61,305 for the Platinum (with a $2,000 charge for all-wheel drive). That's about in line with the Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E 350. And if you don't mind that the XTS doesn't quite match the pedigree of those German luxury sedans, the features you get for the money are actually a bit stronger.
The XTS comes in standard guise, plus in Luxury Collection, Premium Collection, and Platinum Collection versions. All models include a Bose eight-speaker sound system, power front seats, power-adjustable steering, remote start, a universal garage-door opener, and dual-zone climate control.
All models include CUE, the all-new capacitive touch-screen system that has many industry firsts. It's the first use of a capacitive touch screen as original equipment in a car, and it's the first use of proximity and gestural sensing, which allows the system to show more menu options only as your hand approaches.
There's also a big reconfigurable gauge cluster, which offers several layouts plus lots of customization, that's included only in Premium and Platinum models. So is the much-improved Head-Up Display, which projects critical information onto the windshield; premium sound; and navigation functionality for CUE. So if you want to take advantage of the technology, you'll want one of those two top models.As for CUE, it's one of the most attractive, most intuitively laid-out interfaces yet, but it's not without its little issues. We appreciated how the system has a depth of customization possibilities once you get into the submenus, yet on the surface it simplifies the choices. You can simply say things like “Take me to Starbucks,” or “Let's go to Starbucks,” and it's not so dependent on hitting specific command-tree words. Also, screen scrolling is smooth and glitch-free, and the live-traffic features that have been cause for frustration in so many other vehicles seemed to work flawlessly here, with better detail than most other systems present.
Individual options are quite limited in the XTS. In addition to the Driver Awareness Package (a new set of active-safety features), available features include embedded navigation (for the Base model), an Ultraview sunroof, a compact spare, and an engine block heater.