As soon as I opened the door to the 2015 Cadillac XTS I was to drive for the week, there it was on the polished metal door sill: PLATINUM. The highest of three
“Collections,” or trim levels, that descriptor said it all for this front-or-all-wheel drive, full-size luxury sedan.
Although General Motors is trying to skew younger these days − as evidenced by recent releases like the sporty ATS Coupe − the opulent XTS is classic Cadillac: large and in-charge. Visual items like the satin-chrome grille finish, LED-illuminated door handles, big 20-inch wheels, and sparkly pearl paint named White Diamond Tricoat - all not-so-subtley hint at the high-class status of this vehicle. I’m not usually one to review key fobs, but even that is luxurious: shaped like the company’s shield emblem, there’s a hefty weight to it and the remote features a rubber face that feels nice to the touch and is easy to grip and operate.
It’s the same story on the inside. With the Platinum models, almost every interior surface is clad in stitched leather, and the headliner is covered in microfibre suede. Six different colour combinations are available, and my press vehicle came with a classy Dark Urban/Cocoa (brown/beige) configuration.
Some consumers, new or returning to the brand, may not realize how high-tech Caddys have gotten. For example, the instrument cluster is completely digitized (optional), something that is still a rarity amongst mainstream offerings and usually reserved for European nameplates like Jaguar or Audi. Rather than the familiar speedo and tach, a reconfigurable 12.3-inch screen can be set to four different modes displaying varying amounts of vehicle information.
New for 2015 is the addition of the OnStar concierge service and 4G LTE connectivity with WIFi support, continuing GM’s push to turn every one of their models into a rolling Internet hub. Controlled via the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system, CUE can connect with almost every form of media format, including up to 10 Bluetooth device pairings, and the eight-inch LCD display has a neat proximity sensor so it hides visual clutter until it detects your hand nearby.
Continuing with the topic of technology, the Cadillac XTS makes use of Magnetic Ride Control. The shock absorbers are electronically controlled and can adapt to changing
road conditions within five milliseconds, altering dampening so that ride comfort and handling are always at an optimal level. For such a large footprint, the car carves corners surprisingly well.
The standard mill in the model is a 3.6-litre V6, producing 304 horspower and 264 lb-ft of torque, which is plenty, but I tested the twin-turbo Vsport version of the engine (all-wheel drive only) that cranks out a monstrous 410 hp and 369 lb-ft, both matched up with a six-speed automatic transmission. The lightweight composite intake manifold construction and integrated cylinder head and exhaust manifold design are a couple of ways engineers have managed to keep the pounds in the front down, helping keep the feeling of balance on the big sedan I alluded to earlier.
Safety features abound on the XTS equipped with appropriate packages: rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision alert, automatic braking, and new lane keep assist on FWD models, to name a few. One of my favourites is the safety alert seat that gave me a good scare when I was backing into a parking spot with a high concrete curb. The computer warned me about a possible collision by vibrating the cushion, but what I didn’t realize was just how strong the motor underneath is. I’ll take that over a scratched bumper any day.
MSRP: $ 75,765
Motor: 3.6 L twin-turbo V6
Horsepower: 410 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque (lb-ft): 369 @ 1,900 rpm
Gearbox: Six-speed automatic, tap-shift control
Layout: Front engine, all-wheel drive
Fuel economy: 14.8 L/100 km city & 9.9 highway (manufacturer estimate)