First Look: Cadillac XTS Concept

Although a car’s exterior frequently attracts more attention than its cabin, when it came time to style the Cadillac XTS Platinum concept — which makes its world debut at the 2010 Detroit auto show — designers worked from the inside out.

“We envisioned this concept as an automotive personal headquarters,” said Brian Nesbitt, Cadillac’s general manager, “using advanced technology to enable new levels of connectivity and luxury.”

Certainly, the XTS isn’t lacking the latter. Cadillac’s taken to putting “Platinum” badges on its most upscale vehicles, and it’s safe to say this show car takes the nameplate to a whole new level. Cut-and-sewn materials (a hallmark of the Platinum range) run rampant throughout the car, as does laser-etched suede. The dashboard sports few physical buttons or gauges, relying instead on touch-screen organic LED displays instead.

Despite the attention paid to the cabin, designers thankfully didn’t neglect the exterior, either. Billed by Cadillac, as the “active evolution” of its design language, the XTS incorporates the aggressive edges found on the likes of the CTS and SRX, but mixes them with longer lines, which help to soften the sedan’s form ever so slightly. Although technically a large sedan, the XTS show car is approximately four inches longer than an STS, and four inches shorter than a normal-wheelbase DTS.

Both the high beltline and the large 20-inch wheels help to call attention to the XTS’ all-wheel-drive configuration, but what deserves more attention is what, exactly, is sending power to all four wheels. GM won’t reveal too much about the powertrain (it is a concept, after all), we’re told the XTS Platinum show car uses a plug-in hybrid system similar to that developed for the stillborn Saturn VUE 2-Mode hybrid. A direct-injection 3.6-liter V-6 is mated to an electrically variable transmission, allowing the XTS to be driven by the gasoline engine, an electric motor, or a combination of the two. Cadillac says total output is in the realm of 350 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.

Cadillac says the XTS Platinum is simply a concept car, but it’s no secret the brand is working on a replacement for its aging STS and DTS sedans. Coincidently, the XTS physically slots in between the two sedans. Expect something similar to reach production by the end of 2012.

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