Wednesday, March 5, 2014

2014 CADILLAC XTS VSport: LOTS OF LUXE!

Latest ‘big’ Cadillac has most inviting interior ever, twin-turbo AWD performance for high-speed cruising, and the right stance.

It’s certainly not your Father’s Cadillac and, until next year and the LTS, it is the biggest, most luxurious Cadillac you can buy. The LTS (that’s what they call it now) will become the Flagship of the brand, going head to head with the biggest and best imports. A most heady challenge for sure.

You can order a new XTS with a grocery-getter 305-horsepower 3.6 V-6 and front or all-wheel-drive and it will fit right in, for all devout Seinfeld fans, at Phase III, Del Boca Vista in Florida! It’s the ideal five-adult transportation to Early Bird dining. Check the option boxes for the VSport Premium 410-horsepower twin-turbo and Haldex AWD and you get big Brembo disc brakes up front, Stabilitrak Stability Control, high-performance suspension, 20-inch wheels and enough technology to launch a satellite! As we all know, there is no free lunch and a loaded VSport XTS Premium, as featured here with the latest in driver assist packages, will set you back over $65,000. Our test car had an MSRP of $65,415.
 While the XTS is currently Cadillac’s luxury leader, it does not take up as much real estate as those topline mega-priced models from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Jaguar or Lexus. Sized like an E-Class Benz, similar wheelbase but a full ten inches longer, the XTS will comfortably hold five adults and boasts an easy-access trunk big enough to park a golf cart. And few cars, regardless of price class, have an interior as welcoming as the XTS’ warm-toned leather and wood-trimmed cockpit. It’s spacious with 40 inches of rear legroom and almost 38 inches of headroom. That trunk, looking larger than a New York City apartment bedroom, holds 18 cubic feet of
whatever a couple of people need for an extensive trip.
While styling is certainly subjective, the new XTS has that unmistakably American approach to styling and trim, the best of any domestic carmaker. The groundbreaking Art & Science styling has morphed into smoother, friendlier lines, delivering an appeal not seen on many luxury cars. According to Andrew Smith, Executive Director, Global Design for Cadillac (and Buick), “Cadillac’s styling is evolving and maturing from the flashiness of a few years ago, as seen on the hard-edged CTS coupe. The cars have this confidence to them.”
We waited until we had the perfect test drive opportunity, visiting vintage racing friends on the other side of the state in South Florida. Lots of highway cruising plus around town stop and go driving. In total we logged a little over 500 miles and the twin-turbocharged XTS VSport
proved to be a seriously seductive ride.

To appreciate the XTS VSport you have to know exactly what it is and what it isn’t. It is luxurious, it is relatively smooth riding, it is seriously powerful and a competent handling sedan. It is not a canyon carver or a fun-to-drive sport sedan that you can toss around twisties and, even with 410 horsepower under the hood, it’s not going to rock a performance enthusiast’s world. Cadillac offers the midsize Turbo ATS and twin-turbocharged CTS VSport for those who want to carve canyons. And spend less money doing it!
A lot of the driving we did was on I-75 heading south from Sarasota, across Alligator Alley, and into South Florida. We did it over the weekend making tourist traffic as well as lots of State Trooper radar and Dodge Hemi-Charger pursuit vehicles integral parts of the landscape.

Lots of cars with drivers’ heads barely visible over steering wheels and Troopers hiding behind greenery was the order of the day. Before cruising we ran some undocumented stopwatch-timed 0 to 60 mph sprints averaging mid-5s and low-6s, not too shabby for a 4, 300-plus-pound luxury liner. We were not able to detect the dreaded turbo lag that for so many years took away from the appeal of turbocharged performance cars.
While we did not bother to try and clock typical mid-range 45-65 mph passing on the highway, it was right on the money. Again, without perceptible turbo lag. To keep out of jail, or at least not donate a copious amount greenbacks to Florida state coffers and add points to my license, I set the XTS’ Adaptive Cruise Control at 76-79 mph or just a tick under 80 mph (which is what Troopers on I-75 usually set their radar at) and let technology take over. We’ve tested cars with Adaptive Cruise Control before, but still are amazed at how good it can be. On the return trip Westbound on I-75, I set it at 79 mph after going through the toll and didn’t disengage it for more than 100 miles as we neared Ft. Myers! On the return trip we averaged a solid 24-25 mpg while cruising in the lap of luxury. Heated and ventilated front bucket seats are supportive, infinitely adjustable and just the ticket for long drives. The XTS is not the Cadillac from  
Del Boca Vista! However, as younger people relocate to “adult” communities, my guess
is that the XTS will be the new Cadillac of choice.
High-content premium twin-turbo V-6s have become the new V-8s, delivering great levels of smooth free-revving performance with very decent fuel economy. Cadillac’s DOHC 24-valve V-6 has variable valve timing, direct injection and twin reasonably small turbochargers that spool up quickly to deliver power when you want/need it. Peak torque, that’s what you feel when you nail it, comes in at 1,900 rpm and sustains 369 pound-feet right up to 5,600 rpm. Peak horsepower is 410 coming in at right around 6,000 rpm. The only transmission available is a six-speed automatic with manual paddle shifters. Engines like this are able to deliver the kind of power normally associated with larger, heavier, less fuel efficient V-8s.
Our VSport Premium tester, finished in Sapphire Blue Metallic with caramel/jet black upholstery and trim, was certainly not inexpensive at over $65,000. But you get an awful lot of car for the money. The only option on our was the Driver Assist Package ($2,395.00), adding Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Collision Preparation, and Front and Rear Automatic Braking. There are warning alerts, including driver seat vibrating pulses, when you wander over the line and don’t put on your turn indicators, when you are getting close to cars on the sides plus blind zone alerts and a rear vision camera with dynamic guidelines.

The fit and finish of our tester was superb and ride quality firm enough to make you forget about the living-roof-sofa ride of big Cadillacs past. There was no wind noise whatsoever, plus braking qualities usually associated with sportier cars and imperceptible automatic shifts. I’ve never liked the overly complicated CUE monitor system that incorporates HVAC, sounds system, navigation, etc. At best it’s just plain frustrating.

I’m not ready to move to Del Boca Vista yet, but I can see myself owning a VSport XTS. That is if I could also keep my C6 Corvette convertible. Actually what would be really cool is to have an XTS VSport and a new C7 Corvette sharing my garage. After parking next to one on the test drive and I immediately fantasized this dynamic duo behind my garage door. I gotta work on that!
For more information about the latest luxury-performance vehicles from Cadillac, please visit https://www.cadillac.com/v-series.html








1 comment:

Norm T said...

Nice Sapphire and Carmel color combination.
Best interior for the price and 32.2 mpg on multiple hour drives with Adaptive Cruise Control set at 65 mph....with AWD! I can't say enough how nice it is to drive this can I bought used used XTS Vsport Platinum with 40,000+ miles on it. Not only does it drive nice but it turns heads at every corner.