Cadillac has a heck of an engine to play with these days. Putting their heads together, they took GM’s naturally aspirated V6 and swapped most of the internal components before strapping on a pair of turbochargers.
Engine: 3.6L twinturbo V6 makes 410 hp, 369 lb-ft of torque
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel economy: EPA estimated 16/24/19 city/highway/combined
Price: Vsport models start at $63,020 and our tester cost $72,610
Stick it into the CTS and suddenly you’ve got something that can eat a BMW 550i for lunch despite being down on two cylinders.
So what happens if you take the same engine and drop it in Cadillac’s most recent land barge? We’re here today to find out.
A Big Boost
In this case, the 3.6-liter twin turbo V6 makes 410 hp at 6,000 RPM and 369 lb-ft of torque from 1,900 to 5,600 RPM.
That engine only comes with the Vsport model, which in turn is only offered with all-wheel drive. Translating power between the engine and wheels, you’ll find GM’s faithful six-speed automatic, although it has been modified for the Vsport version.
According to the EPA, you should be getting 16 in the city, 24 on the open road or 19 on average. Pricing for the boosted model kicks off at just over $63,020 and the model I’m driving today is supposed to retail for $72,610.
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Now if you can’t already tell, the XTS is big. In fact, it’s a little big longer than a BMW 7 Series, albeit not as wide. The Vsport model comes standard with 20-inch painted aluminum wheels and with the more expensive “Platinum” model you get shinier polished versions of the same thing.
If there’s one thing the XTS has in spades, it’s road presence thanks to its angular body and front fascia that falls in line with everything else Cadillac is selling, these days.
Cadillac Quality Cabin
If you’ve spent any time in a recently-built Cadillac, the XTS will feel familiar to you. There’s the buttonless center stack with a hideaway cubby, Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system and the brand’s standard layout steering wheel.
Heated and cooled seats up front are standard and the main rear seats are also warmed in every Vsport model. Speaking of the rear seats, there’s loads of legroom in here; a full 40 inches to be exact.
But what’s really notable is the upgraded leather that comes with the Platinum model. It’s soft to the touch and complimented by a micro suede headliner also reserved for the top trim. In fact in general, the cabin is stylish and premium feeling.
But there is one thing I can’t let go. For some strange reason, the stitching was done with bright purple thread. Black would have been fine or even better, a cream color, but purple?
It’s also disappointing that the Vsport version of the CTS gets open pore wood and metal paddle shifters while the XTS is left looking less luxurious.
It wasn’t so long ago that something with 410 hp was enough to make a car guy stop and look. For some perspective, that’s right around the horsepower an early C6 Corvette’s 6.0-liter LS2 V8 makes.
And the boosted six really does make the car lunge forward with speed.
But don’t get too carried away because the brakes aren’t up to par with the engine’s capacity for forward thrust unless you really step into the pedal.
The steering feels artificial and doesn’t do a very good job of indicating what the wheels are doing.
Finally, you get tiny paddle shifters, but they’re only useable if you shift into “manual” mode, which also activates “sport” mode. Doing that stiffens up the car’s magnetic ride adjustable suspension beyond its somewhat taut normal setting.
But all of that ends up seeming a little bit silly because the XTS in any form isn’t meant to be a sport sedan with handling prowess.
It isn’t until you get on the highway that this thing really shines because passing cars is almost too easy. Adaptive cruise control is available on all models and standard on the Platinum trim.
It also doesn’t hurt that the cabin is almost whisper quiet at high speeds.
That is, until you punch the gas pedal and hear the boosted engine do its things.
Despite the fact that this is currently Cadillac’s biggest sedan, the company refused to refer to it as a “flagship” and that’s probably a good thing.
The XTS Vsport is one heck of a highway cruiser with space to bring you and three friends golfing, but it’s far from being good enough to compete with leaders in the large luxury sedan market.