2018 Cadillac XTS

2018 Cadillac XTS

Large luxury has always been the name of the game for Cadillac, but its not-quite-a-flagship XTS sedan proves that the company is no longer at the head of the pack for land yachts. There is an available twin-turbocharged V-6 that provides the kind of wafting power we desire from executive cruisers, and there are plenty of luxe features in the upper trim levels. But despite its general elegance, the XTS can’t come close to the opulence and refinement of the king of this particular jungle, the Mercedes-Benz S-class. By offering its wares at a much lower price than Mercedes (and holding on to some of the brand magic that makes the XTS more desirable than the similarly priced Genesis G90), Cadillac makes its case: the XTS is a credible option for broad-based luxury that will please buyers in search of some status and style, but not so much that they’ll need a second mortgage to afford it.

What’s New for 2018?

The XTS’s design was lightly tweaked for 2018, with changes to both the front and rear ends, including LED head- and taillights and a new grille. Those changes brought the XTS’s overall length down by a little more than an inch. New tires for both the 19- and 20-inch wheels are intended to improve ride comfort and reduce road noise, and the XTS’s CUE infotainment system received updated software and access to various cloud-based apps.

Trims and Options We’d Choose

We prefer the XTS V-Sport’s 410-hp twin-turbo V-6 powertrain to the standard 304-hp V-6. That raises the cost of our XTS considerably, but at $73,490 it’s still many thousands cheaper than its German rivals. The V-Sport comes standard with all-wheel drive in place of the standard front-wheel-drive setup and includes the following features:

• Adaptive cruise control with automated front and rear emergency braking
• Rear armrest with built-in audio and sunshade controls
• 22-way massaging leather front seats

The V-Sport is the XTS’s top trim level and nearly every one of the XTS’s available features is included as standard, but we’d happily shell out $350 for a compact spare tire. That addition would bring the total cost of our XTS V-Sport to $73,840.

Both of the XTS’s available engines are reasonably quick and powerful, with the V-Sport’s twin-turbo engine delivering the kind of easy power that we expect from a large luxury sedan. Rear-wheel-drive underpinnings would be more traditional for a car in this class, but there’s nothing specifically wrong with the way front-wheel-drive models drive.

The XTS comes standard with front-wheel drive and a 304-hp V-6 engine, while top-of-the-line V-Sport models have a 410-hp twin-turbo V-6 with all-wheel drive. Both engines pair with a six-speed automatic, and the entry-level engine can be paired with all-wheel drive if desired. We don’t have recent test data for a non­–V-Sport XTS, but the powertrain hasn’t changed since we recorded a 6.6-second zero-to-60-mph time in a front-drive model. An all-wheel-drive variant of the 304-hp car needed 7.2 seconds to complete the same task. Those figures are respectable if not impressive and won’t leave XTS owners frustrated on highway on-ramps.

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