The 2014 Cadillac XTS is not trying to be a sharply tuned sport sedan; yet given its more comfort-oriented mission, it's surprisingly athletic. And with the introduction of a new Twin-Turbo V-6 engine option this year, the XTS isn't likely to let anyone down in terms of acceleration and power.
The 304-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 that's under the hood of most XTS models is very smooth; it starts with nary a shudder and settles to a glassy idle. It doesn't churn out low-rpm torque like some rival V-6 engines, but delivery is smooth and predictable through the six-speed automatic transmission, with either front- or all-wheel drive. And with a 0-60 mph time of 6.8 seconds and a (limited) top speed of 136 mph, it's reasonably quick.
New for 2014 is a so-called Twin-Power V-6—a twin-turbocharged, 3.6-liter, making 410 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. According to GM, it's one of the most power-dense six-cylinder engines on the planet. We haven't driven any XTS with this engine yet, but it makes its peak torque from 1,900 all the way up to 5,600 rpm, so it should provide a very V-8-like responsiveness to this big luxury sedan.
Even for a larger sedan, the XTS is a bit on the heavy side (front-wheel-drive cars weigh about 4,000 pounds; all-wheel-drive models a couple hundred pounds more than that); you tend to feel that from a standing start, which is about the only time the base V-6 seems to labor a bit. When braking hard (strong Brembo front brakes are standard), there's some noticeable nosedive (even though it’s in theory curbed a bit by the HyperStrut design). An aggressive throttle tip-in (perhaps more so than other Cadillacs) also tends to make the base engine feel perkier than it is, so get this one out on a long test drive. There are two wheel sizes (19- and 20-inch)—and the differences between them, from behind the wheel, really is minimal.
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. It rarely feels flustered, and the electronically controlled MagneRide struts help with that impression, soaking up harshness and road noise without dulling responsiveness.