Cadillac is surely going in a smoother, softer direction with the design of the 2014 XTS; yet this remains one of the most distinct comfort-oriented luxury sedans on the market.
On the outside, you won't find nearly as much evidence of the bold-and-brash Cadillac design language that they've applied across the lineup. Instead, the XTS's profile is smoothed-over, in coordination with the idea that this model is going after shoppers that are perhaps more interested in comfort and technology than outright performance (that would be the ATS and CTS sport sedans).
The 'boxed-out' front and rear appearance, combined with the blended cabin area, results in a sharp exterior. There are some resemblances to other GM vehicles in the XTS' sheet metal: we see some Buick Lacrosse and Chevy Impala in the profile and roofline, but the Caddy has a firm position at the top compared to those cars. Trims can be differentiated by the grille; Premium models have a blacked-out grille, while Platinum models sport a completely metallic face.
The Art & Science themes that we've been seeing in Cadillac models for years continue here, but there's a swoopier look and softer details overall. The XTS sports interior touches we haven't seen on a GM vehicle; it closely follows the XTS Platinum Concept that we first saw at the 2010 Detroit auto show. And overall, we're very impressed by the combination of beveled, metallic trim pieces, fitting tightly against smooth contouring—a feat of fit and finish, really.
One of the elements of the XTS's leading-edge feature set is noteworthy in and of itself, from a design standpoint. At the center of the XTS's instrument panel sits an eight-inch, fully capacitive touch screen—like what's used in iPads and other tablets. It's part of the Cadillac User Experience (CUE), which comes standard and cleans up the look, removing many physical buttons. There aren't any real gauges either in many XTS models—just simulated ones on a separate reconfigurable screen in front of the driver.