New Cadillac XTS sedan has German competitors in sight image

Cadillac’s new XTS flagship sedan, premiered at the ongoing Los Angeles auto show, is a crucial model for GM’s luxury brand. It replaces both the DTS and the STS and it has the difficult task of winning over customers that prefer imports while keeping traditional buyers with the brand.

Although the front-wheel drive layout (all-wheel drive is optional) will not impress younger clients that are more into rear-wheel drive performance-oriented cars, the XTS’ sleek styling and luxurious interior will definitely appeal to traditional Cadillac DTS buyers.

“People still think of big Cadillacs as old and stodgy,” said Hampden Tener, Cadillac product planning director. “The XTS’ job is to shatter that perception,” he added. Equipment like the Cadillac User Experience, or CUE, an in-car navigation and media system with tablet computer-style touch screens, the optional all-wheel drive system, the standard adaptive suspension (Magnetic Ride Control) and the long list of safety features hopefully will help changing the image of big Cadillacs.

Sized similarly to the Audi A6, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the BMW 5-Series, the Cadillac XTS aims to offer the interior room and luxury of large sedans like the Audi A8 and BMW 7-Series. “Room and luxury is where we’ll outperform” competitors, Tener said. Cadillac’s U.S. sales rose 5.6 percent this year through October. GM relies on two models, the CTS midsize sedan and the SRX sport-utility vehicle, for almost 75% of Cadillac sales.