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October 14, 2013

Comfy Cadillac XTS adds turbo power

With only two exceptions, Cadillac's entire lineup has taken a page from BMW by offering firm, sporty suspensions and an invigorating driving experience.

One of those exceptions is the giant Escalade, a truck-based SUV that is simply too big and too heavy to follow that path.

The other is this car, the full-size XTS sedan that was introduced last year. It's designed to appeal to Cadillac's traditional customers who want a roomy, smooth-riding, quiet and luxurious car in which to waft down the highway.

This year, the wafting gets a bit faster.

Cadillac has added a new engine to the XTS lineup for 2014, and it's a spectacular one: a twin-turbocharged V6 that makes 410 horsepower.

With direct injection and variable valve timing, this is a cutting-edge engine that makes more power than any V6 I can recall driving. It's so powerful, in fact, that Cadillac calls this car the XTS Vsport, influenced by the nomenclature of Caddy's insanely fast, Corvette-V8-powered V models.

Still, it doesn't turn the XTS into a true sports sedan, and I think that's a good thing. It's still a relaxing, comfortable car to spend long stretches of time in, which I can't always say about the luxury cars that try — often unsuccessfully — to impersonate BMWs.

In addition to the new engine, there are several noteworthy upgrades to the XTS just one year after its introduction.

You can get it with a two-screen DVD system in the back this year, along with automatically dimming headlights and Automatic Parking Assist, which can steer the car into a parallel parking spot on its own.

But my favorite feature of all is something the XTS launched from the get-go in 2013: its digital gauge cluster behind the steering wheel.

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