The upcoming Cadillac XTS will notionally replace both the Cadillac DTS and the Cadillac STS. Certainly it seems a numeric replacement for the Cadillac DTS, as a FWD or AWD model with perhaps similar ride, handling and all-weather traction.
Replacement of the STS, originally intended to be Cadillac’s S-Class or BMW 7-Series Competitor by the upcoming XTS is more problematic. Although the AWD variant of the XTS can be tuned to have some rear-wheel drive dynamics, it is difficult for such a vehicle to have the control, predictability, and performance of a true rear-wheel drive sedan.
Once more Bloomberg reports that GM CEO Ed Whitacre has charged the team to do a business case analysis for Cadillac to develop a new high-end rear-wheel drive flagship:
The company has also started work on a flagship sedan for Cadillac, two of the people said. Designers are looking at several prototypes that differ from the XTS concept car on display at the Detroit auto show in January, they said. If GM’s board approves funding for the luxury car, intended to compete with BMW AG’s 7 Series, it wouldn’t be built for several years, they said.
It is not clear if this model would impact development of the XTS itself; I hope Cadillac moves forward with the release of a hybrid power-trained XTS while considering development of a new model. Production of the XTS really seems a no-brainer, building on the advantages and sales base of that platform and offering a high-end replacement for DTS buyers. Meanwhile, penciling in a high-end sedan above the CTS works. It would even make sense to plan a high-end variant of the next gen Alpha-platform CTS and make that the flagship.
There are still on-the-shelf technologies such as a hybrid power plant, Heads-up Display, lane departure warning, and blind-spot alert that are not available in the CTS family. Moreover, the magnetic suspension used so well in the current CTS-V could be offered in a high-end sedan as standard equipment.
I am excited if Cadillac brings on a high-end sedan stable-mate or Flagship. I hope that the Team does not take their eye off the ball however and send indecision to the showrooms instead of new models. Bring the XTS along and continue to work the business case for a high end RWD flagship.