Los Angeles 2011: Cadillac Returns to Full-Size Luxury with 2013 XTS

“In every segment we enter, our mission is to compete with the world’s best,” said Cadillac marketing vice president Don Butler. The 2013 Cadillac XTS, then, is meant to continue that trend. With the STS and DTS put out to pasture, the XTS will restart Cadillac’s presence in the large luxury sedan market. The XTS is meant to compete not just with domestic cars, but also with the best from Germany and Japan. Although one photo leaked out ahead of time, the XTS was fully unveiled for the first time today at the Los Angeles auto show.

The elegant design begins with a large chrome grille, tall upswept headlights, and a character crease that begins on the front fenders. The C-pillar gently slopes toward a tail that boasts large vertical taillights, with flashy 19- or 20-inch wheels tucked below. The XTS continues Cadillac’s edgy styling language seen on the CTS and SRX, while at the same time adding gentle curves and contours that soften the overall look.

“It marks a bold new step for Cadillac design,” said General Motors vice president of global design Ed Welburn. He explained that the XTS takes Cadillac’s “Art and Science” mantra to the next logical step: even more beautiful design, with even more technology inside.

A 300-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 engine sits beneath the hood coupled to a along with a six-speed automatic transmission. Both front- and all-wheel drive configurations are available. The new car fits in size-wise between the erstwhile STS and DTS; at 202 inches long, it is about 8.7 inches longer than a CTS sedan.

More tellingly, Cadillac has benchmarked the car’s interior room against the Germans, asserting that the XTS offers more rear legroom and cargo room than the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. To keep the Cadillac’s chassis on par with its German rivals, the XTS has Brembo brakes, Magnetic Ride Control adaptive dampers, and rear air suspension as standard on all models. The XTS even gets a new tech feature called “Virtual Bumpers” — at low speeds, the car will automatically stop if the parking sensors determine it’s about to hit an obstacle, such as a wall or a child’s tricycle.

The basic design for this production car was previewed by the XTS Platinum concept at the 2010 Detroit auto show. The glitzy show car was said to employ a 3.6-liter V-6 engine and a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. Remarkably, though, the beautiful exterior and exquisite interior were carried from show car to production almost unchanged.

General Motors is investing $117 million to prepare an assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario to build the XTS. The Cadillac XTS is scheduled to go on sale in spring 2012.

Cadillac also used the L.A. reveal to remind us that the ATS sport sedan will debut in summer 2012, followed by the ELR electric car at a later date. The former is a rear-wheel-drive sports sedan that will be positioned beneath the CTS, while the latter is a sultry coupe that will likely be based on the extended-range electric drivetrain of the Chevrolet Volt. As for the stunning Ciel convertible concept? It’s said to preview future directions for the Art and Science design language, but there are no confirmed plans for production.

For more on the 2013 Cadillac XTS, check out our First Look here. For more on the 2011 Los Angeles Show, including videos, the latest photos, and more information, click here to visit our L.A. Show homepage.


Buying Guide

2012 Cadillac CTS-V

Fair Market Price $19,076 Base Coupe
Motor Trend Rating


16 City / 26 Hwy

Horse Power:

270 @ 7000


223 @ 5700