2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport
2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport
2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Justin Pritchard

Finished with heaps of chrome, burgundy paint and luxury-looking wheels, the Cadillac XTS Vsport tester assigned to your writer for a mid-winter drive didn’t look like much of a party animal – though the spec sheet read like a boy racer’s wish list.

Magnetically adjustable shocks, Brembo performance multi-piston brakes and Haldex all-wheel drive with a limited-slip rear diff were just a few bits of the fancy, go-fast goodness bolted to the underside of the XTS’s sheet metal. Here’s a stately Cadillac jam-packed with advanced, fun-to-say systems and features that set off that little spark in the brains of young car buffs while delighting seasoned veterans.

The engine does much of the same. Opt for the Vsport, and you’ll get an XTS that rocks a brand-spanking-new twin-turbo version of GM’s 3.6L V6. Packing direct injection, redesigned cylinder heads and a high-efficiency intercooling system, not to mention a laundry-list of targeted durability upgrades to handle the extra heat and jam, it develops 410 horsepower. That output challenges even the twin-turbo V8’s offered by numerous German competitors, but with two less cylinders.

Take note, as the competition has; Cadillac is serious.

All this attention and focus on making a great big sedan that hustles are part of the brand’s recent endeavours to attract a younger shopper to showrooms. The celebrated ATS is already working towards that goal. Ditto the equally celebrated CTS. And now, as Cadillac’s new flagship luxury liner, the XTS will try to capture some of the action with the younger crowd – unlike former ‘big’ Cadillac flagships which were typically bought and driven by folks who were a thousand.

If the execution of the XTS V is any indication, Cadillac’s betting on attracting that younger shopper to the XTS V in three key areas: a ritzy-as-all-hell overall presence, entertaining use of technology, and confusing-for-its-size fun-to-drive factor.

Key Cadillac elements are still alive and well. The XTS V is a big, hulking thing, it has the trademark vertical taillamps and headlamps, and its generous body encases a cabin layered with sophisticated detail and classiness. Classiness is key when rockin a big ‘Caddy after all.

2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport
2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport. Click image to enlarge

If anything says ‘BALLER’ more than having to step over great big illuminated door-sills with proudly-displayed ‘PLATINUM’ graphics, I don’t know what it is. These classy sills welcome occupants into a world rich with leather, metallic trim, wood accenting and swoopy shapes.

The centre console is gloss black and the backlit icons disappear when the car is switched off. There’s soft leather and stitching all around, and the top-line tester even got a stitched leather cover on the dashboard, and a suede ceiling liner. In all, with inspiration from the latest in fashion and architecture, the XTS’s interior demonstrates a fresh passion for elegance and sophistication. Build quality should challenge the world’s best, and the overall execution feels and looks genuinely top-line.

Advanced new technology complements the cabin without stealing the spotlight from all the fancy luxury. Most notably, the infotainment system centralizes hundreds of communication, navigation and entertainment functions into a single, high-resolution, glass touch-screen interface that ‘clicks’ when you touch it, and uses proximity sensors to reduce display clutter until your fingers are nearby. Dubbed ‘CUE’ for Cadillac User Experience, the system accepts the same swipe, slide and pinch gestures as your Smartphone – although the inputs need to be slow and deliberate for the system to react favorably.

There’s a bit of a learning curve to this system, but it’s slick and looks fantastic in action once figured out. If you can operate an iPad, you’ll have it nailed in a few minutes. If you’ve ever passed out halfway through an episode of Matlock at 7:30, you may need to solicit some assistance.

Tunes, regardless of their place of residence, can be easily summoned into action via the megawatt BOSE stereo system thanks to a slew of card readers, USB ports, satellite radio, Bluetooth audio streaming and the like. And, even when assaulting the chic speakers and amps and equalizers with my filthy dubstep and alt-rock collection, playback was absolutely vibrant and crisp.

Wipers, lights, high-beams, climate control and the like are all of the automatic ‘set it and forget it’ variety, too – which encourages relaxation and socialization.

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