A STEP UP
Cadillac lends more oomph to its largish saloon by plonking a twin-turbo V6 under its bonnet. But is the XTS V Sport worth the extra dosh, asks wheels’ Sony Thomas
Subtlety is not something you’d readily associate with a Cadillac, the purveyor of automotive bling. So when I was told the XTS V Sport edition was on its way to the wheels office, I was expecting a saloon with conspicuous badges and ornaments pasted all over the body and cabin. But I was in for a pleasant surprise as, apart from a discreet V badge on the boot lid and what Cadillac calls the “twin-turbo grille” up front, there was nothing on the V Sport to tell it apart from the standard XTS.
And that’s not a bad thing at all, as the XTS is an impeccably styled car that set the standards in design and build quality for the American marque even before the ATS and the third-generation CTS took dynamics and refinement to a whole new level.
For a larger-than-midsize saloon, the XTS is also a clear departure from wallowy barges like the DTS and the STS it replaced. So it’s heartening to note that the XTS V Sport retains all the goodness of the regular model while adding an upgraded V6 and a few other tweaks here and there.
Cadillac’s naturally aspirated 3.6-litre engine had failed to impress me in the standard XTS and the ‘top-of-therange’ ATS and CTS saloons. Lacking in power and refinement, it could never do justice to the overall levels of sophistication achieved by these cars. Cadillac claims to have changed all that with the new turbocharged version of the V6 lump in the
The ride strikes a good balance between firm and cushy, with little road and wind noise
V Sport which, according to them, is a comprehensive upgrade over the stock engine.
Well, at 410bhp and 500Nm of torque, it’s a significant jump of 106bhp and 145Nm, and with peak torque available from 1,900rpm onwards, one would expect it to deliver a neck-snapping spurt.
However, in reality the car’s acceleration doesn’t feel as remarkable as the numbers suggest. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s smoother and much torquier than the non-forcefed engine, making standing starts and overtaking on the highway much easier. The six-speed automatic gearbox does its job well, with smooth and predictable shifts both in city traffic and on open roads. The XTS V Sport feels well composed and poised on the road thanks to the Haldex all-wheel-drive system with an electronically controlled limited-slip differential and Magnetic Ride Control. Considering it’s based on a comfort-oriented large saloon, the car is surprisingly nimble, but that said, to me this supposedly sportier variant doesn’t feel any more athletic than the standard version, which had pretty solid road-holding credentials.
Meanwhile, the ride strikes a good balance between firm and cushy, with passengers nicely insulated from road and wind noise. Combined with the roomy cabin that offers plenty of head- and legroom, this makes it a great car for longer drives.
The standard XTS itself came with a pretty long list of convenience and safety features. The V Sport, which comes in Platinum trim, adds a host of standard features like lane departure warning, forward collision alert, blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert, as well as a safety alert seat and driver assist package that includes adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, automatic collision preparation and so on.
The XTS V Sport is the most powerful Cadillac saloon that’s not a full-on V. And a price tag of Dh285,000 seems pretty reasonable for such a loaded car, as the ATS – which boasts a far superior chassis – is let down by the unavailability of the 2.0-litre turbo in our market, and the CTS – which costs less – is less powerful too.
However, what you should buy depends on whether you’re in the market particularly for a Cadillac saloon, as a little more money could get you a German car of the same size powered by a grittier V8 and offering arguably better performance.
The choice is yours.
MOTORING Even the standard XTS has a long list of convenience and safety features
i INSIDE INFO Specs Model XTS V Sport Engine 3.6-litre six-cylinder turbo Transmission Six-speed auto, AWD Max power 410bhp @ 6,000rpm Max torque 500Nm @ 1,900rpm Price Dh285,000 Highs Added punch, loaded with features, comfortable
Lows There are subjectively better options available for a similar price