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Detroit 2010: Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept

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For the past decade, Cadillac has been transforming itself from a brand that built big, floaty old-school luxury cars for old-school customers into something much more contemporary to compete with the best premium brands from Europe. Unfortunately for General Motors, the process has been only partially successful. The Escalade has been a huge sales success for the brand and the CTS has achieved both critical and commercial acclaim. The STS and the first generation SRX, however, never quite struck a chord with the market and the DTS is just old.

A new SRX debuted last year, but now it's time to flesh out the rest of the lineup. The CTS in sedan, coupe and sportwagon forms is one of Autoblog's favorites. It's time to spread that goodness to both a smaller and larger sedan. Last August we saw styling concepts of both those cars, dubbed the ATS and XTS during a visit to the GM design studios. GM isn't publicly showing the 3 series-sized ATS just yet, but the XTS is debuting today at the Detroit Auto Show. The XTS Platinum concept is a preview of Cadillac's new flagship that's expected to start production in early 2012. Read on after the jump to learn all about it.

More: http://www.autoblog.com/2010/01/12/detroit-2010-cadillac-xts-platinum-concept-ready-to-replace-sts/


OK, so sleek and stylish rarely equate to muumuu, but bear with us. For starters, ignore the powetrain. It's a concept fercrissakes. Cadillac says the XTS Platinum Concept uses Cadillac's 3.6-liter V6 Direct Injection gas engine paired with a "plug-in hybrid system" — whatever the hell that is. To us that sounds a lot like a Volt-like Converj — which bores us a bit. No, the real story here is where this takes the Cadillac design language for the DTS and STS sedans — the current Cadillac of old fogey-mobiles.

The concept previews a new integration philosophy guiding the development of future wreath-and-shield models' in-car electronics. The intent is to progress Cadillac's intuitive in- car electronics systems from deployable touch-screen navigation systems in the CTS and SRX product lines to a minimization of traditional buttons and switches. Designers blended the display screens into a flowing instrument panel they call a "dead front" design, because the panels appear black until the car is turned on and the screens illuminate. Also, because in the XTS concept's current incarnation — the STS and DTS — it's probably the last car many owners will ever own because they're in their 80s.

On the outside, the XTS Platinum Concept has a distinctive proportion that supposedly "transcends the traditional aesthetic of luxury sedans and carries the brand's Art and Science design in a more progressive manner." We think the sleek profile and short, high deck lid makes it look like a spaceship on steroids. We kinda like it — but only in that "wow, look, it's a techno-barge from the 21st-and-a-half century" kind of way. It's the kind of thing we hope we never end up buying, but it we did, we'd play with all the toys and run our hands over the piano black instrument panel until we'd rubbed the gloss right off. Because frankly, it's just damn sexy. Is that American luxury? Not lately it hasn't been, no.

Alright so I reserved my opinion until I saw the car and I am now going to say that these pictures are not promising! I'm sorry this does not cut it, especially the side profile which is atrocious. Not only that but less than 204in, and a wheelbase only an inch longer than the W-Body Impala? Even the current DTS has a wheelbase in excess of 115in. I can't even begin to start. Short hood, LaX-ish side profile, nonexistent rear deck (a big Cadillac should have a noticeable decklid) all seem to spell out a smaller car with much less interior space and no doubt another 12cu ft. trunk at the expense of styling. Sure it might look better in person like the Terrain but I don't know how well I am going to warm up to this car.

That being said the interior does show an impressive attention to detail which will hopefully transfer to the production model.

Edited by Dodgefan
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Why am I so horribly disappointed when I knew this was coming?

GM's going to build a front-drive geezermobile for Old Ma and Pa Kettle from Wisconsin again, oh joy. Could someone just try to still my beating heart? Please? Do it the same way Grandma Ethel's heart was stilled before she crashed her DTS into a mailbox post if you can. I can't stand the excitement going on here.

Nice interior, though.

Edited by whiteknight
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I'm really not digging it only from the B-Pillar back (poorly proportioned). I think it should have a more formal roofline and a longer deck. Also I'm not digging that convex rear end that shows up in the side profile. Additionally- a spoiler, on a Cadillac? Really?

I would've reacted more favorably if there was some fin action in the back, even ala the 1965-68 models where the taillights were the longest point on the car or at the very least equant to the rest of the rear end.

Edited by vonVeezelsnider
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I really want to like it, but I can't.

The rear is horrible, the profile is not good. That chassis really shows through.

The interior... nice materials and attention to detail. Some nice design cues, but lacking, in my opinion. Especially the rear (kind of bland...an extended center console could've added some nice touches, although that would take away from the middle passenger, but I'd say it would be worth it for the sake of design and luxury features.) That high beltline creates the need for such vast surrounds which ultimately create a lot of empty space. I suppose it is absurd to consider that every square inch should be sculpted somehow...more of a drawback due to the chassis than anything else I'd imagine.

It's a nice DTS replacement.

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this in no way fits into a company that badly needs a flagship that should be futuristic looking in 3 years when it hits.

dear GOD the C&G chop (who did that one) is FAR better than this!

I like Mr. Lutz but honestly to let this crap out of the design center for a concept he oughta be called out for mailing it in.

I know GM was short on cash, but......

everyone's gonna have a field day with this one. i know the geezer set may like this, but that's about all.

some of the interior detailing is ok like parts of the center stack and the suede armrest (which should get nicely stained and smelly from arm oil and god knows what other fluids and oils will find its way onto that stuff over the life of the vehicle).

someone better get me Mr. What acres on the phone so i can give him an earful on why this is a half assed effort.

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the XTS concept looks like a stretched Jetta sedan with a cadillac nose grafted on it (from the front quarter view).

wow. this car sucks. i'm sorry, but it does. GM ought to be ashamed of such a half assed effort on this.

if it were a model besides a cadillac flagship maybe you could excuse the bland design.

and the back quarter view is a little more interesting. maybe the sheer size of the car makes it more dynamic.

if it had a longer wheelbase and a longer hood before the windshield it could possibly rescue it. but the short wheel base is doing more harm than anything.

there is no originality or detail in the front or rear end. look at the new cts coupe from the top rear, its got lots of innovation on where the elements stop and start and the shapes and the angles of everything.

this is just a big hunk of mass with a sweeping side groove on a generic cadillac facade and tail. the interior is far too restrained, the new focus interior has more detail.

there is nothing special about the wheel wells around the tires. just BLAH!

Edited by regfootball
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I definitely like the interior, hope it's not dumbed down much for production.

As fas as the exterior goes, I'm undecided: part of my brain says 'yes', part of my brain says 'no' as perhaps the styling theme/cues would work better on a Zeta-based car.

As far as mechanics, I don't care one bit if it's plug-in hybrid or not as long as Cadillac gives consumers a valid reason to buy this thing over a LaCrosse.

EDIT - And I hope we see enough of this 'Platinum' stuff. Offer fully contented vehicles as your value offer. It's much more fittng of the Cadillac name to say 'we offer value by delivering on equipment' than to say 'look this costs 15K less than than a BMW, Audi or MB'. Do that consistently, and in time you gain pricing power.

Edited by ZL-1
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Well, I'm glad they didn't give it too much front overhang like the new SRX, but the hood is too short. The Epsilon II platform and its hard points do this car NO JUSTICE, hate the short door-to-front-wheel distance. For me, there is something of the drama of an old-school Cadillac (as in vonVee's sig) in the design from the A-pillar back, but something is awkward. OH.MY.GOD. That's it... compare the SAAB 9-5 to this, and suddenly the XTS is BLS part II. It's in the stance. The SAAB is already out for viewing, and with this car following, it inevitably enters my mind that it shares a certain proportion and stance with the lesser Swedish sister. Not a good way to give your supposed "flagship" a commanding air of cutting-edge newness.

Something else, I am already imagining it in livery service, as a limo or hearse. It looks like it would transition well that way.

The interior is suitably beautiful and serene.

I don't like GM's trend of tiny decklids, either.

  • Agree 1
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Interior better than expected, exterior a little underwhelming compared to my expectations, engine and drivetrain about equal to expectations and not stunning but probably about right for what this is trying to be.

As regards size I can understand that if this is to replace both STS and DTS it makes some sense to find a sweet spot in there but nonetheless it'll be a little odd when one cannot get a truly large sized Caddy - that not only the Lincoln but also the Mercedes are longer. In terms of practical interior room however it is probably quite good.

I can't help also wishing one could find at least one big American sedan with more traditional profile and appearance with a long hood and deck and overhangs and more upright glass. I think even something based on Zeta would have given some of those virtues like a longer hood.

So far I guess I have mixed feelings and this isn't compellingly better to me than the very nice Lacrosse. I wonder what the price premium will be.

I wonder what sorts of deals will be available for the DTS, STS, and Lucernes that are left on lots after production peters out...

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It's um....different. The last 25 years of FWD full size Cadillacs (deVille, DTS) didn't have such odd proportions. The nose is so short. The short front wheel well to door distance screams FWD genericism. The greenhouse looks like the current Malibu stretched out. Oh well. The interior is nice, though.

2nd thought..maybe GM with this (and the LaCrosse) is doing their spin on cab forward, maximizing the cabin space w/ minimal front and rear.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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So, no, it's not an S-class or 7-series competitor, but I think there's a market for such a Cadillac. It looks much nicer than the LaCrosse, and Caddy could potentially offer all the equipment in smk4565's wet dreams to adequately differentiate it from its lesser Epsilon II siblings. Think Lexus ES (a sales hit, by the way), made one size larger.

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I'm starting to remember why I stopped coming here. You people are really negative and incredibly hard to please.

The power train in this concept is perfectly appropriate for the base model. See: Mercedes S400, BMW 740i. I keep seeing people say its FWD, but according to the PR its AWD. Seems normal to me. Whose to say its not RWD? Nowhere does it mention its FWD unless I missed something.

This car is gorgeous, especially for its segment. Compared to the S-Class, 7-series and the LS its the most striking car in its class.

I'm not sure what everyone was expecting. I guarantee you people will love this.

Edited by bowtie_dude
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