As we bid adieu to the industry’s quintessential black sedan, we welcome in a new generation of elegant vehicles that are ready to capture the changing demographics of the chauffeured professional. The 2013 Cadillac XTS, which debuted in the second half of 2012, certainly proved itself a worthy contender for the wide-open sedan market.
One glance at Cadillac’s new flagship and you know it’s not your father’s livery sedan—and thank goodness for that. With a refined exterior, the outer shell appeals to a younger generation of professionals who want their vehicles to look muscular and responsive without the added fuel consumption. Its angled rear and long, lean headlines feel like a throwback to the days when owning a Cadillac was part in the American Dream, long before the market was flooded with European and Japanese imports.
Cadillac continues its transition from the traditional V-8 engines of the past to a more powerful and fuel-efficient V-6. The ample 304 horsepower engine still achieves a palatable 17 city/28 highway. Cadillac also took safety seriously by integrating Brembo brakes—which are used on sports cars worldwide and are known for their outstanding stopping power—and ten standard airbags. The Magnetic Ride Control stabilizes handling, helping to keep the XTS firmly on the road.
The looks are stunning, but it’s the interior that will get any Gen Xer’s heart beating. Cadillac proudly debuted CUE, or Cadillac User Experience, in the XTS. This is the sedan’s nerve center that is controlled like a touch-screen tablet. The screen can, at first, feel cluttered and overwhelming, but with experience it is surprisingly fun to use. Icons are hidden when not in use, but the touch screen senses when your finger is close and automatically displays additional icons in anticipation. This is where you can find all the vehicle’s information, from controlling the entertainment and interior climate to tire pressure and performance. The flush surface of the dash (goodbye knobs and buttons) and the robust CUE system have caused some media reviews to call it “a computer with an engine attached.”
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CUE seamlessly integrates with up to ten Bluetooth devices (to keep your chauffeurs hands-free) and includes navigation and a rear-vision camera. It also comes preloaded with Pandora. We won’t say that CUE is easy to learn, but with some patience, its true technological genius can be experienced. Note that your chauffeur will be constantly cleaning the screen in between runs because fingerprints show no mercy on the shiny surface.
The rear-seat experience starts with comfortable leather seats that hug the thighs of the passenger and acres of leg room—40 inches to be exact. Separated by the armrest, the rear seat offers lots of space for two adults. If the professionals are packing any gear, the full-size trunk has 18 cubic feet of space to accommodate. It’s deceptively deep.
The W20 Livery Sedan, specifically tailored for this market, comes with a host of standard features like 19” aluminum wheels, rear center console, navigation system, rear-vision camera, illuminated door handles, and a 3-year/150,000-mile Professional Vehicle Protection Plan—one of the industry’s best. Your chauffeurs will also enjoy a comfortable ride, enhanced by a heated steering wheel and seat.
The new Cadillac flagship sheds the image of appealing to only an older generation of drivers by banking on its striking good looks to capture both the consumer and livery markets, but it will excite passengers of any age. Dig deeper and you’ll find that this Cadillac is also the most technologically advanced yet, which also appeals to today’s professionals. Indeed it does the job, because the XTS doesn’t feel present-day, but ahead of its time. [CD02/13]
Engine: 304 HP V-6
Rear Head Room: 37.8”
Rear Leg Room: 40”
Warranty: 3-year/150,000 PVPP
minus $3,000 customer cash incentive