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2013 Cadillac XTS AWD Platinum - A Closer Look

In a 2-page, 10-paragraph, car review of a luxury sedan, Car & Driver failed to review much of the car besides the CUE (Cadillac User Experience) infotainment system. They go on and on to complain about the CUE system but they mention very little about the engine and ride of the car. There are basically only two paragraphs that talk about the engine and the suspension.

I can't say whether the CUE system is as bad as they say because I haven't tried it yet. However, in their review of the engine, they only mention two aspects; the hp output of the engine (304 hp) and the 0-60 mph time, which is 7.2 seconds. They then criticize the performance for being only adequate and move on. In the next paragraph, they criticize the suspension for not being as sporty as the ATS and a numb, light steering feel but say it has a nice balance between body control and comfort.

I do agree that the straight line performance is only adequate but I'm not sure why that's a problem. For a long time, Rolls Royce had a tradition of rating the output of their engines simply as "adequate", because that's all you need in a big luxury car. If it's not sports luxury, adequate power is enough. Very few people would argue about the Mercedes S-Class being a true luxury car. It is one of the most recognized large luxury cars (if not the most recognized) and one of the most prestigious as well. I remember reading Motor Trend's review of the Mercedes S350 BlueTEC 4MATIC (Mercedes lingo for AWD) diesel. They raved about it and said that it may be the one to have in the S-Class lineup, despite having much more powerful engine choices. 

Additional power over what the Cadillac XTS AWD and Mercedes S350 BlueTEC 4MATIC offer is very rarely, if at all, needed on the road. The Cadillac is just a little slower to 60 mph than the Mercedes (7.2 vs 7.0 seconds) but it is quicker midrange - 5 mph to 60 mph is dealt with in 7.6 seconds in the Cadillac vs 8.6 seconds in the Mercedes. Some people will disagree about that being enough. What I'm sure everyone will agree about, though, is that how quickly the engine propels a car from 0-60 mph isn't the only important piece of information. How smooth are the transmission shifts? Does it hunt for gears? How quiet is the engine? Does it feel refined? Does the engine seem happy across the rpm range or strong and smooth only in a certain range? These and many other aspects of the drivetrain are more important than a 0-60 mph time, especially in a luxury sedan, but there was no mention of them. It doesn't get much better for the suspension review.

They say the suspension "nicely mixes body control and comfort" which sounds great to me but they think it is lacking. Why must a large luxury sedan that's designed to carry people in luxury and comfort, not canyon carving, handle like a compact sporty luxury car like the Cadillac ATS? Shoppers of the Cadillac XTS and other large luxury sedans are more interested in a comfortable and composed chassis, not going to autocross them or hunting for the perfect stretch of back roads to push the car around. How well does it soak up bumps? How does it transmit bump noises into the cabin? How does it drive at high speeds? Like the engine review, they focused on one aspect they don't like (the suspension not being very sporty), and did not give a detailed review of other more important aspects.

If you look close enough though and try to find the more important details about the car, you can. Judging by how critical they were of every aspect they didn't like, it is safe to assume that the engine and transmission are refined and well matched to the car. It is very quiet and comfortable, without being floaty. It out brakes and out handles the S350 BlueTEC without punishing its occupants and although it's nearly 700 lb lighter, it does not sacrifice space in the cabin or in the trunk. It has almost every safety and convenience feature you can find in a car today. The cabin is well designed and covered in fine materials - finer than those found in a Mercedes CL63 AMG, according to Motor Trend's first drive review. Car & Driver thinks it's adequate luxury. I think it's plenty of luxury with sufficient power. What do you think?


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