When it debuted a couple years ago, the Cadillac XTS was the final break with the past the brand needed. Gone was the old Northstar V8, replaced with an equally powerful V6 engine. The old DTS's styling was broomed in favor of a new and much more attractive design language, and a new infotainment system called CUE took center stage in the luxurious interior. For the most part, it was well received. The car looks good, the interior is supremely luxurious, and while CUE's interface needs to be quicker, it's not the worst we've seen, either.
The only real problem with the first Cadillac XTS was power. The original 3.6-liter V6 wasn't bad, really, it's just that its 305 horsepower wasn't enough to motivate 4,000 pounds of Cadillac XTS with any verve. If you think luxury includes commanding acceleration, you'd keep shopping.
Twin Turbo Power
That's where the Vsport comes in. The 3.6-liter V6 gets two turbos, boosting power to a solid 410 horsepower. Routed through all four wheels, the powerful engine scoots the XTS Vsport from 0 to 60 mph in about 5.5 seconds, more than a second faster than the non-turbo model. It also sounds better, with a growl more befitting a luxury car than the labored sounding groan of the other V6.
There's more to the XTS Vsport than just a more powerful engine though. It comes standard with GM's excellent Magnetic Ride Control, a suspension system that adjusts to road conditions in milliseconds, making itself either softer or firmer depending on conditions. It works, too; the big Cadillac glides over rough roads, with only the occasional thump of the big 20-inch wheels intruding. If anything, it could stand to be stiffer when the road bends. The powerful V6 may make you think this is a sport sedan, and while it can corner, it's obvious it's happier cruising. In that role, it excels. The interior is quiet, the rear seat roomy, and the driver is surrounded by top-notch materials. If the trunk can't hold all your stuff, you're overpacking.
A $65,000 Caddy
Downsides? Sure. The exterior looks a little ungainly, with a too-long rear overhang. CUE is still a hassle, but it feels like it's just a faster processor away from being a solid and clever system. Then there's price: at $65,000 and change, this big Cadillac doesn't come cheap.
Of course, that depends on your definition of inexpensive. With 410 horsepower, all-wheel drive for foul weather, and a sumptuous and roomy interior, you're getting more than you would for your money if you were at a BMW or Audi dealership. Speaking of luxury value, the 2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport also compares quite favorably to two newcomers: the Kia K900 and Hyundai Equus. The bonus with the Cadillac is that you get the panache of a historic -- and resurgent -- luxury brand as part of the bargain. Really, what's not to like?
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