Auto Review: Room for tech (and then some)

By Bill Heald - ReminderNews
Featured Article - posted Thu., Nov. 1, 2012
- Contributed Photo

GM’s luxury (or more accurately these days, luxury-sport) division Cadillac has been on quite a roll lately, and it has just released some very interesting all-new 2013 models, including this week’s unique review car, the XTS Premium AWD. Cadillac calls this sedan “the most technologically advanced production car in the brand’s history;” one that ultimately delivers “the space, elegance and dramatic presence that are Cadillac signatures, but with entirely new and technically advanced methods tuned for a new generation of luxury customers.” This is a bold statement, and even more intriguing is the fact that there’s one Cadillac quality from the past that’s been reduced in stature in a lot of recent models but is in generous supply in the XTS: commodious passenger room (along with an absolutely enormous trunk).

The XTS makes room for all the technological goodies with a 111.7-inch wheelbase, and while focusing on interior space, the efficient packaging doesn’t give the car a huge profile, and maneuvering in tight quarters is never a problem. This chassis is propelled by a 3.6-liter V6 engine with Direct Injection that delivers 304 horsepower, and a six-speed automatic transmission doles out power to either the front wheels, or in the case of our tester, a Haldex-designed all-wheel drive system. Like every aspect of the car, this AWD system is very sophisticated and includes a limited-slip differential that splits the torque between the rear wheels. This works in concert with HiPer Strut front suspension technology and Cadillac’s standard Magnetic Ride Control rear suspension system, which, as GM describes it, “reads the road every millisecond and changing damping in just five milliseconds.” In a nutshell, handling is well-controlled even with the massive 18 -cubic-foot trunk is loaded with cargo, and ride quality is excellent over all surfaces. Brembo front brakes enable impressively short stops, and the only thing I found fault with in the chassis was overly enthusiastic steering boost that made for a lack of road feel in some circumstances.

There are so many electronic advancements on the XTS that it’s hard to list them all, but some of the most interesting aspects include Cadillac’s CUE (Customizable User Interface) that uses touch-screen technology and (unique to the XTS) a flat-screen reconfigurable instrument cluster. The latter gives the driver four selectable themes to choose from, depending on how much (or little) information you want to see on the day. The front buckets are roomy and plush, with limo-like room in the rear seat area. Our Premium model featured the Driver’s Awareness Package including Lane Departure, Forward Collision, Side Blind Zone and Rear Cross Traffic Alerts, and many of these warnings notify you by vibrating the Safety Alert seat. This last (cancelable) feature takes some getting used to, but it certainly does get the driver’s attention and is another new type of tech Cadillac is using to increase safety.

The 2013 Cadillac XTS AWD Premium Collection is EPA-rated 17 MPG city/26 highway. With options, our sticker came to $56,730.



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