"Cadillacs in our dreams"

2014 Cadillac XTS4 Vsport Platinum Review

By Mathieu St-Pierre
2014 Cadillac XTS4 Vsport Platinum Review

Summary Rating: 81%


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Space and Access

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Driving Dynamics

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General Appreciation

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Every year, and for the last 10 years or so, I’ve made my way to the Canadian International Auto Show in my tester car of the week. This year was no different.

I typically try and get something that fits as many of the “road trip” criteria as possible. In other words, the car has to be fast, quiet, comfortable, decently economical and (at this particular time of the year) sport AWD. Enter Cadillac’s flagship XTS sedan.

The 2014 XTS4 Vsport Platinum is at the absolute peak of Cadillac’s lineup of cars, and after travelling over 1,500km with it, I can attest that this car is superb on nearly every conceivable level. Plenty powerful, smooth, and solid, the XTS faces only one minor flaw: the transmission. I loved the car, but read on.

What is a Cadillac XTS?
The 2014 Cadillac XTS was called upon to replace the old STS and DTS sedans. At one point in time, the STS was a hot product, but its appeal fizzled out and it was time for a strong replacement.

The XTS arrived in 2012 as a 2013 model year car. Its “large-midsize” stature lends itself well to limousine duty, and serves as the luxury poster boy of the re-emerging status symbol that once was Cadillac.

2014 Cadillac XTS Price and Specs
The basic FWD XTS Standard has a retail price of $48,940. At the top of the heap sits the XTS Vsport Platinum with AWD and its starting price is of $73,745.

My tester was the latter and included the White Diamond Tricoat paint job as well as the optional Entertainment System for a grand total of nearly $30,000 more than the base price or $77,035.

A 3.6L V6 does double duty for the XTS. In non-Vsport cars, it develops 304 horsepower and 264 lb-ft of torque. As such, FWD and AWD are offered. For more fun, Caddy will throw on two turbos that boost output to 410 horsepower and 368 lb-ft of torque. In this guise, only AWD with an electronic limited-slip rear differential is standard. A 6-speed automatic transmission is equally standard across the board.

All XTS Cadillacs benefit from Magnetic Ride Control, and its continuously variable real-time suspension setup. Brembo provides the four-wheel disc brakes.

Driving the 2014 Cadillac XTS4 Vsport
Of my list of road-trip car criteria, you may have noticed that “fast” was the first element. For this, I was served a fancy American five-course meal. The V6 pounces on the opportunity to claw away at surfaces along with the AWD system, and once given the chance, blasts forward.

This chance only comes when the 6-cog slushbox finally picks a gear. Under calm and collected urban crawling, the XTS’ transmission glides from one gear to another, displaying silky smoothness that is expected from the grand brand that is Cadillac.

Given that this is a Vsport, old-man cruising is out of the question when not necessary. From a standstill, the transmission pops from one gear to another, knocking at the 100 km/h in as little as 5.5 seconds. Passing manoeuvres are as blisteringly fast, once the transmission finally selects a gear, occasionally crashing into it, and then the XTS is off like a rocket. The V6 suffers no lag whereas the autobox does. Once sorted, I can only imagine how furious this luxury boat will feel.

In the 2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport, this is the only lacking element. The AWD XTS’ hydraulic steering (electric with FWD) is light and not particularly sharp, however, in this application it is plenty sporty. The big Brembo brakes provide not only strong stopping power, but the pedal has better than decent feel.

The big Caddy’s Magnetic Ride Control suspension is impressive. On the long highway stretches, the whole getup firms up for a taut and stable ride. A degree of suppleness and comfort level can be just as easily attained, all without input from the driver.

Inside and Out of the 2014 Cadillac XTS
The 2014 Cadillac XTS’ styling is highly original and thus instantly recognizable. As the first to sport the now-signature vertical head and taillights, the XTS looks just as good sitting still as it does barrelling down the highway.

The sharp body creases, large distinct wheels and unique “Twin-Turbo” grille have seriously grown on me, and with every new Caddy the effect is exponential. The white paint job helps quite a bit, too…

The cabin is equally fashionable. I would like for Cadillac to drop the capacitive-touch control, haptic feedback and gesture recognition CUE business because it seems to work whenever it feels like it -- it is incredibly frustrating at times. The same applies to Ford. The only interesting feature is proximity sensing…

As far as the remainder of the cabin goes, the seats are very comfortable, room abounds everywhere, the trunk is capacious, and fit and finish are very nice.

Comparing the 2014 Cadillac XTS
The 2014 XTS Vsport is next to impossible to match power-bang-for-the-buck wise. $65,575 will get you all of 410 hp. There are many alternatives here, such as the Audi A6, BMW 535i xDrive, Mercedes-Benz E 350 4MATIC as well as some Japanese options. None will deliver the oomph factor this way.

However, my tester closes in on some serious players such as the Audi S6 ($85,500), the BMW 550i xDrive (443 hp and $76,750!), and the Merc E 550 4MATIC. Equipment levels are not on par with the XTS compared to the Germans. Fact is, if your dreams are made of Caddies, only one will do.

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