Here is the X-series Touring Sedan, or XTS. The vehicle could be found in Cadillac showrooms between 2013 and 2019. During my time in Savannah I saw just one, pictured today.
The production run puts that of its peer, the last Lincoln Continental into sharp relief, a car when launched in 2017 lacked the will-power to soldier on any further than 2020. Both of them suffered the same aesthetic problem: too little bonnet ahead of the A-pillar.
We’ll come back to that in a moment.
The XTS appeared in 2013, replacing the DTS and STS saloons. The STS easily wore the nicest iteration of Cadillac’s 21st century styling themes, Art & Science, draped over the Sigma platform. The DTS was a similar looking vehicle on the G-platform. It was a little longer than the STS, by 20 cm. The XTS is pretty close in size.
Three engines dragged it along: a 2.o petrol and 2 V6s of 3.6 litres capacity, one of which was not turbocharged. If you put the SWB XTS on a big enough weighing scales, you will observe a weight of around 1800 kg, almost the same as the STS and the DTS. Perhaps the biggest single aspect about the DTS was the Northstar V8, a 4.6 litre lump.
Those who mourned the loss of the V8 in the XTS could leap a little for joy because its successor, the CT5 has a 6.2 litre supercharged V8.
All of this can’t stop me asking why Cadillac invested effort in a car so grievously compromised by its layout. From most views there is clearly not enough car up front. In the 1980s the GM design model was to have too little car behind the B-pillar. After a balanced interregnum, they decided to have a lot of car behind the A-pillar but not enough ahead of it.
What is curious about this is that Audi produced and produces some quite imperial-looking saloons that are visually balanced, yet also have front-drive. And in the past, Cadillac achieved the same. The CT-5, which is rear-drive and plainly designed to deal with the hazard from Genesis as well as BMW and Mercedes, would seem to me to indicate that Cadillac have learned there is no point in offering a visually compromised car in this price range.
This next comparison (below) shows how the car is but also shows how I seem to perceive it: an elongated back end and a rather too short front end.
How could this look if the designer could give it better proportions? It could look something like this (below). Again, I’m only roughly shoving shapes about here – blur your eye and squint to hide the discontinuities, please.
It would seem to indicate that another 15 cm ahead of the leading edge of the door would help a lot. Cadillac’s stylists tried to reduce the front-driviness of the shape by making as big a radius as possible from the front wheel to the centre line. This just made the car look pug-face flat.
I don’t lay the blame for any of this on the stylists. The interior is blandly nice. The detailing offers no cause for complaints. It was Cadillac’s management who thought a thing of beauty could be produced by burdening the development team with a layout unsuited for the brand and its market position.
What do others think? “The XTS is a competent and relatively affordable retirement cruiser, but it can’t truly compete with the best in this class”, wrote Car & Driver. Another, more complimentary opinion is to be found here.