For 2014, Cadillac is challenging the established notion that large, front-wheel-drive sedans are stodgy at parties and flat-footed on the dance floor. With the introduction of the XTS V-Sport performance-oriented package, the brand hopes to take on global, full-size sedan competitors that feature large-displacement V-6 and V-8 engines. The V-Sport designation on the XTS indicates features and upgrades meant to improve overall performance, one step saner than the hardcore V-Series moniker currently available on the CTS model range.
A much-enhanced powertrain and chassis highlight the transformation to XTS V-Sport, with a compliment of features made standard off the options list. This week, Autobytel had the opportunity for a short take of a V-Sport Premium on a loop around New York City and its northern suburbs.
2014 Cadillac XTS-V: The Basics
- The twin-turbo V-6, which produces 410 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque, steals the spotlight, providing the driver with plenty of easily accessible power. Straight-line acceleration sounds notably rorty, with copious growls from the engine bay. A near-flat torque curve, from 1900 to 5600 rpm, makes passing maneuvers easy and eliminates any notion of lag through the 6-speed automatic transmission. The introduction of this engine gives Cadillac a fighting chance against tough, fast German and Japanese competitors.
- To handle the added power, all-wheel drive is standard equipment on the XTS V-Sport. Wheelspin is controlled during hard launches – ahem, freeway entrances – and torque steer is all but absent. The fuel economy penalty for the larger engine and heavier car is nearly negligible (16/24 city/highway on the V-Sport versus the less-powerful XTS’ 17/28).
- In addition to the go-faster goodies, the XTS V-Sport also features a host of technological advancements to make the ride smoother and more enjoyable for those on-board. The most impressive of them are Magnetic Ride Control and Hi-Per struts, which work in concert to mitigate bumps in the road and help the XTS V-Sport glide through traffic. Over a set of potholes and road plates badly in need of repaving, the quickest XTS exhibited no fatigue.
- No major changes were performed on the interior of the XTS V-Sport, which remains the most luxurious of the Epsilon II sedans – a group that includes the recently revised Buick LaCrosse and the all-new Chevrolet Impala. Those familiar with any of those three models understand that’s not a bad thing; V-Sport models are available in either uplevel Premium or Platinum trims, and are distinguished by subtle grille treatments and badging.
2014 Cadillac XTS V-Sport: The Numbers
The “base” XTS V-Sport – the Premium – costs nearly $20,000 more than its entry-level, unenhanced counterpart. For that sum, which balloons the XTS’ bottom line to over $60,000, the V-Sport Premium includes standard CUE infotainment, a suite of driver assistance features, adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, and a multi-function speedometer and gauge cluster – among many, many other features. At approximately 60 grand, the V-Sport faces competition from all sides, chiefly similarly-equipped German executive sedans with, ahem, twin-turbo engines. Whether buyers will cross-shop the brands is still to be decided.
- Base price: $63,020 (inclusive of $925 destination charge)
- As tested: $66,410
- EPA fuel economy: 16 city / 24 highway
- Powertrain: 3.6-liter, twin-turbo V-6 engine; 410 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque