2013 Cadillac XTS Performance

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Performance

Cadillac is quick to point out that the 2013 Cadillac XTS isn't trying to be a finely honed sport sedan. But taking that more comfort-oriented mission into consideration, the XTS ends up feeling surprisingly athletic.

A 304-hp version of GM’s 3.6-liter V-6 is under the hood of all XTS models, and power is delivered through a six-speed automatic transmission, with either front- or all-wheel drive. The engine starts with nary a shudder and settles to a smooth idle. And overall, the six-speed automatic transmission does a great job in Drive, in keeping the revs up when they’re needed and bringing them down when they’re not. The engine doesn't churn out as much low-rpm torque as some rival V-6 engines, but it does enable 0-60 mph in just 6.8 seconds and a (limited) top speed of 136 mph.

Compared to other large luxury sedans that proritize comfort over performance, the XTS feels nimble, if not downright athletic.

Front-wheel-drive cars weigh about 4,000 pounds, while all-wheel-drive models weigh 200 pounds more than that. You do tend to feel that weight more than a little bit when taking off from a standing start—about the only time that the V-6 seems to labor a bit, until it gathers revs—and when braking hard, with some noticeable nosedive (even though it’s in theory curbed a bit by the HyperStrut design). Throttle tip-in—perhaps in a nod to a more hesitant target driver here—is more aggressive than that of the CTS.

Where you don’t feel the weight nearly as much (surprisingly, considering the XTS's size) is in cornering. The XTS doesn't throw its weight around; it loads and unloads in a confident way, and stays surprisingly flat. More importantly, it rarely feels flustered, with MagneRide helping with that impression, soaking up road noise and minor harshness.

There are two wheel sizes (19- and 20-inch)—and the differences between them, from behind the wheel, really is minimal.

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