Special Coverage

Greater L.A. Auto Show

LOS ANGELES – General Motors today unveils at the Los Angeles auto show the new-for-’13 Cadillac XTS, a large sedan replacing the outgoing DTS and STS models and the first of the brand’s products to feature its much-touted Cadillac User Experience driver interface technology.

The 5-passenger XTS also will offer an available Haldex-sourced all-wheel-drive system; GM’s advanced Magnetic Ride Control suspension-damping technology; and its HiPer Strut front-suspension design, as well as a raft of new safety items such as automatic braking.

“The Cadillac XTS represents a new formula for luxury, driven by advanced technology,” says Don Butler, vice president-marketing at Cadillac.

“XTS showcases the evolution of our Art & Science philosophy, merging the best technical ideas with the continued refinement of Cadillac design,” he says in a statement ahead of the unveiling.

However, unlike its concept-car predecessor unveiled at last year’s Detroit auto show, the production-model XTS shown in Los Angeles does not include a plug-in hybrid electric-propulsion system to complement its 3.6L direct-injection gasoline engine.

GM admitted shortly after the concept car’s introduction that its hybrid powertrain not only was meant to test how much alternative propulsion a luxury customer would consider, but also to publicize a PHEV technology the auto maker wants to put in a future vehicle.

GM since has shown the Cadillac Ciel concept with a hybrid transmission suggesting similarities with the current 2 Mode Hybrid technology available on its trucks.

GM also recently confirmed future production of the Cadillac ELR using the Chevy Volt’s extended-range EV technology.

The Epsilon-based XTS will drive its wheels via GM’s latest, in-house 6-speed automatic transmission.

The powertrain will deliver estimated fuel economy of 17-28 mpg (13.8-8.3 L/100 km) city and 17-27 mpg (13.8-8.7 L/100 km) highway in front-wheel-drive and AWD configurations, respectively, according to preliminary specifications.

Those efficiency numbers would not improve on the 18-27 mpg city/highway (13.1-8.7 L/100 km) delivered by FWD and AWD versions of the current-generation STS, which mates the same 3.6L DIG engine to an older 6-speed automatic.

But buyers moving down from the DTS would realize significant gains from the fuel economy of 15-23 mpg (15.7-10.2 L/100 km) city and 15-22 mpg (15.7-10.7 L/100 km) highway with that car’s pair of V-8 engines and antiquated 4-speed automatic transmission.

Technology permeates the XTS elsewhere, most notably with the first application of CUE.

Short for Cadillac User Experience, CUE merges vehicle information and entertainment into what GM considers a new level of connectivity.

According to GM, the system can mate with up to 10 Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices, USBs, SD cards and MP3 players, and using fewer buttons, larger icons and natural voice commands for less overall complexity than similar systems from rivals.

CUE centralizes information on an 8-in. (20-cm) LCD touch screen, which uses capacitive switches to operate with the touch of a finger. OnStar functions also can be accessed through CUE.

The XTS incorporates GM’s Magnetic Ride Control technology, which reads changes in the roadway in a split second and instantly makes the proper suspension adjustment.

The auto maker’s HiPer Strut front suspension reduces the torque steer inherent in FWD vehicles and enhances steering feel.

An available Haldex AWD system employing an electronic limited-slip differential complements MRC and HiPer Strut. GM’s StabiliTrak electronic stability control is standard.

Other key safety items on the XTS include automatic braking systems designed to intervene and prevent impact with other objects, forward-collision alert, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, blind-zone protection alert, adaptive forward lighting and a rear-vision camera with dynamic guide lines to assist parking.

The XTS stops short of being the range-topping, 6-figure car that industry watchers continue to anticipate from Cadillac.

The sedan instead seeks to keep the traditional large luxury sedan buyer in the GM fold, rather than bid for those considering vehicles such as the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

XTS production begins in the spring at GM’s Oshawa, ON, Canada, assembly plant. Pricing has not been announced.