By Derek Price
CNHI News Service
— 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.
Instead of traditional gauges, the XTS has a big, high-resolution digital display that looks phenomenal. Not only does it have an animated, futuristic graphic design that will wow your passengers, but it's also easily customized via a switch on the steering wheel.
Want a bigger tachometer for spirited driving? How about putting navigation info on the left and your current fuel economy on the right? Every driver has different things they'd like to see, and the XTS makes it simple to customize the look and information of the gauges based on your own personal preferences.
To me, this is what a Cadillac should be. It's roomy, comfortable, quiet, packed with new technology and — with the addition of the Vsport model — generously powered under the hood.
Derek Price is an independent automotive columnist. Reach him at email@example.com.