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 Art & Science design theme, which has appeared throughout the Cadillac lineup over the past several years. 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 really good-looking car on the outside. You can see some resemblance to the related Buick LaCrosse (and to the 2014 Chevy Impala) in the profile and softly arched roofline, but this Cadillac is clearly a cut above in the details. One of the key differentiating factors between the Premium and Platinum models, from the front, is that Platinum models have a completely metallic grille, whereas Premium models are blacked out in between for a more contrasted look.
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’s instrument panel and interior trims look like those of no other GM vehicle (they closely follow the look of the XTS Platinum Concept first shown 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.