Given the style and dynamic character of the 2013 Cadillac XTS, we'd say Cadillac has completely shed any remnants of its former reputation as a maker of billowy soft land yachts. Riding atop the same platform used to reinvigorate the Buick LaCrosse, the all-new XTS looks to extend Cadillac's youthful style into the upper reaches of its model lineup by replacing the aged DTS and STS sedans. And though Cadillac insists that the XTS is not its flagship sedan -- that car will come later to compete with the top German cruisers -- for now, it represents the pinnacle of a luxury brand that has transformed itself from staid to striking within a decade.
Outside, the XTS expresses Cadillac's current styling vocabulary with its prominent grille, vertical headlamps and taillights, and sharply creased surfaces. The cabin speaks of modern refinement with its use of aluminum, leather and wood, and it's also highlighted by CUE, Cadillac's new electronics interface. It features a touch-sensitive display on the center stack to control navigation, climate systems and connected communication apps like Pandora.
The 2013 Cadillac XTS offers only a single engine choice, a slightly detuned version of the same silky direct-injected 3.6-liter V6 found in the Cadillac CTS sedan. In this application, it generates 304 horsepower, which isn't really enough to allow the large XTS to keep up with similarly priced and powered luxury sedans. On the upside, its estimated 28 mpg on the highway is quite thrifty. The XTS can also be had with all-wheel drive for improved all-weather capability.
In terms of features, the XTS comes pretty well equipped, as even the base model has adaptive suspension dampers, xenon headlamps, leather upholstery and dual-zone climate control. Safety is also at the forefront, with an optional package that includes a number of monitoring systems plus a driver seat that vibrates on one side or the other if the XTS' radar systems detect an errant lane change or potential sideswipe.
With plenty of luxury features, available all-wheel drive and an expansive trunk and rear seats, the 2013 Cadillac XTS earns its place among large luxury-oriented sedans like the Chrysler 300C, Hyundai Genesis and Lincoln MKS. As the XTS offers such a leap beyond its Cadillac predecessors, we can understand why mature buyers returning to the brand might feel overwhelmed by the aggressive styling and all the technology packed within. But the only question should be when, not why, they should make the XTS their next Cadillac.