Autos: High-Tech Triumph

If the words Cadillac luxury sedan conjure visions of Fleetwoods and DeVilles, step out of your leisure suit and into model year 2013. The XTS is an all-new offering that rounds out the Cadillac portfolio by adding a large sedan to an already impressive lineup that includes smaller and sportier coupes, sedans, and wagons, as well as the Escalade SUV.

 

Forget dealer-installed gold packages and landau tops; the XTS is every bit the new-generation Cadillac in the spirit of the CTS coupe, but with additional room, further comfort, and a driving style that delivers executive-size transportation in peace and quiet. While the XTS is not a giant car, its interior—especially for rear-seat passengers—is capacious. (The trunk is huge, besting those of the big German sedans with 18 cu ft of storage space that can swallow five or more large suitcases.) The XTS also is not flashy—there is not a fin in sight. Its design is a smoother take on the origami-like Art and Science style of the CTS series.

 

The XTS is available in three trim packages above the standard offering, which is priced from only $45,000. Of the Luxury, Premium, and Platinum Collections, the last adds the most options and raises the price to about $61,000. It includes 20-inch polished-aluminum wheels and a 14-?speaker Bose sound system.

 

Instead of equipping the XTS with a V-8, Cadillac engineers have selected a lighter, more efficient direct-injected, 3.6-liter, 304 hp V-6. The engine provides sufficient reserves of power and enables the XTS to handle responsively and brake on a par with the current crop of high-end luxury sedans.

 

Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control gives the XTS superior ride quality. This patented system, which even Ferrari incorporates into its road cars, replaces traditional mechanical shock absorbers with electronically controlled shocks filled with magnetic fluid that adjust damping characteristics every five milliseconds. All-wheel drive using Haldex technology is available on all three Collection versions of the XTS.

 

The car’s interior has tranquil lighting, quality leather, and genuine wood trim. But the cabin’s technological features are its most impressive elements. Along with a reconfigurable instrument cluster (part of the Platinum Collection), the XTS has CUE (Cadillac User Experience), a customizable user interface whose nucleus is an 8-?inch screen in the center console that employs the same type of capacitive-touch technology found in iPhones and iPads and other smartphones and tablets. In fact, buyers of the 2013 XTS will receive an iPad with their car, loaded with the new CUE iPad application.

 

The car’s safety features include lane-departure, forward-collision, and blind-zone alerts, in addition to a unique Safety Alert Seat that vibrates either the left or right side of the driver’s seat cushion, depending on the location of the potential problem. The warnings are far more welcome than vibrating steering wheels, voices, buzzers, or blinking lights.

 

The XTS marks Cadillac’s reentry into the luxury-sedan segment. It delivers maximum technology and comfort at an extremely competitive cost. The car is well priced and well done.

 

Cadillac, www.cadillac.com

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