In a bid to take on the German establishment, Cadillac has been slowly revamping their lineup. Gone are the DTS and STS of yore in favour of more European-inspired sedans with American flare: the CTS and ATS. But, at the top of the car range, there’s still a Cadillac that delivers stereotypical American luxo-barge traits.
The full-size Cadillac XTS is an odd duck in the newly formed Cadillac lineup. This all-wheel drive Vsport model makes it even odder. But, just because it’s different than the rest doesn’t make it bad.
What is the Cadillac XTS AWD Vsport?
The CTS Vsport is a rear-wheel drive sedan powered by a 420-hp twin-turbocharged 3.6L. The XTS, which is based on a front-wheel drive platform, takes that engine (in a lesser tune of 410 hp) and puts it to use with an all-wheel drive setup.
Based on the Chevrolet Impala (which is probably the most impressive fullsize car to come from General Motors in quite some time), the XTS sits above the CTS in the Cadillac lineup.
2015 Cadillac XTS AWD Vsport Price and Specs
The base XTS front-wheel drive starts at $49,315, powered by a naturally aspirated 304-hp 3.6L V6 engine. Luxury trim adds automatic parking assist and other items for $53,595; Premium trim receives a fully-digital gauge cluster and tri-zone automatic climate control for $58,055; and Platinum trim provides a leather-wrapped instrument panel cover, UltraView sunroof, and adaptive cruise control for $66,570. All above trims are available with all-wheel drive.
However, the Vsport model, with its twin-turbo 3.6L V6, is only available in all-wheel drive and in Premium ($66,145) and Platinum ($74,370) trims.
My tester, a top-rung XTS AWD Vsport Platinum with Crystal Red Tintcoat paint has a sticker of $75,665 before taxes and freight.
Driving the 2015 Cadillac XTS AWD Vsport
Due to the badge featured on the rear of our tester, it might be easiest to compare the XTS Vsport with something in the same stable: the CTS VSport.
The engine in the XTS is down 10 horsepower in comparison to the CTS, probably due to the 6-speed automatic and all-wheel drive being used in the larger sedan versus the 8-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive in the CTS. Also, the XTS delivers that power in a much smoother, more relaxed manner than the smaller CTS.
This is exactly what clientele of the XTS expect: a car with power that’s also comfortable and unsurprising.
Ride quality is incredibly good thanks to Magnetic Ride Control suspension that errs on the side of comfort over performance. Around the city, the XTS is like driving a magic carpet on a calm summer day. On the highway, you can almost set it and forget it; the XTS will eat up mileage without exhausting the driver and other occupants.
While performance is definitely the focus of the XTS Vsport, it’s not the same kind of performance other V and Vsport models deliver. Instead, it’s more old-school (even though it’s being provided by a new-fangled turbocharged engine), allowing the driver to tromp the throttle until at least the next corner. The XTS is like a muscle car that can’t navigate a curve.
Inside and Out of the 2015 Cadillac XTS Vsport
The design of the XTS easily shows its roots in the Chevrolet Impala. Proportions are very much the same and interior hard-points dictate a certain resemblance between the two models from opposite ends of the General Motors socioeconomic spectrum.
Outside, the XTS is handsome and sharp in the same way as the old STS and DTS -- just upgraded. The body doesn’t present sporting intentions, even with its slight embellishments. Its size conveys a sense of comfort versus athleticism.
However, you don’t want to be outside the XTS when it’s ever so comfortable inside. Seats provide a perfect blend of support and comfort while the HVAC system comes to life surprisingly fast on cold mornings.
In front of the driver, the 12.3” configurable display is impressive, though it’s incredibly confusing and takes some days to get used to -- same with Cadillac CUE. Even as someone who’s used Cadillac’s infotainment system in the past, I had to re-acclimatize to navigating CUE and all its odd-ball control structures. Hopefully this will change in the next year or two.
Comparing the 2015 Cadillac XTS AWS Vsport
Due to its uniqueness, the Cadillac XTS AWD Vsport doesn’t have a true competitor in the market (another rear-wheel drive biased full-size performance sedan). However, if you had to make a shortlist of vehicles around the same price, there’s the BMW 550i xDrive, Infiniti Q70L, Audi A7 TDI, and Mercedes E 550 4MATIC.