2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport First Drive

Patrick M Hoey

This 2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport has guts. You and your passengers can feel it the moment you hit the gas and the twin-turbo V-6 unleashes its 410 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. There is a quiet, strong presence, an understated confidence. The torque peaks at 1900 rpm, providing punch for launches. Then the revs build, the six cylinders unlimber and you're cruising effortlessly at high freeway speeds. The XTS Vsport is certainly no DeVille.

It's one of the first models with the new performance designation for Cadillac, called Vsport. It's not as extreme as the V-series and its 556-hp supercharged V-8, but it's a considerable step up from the base cars.

This same aluminum block V-6 with variable valve timing is used in the base XTS models, where it pushes out 305 hp and 264 lb-ft in naturally aspirated guise. The Vsport's twin-turbo powerplant gets upgraded with a new direct-injection system, unique cylinder heads and a new cooling system.

In the 2014 CTS Vsport, the same engine is laid longitudinally, mated to an eight-speed automatic, and rated 420 horsepower and 430 pound-feet. It's expected to be the spec in the upcoming ATS-v.

Unlike the CTS Vsport, the XTS Vsport is not an athletic car -- its sheer size and 4364-pound curb weight prohibit that -- but the engine transforms the normally buttoned-down sedan into a Q-ship. With standard all-wheel-drive, specially calibrated Magnetic Ride Control, and meatier steering the Vsport does have a mean streak.

Our tester was outfitted with the Platinum package, which sets off the husky proportions of the XTS. The Vsport trim adds a trendy blacked-out grille trimmed in chrome. Flashy vertical lights front and rear and 20-inch aluminum wheels with chrome inserts underscore the styling. It's serious jewelry.

We're struck by how imposing the XTS looks. Our sapphire-blue model can appear to be a shade of plum purple or nearly black depending on the lighting. The lines are long and strong, with one starting at the tip of the taillights and stretching into the front quarter panels. Note the chiseled crease in both doors below the beltline. Liberal strips of chrome accent the wedge-shaped silhouette. Yeah it's bling'd-out -- but it works. After all, the XTS is meant more for old money than nouveaux riches.

The cabin is quiet and posh with an ultra-modern digital cluster. Our tester was handsomely decked out in black and cream and set off by light pipes, which cast a soft glow in the evenings on the doors and dash. The formal setting is interrupted by purple stitching, an unconventional move for the staid brand.

We all know that Cadillac developed the XTS, which doesn't really fit into its rear-wheel-drive lineup of sporty ATS and CTS models, in order not to abandon customers of the old DTS, itself a successor the DeVille. Cadillac's typical buyers should beware: the Vsport has an energy they haven't seen in larger Caddys in generations. More power to them, and to Cadillac.

2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport

Base Price: $63,020
Price As Tested: $70,020
Engine: 3.6-liter DOHC 24-valve twin-turbo V-6
Horsepower: 410 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 369 lb-ft @ 1900-5600 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Drive: All-Wheel
L x W x H: 202 x 72.9 x 59.4
Headroom (F/R): 40.1/37.8
Legroom (F/R): 45.8/40.0
Cargo Capacity: 18.0 cu ft
Curb Weight: 4364 lb
EPA Rating: TBD
After driving a loaded XTS as a dealer loaner (service managers new demo) that had less than 1k miles on it, I came away disappointed. The seat back had a pressure point around the middle of my back that no amount of lumbar adjustment could remove. I ended up sitting on a pillow to raise my back up enough to miss the projection as best I could. I was also disappointed in the amount of clunking from the front suspension over a beat up NE Ohio road that I live on. It was as if the struts were loose or worn. I took it back after a few days to let them know I thought something was wrong. They put me in another higher mileage lower trimmed loaner XTS which had the exact same noises and seat issue. That and the CUE which couldn't understand a word I said when trying to use my phone (OnStar however can understand me or my 3 year old perfectly.. pretty peculiar!) ruled this car out of my possible future purchase choice. Don't even get me started on my terrible ATS experience that I am stuck in for the next 3 years. North American Car of the year for that thing is a joke!
BMW guy from SMF
It's not a bad looking car, the interior looks functional and comfortable - HOWEVER, the rear end styling is not for me ... the high-butt trunk is ok, but the rear bumper is too far off the ground.  Reminds me of the old Chevy Impala where you can see the poorly designed and built exhaust and rear suspension systems ... the car needs to sit lower in the rear (check out a LS460, A8 or 740i for difference).
Front Quarter panels? As opposed to rear fenders? Where do they find you guys?
@peachwholesale A lot of manufacturers are getting away from the term "Fenders" and the terms are interchangeable as some manufacturers will even call the rear quarter panels "rear fenders". Based on your comment, the car should have "Half Panels" in the rear and "Fenders" up front? Don't knock a writer who is being accurate, the terms front and rear "quarter panels" and the terms front and rear fenders are both correct!

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