Wednesday, May 15, 2013

2013 Cadillac XTS AWD Platinum test drive review. Living the life

Back in 2010, I was present for the reveal of the Cadillac XTS Concept at the North American International Auto Show.  At the time, I thought it was the prettiest Cadillac I had seen in the past 15 years.  But I never really expected the eventual production version to look as nice, or have such beautiful appointments.  Cadillac recently loaned me the keys to a genuine, road-going 2013 XTS Platinum AWD for a week, and I’m here to tell you, it is just as impressive as the concept.

This thing is a knockout.  Personally, I think it looks way more impressive than a CTS or ATS, which is what you would expect from Cadillac’s flagship.  The taillights actually form convincing, Cadillac-worthy fins.  The massive grille says, “this ain’t no Chevy!”  And the LED light blades cut a classy path through the haze.

But if you really want to wow your friends, get them inside of the XTS.  The Platinum Series like my test car is the top of the line, and it really is top of the line.  The layout is beautiful, the fit and finish are excellent, and the electronic gadgets are enough to satisfy even the most hard core technophile. 

I took some co-workers to lunch.  I hit a button on the steering wheel, and said, “play Elvis.”  Instantly, Elvis was piping through 14 Bose speakers.  I pushed a button and a shade screen automatically covered the rear window.  I pushed another button and the huge “Ultraview” sunroof came open.  If my guests wanted to cool their nether-regions, all they had to do was hit the seat cooler button.  If it had gotten cold, the heated steering wheel would have taken care of me.  And the backseat legroom was almost limo-like—plus the rear seats were heated too.

It rained pretty hard during part of my stint with the XTS, and it inspired a lot more confidence than the normal stuff I drive.  This car was an all-wheel-drive, and combined with Cadillac’s excellent Magnetic Ride Control, I always felt comfortable.  The rain-sensing windshield wipers were also a nice touch.  I don’t love to drive in snow, but I think it would be interesting to drive this car in the white stuff.  I suspect it would perform above average.

Now, if you want a Cadillac that drives and handles like a Corvette, they’ll be glad to sell you a CTS-V.  This isn’t that type of Cadillac.  The XTS replaces the DTS in the Cadillac lineup, and it does that job admirably.  I like sporty cars as much as anybody, but sometimes it’s nice to cocoon myself in an isolation chamber.  This is the kind of car that you can tune into some soft music, set the cruise control, and melt the miles away in high style.

Under the hood was GM’s 3.6-liter, direct-injected V6.  This is good for 304-hp and 264-lb/ft of torque in the XTS.  This setup does everything you would want it to do in a car like this, but again, it’s no sports car.  Like I mentioned before, this car will impress people with its luxury.  They aren’t going to go away talking about its neck-snapping acceleration.

If there was anything I didn’t like about the new XTS it might be that it had too many gadgets.  This may be more of a reflection on my own nominal attention span as opposed to the merits of the car.  Between the lack of actual knobs and hard buttons, to the configurable digital gauge cluster, to the head-up display on the windshield, to all the other blinkin’ and flashin’ lights that came on for one reason or another, I almost felt overwhelmed sometimes.  I’m sure you would get used to all this stuff if you had the car for awhile, but it’s a bit of a shock for a simpleton like me.

Another thing that shocked some of my friends was the price.  This car was loaded to the gills, and stickered for $63,700.  My wife adamantly stated that there is no car worth that price, but I don’t necessarily agree.  If you’re the CEO of some big company, a Toyota Camry just doesn’t cut it.  If you’re loaded, and you want a nice car, I think you ought to have one.  A big muckety-muck in a $5,000 suit smoking a fat Cuban cigar would look right at home in here.  And that’s just fine with me.

Actually, I found a place to take this car that made sense as well.  Sunday was Mother’s Day, and we had reservations at the upscale Trezo Mare restaurant in the Briarcliff Village for a high-dollar brunch buffet complete with red and green caviar.  This isn’t normally a place that I would be found, and the cars in the parking lot reflected that—not a ’63 Chevy truck in sight.  But this XTS fit right in among the Mercedes and Lexuses.  We weren’t even asked to leave.  A car like this does have its advantages.

It was hard to relinquish custody of this Sapphire Blue Metallic beauty at the end of the week, but the time had come to return to the real world.  When you see someone driving a car like this, you are looking at a very fortunate person.  If only everyone could experience how the other half lives.  It’s a nice way to live, indeed.

I took some pictures.  Some are Cadillac’s.  See them all in the slideshow below, or click this link for a better version.


  1. Mrs C,
    I'm glad Mr.C. was invited to drive
    the XTS........sort of insured you
    would have a wonderful Mothers Day
    at an upscale establishment !!
    Otherwise......some " '63 chrome shinny
    diner on wheels" might have been the other
    choice !.

    Nice meeting you at the NFM car show.

    Happy Late Mothers Day from
    Don at the "Basehor Boys".

  2. Thank you, Don, that is sweet! Nice to meet you too!

  3. That's one of the best looking Cadillacs I've seen in a long time. Nice writeup too.