By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 6.8
Cadillac’s 2016 XTS luxury-performance sedan plays a vital role in bridging the gap between the company’s faithful following and new, younger buyers. In the XTS, the Cadillac offers a vehicle slightly smaller than the Audi A8, more athletic than a Lexus GS and more distinctive than a Lincoln MKS. The XTS pampers its occupants with the finest fabrics and delights them with latest technology. In this phalanx of high tech, however, lay the XTS’ Achilles’ heel, namely the overly complex CUE infotainment system and auxiliary touch-sensitive controls. Then again, such systems are now a part of luxury-car DNA, making the XTS the equal of cars like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BWM 5 Series and Lexus GS.
If you like the sharp handling and sophisticated powertrains of the BMW 5 Series, but not the sometimes stiff ride and austere interior, take a test drive in Cadillac’s 2016 XTS luxury-performance sedan. Wearing the “Made in America” logo might feel pretty good, too.
Visually, the 2016 Cadillac XTS just doesn’t impress the way a BMW, Audi or Jaguar does. Inside, The CUE system’s swipe-and-pinch controls can be annoying when attempting to operate while the car is in motion. Many competitors offer redundant knobs and buttons for those preferring a more tactile interface.
KBB Expert Ratings
Changes to Cadillac’s XTS sedan for 2016 include the addition of Surround Vision to the Driver Awareness package, wireless phone charging, Apple CarPlay and some new colors. The XTS’ grille receives a slight refresh.
The 2016 XTS sedan from Cadillac walks the line between coddling cocoon and a hard-driving sports car. It’s a place most luxury-car buyers have settled and one the XTS roams...
... freely. On the open highway, the XTS cruises effortlessly, its Magnetic Ride Control constantly working to absorb the occasional blemish or pothole in just milliseconds. We were most impressed with the XTS4’s all-wheel-drive (AWD) setup and exclusive hydraulically assisted steering system, which returned immediate response from the slightest input. Cadillac has done a masterful job isolating the outside world from the XTS’ interior, so much so that at times we had to blip the throttle and look at the tachometer just to be sure the car was still idling. Power from the standard V6 is acceptable but not thrilling. We suggest opting for the 410-horsepower twin-turbo V6 in the Vsport trim, instead.
DRIVER AWARENESS PACKAGE
One in a long line of Cadillac-inspired innovations, the Driver Awareness package acts to keep you safe with features like blind-spot detection, lane-departure warning and forward-collision alert. Additionally, the driver’s seat vibrates when the car is drifting out of its lane or detects an eminent collision.
The 2016 XTS from Cadillac offers an advanced full-color head-up display with readouts for speed, navigation directions, speed-limit reminders and other pertinent driver-oriented info.
Step inside the Cadillac XTS for 2016 and you will see a rich, impeccably assembled cabin. Comfortable, leather-trimmed seats are standard, and top-line models get leather-wrapped interior panels. The 3-passenger rear seat offers good legroom, and a massive, 18-cubic-foot trunk can swallow five or more suitcases. But not all is perfect inside the XTS. While the standard 8-inch touch-screen center controller is visually appealing and offers haptic feedback (in which the screen feels like it's touching you back), the standard CUE system is unintuitive. It requires a steep learning curve to operate what should be simple functions like audio and climate settings.
The 2016 Cadillac XTS has the angular, wedge-like profile of its CTS and ATS sedan siblings, but in longer and larger form. Design highlights include windswept headlights and side creases. Befitting this large sedan are sizable wheels: 19 inches on most models and 20-inch versions on high-end trims. Twin exhaust outlets also lend a sporty feel. AWD models have "XTS4" badging to indicate all wheels being driven. Less obvious, but helpful, is a capless fuel-filling system that means you'll never have to unscrew a cap before refueling. The XTS also has a massive trunk, larger than even the Audi A8L.
Even if you spend the least on a base-model XTS, you'll be getting a lot for your money. Among the niceties are dual-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable steering wheel, rear parking assist, and an 8-speaker Bose sound system with CD/HD Radio, streaming Bluetooth audio and USB inputs. Stepping up trims brings features like a rearview camera, heated and ventilated front seats, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a 12.3-inch driver-information display, and the Driver Awareness package. Safety features include 10 airbags, GM's OnStar communications service with automatic crash response, and Brembo performance brakes. Complimentary maintenance is standard for four years or 50,000 miles.
All-wheel drive is available on base V6 versions of the 2016 Cadillac XTS (it's standard on the turbocharged Vsport). Other options vary by trim and include navigation, a 14-speaker Bose Studio Surround Sound audio system, a dual-screen rear-seat DVD entertainment system and a sunroof. The Parking Assist feature included in higher trims enables the XTS to parallel park itself with minimal driver input. Added safety is available with the Driver Assist package that includes adaptive cruise control and automatic braking in both forward and reverse if the system senses an impending collision.
Two engine choices are available in the Cadillac XTS luxury sedan for 2016. Base models use a 3.6-liter, direct-injected V6 that produces 305 horsepower. Those seeking more oomph should look to the AWD XTS Vsport featuring a twin-turbocharged V6 boosting pony count appreciably to 410 horsepower. The base engine can be had with all-wheel drive instead of the standard front-wheel drive (FWD), while turbo models come exclusively with all-wheel drive. The AWD in the XTS uses Haldex technology and a limited-slip differential to transfer power front-to-back and side-to-side. It's helpful in Snowbelt states where traction can be compromised. Both engines are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The standard V6 runs on regular unleaded, while the turbo one requires premium fuel.
3.6-liter V6 (XTS, XTS4)
305 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
264 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/28 mpg (FWD), 17/26 mpg (AWD)
3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (Vsport)
410 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
369 lb-ft of torque @ 1,900-5,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 mpg
With a starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of around $46,500, the 2016 Cadillac XTS luxury sedan undercuts the base prices of the midsize – and relatively smaller – BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the Lexus GS sedans, as well as the Acura RLX, which starts a few thousand beyond the base price of the Cadillac. The Infiniti Q70 also starts a few thousand above the XTS, while the 4-cylinder Audi A6 opens at a few thousand below as does the V6 Lincoln MKS. The Cadillac’s price can inflate quickly. Load up a top-line turbo version, and the price can crest $70,000. To get the best deal before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price. We expect the XTS' resale value to parallel that of most others in this class, better than the Jaguar XF and Lincoln MKS, but significantly below that of the Lexus GS.