Cadillac’s XTS wasn’t terribly underpowered to begin with… The base car’s naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V6 makes 305 hp.
|1. XTS Vsport models get an all-new twin-turbo V6 engine that makes 410 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque.
2. Cadillac promises a 0-60 time of less than 5 seconds.
3. Fuel economy is rated at 16 MPG city, 24 MPG highway and 19 MPG combined.
4. The Vsport package is available only on the higher Premium and Platinum trims and starts from $63,020.
That’s where the Vsport package comes in. To dispel possible confusion, “Vsport” and boisterous V8 gas chuggers like the CTS-V are not a part of the same line. Instead, Vsport models serve as an in-between to give Cadillac customers a higher-performing, premium package without venturing into brutal eight-cylinder territory.
Fittingly, exterior alterations with this model are minimal. A different grille in the front and special badge on the trunk lid are the sole cosmetic changes.
VSPORT MEANS A MORE POWERFUL ENGINE
Meet the 2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport, the first of two Cadillac sedans that will the company’s twin turbocharged 3.6-liter V6. Expect a serious power boost, because the force-fed engine makes 410 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, the latter of which is available at just 1,900 rpm.
For the record, that’s an increase of 105 hp an 105 lb-ft of torque over the standard V6.
SEE ALSO: 2013 Cadillac XTS Review – Video
Of course, the more powerful engine is only offered in all-wheel drive models; a necessary addition to a car that would otherwise be sending an overpowering amount of torque to its front wheels.
The same six-speed automatic transmission is in use, and all of those items combine to offer an EPA-rated 16 MPG in the city, 24 on the highway or 19 overall.
Cadillac hasn’t released official 0-60 sprint times, but suffice it to say the car is fast. We’ve been assured it will do the test in less than five seconds.
Step on the throttle and you’ll find a surge of power in most conditions because peak torque is available from the aforementioned 1,900 rpm mark, but remains strong until 5,600 rpm.
But is that really a good thing? In some cases it is, but not always. Yes, the car lunges forward easily, but it at times the front wheels still feel overpowered.
Passing on a two-lane road can feel a little dicey. If you push deep into the gas pedal and expect the sort of sure-footedness that comes with rear-biased all-wheel drive systems, you might be disappointed. However, the car does use an electronic limited slip differential to help better distribute power left to right in the rear.
Cadillac also recalibrated its electric power steering system for its Vsport models to feel stiffer in sport mode, which is accessed by pulling the gear shift lever down into “S” setting. The stiffer feeling masks the occasionally squirrely front wheels, but the problem is still present.
Pressed hard, you’ll also feel some body roll. Of course, the XTS was never meant to dart through tight corners. It’s meant to ferry adults comfortably with minimal outside noise. This it does very well, and the added brawn underscores that ability in bright red ink.
Still, it’s hard not to want more from a car with such a potent engine.
And how potent it is!
High output isn’t the powerplant’s only intoxicating quality. It makes a beautiful noise. A throaty growl is audible in the cabin, and it sounds more like a junior V8 than a six cylinder.
The thought that Cadillac will be offering this engine in the upcoming CTS is cause for celebration. More exciting is the fact that it will get even more power and a new 8-speed automatic transmission.
VSPORT ALSO MEANS HIGH-END EQUIPENT LISTS
But back in XTS world, where trunks with 18 cubic feet of space and boulevard cruising reign supreme, the Vsport package is pretty darn good. It’s only offered in the “Premium” and “Platinum” packages, which means any XTS Vsport is also well equipped.
Those features include 20-inch alloy wheels, Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system with navigation, a Bose stereo, beautiful leather and power front seats with position memory. Heating and cooling further enhance the already comfortable buckets.
The steering wheel is also heated and other niceties like push-button and remote start systems are included.
In addition, General Motors’ magnetic ride control suspension is also standard across the XTS line.
AutoGuide’s test car came in the premium trim and also included the “driver assist package,” which costs $2,395 and adds adaptive cruise control, automatic collision preparation and automatic front and rear braking.
All that comes together to offer what boils down to a very comfortable and capable cruising vehicle. Even with the more powerful engine, the XTS Vsport can’t compete with comparably powerful German luxury sedans, but it probably doesn’t need to.
Loaded with the features mentioned above, it costs $66,410 including delivery. The starting price is just over $63,000 for the all-wheel drive, twin turbo model – meaning you’ll pay almost $6,000 extra for the vSport badge.
It does give you horsepower close to an Audi S6 for thousands less. You’ll also get enough space to carry four golf bags in the trunk and a generous 40-inches of rear-seat legroom.
Cadillac is trying to re-establish itself as a “tier 1” luxury brand. Melt down the marketing jargon and that means GM hopes its history-rich wreath-and-crest brand will be known as the American luxury brand able to fight luxo-giants like Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW.
The twin-turbo V6 is a leap in the right direction, and seated in a better platform it will catapult the brand to new heights. Unfortunately, the XTS isn’t a capable enough catalyst to do that by itself. Instead, it offers Cadillac customers a richer package until the company finally settles on a true flagship.