Don’t get me wrong, I love SUVs. Love the high-up, nose-bleed command driving position, love the versatility of all that load-carrying space, love the thought of being able to four-wheel-drive up Mount Kinabalu if I felt the urge.
But once in a while, I’ll slide behind the wheel of some sleek, high-luxe sedan with a ton of power, and remember how I miss the joy and agility of a conventional four-door.
Case in point; the 2019 Cadillac XTS V-Sport I’ve been driving. I know, I know, most auto industry observers will tell you this Cadillac oddball is about three years past its sell-by date. They’ll tell you the newer CT6 flagship is sportier, and the XT5 sport-ute a much better all-rounder.
They’ll even share the rumors that the XTS will vanish from this earth by the end of the year as Cadillac euthanizes each and every one of its sedans to focus single-mindedly on SUVs.
Yet there is something so wonderfully appealing about this sexy-looking four-door with its great lines, low, swoopy roof and Teflon-smooth twin-turbo V6 under the hood cranking out a non-trivial 410 horsepower.
The XTS actually dates back to 2012, which makes it from the Paleolithic Age in car years. It was based on the same front-drive platform that the Buick LaCrosse and Chevy Impala ride on. So no real sophistication here.
But for 2018, it got a worthwhile mid-life refresh, with new front and rear fascias, a new deeper Cadillac ‘shield’ grille, new LED lights and new wheel designs
You can drive away in a new XTS for around $52,000. But if you want the whole nine yards, it’s the Platinum V-Sport AWD that should command your attention. The reason? It couples that 410-hp bi-turbo V6 with all-wheel drive making it a delight to drive
And this is a huge, roomy, stretch-out-and-take-a-nap sedan that we Floridians used to love back in the day. We’re talking Town Car-big, Crown Vicky-big, Caddy DTS-big.
Open a rear door, step inside and Shaq would be able to cross his Nikes here. It feels like a prom-queen limo back there with so much stretch-out space.
Pop open the trunk and Tony Soprano would clap his hands in glee at the sight of so much bodily space. If you’re counting, there’s an impressive18 cubic feet of room which roughly equates to one of the smaller PODS storage units.
And being the Premium-spec XTS, there’s more gorgeous semi-aniline leather than a Coach handbag store. Acres of it. All beautifully stitched and over-stuffed, and complimented by hand-lacquered wood and satin-finished metal.
As much as I hate the car’s ‘Sport’ moniker – it creates too high an expectation of dynamism – this V-Sport XTS can certainly shuffle along with verve.
The twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 is a jewel of a motor. You can’t argue with 410-hp and 369 lb-ft of torque – those are serious performance machinery outputs. Stomp on the gas and the big Caddy will hoist its skirts and charge to 60mph from standstill in a creditable 5.2 seconds. And, as if sensing your need for speed, its normal hushed silence hardens into a lovely muted snarl.
But the real surprise and delight of the V-Sport is the way it handles itself through the twisties. You’d think this old-school cruiser would roll around like a freighter in a Force Five at the first sight of a curve. Not so.
Featuring standard Magnetic Ride Control suspension with rear air springs, body roll is kept well in-check, while the 20-inch rubber at each corner delivers plenty of grip at the front end.
That said, let’s not get carried away here. Both Cadillac’s CTS and CT6 sedans will run rings around the big XTS in any handling face-off. But in ride comfort and hushed refinement, it’s a hands-down winner.
Of course I’ve left the two-ton elephant in the room to the very end. The price of this nicely-equipped Platinum V-Sport is a quite staggering $73,040. That’s the price of a 429-hp Mercedes-AMG E 53 sedan, or a 450-hp Audi S6. It makes absolutely no sense.
Maybe that tall-riding Cadillac XT5 Platinum sport-ute at $66-grand is looking more appealing by the minute. Have you seen how much ‘stuff’ it can carry?