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February 20, 2013
As the luxury car market starts to grow again, Cadillac appears to have some luck by launching the all-new XTS at an opportune time. We were fortunate to test drive the 2013 Cadillac XTS AWD Platinum for one week and discovered that this American icon is poised for a big comeback!
XTS’s hardware and spatial dimensions are the foundational layers that support a new level of surface detail. Multidimensional elements, including the grille, headlamps and new use of accent lighting, coalesce to give the XTS a presence and attention to detail unlike any Cadillac that has come before it. The XTS’s surface details also convey a more nuanced design philosophy, with elements that support the long, sleek proportion that is a welcome return to Cadillac. They bring forward more beauty and elegance with refined, graceful forms and surfaces working harmoniously with established Cadillac linear forms. It is a car that conveys the next step in Cadillac form and surface vocabulary.
Additional features include: Premium chrome/satin-chrome grille finish on Platinum collection; illuminating door handles on all Luxury, Premium and Platinum collections; capless fuel-filling system; high-intensity discharge headlamps with Twilight Sentinel; adaptive forward lighting on Premium and Platinum collections; LED center high-mounted rear stop lamp; heated outside mirrors with auto-dimming feature, turn-signal indicators and puddle lamps; Rainsense automatic windshield wipers on Luxury, Premium and Platinum collections; 19-inch polished aluminum wheels on Luxury and Premium collections; and 20-inch aluminum wheels with polished finish and chrome inserts on the Platinum Collection we tested.
The crystal red tintcoat paint looked amazing, and the chrome accents on this new Caddy sparkled and dazzled onlookers when on the road. The XTS has a very balanced look, and with the new design we know what the future of Cadillac will look like.
For those craving more space in their luxury car, the 2013 Cadillac XTS AWD Platinum just might be in your sweet spot. Like the exterior, the XTS’s cabin extols a multidimensional philosophy in a bold, elegant design that is also very efficient in the ways it encompasses passengers and cargo. It represents Cadillac’s new expression of luxury also in its use of authentic materials and unprecedented connectivity. Platinum Collection models feature a fully wrapped leather interior with microfiber sueded headliner (which is top shelf), as well as premium wood trim on the steering wheel, console, center stack, instrument panel and door panels.
Seating trim is offered with Soleil Keisel surfaces or premium Opus full leather – both with perforated detailing. Heated and ventilated seats are also offered. Additional interior features include: Adaptive remote start on all models; audio system with Bose premium eight-speaker sound on the base model and Luxury Collection; Bose Studio, surround sound with 14-speaker system with surround energy-efficient amplifier on Premium and Platinum Collections; Sirius XM satellite radio (with free trial period) and HD radio feature on all models; tri-zone automatic climate control on Premium and Platinum Collections; dual-zone automatic climate control on the base model and Luxury Collection; leather-wrapped IP and door trim top pad, along with the center console on the Platinum Collection, Color; reconfigurable 12.3-inch gauge cluster with driver information center on Premium and Platinum Collections, head-up display with color readouts on the Premium and Platinum Collections; illuminated entry and courtesy lighting on all models; accent lighting, including LED spotlights with light pipes, on Luxury, Premium and Platinum Collections; Soleil Keisel leather seating surfaces with mini-perforated inserts on Luxury and Premium Collections; opus full-leather seats with mini-perforated inserts on the Platinum Collection; heated driver/front passenger and outboard rear passenger seats and vented driver/front passenger seats on Luxury, Premium and Platinum Collections; leather-accented steering wheel with wood accents and tap up/tap down transmission controls; heated steering wheel on Luxury, Premium and Platinum Collections; power rear window shade and manual rear side window shades on Premium Collection; and real wood trim incorporated on all models.
Cadillac CUE is standard on all models. It is the highly customizable user interface that exemplifies XTS’s blend of advanced technology and artistic design. The heart of CUE, which stands for Cadillac User Experience, is the standard 8-inch (203 mm) screen in the center stack, the faceplate below the screen and the steering wheel controls. CUE features several industry firsts, including capacitive-touch control with proximity sensing, haptic feedback, gesture recognition and natural voice recognition. Capacitive touch is the technology featured on many of the best tablets and smartphones. Available exclusively on the XTS is a 12.3-inch (312 mm) reconfigurable instrument cluster. It features vibrant graphic displays showcased among four driver-selectable themes, ranging from minimal to extensive information. And while it is the prominent element in the XTS’s technological character, CUE is part of a more comprehensive and layered approach to the car’s design, capabilities and performance.
There is a totally different feel in the 2013 Cadillac XTS AWD Platinum than Cadillacs in the past, as this new cabin is light years beyond what we’ve seen in Cadillacs of recent times. That’s not to say the current Cadillacs aren’t stylish inside, but when you get inside the new XTS, one will appreciate the new interior and understand that Cadillac is truly going to compete with other luxury brands inside and out.
A layered approach to the driving experience relies on new and established technologies all rooted in a stiff structure. The body is infused with strategically placed, ultra-high strength steel for strength and crash protection, and serves as the foundation for the advanced chassis system.
A smart all-wheel-drive system with Haldex technology – with an electronic limited-slip differential that splits torque between the rear wheels – complements an advanced HiPer Strut front suspension and standard Magnetic Ride Control real-time damping to give the XTS sure-footed, confident and comfortable ride and handling traits. A linked H-arm design with “air springs” comprises the rear suspension. HiPer Strut is based on the MacPherson strut front suspension design and features dual-path top mountings that separate the transfer of spring and damper loads to the body structure. It improves ride-and-handling characteristics in four significant ways:
- Provides linear and communicative steering through improved camber control
- Improves impact isolation on bumps and rough surfaces
- Reduces torque steer
- Improves vehicle sensitivity to tire irregularities and wheel imbalance.
Magnetic Ride Control delivers precise body motion control “reading” the road every millisecond and changing damping in just five milliseconds. It replaces conventional mechanical-valve shocks with electronically controlled shocks filled with a magneto-rheological fluid containing minute iron particles. Under the presence of magnetic charge, the iron particles align to provide damping resistance almost instantly.
StabiliTrak electronic stability control is standard on all models, along with variable-effort steering and four-wheel disc brakes (front Brembo brakes) with four-channel antilock brakes – all features that add important layers of control to the driving experience. Like Magnetic Ride Control, XTS borrows the Brembo braking technology from Cadillac’s V-Series of high-performance models. Our media car was smooth and smart when driving in both snowy and dry conditions. Fuel efficiency is also a plus with the 2013 Cadillac XTS AWD Platinum, delivering an average 26mpg on the highway and slightly lower mpgs in the city for a combined city/hwy 20mpg. Power for the XTS comes from an advanced 3.6L V-6 known by its “LFX” engine code. It is rated at 304 horsepower (224 kW) and 264 lb.-ft. of torque (355 Nm). Lightweight features help reduce overall weight for greater efficiency and a more favorable front-to-rear weight balance. Examples include a composite intake manifold that saves approximately 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg) over the weight of a comparable aluminum intake and an integrated cylinder head/exhaust manifold design that saves approximately 13 pounds (6 kg) per engine.
Other good news is that OnStar with a one-year Directions and Connections plan is standard. It uses GPS and cellular phone technology to automatically call for help in the event of crash. OnStar subscribers also can use the service to be Good Samaritans by sending help to other motorists, and to call for help in other non-crash emergencies.
There are so many new features on the 2013 Cadillac XTS AWD Platinum that set it apart not only from other luxury cars, but other Cadillacs as well. The all-new 2013 Cadillac XTS AWD Platinum is the most technologically advanced production car in the brand’s history and elevates the Cadillac portfolio. For a total price of $64,695 as tested, the 2013 Cadillac XTS Platinum can be called a value purchase, as there are much more expensive competitors out there in the full-size luxury segment. It 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.
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