Auto identification anomaly

My First 2013 Cadillac XTS SightingIf there’s one thing I’m confidently skilled at, as I’m sure are many reading this, it’s identifying vehicles.

A decade or two ago, when there seemed to be more storage space in my head, I could ID even trim levels at a distance. Growing up, I wondered how I might put that misfit skill to work for me. Decades later, I still don’t know that I can, at least not in an income-generating way.

In any event, I love it when the auto analysis part of my gray matter is tripped up by a never before or seldom seen vehicle.

Today I had one of those events.

Cadillac’s stopgap range-topper in the wild
2013 Cadillac XTS in the wild - frontToday I had stopped by a couple of stores in the local shopping plaza (apparently indoor malls have grown passe).

The area has a good variety of new and older cars. A few had already raised flags in my head but, while passing a JC Pennys, my eye darted and tugged from the roadway towards a big, shiny white sedan.

Coming to an unnecessary stop (there was no one behind me), it took a couple of seconds for me to feel comfortable with my conclusion. Sure enough, my initial assessment was right. I was seeing my first 2013 Cadillac XTS.

2013 Cadillac XTS at 2012 LA Auto ShowActually, the first time I saw an XTS in person was at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, last January (shown left).

For anyone not familiar with it, the XTS is Cadillac’s largest sedan. Whether it stands as the brand’s flagship is a matter of debate. Especially since rumors of an impending proper flagship have solidified over the past year. What does that mean?

Probably the most controversial part about the XTS is it’s front-wheel-drive chassis and subsequently stub-nosed design. (All-wheel-drive is available but it is nevertheless a front-wheel-drive based configuration.)

While there is little debate that Cadillac has mastered making the most of front-wheel-drive architectures, the caliber the brand is reestablishing itself in darn near demands vehicles employing the long-time standard configuration of rear-wheel-drive. There are not only advantages to performance but styling as well.

2013 Cadillac XTS Platinum

The XTS shown above is a Platinum model, just like the one I saw and photographed at the auto show. The Platinum package is what you order if you want the works. Sort of like a pizza with everything on it. (Almost everything; I can’t see anchovies or even mushrooms equating to anything good.)

2013 Cadillac XTS base - interiorRegardless, the base car is no stripper model. It comes standard with Cadillac’s new CUE, a cutting-edge in-car interface.

CUE establishes several industry firsts: proximity sensing which alters displayed commands and information when it senses your hand reaching for the panel; haptic feedback which causes digitally-simulated buttons to click as a physical button would when pressed; capacitive multi-touch interface which allows for now-familiar tap, flick, swipe and spread finger gestures; and natural speech recognition so you don’t have to speak unnaturally to activate commands. Interestingly, CUE runs on a Linux operating system which is known for its stability.

2013 Cadillac XTS base - interior profile

Although, at least initially, the XTS is only available with a 304 HP 3.6-liter V-6 engine, the division has apparently been hard at work on turbos. Further, all XTS models come standard with Cadillac’s internationally renowned Magnetic Ride Control system. The system is so good that Ferrari licensed the technology for use on some of their sports cars (with Cadillac making note of the fact in one of their recent commercials).

Suffice it to say that Cadillac held no punches with the XTS. Sure it shares some behind-the-scenes stuff with other GM cars, and instead of pushing it will pull. But it still bears the maximum, big-car torch for Cadillac, for now. Until the near-certain even-better “standard of the world” sedan is introduced sometime in the next few years, the XTS will fit the bill for many consumers with the money to spend.

When the pearlescent beauty caught my eye today, the driver had just parked and was exiting the car. He was old. Very old. In fact by the time I was done looking, he still hadn’t made it to the back of the car. I parked and came back later to take my pictures.

In this post’s gallery, I provided the pictures I took today, a few from the LA Auto Show, and still more courtesy of General Motors Company that I’d initially planned to use in a post on CUE.

Continue below to the photo gallery.

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