Tired of bad news coming out of Detroit? Here’s the good news: Cadillac
CASEY WILLIAMS | Auto Reviewer
At a breakfast last year with Ed Welburn, the vice president of global design for General Motors, you could palpably feel the pride he takes in the re-birth of Cadillac. The iconic American luxury brand had doubled the size of the Cadillac studio to craft its future.
He has a right to be a proud papa. These three sexy Caddys lift the skirt.
During breakfast, Welburn mentioned how excited he was at seeing the new CTS on the street for the first time. Risking a word that’s too butch for my partner, the design is pretty sweet! It has a swaggering stance, broad eggcrate grille and headlamps that flow into the hood. Vertical LEDs add character to the front and rump.
Muscular lines betray the available 420 horsepower Twin-Turbo V6 underhood. It connects through a paddle-shifted 8-speed automatic transmission to fast romp from 0-60 mph in 4.6s. The less athletic may opt for the standard 321 horsepower 3.6-liter V6 or 272 horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-four. AWD is available. Brembo brakes, 19-inch wheels, and driver-selectable Magnetic Ride Control keep it pointed mostly straight.
Interiors are orgasmic. Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system, including Bose audio, is controlled with an iPad-like 8-inch touchscreen. A full-color heads-up display, heated/cooled front seats, heated steering wheel, and motorized cup holder lid spoil like brunch on Sunday. The car will even park itself! Sensors, radar and cameras underline adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, blind zone alert and automatic emergency braking systems. Any queen would be beside herself.
Imagine a Chevy Volt with a swingin’ two-door body, 20-inch alloys, fancy grillework and edgy fins. All-LED exterior lighting conserves energy while looking blingilicious.
Under the sharp attire is a range-extending powertrain that enables the plug-in coupe to travel 35 miles on electricity, then another 260 miles with the four-cylinder engine running. Charge on 120v overnight or with 240v in 4.5 hours. Progress can be monitored via smartphone. More torque than Cadillac’s 3.6-liter V6 puts jet-smooth scoot into its boogie.
Quite intelligent, the system has four modes: Sport, Tour, Mountain and Hold, which lets drivers decide when to use electricity or gas. Steering wheel paddles activate the “Regen on Demand” function that stores energy from the car’s momentum. Active suspension provides athletic moves.
Inside, cut-and-sewn leather with suede, chrome, wood and available carbonfibre raise the luxury quotient. There’s also Cadillac’s gesture-recognition CUE infotainment system, Bose audio, active noise cancellation and a full suite of crash avoidance systems. Most surprising, she’s built in Detroit — perhaps the last thing in that city that is.
How is it that the largest, most traditional of all current Cadillacs is also the sexiest? A tall eggcrate grille, stacked headlamps, fastback roofline, available 20-inch alloy wheels and little red fins with LEDs hit all of the style buttons. He’s big, but sleek.
Nobody should grump about the standard 305 horsepower V6, but inserting a 410 horsepower variant of the CTS’ new Twin-Turbo V6 makes me wet. Real-time adjusting Magnetic Ride Control with rear air springs and Brembo disc brakes give the XTS masterful footwork.
XTS flaunts more technology and luxury. Automatic Parking Assist, CUE infotainment and rear seat entertainment with twin DVD screens top the options list. Back seat drivers can demand an armrest with wood trim and radio controls. Bose audio and Soleil Keisel leather seating are divine. All of Cadillac’s active safety systems can be fitted to the XTS. This may not be the range-topping sedan Cadillac needs (and is officially on the way), but should still serve the Germans some spicy American hell.
If these cars are an indication, whatever else Welburn is working up in his studios should give them ulcers.
DFW Auto Show opens this week
Gearheads take note: Your first chance in 2014 to see the newest models of your favorite rides arrives this week. On Feb. 19–23, the DFW Auto Show is bigger than ever, occupying five halls at the Dallas Convention Center to display the 700-plus models available this season. The $12 admission gives you access to all-new models including the Acura MDX and RLX Sport Hybrid, the Aston Martin Vanquish Volante, the Cadillac ELR (see review), the Maserati Ghibil (featured in a memorable Super Bowl ad) and the Bentley Flying Spur, as well as many 2015 previews. If those don’t inject some fuel into your veins, maybe you’re best being a pedestrian.
Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center,
650 S. Griffin St.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 14, 2014.