A performance model called the XTS Vsport joins the lineup for 2014. It features a new twin-turbo V-6 that produces 410 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. That extra muscle turns an already competent performer into something of a Q-ship...
The 2014 Cadillac XTS is a relatively new model that nevertheless feels like a blast from the past. It is a comfort-oriented full-size Cadillac in the tradition of the front-wheel-drive Devilles and Sevilles that crowded bingo-hall parking lots in the 1980s and 1990s. The XTS is, make no mistake, a much better car than those old boats -- it handles well, has plenty of power, and has one of Cadillac's best interiors to date. A new Vsport variant spices things up with a 410-hp, twin-turbo V-6 powering all four wheels. Still, those who prioritize performance over roominess and comfort should sooner consider the similarly priced, rear-wheel-drive CTS.
It's easy to forget how much the Cadillac brand has changed in the last decade. The Escalade, the CTS, the SRX, and the ATS are all relative newcomers. Only one model resembles the Cadillac of old, the 2014 Cadillac XTS. The moniker is, of course, different -- it follows the same foolish alphanumeric naming conventions as the rest of the lineup. But anyone who's owned a Seville or a Deville will immediately recognize the concept. The XTS is a front-wheel-drive sedan with lots of power, lots of features, and loads of interior space.
The 2014 Cadillac XTS does benefit from the rest of the brand's progress. The interior, for instance, is executed to a standard unimaginable in the old days. The top-of-the-line Platinum edition is truly lovely, featuring perforated leather and rich-looking wood trim. Cadillac's new and often confusing infotainment system, Cue, is standard -- something of a head-scratcher considering that traditional Cadillac buyers skew rather old.
The 2014 Cadillac XTS also drives much better than the luxury boats of old. Magnetorheological dampers and Brembo front brakes are standard. A new, go-fast version called the Vsport (not to be confused with Cadillac's V-series) features a muscular twin-turbo V-6 and all-wheel-drive.
Despite all of its good qualities, the XTS reminds us why Cadillac faltered in the 1980s and '90s. It relies heavily on the General Motors corporate parts bin and doesn't necessarily feel $20,000 better than the mechanically similar Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Impala. Its chunky, cab-forward styling and nose-heavy handling don't compare favorably with foreign competitors or, for that matter, with the Chrysler 300. It also has very quickly become a limousine-service mainstay thanks to its large back seat and gargantuan trunk. That no-doubt pads GM's bottom line in the short term but may not serve Cadillac's image in the long term.
That said, Cadillac now has several models meant to battle the imports and burnish the brand. The XTS need only appeal to the dwindling, yet still sizable, number of buyers who want an old-fashioned American luxury car.
- Acura RLX
- Audi A6
- Chrysler 300C