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Cadillac XTS Performance

The 2015 Cadillac XTS isn't as nimble as some rivals, test drivers say, but most are nonetheless pleased with its performance. They note that it has controlled handling and a serene ride. The base model has sufficient power, they write, but the Vsport model shines with strong acceleration from its twin-turbocharged V6, although a few critics wish the Vsport's transmission was smoother and more responsive.

  • "Highway cruising is the XTS's strong suit, with its cabin effectively insulated from outside noise and its adaptive suspension smoothing out rough pavement. The magnetic-ride-control feature proved the adaptability of the XTS when we pushed it on Malibu's winding canyon roads, where it acquitted itself with impressive nimbleness considering its overall bulk and smooth riding characteristics." -- AutoTrader
  • "The 2015 Cadillac XTS luxury sedan straddles the fence between pampering comfort and aggressive performance. It's a spot many luxury-car buyers will probably find quite appealing." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The entire XTS experience is far more concerned with plush comfort than handling prowess, and while this Vsport model certainly ups the ante with more power and some mild suspension and steering tweaks, it's not exactly what we'd call a particularly engaging experience. But that doesn't mean it isn't good." -- Autoblog (2014)

Acceleration and Power

The base 2015 XTS comes with a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 304 horsepower. The Vsport model has a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 that produces 410 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard with either engine. At an EPA-estimated 18/28 mpg city/highway, the base XTS' fuel economy is a bit low for the class.

Reviewers write that the Cadillac XTS' base V6 has sufficient power. However, they note that its acceleration is not particularly brisk, and as a result, many prefer the Vsport model, which they say is very fast and has ample power for effortless highway passing. Some think the XTS' transmission is responsive, but others comment that in the Vsport, it doesn't respond quickly enough and isn't particularly smooth.

  • "In the engine room, the Vsport's turbo V6 really transforms the driving experience. Not that there's anything terribly wrong with the base engine, but the standard XTS lacks the confident oomph of traditional Cadillacs. The muscular Vsport, on the other hand, feels more like an old Caddy V8 off the line. Springing for the upgraded engine is a no-brainer if power is a priority." -- Edmunds
  • "The 3.6-liter V6 may not win any drag races, but it plays well with its 6-speed transmission, offering decent acceleration and responsiveness." -- AutoTrader
  • "This added power makes the XTS Vsport an incredible highway cruiser, able to pass slow-moving semis with absolutely no drama, all while keeping true to the sedan's core values of being comfortable, quiet and solid on the road." -- Autoblog (2014)
  • "If the upgraded powertrain in the Vsport does have a flaw, though, it's in the transmission. While it responds fairly quickly to your inputs, it's still a bit slow to get the actual shifting done. Moreover, it's not seamless like the best luxury car transmissions out there. There's still a noticeable bump as it changes gear. So there's still some tuning work left to be done here." -- Motor Trend (2014)

Handling and Braking

The 2015 XTS comes standard with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional on models with the base engine and standard on the Vsport model. Test drivers agree that the XTS has a smooth, quiet ride and is a great car for cruising on the highway. Some also appreciate that, from behind the wheel, the XTS feels smaller than it actually is. Most say it has controlled handling and responsive steering, but note that it doesn't feel as athletic as some rivals.

  • "… rather than succumbing to the current trend of maximizing fuel economy by using a lifeless electric power-steering setup, Cadillac's engineers opted for hydraulic steering, which offers a better feel. Body control is excellent given the XTS's large proportions, and this Cadillac doesn't feel excessively floaty or disconnected when driven aggressively on challenging roads." -- AutoTrader
  • "Thanks to the standard adaptive suspension and trusty steering, the XTS manages to shrink its big body around the driver. Nonetheless, rival sedans are generally better bets for enthusiastic drivers. Comfort is king for big Cadillac sedans, and the XTS doesn't disappoint. The same adaptive suspension that keeps the body composed in corners provides a buttery-smooth ride on most surfaces." -- Edmunds
  • "The XTS excels on the American highway, were vast expanses of concrete free it to cruise effortlessly regardless of road conditions. Credit the standard Magnetic Ride Control that constantly adapts to varying road conditions in just milliseconds." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "As in lesser XTS models, the Vsport experience is tainted by a shaky-feeling structure, limp steering, and a suspension that's on the soft side. Braking and skidpad numbers were no better than what we've recorded for naturally aspirated XTS models. …" -- Car and Driver (2014)
Review Last Updated: 4/29/15

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