In an attempt to raise Cadillac’s performance appeal as a contender to adversaries such as BMW, Mercedes and Lexus the luxury brand recently announced its new V-Sport (or Vsport as Cadillac punctuates it) Series. The very first Vsport model to debut this August, will be Cadillac’s flagship XTS sedan.
The Vsport is not a replacement for the V-series (which still remains exclusively for the CTS series) but sits just below Cadillac’s high-performance lineup. To better explain, the Vsport is more in kind to the Lexus’ F-Sport series, meaning more emphases on athletic-like aesthetics as well as more taunt suspension tuning. However, Cadillac is paying particular attention to the powerplant as well. But for the Vsport it will not be the ground-pounding Corvette sourced V8 monster motor found on the V-Series, but a more tech-driven twin-turbo V6 that’s estimated to expel 410-bhp, besting the 3.6 L V6 of the more mainstream XTS, by 105 extra ponies.
Because of the massive torque from this twin turbo the XTS Vsport will only be offered in all-wheel-drive, and limited to the up-level Premium and Platinum Collection models. The XTS Vsport Premium begins at $63,020, while the XTS Vsport Platinum starts at an eye popping $70,200. That’s a $17,495 and $24,495 surcharge over the base 2014 XTS sedan, which begins at $45,525. All pricing includes a $925 destination charge.
For comparison, the second Vsport model scheduled to make its debut, the all-new redesigned 2014 CTS Vsport rwd sedan, will have a start price of $59,995. For it the twin-turbo 3.6-liter is rated at an extra 10-bhp (420-bhp) and 430 lb-ft of torque. And though it hasn’t been made official, a Vsport model is anticipated for the ATS sedan, as well as a proposed ATS coupe. No specifics on whether the ATS version would also share the same 3.6 L twin turbo of the 2014 CTS/XTS Vsport.
On news about Cadillac’s long awaited halo model
In news regarding Cadillac’s long-rumored “ultimate” flagship model, General Motors has decided to mothball development on its ultra-luxury flagship sedan that had been in development. GM concluded that the large rear-wheel-drive car, which would have been extremely low-volume, priced above $100,000, didn’t offer enough panache to justify the risk. One source said GM decided that this model, referred to internally as the “flagship” Cadillac, wasn’t a significant enough departure from the large RWD sedan already in development to complete with the BMW 7 series and Mercedes-Benz S Class is already in the works. Development of that model, to be built on a new RWD Omega platform, is well under way, with an expected due date for the 2016 or 2017 model year.
Evaluating the 2013/’14 XTS
Though Cadillac would prefer to pitch the XTS as an alternative to a BMW 5-Series, Mercedes E-Class, Lexus GS or Audi A6, the XTS’s specifications are closer to rivals such as the Lincoln MKS and all-new 2014 Acura RLX, which happen to be those brand’s flagship sedans.
Like the Lincoln and Acura, the XTS is offered with a V-6 engine option only. In the Cadillac’s circumstance its GM’s advanced 3.6-liter VVT which pumps out 304 horsepower at 264 pound-foot of torque. Known by its LFX engine code, this workhorse is matched with the Hydra-Matic 6T70 six-speed automatic transmission (with tap-shift control) in either front- or all-wheel drive.
The 2014 XTS will continue to be offered in five standard colors which are Radiant Silver, Raven Black, Graphic Metallic, Silver Coast Metallic and Sapphire Blue Metallic. Premium tricoat colors are offered for an up charge of $995 and include Black or White Diamond and Crystal Red.
The base XTS sedan comes standard with 19-inch chrome aluminum wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, xenon headlamps, heated mirrors, rear parking sensors, keyless ignition/entry, 10-way power front seats with power lumbar control, leather/faux-suede upholstery, and the techie standards like a Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, eight-inch center touchscreen and eight-speaker Bose sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, and even iPod/USB connectivity.
The Luxury Collection adds a heated steering wheel, driver memory functions, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, interior ambient lighting, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, and even rain-sensing wipers.
The Premium Collection, adds it sports adaptive headlamps, tri-zone automatic climate control, a 110-volt power outlet, voice controls and a blind spot detection, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and front collision alert.
The top tier Platinum Collection adds an exclusive grille, 20-inch premium painted aluminum wheels and a panoramic glass sunroof, in addition to, exclusive to the Platinum, power rear sunshade and cabin leather trim. A Driver Assist package with adaptive cruise control and low-speed automatic braking is available exclusively on Premium and Platinum models.
The XTS may not be a driver’s car in the same vein as a premium European luxury brand but it does have to be taken seriously if not for three reasons: First is the XTS’s standard Magnetic Ride Control, which makes it the only luxury sedan with the world’s fastest-reacting suspension. The only other vehicles that offer this magneto-rheological shock system are the Corvette Z06 / ZR-1and Camaro ZL-1. Propping up those more modest underpinnings are goodies such as the same variable-stiffness magneto-rheological shocks, anti-torque-steer HiPer strut front suspension (also found on the Buick Regal GS), and Brembo front brakes as part of an overall effort to elevate the XTS above the likes of American counterparts.
Another feature is the XTS’s advanced all-wheel-drive system uses Haldex technology with an electronic limited-slip differential to transfer power front-to-back, and side-to-side, along the rear axle. Though not available for the base XTS it is available on all three collection editions.
The last feature worth noting is the XTS’s four wheel disc brakes provided by Brembo, which also furnishes the brakes for Cadillac’s V-Series. These brakes even include “Cadillac” inscribed cursive script on the front calipers. While braking may not be as precise as that of a non-Brembo equipped Acura RLX, it’s still impressive, needing only 166 feet to halt the XTS from 70 mph.
While the XTS may be far from an iconic Cadillac, it does get my vote for being the most captivating full-size Caddy since tail fins and fender skirts. Riding on the same Epsilon II platform shared with the Buick LaCrosse and recently released 2014 Chevrolet Impala, the XTS now completes the ‘Arts and Science’ design philosophy established by the first-generation CTS sedan a mere decade ago.
2013 Cadillac XTS4 Premium
On Sale: Now
Base MSRP: $55,810
Price as Tested: $60,620 (includes $920 Designation Charge)
OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT: Driver’s Assist Package ($2,395), White Diamond Tricoat ($995), 20-inch Premium Aluminum Wheels ($500). Total Options: ($3,890).
3.6-liter DOHC V-6 304-bhp @ 6800 rpm, Torque (lb-ft): 264 @ 2400 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic
WHEELS AND TIRES: 18-inch five-spoke chrome clad aluminum wheels
Michelin P235/55R18 Latitude
FUEL ECONOMY: 17/26/20 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
FUEL CAPACITY: 19.5-gallon
RECOMMENDED FUEL TYPE: regular unleaded
CURB WEIGHT: 4215 lb
Wheelbase / Length (inches): 202 / 111.7
Passenger Volume: 104.2 cubic feet
Legroom (front/rear): 45.8/40.0 in
Headroom (front/rear): 40.1/37.8 in
Cargo (trunk): 18.0 cu ft
MAIN COMPETITORS: Acura RLX, Lincoln MKS, Chrysler 300, Audi A6 2.0T Premium, Mercedes-Benz E320, BMW 535i AWD