Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept: “unexpected innovation in the most artful expression possible”

Cadillac Design Director Clay Dean introduced the new Cadillac XTS Concept car at the recent North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. Here is the video, and following the video is the spoken transcript:

Spoken Transcript: [With my comments – Bruce]

The XTS is the next expression of Cadillac’s Art and Science Philosophy demonstrated in a premium luxury sedan.

It’s about artfully exceeding the Customer’s daily needs, while updating the genre for a modern sensibility.  Understanding those needs led us to design the XTS from the inside out.   What we are suggesting is a personal headquarters.   An exquisitely crafted, spacious environment that provides gracious comfort and amenities for all passengers. Generous head, hip, and leg room are provided in both the front and rear compartments, so there is no need to apologize for your guests in the back seat.  They even get their own self-rising infotainment screens, and their own connectivity options.

The prevailing light creme color interior adds to the overall feeling of spaciousness and is contrasted with darker, richer element such as the steering wheel, the IP (instrument panel), the full length overhead console, and the center console.

The Platinum designation means that every detail was attended to with hand crafted perfection.  Intricate layers of rich materials build on each other throughout the cabin, interacting in a precise manner for enhanced overall effect.  Laser etched suedes and aniline leathers, satin metals, and burled birch wood — they all work together in a beautiful harmony.

[Aniline leathers are leathers treated with aniline, (an organic chemical) resulting in delicate, soft, supple leather]

We have also imagined a new way of interacting with the information control systems of the vehicle.  It’s a visionary interface that uses touch screens that are intuitive, and that are pleasing to use while embracing the latest technology.  A twelve inch organic LED screen (OLED) is reconfigurable, projecting driver information and state of the art graphics.

[This has a lot of interesting possibilities for bringing out additional information to the Driver.   Terrific flexibility in display]

XTS Platinum even acknowledges your arrival by illuminating the door handles with pools of light at the doors when you get into close proximity of the car, reinforcing the signature Cadillac light technology and instrumentation.

The exterior design reflects the evolution of Cadillac’s form and surface philosophy, with more emphasis put on the Art side of Art & Science, with graceful flowing forms and surfaces. Its sleek and elegant, with our attention turned to form and shape working in concert with line and edge.  And we see that in the overall profile of the car, which really provides a feeling of spaciousness with a contemporary but progressive flow.   The body side is also flowing and elegant, and even a little bit sensual, and it is all designed to evolve Cadillac’s form language and to appeal to the Premium Customer.

[Some pundits would like to see a longer hood.  I was expecting a longer wheelbase]

The familiar shield grill and the vertical light signatures in both the front and rear which are key elements to Cadillac’s identity are apparent on the XTS.  The large, 20″ wheels, and long wheelbase, and wide track all help to evoke spaciousness, stability, and build a strong presence, reinforcing this evolved form language for the next generation of Cadillac.  At the same time, XTS challenges the notion of traditional luxury by suggesting a replacement for the large displacement power-train: a plug-in, two-mode hybrid V6.

[This power train is basically available NOW, so bringing it to market in 2 years seems quite believable.  Cadillac has not confirmed production or a production date for the XTS but it is expected to go into production in 2012 as a 2013 model.  A hybrid version may or may not be available then.]

And All wheel drive makes the XTS name very appropriate.

[Technically, no.  BMW and others use X to indicate AWD; previously Cadillac had used X to suggest eXperimental, as in XLS, for Experimental Luxury Roadster, a car never made in AWD form]

The XTS Platinum Concept represents our desire to deliver unexpected innovation in the most artful expressions possible.

Reactions to the Cadillac XTS

Reactions though the day to the Cadillac XTS ranged from somewhat negative: only better that the current DTS but not really good — to very positive: “this is the sexiest concept car I have ever seen!”

The Cadillac XTS Platinum concept is unveiled Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. The XTS Platinum showcases Cadillac's top-of-the-line Platinum series of models, emphasizing luxury and technological features including a plug-in hybrid propulsion system. The XTS Platinum interior continues its tradition of hand cut-and-sewn materials and introduces a strategy of minimization of traditional buttons and switches. Designers blended the display screens into a flowing instrument panel that remains black until the car is turned on and the screens illuminate. X10SN_AS038 (Photo by John F. Martin for Cadillac) (01/12/2010)

Let’s look at some social media comments from the last 12 hours or so:


  • The Cadillac XTS is killer
  • The Cadillac XTS is Hot!
  • Cadillac XTS looks sharp
  • Wow! I think I like this better than the Lacrosse!
  • That’s a damn good looking car
  • New XTS from Cadillac Looks Awesome!!!
  • I thought that was terrific.
  • the Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept is sick!
  • Pretty Pretty new Cadillac! Where’s my rich husband?
  • Sweet!
  • The Cadillac XTS concept is the sexiest premium concept at #NAIAS hands down
  • looks like the USS Enterprise inside
  • XTS is stunning. Can’t say that for everything here today
  • The Cadillac XTS Platinum concept has the best-looking interior I’ve seen this side of Rolls-Royce and Bugatti.
  • Who is responsible for the Cadillac XTS introduction video?? It’s ridiculous, yet left me feeling very excited about this car
  • the most production ready “concept” we’ve ever seen
  • Cadillac XTS you have an interior that makes [my] mouth water. No. Make that drool
  • a real surprise
  • Cadillac XTS very nice in the metal. Taut, elegant, graceful. Quite an achievement for an FWD platform
  • Cadillac XTS looks sharp. Big step for Cadillac
  • It’s certainly worth the wait
  • Looks good. More subtle edge styling
  • very striking car with significant presence
  • If an interior like the one in the concept Cadillac XTS makes production I’ll be super impressed


  • XTS lacks the visual punch the Sixteen concept had. Too much glass in side profile for me.
  • If you are already driving a DTS, you’re probably always going to drive a Cadillac

Notes Re: Cadillac Unveils The XTS Platinum Concept

  • Highlights:

    • A new study re-imagining the luxury sedan, showcasing the progression of the Cadillac Art and Science philosophy
    • Designed from the inside out, featuring a new concept for the interface between the driver and the auto electronics
    • Plug-in hybrid system is matched with a 3.6L V-6 and all-wheel drive for dynamic and efficient performance

My Notes:

  • I am very excited about the possibilities for the 3.6L Hybrid Powerplant. A 350 hp variant of the 3.6L is just what the doctor ordered in fact for several Cadillac tasks.  I have been wanting Cadillac to produce just this powerplant.  Bring this to production Cadillac!
  • All wheel drive with a variable rear wheel drive balance at low additional weight cost is win/win (win/win).
  • I still would prefer a more distinctive hood line, but I’ll defer judgment until I can see the vehicle in person.
  • This is not the longer wheelbase (115″) I was expecting; the concept is 111.7″.
  • Love seeing magnetic ride control on the XTS. It is a terrific suspension system.

2010 Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept.

DETROIT – Cadillac unveiled the XTS Platinum Concept at the 2010 North American International Auto Show, suggesting a new paradigm for the luxury sedan of the future. The concept showcases Cadillac’s emerging top-of-the-line Platinum series of models, emphasizing new expressions of luxury and technological features, including a plug-in hybrid propulsion system.

The XTS Platinum Concept was designed from the inside out, re-imagining the luxury sedan as a personal headquarters, built for efficiency, luxury and connectivity. The concept introduces a new approach to in-car electronics that improves the form and function of the car’s entertainment, navigation and information systems.

“The XTS Platinum concept is the next expression of Cadillac’s Art and Science execution philosophy, reflecting our drive to deliver the latest innovations in the most artful manner,” said Bryan Nesbitt, Cadillac general manager. “We envisioned this concept as an automotive personal headquarters, using advanced technology to enable new levels of connectivity and luxury.”

The XTS Platinum Concept uses Cadillac’s 3.6L V-6 Direct Injection gas engine, paired with a plug-in hybrid system. The plug-in technology enables the battery to fully charge from a standard electrical outlet, enabling pure electric propulsion in many driving situations, especially urban commutes in which fuel efficiency may double that of a conventional hybrid.

Traditional luxury sedans were defined by elegant interiors and Cadillac’s XTS Platinum Concept propels that formula into the future. It delivers new approaches to luxury within a design that combines fine craftsmanship with customer-driven innovation. Like the current Platinum Edition products, such as Escalade Platinum and the STS and DTS Platinum sedans, the interior is based on hand cut-and-sewn materials. The XTS Platinum Concept injects more contemporary forms and themes into the interior design, including the use of Organic Light-Emitting Diode (O-LED) displays in place of traditional gauges and screens.

The concept previews a new integration philosophy guiding the development of future models with respect to in-car electronics. The intent is to progress Cadillac’s intuitive in-car electronics systems, typified by the deployable touch-screen navigation system that has been highly acclaimed in the brand’s CTS and SRX product lines. The XTS Platinum Concept previews this strategy via the minimization of traditional buttons and switches. Designers blended the display screens into a flowing instrument panel. They call it a “dead front” design, because the panels appear black until the car is turned on and the screens illuminate. The instrument panel itself reflects the XTS Platinum’s other focus – uncompromising luxury and attention to detail on the interior.

“The Platinum distinction in Cadillac means the fullest extent of luxury and technology and we’ve tried to reach even further with this concept,” said Clay Dean, Cadillac design director. “Just as the technology pushes the boundaries of what a Cadillac can offer, so do the details that make the XTS Platinum Concept an uncompromising experience.”

2010 Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept front seat tasteful, refined, and stylish

2010 Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept offers many luxury features such as dual rear entertainment systems

The interior takes inspiration from nature, specifically the intricate layers of petals that combine to form an orchid. Cadillac designers translated that into a layered and detailed interior. Light cream is the cabin’s primary color and is contrasted with darker elements, such as the steering wheel and an overhead console motif that runs the length of interior’s roof. The console is made of a richly finished wood and houses lighting features.

Premium leather seats include a new style of automotive suede, with a laser-etched pattern. The patterned material adorns the center sections of the seats and accents the door trim. Thoughtfully detailed stitching is used throughout the interior, including the seats, instrument panel and door panels. Passengers in the spacious rear compartment of the XTS Platinum Concept also have access to the car’s connectivity feature, along with a range of infotainment choices.

“We never lost sight of the fact that a large luxury sedan needs to be spacious and accommodating,” said Dean. “Passengers will find generous headroom, legroom and knee space, along with the technology elements that make the drive more productive.”

20" wheels, dramatically sculpted lines

A new proportion

The XTS Platinum Concept has a distinctive proportion that transcends the traditional aesthetic of luxury sedans and carries the brand’s Art and Science design in a more progressive manner. The unique proportion supports the “inside out” design priority, while creating a sleek profile that complements the car’s advanced technology elements and necessary aerodynamics.

“The XTS Platinum Concept design artfully conveys its focus on functionality through technology,” said Dean. “It is the antithesis of the conventional three-box sedan, suggesting the active evolution of Cadillac’s design language.”

A sweeping profile culminates in a short, high deck lid that meets the XTS Platinum Concept’s aerodynamic needs – including a rear spoiler mounted on the deck lid, incorporating the center high-mounted stop lamp. A high, sloping beltline gestures the vehicle forward, suggesting motion, while the fenders flare outward wrapping tightly around 20-inch wheels and tires. The wheel-to-body proportion was carefully tailored to visually communicate the car’s all-wheel-drive chassis.

Like the interior, the exterior elements are precisely tailored and elegantly detailed. Brushed billet aluminum trim is used selectively and the 20-inch, 11-spoke wheels feature a brushed aluminum face accented with bright inserts within the spokes. The wheels are wrapped with special Bridgestone tires that were created specifically for the XTS Platinum Concept.

Signature elements essential to Cadillac’s Art and Science design language include vertical headlamp and taillamps, with integrated light pipes and richly detailed lighting components. The headlamps feature light-emitting diode technology for bright illumination that requires less energy, as well as Cadillac’s Adaptive Forward Lighting technology, which turns the headlamps with the direction of the front wheels for greater visibility in turns.

Cadillac XTS offers excellent rear seating

Purposeful and efficient performance

The XTS Platinum concept’s plug-in hybrid electric propulsion system (PHEV) builds on the experience Cadillac has gained with the Escalade Hybrid and Escalade Platinum Hybrid flagship models. The plug-in capability boosts the car’s electric-only driving capability, offering additional battery energy capacity and enabling it to recharge from a standard external electrical outlet. The key benefit of external plug-in recharging is that in many situations – such as overnight parking – the battery can fully recharge in roughly five hours while the car is not in use. The plug-in system operates at maximum efficiency when operating on power the battery has drawn from the electric grid. In some conditions, such as urban commutes, drivers can experience efficiency that doubles that of conventional hybrids.

At higher speeds or when conditions demand it, such as brisk acceleration, a combination of engine power and electric power or engine power only, propels the vehicle. The combination of the Direct Injection V-6 engine and the PHEV system featuring fully electric variable drive provides a spirited driving experience. The system provides an estimated 350 horsepower (260 kW) and 295 lb.-ft. of torque (400 Nm).

Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) enables the XTS Platinum Concept to deliver superior road-holding performance while maintaining luxury car composure in “regular” driving conditions. It uses shocks controlled by advanced magneto-rheological technology, rather than mechanical valves, to greatly accelerate response time and precision.

MRC uses electronic sensors at all four wheels to literally “read the road” every millisecond, making constant adjustments to damping to create virtually instantaneous and extremely precise control of body motions.

An advanced, specially calibrated all-wheel-drive system ensures optimal traction in wet and slippery conditions, and helps deliver maximum traction while cornering. Four-wheel disc brakes, with four-channel ABS, StabiliTrak stability control and full-function traction control complete the drivetrain details.

“The XTS Platinum Concept was designed to deliver an engaging driving experience without compromising the functional features, space and comfort customers seek in a luxury car,” said Nesbitt. “It is a new vision of luxury that uses advanced technology to deliver functionality efficiently and rewardingly.”


Vehicle type: luxury sedan concept
Wheelbase (in / mm): 111.7 / 2837
Length (in / mm): 203.5 / 5170
Width (in / mm): 74.8 / 1900
Height (in / mm): 59.1 / 1500
Track (in / mm): 62.6 / 1589 (front); 62.8 / 1594 (rear)
Powertrain: plug-in hybrid system with 3.6L Direct Injection gas engine (with variable valve timing); lithium ion battery
Suspension: four-wheel independent with Magnetic Ride Control.
Brakes: four-wheel disc with electric park brake system
Wheels: 20-in front / 20-in rear
Estimated power: 350 hp (260 kW) / 295 lb.-ft. (400 Nm)