Cadillac’s XTS wasn’t terribly underpowered to begin with. The base car’s naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V6 makes 304 hp, which is actually more than the 4.6-liter V8 found in the DTS and STS sedans it replaces.
That’s where the Vsport package comes in. To dispel possible confusion, “Vsport” and boisterous V8 gas chuggers like the CTS-V are not a part of the same line. Instead, Vsport models serve as an in-between to give Cadillac customers a higher-performing, premium package without venturing into brutal eight-cylinder territory.
Fittingly, exterior alterations with this model are minimal. A different grille in the front and special badge onthe trunk lid are the sole cosmetic changes.
Meet the 2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport, the first of two Cadillac sedans that will the company’s twin turbocharged 3.6-liter V6. Expect a serious power boost, because the force-fed engine makes 410 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, the latter of which is available at just 1,900 rpm.
For the record, that’s an increase of 106 hp an 105 lb-ft of torque over the standard V6.
Of course, the more powerful engine is only offered in all-wheel drive models; a necessary addition to a car that would otherwise be sending an overpowering amount of torque to its front wheels.
The same six-speed automatic transmission is in use, and all of those items combine to offer an EPA-rated 16 MPG in the city, 24 on the highway or 19 overall.
Cadillac hasn’t released official 0-60 sprint times, but suffice it to say the car is fast. We’ve been assured it will do the test in less than five seconds.
Step on the throttle and you’ll find a surge of power in most conditions because peak torque is available from the aforementioned 1,900 rpm mark, but remains strong until 5,600 rpm.
But is that really a good thing? In some cases it is, but not always. Yes, the car lunges forward easily, but it at times the front wheels still feel overpowered.
Passing on a two-lane road can feel a little dicey. If you push deep into the gas pedal and expect the sort of sure-footedness that comes with rear-biased all-wheel drive systems, you might be disappointed. However, the car does use an electronic limited slip differential to help better distribute power left to right in the rear.
2014 Cadillac XTS Vsport 029Cadillac also recalibrated its electric power steering system for its Vsport models to feel stiffer in sport mode, which is accessed by pulling the gear shift lever down into “S” setting. The stiffer feeling masks the occasionally squirrely front wheels, but the problem is still present.
Pressed hard, you’ll also feel some body roll. Of course, the XTS was never meant to dart through tight corners. It’s meant to ferry adults comfortably with minimal outside noise. This it does very well, and the added brawn underscores that ability in bright red ink.
Still, it’s hard not to want more from a car with such a potent engine.
And how potent it is!
High output isn’t the powerplant’s only intoxicating quality. It makes a beautiful noise. A throaty growl is audible in the cabin, and it sounds more like a junior V8 than a six cylinder.
The thought that Cadillac will be offering this engine in the upcoming CTS is cause for celebration. More exciting is the fact that it will get even more power and a new 8-speed automatic transmission.