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Saturday, January 16, 2010


Erase the words, "Brougham", "Deville", and "Fleetwood" from your memory. For one thing, Cadillac loves using alphabet soup when it comes to naming their new vehicles. More importantly, the Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept from the NAIAS in Detroit is nothing like the large Cadillacs of the last two or three decades.

This is the replacement for Cadillac's STS and DTS, regardless of the concept tag GM stuck on for the auto show circuit. Although it seems unlikely for initial production, the 3.6L V6 in the concept works in concert with batteries to become a plug-in hybrid like the Chevrolet Volt. This all-wheel drive sedan is just about 17 feet long. 350 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque would be plenty motivating, and Cadillac's already defending what appears to be a future position: V8 not necessary.

Of greater impact at first glance is the Cadillac XTS's appearance, not the spec sheet. Are we just excited that Cadillac finally made a big car look good after.... 30+ years of failure? Would we consider the Cadillac XTS as strikingly beautiful if it were badged Lexus (or would we say it was blaa)? Does the interior break new ground, or does the XTS's innards simply break new ground in Cadillac's showrooms?

We may never know. Fact is, this is a Cadillac; we know it's a Cadillac; and we won't get the opportunity to see it badged as a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Joining the smaller Cadillac CTS and the new Cadillac SRX in GM's revamped lineup, the Cadillac XTS will help to finally make the Cadillac brand a well-rounded effort. I'm impressed, and as I tweeted Tuesday, I wish I was a rich 56-year old so I could buy one.

Style Points +
Lovely flat rear deck
Classy but attention-grabbing front end
Looks big, but not outlandishly so

Style Points -
Not an overly unique shape
Large rear overhang causes wheelbase to appear short
Greenhouse line/roof arch conundrum

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