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2016 Cadillac XTS Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Cadillac XTS was new.


Performance: 7.8

Reviewers say that, overall, the 2016 Cadillac XTS can't match the performance of many luxury rivals, including sportier Cadillacs like the CTS and ATS. The XTS excels, however, as a comfort-oriented cruiser thanks to its smooth ride. Critics add that its handling is surprisingly composed compared with that of earlier full-size Cadillacs. They note that the XTS' base V6 isn't particularly powerful, but they love the potent twin-turbocharged Vsport engine.

  • Thanks to the standard adaptive suspension and trusty steering, the XTS manages to shrink its big body around the driver. Nonetheless, rival sedans are generally better bets in terms of driving dynamics." -- Edmunds
  • Although the standard XTS is by no means an all-out performance sedan, it does make a few conscious choices intended to satisfy the driver." -- AutoTrader
  • The entire XTS experience is far more concerned with plush comfort than handling prowess, and while this Vsport model certainly ups the ante with more power and some mild suspension and steering tweaks, it's not exactly what we'd call a particularly engaging experience." -- Autoblog (2014)
  • "As noted, this Cadillac is no autobahn-burner like its CTS and ATS siblings, but it's no slouch either. The V6, automatic and all-wheel-drive do a good job of getting the car moving, and while the ride is smooth, there's good body control so there's never a feeling that this is some big Cadillac whale from the past." -- AutoWeek (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The base 2016 Cadillac XTS comes with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 305 horsepower. The Vsport model has a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 that produces 410 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard with either engine. The base 2016 XTS gets an EPA-estimated 18/28 mpg city/highway, which is a bit below average for the class.

Critics write that power from the base V6 is adequate but unimpressive. Most prefer the potent twin-turbo Vsport model, which they say gives you excellent highway passing power without compromising the cabin’s quiet ride. Reviewers note that the automatic transmission shifts smoothly.

  • "The 3.6-liter V6 may not win any drag races, but it plays well with the 6-speed transmission, offering decent acceleration and responsiveness." -- AutoTrader
  • In the engine room, the Vsport's turbo V6 really transforms the driving experience. Not that there's anything terribly wrong with the base engine, but the standard XTS just lacks the confident oomph of traditional Cadillacs. The muscular Vsport, on the other hand, feels more like an old Caddy V8 off the line. Springing for the upgraded engine is a no-brainer if power is a priority." -- Edmunds
  • "This added power makes the XTS Vsport an incredible highway cruiser, able to pass slow-moving semis with absolutely no drama, all while keeping true to the sedan's core values of being comfortable, quiet and solid on the road." -- Autoblog (2014)
  • The power from the V6 in my opinion was just OK around town-this is a heavy car, though the six is smooth as are the shifts from the transmission." -- AutoWeek (2013)

Handling and Braking

The 2016 XTS comes standard with front-wheel drive and Magnetic Ride Control, an adaptive suspension system that can scan for bumps in the road and adjust the suspension to best handle conditions. All-wheel drive is optional on models with the base engine and standard on the Vsport model.

Test drivers think the XTS has composed handling and responsive steering. However, they agree that the XTS’ priority is a smooth ride, which the Magnetic Ride Control system ably delivers.

  • "Highway cruising is the XTS's strong suit, with the cabin effectively insulated from outside noise and the adaptive suspension smoothing out rough pavement. The Magnetic Ride Control feature proved its adaptability when we pushed the XTS on Malibu's winding canyon roads, where it acquitted itself with impressive nimbleness considering its overall bulk and smooth riding characteristics." -- AutoTrader
  • "Comfort is king for a traditional Cadillac sedan, and the XTS doesn't disappoint. The same adaptive suspension that keeps the body composed in corners provides a buttery-smooth ride on most surfaces. It's far from the floaty Cadillac land yachts of yore, but when you're rolling down the highway in an XTS, there's no doubt you're in the lap of luxury." -- Edmunds
  • "In either front- or all-wheel-drive form, the XTS has poise. It's not overtly sporty, but the chassis offers control and confidence that bucks big-Caddy traditions." -- Car and Driver (2013)
  • "Steering is on point. It has a much better turn-in and much better turn radius than I expected." -- AutoWeek (2013)

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