First Drive: 2013 Cadillac XTS reviews luxury cars first drives cadillac
First Drive: 2013 Cadillac XTS reviews luxury cars first drives cadillac
2013 Cadillac XTS. Click image to enlarge

Preview: 2012 Cadillac XTS

Manufacturer’s web site
Cadillac Canada

Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

Photo Gallery:
2013 Cadillac XTS

Los Angeles – Cadillac’s return to big luxury, the 2013 XTS, is asking traditional Caddy buyers to accept a jazzier look and embrace some cutting edge technology with its introduction of CUE – Cadillac User Experience. With an iPad-style capacitive touch screen and the expected multi-layers of the modern driver/vehicle interface, CUE is a techno-geek’s wet dream. But unlike Ford’s obtuse MyFord Touch, this system appears thoroughly sorted and quite easy to use. More on that later.

Cadillac claims the front-drive/AWD XTS is not a direct replacement for the discontinued STS and DTS sedans, painting it as they are with a more contemporary brush. In the ad campaign the XTS is positioned against the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and its German contemporaries. After a relatively short drive program in Southern California, I doubt there will be much cross shopping there, but that by no means indicates this is not a good car.

It’s actually a very good Cadillac.

The Oshawa-built XTS is built on the Buick Lacrosse platform. It shares the same basic profile but the sheet metal is a harmonious evolution of Cadillac’s angular design signature. It’s a little softer, the corners are more rounded, yet the bold grille, chrome accents, upright headlights and taillights are all Cadillac. We got more than a few curious glances down here in been-there-done-that LA.

First Drive: 2013 Cadillac XTS reviews luxury cars first drives cadillac
2013 Cadillac XTS. Click image to enlarge

The XTS is arriving in showrooms now and comes in four trim levels: Base ($48,995), Luxury Collection ($51,975), Premium Collection ($56,670) and Platinum Collection ($62,635).

Power comes from GM’s proven 3.6L direct-injection V6, here making 304 hp and 264 lb-ft. A six-speed auto is standard issue, and a Haldex all-wheel-drive system with electronic limited-slip differential is optional on the upper three trim levels. It’s priced between $2160 and $2340 depending on model.

The base car is fitted with 19-inch alloys, heated and cooled front seats, real wood trim, Brembo brakes, Magnetic Ride Control, rear air springs, HID headlamps, capless fuel filler and CUE. Work your way up the price ladder and luxury and safety kit is layered on accordingly.

The cabin is elegant in its uncluttered simplicity and beautifully crafted. It’s certainly Caddy’s best effort to date, and it need make no apologies to either Audi or Infiniti. Back seat legroom is more generous than in an Audi A6, BMW 5 Series or Mercedes E-Class and the massive 509-litre trunk will please both golfers and goodfellas alike.




About Peter

Peter Bleakney is a Toronto-based automotive journalist. He is also a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).