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Concept-Cadillac XTS Platinum Preview

Concept-Cadillac XTS Platinum Preview

By Jeff Youngs, February 24, 2012
Cadillac XTS Platinum ConceptCritical Knowledge:
  • Concept foreshadows future full-size Cadillac flagship sedan
  • Next step in the brand's "Art & Science" design philosophy
  • Showcases Cadillac's emerging top-of-the-line Platinum series of models
  • Designed "from the inside out"
  • Premium, hand cut-and-sewn interior materials
  • Organic Light-Emitting Diode (O-LED) displays in place of traditional gauges and screens
  • Interior design focused on minimizing the prevalence of traditional buttons and switches
  • Display screens blended into a flowing instrument panel
  • Spacious rear seat with access to car's connectivity and infotainment features
  • Vertical headlamps and taillamps with integrated light pipes
  • Headlights feature LED and adaptive forward lighting technology
  • Direct-injected, 3.6-liter V-6 gas engine paired with plug-in hybrid electric propulsion system
  • Combined system output is approximately 350 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque
  • Battery can be fully charged from standard electrical outlet in approximately five hours
  • Can be driven in pure electric mode for short commutes
  • All-wheel drive
  • Magnetic Ride Control
  • 20-inch, 11-spoke brushed aluminum wheels
  • Special Bridgestone tires created specifically for the XTS Platinum Concept
  • Introduced at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit
Introduction
Engaged in a serious game of catch-up in terms of bringing a competitive full-size luxury sedan to market, Cadillac has taken a significant first step by introducing the XTS Platinum Concept. Unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the XTS Platinum Concept represents the next step in the brand's "Art & Science" design philosophy, and foreshadows the next generation of full-size Cadillac luxury models. Considering its competitors have been building and selling state-of-the-art, finely crafted, full-size luxury models with compelling designs for years, the XTS can't come a moment too soon for Cadillac-or General Motors, for that matter.

Showcasing Cadillac's emerging top-of-the-line Platinum series of models, the XTS Platinum Concept features premium hand cut-and-sewn interior materials, thoughtful design touches, and a spacious rear seat with access to the car's connectivity and infotainment features. Laden with new technologies, the interior of the XTS Platinum Concept features Organic Light-Emitting Diode (O-LED) displays in place of traditional gauges and screens, and an interior design focused on minimizing the prevalence of traditional buttons and switches, including multiple display screens that flow together on the instrument panel.

The XTS Platinum Concept isn't all about visual or tactile things, however. It also features a direct-injected, 3.6-liter V-6 gas engine paired with a plug-in hybrid propulsion system, offering total system output of 350 horsepower (est.) and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. Combined with all-wheel drive, Magnetic Ride Control and specially designed, 20-inch Bridgestone tires, Cadillac promises the XTS Platinum Concept offers dynamic performance. But if the brand hopes to continue to build on the momentum the CTS Sedan has helped to create, it will need to turn that promise into reality-sooner rather than later.

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Cadillac XTS Platinum ConceptInterior Design
Cadillac says that the XTS Platinum Concept was designed "from the inside out, featuring a new concept for the interface between the driver and the auto electronics." Central to the theme are multiple Organic Light-Emitting Diode (O-LED) instrument panel displays, blended into a flowing instrument panel, that replace traditional gauges and screens, allowing designers to focus on minimizing the prevalence of buttons and switches, all part of a greater effort to fully integrate the car's entertainment, navigation and information systems. Cadillac refers to the unique approach as a "dead front" design, because the panels appear black until the car is turned on and the screens illuminate.

Beyond cutting-edge electronics, the interior of the XTS Platinum Concept shares many of the same features as its current lineup of Platinum Edition models, but takes the design philosophy one step further. For example, the XTS Platinum Concept uses a new style of automotive suede material on the leather seats and door trim that features a laser-etched pattern.

According to the maker, 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. Detailed stitching is used throughout the interior, including the seats, instrument panel and door panels. Passengers in the rear compartment of the XTS Platinum Concept also have access to the car's connectivity feature, along with a range of infotainment choices.

Cadillac XTS Platinum ConceptExterior Design
Cadillac design director Clay Dean describes the exterior of the XTS Platinum Concept as, ".the antithesis of the conventional three-box sedan, suggesting the active evolution of Cadillac's design language." In other words, while the XTS Platinum Concept doesn't necessarily set a new design standard for the luxury sedan of the future, it is more accurately viewed as the next, progressive step in the brand's Art & Science design philosophy, not veering too far away from the angular look of the current-generation CTS that has generally been well received.

Signature elements of Cadillac's Art & Science design language include vertical headlamps and taillamps, with integrated light pipes and richly detailed lighting components. The headlamps feature light-emitting diode technology, which provides brighter illumination while using 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.

The exterior design of the XTS Platinum Concept is marked by a sweeping profile that culminates in a short, high deck lid, which includes a rear spoiler and incorporates a center high-mounted stop lamp. Other design details include a high, sloping beltline and flared fenders that wrap tightly around 20-inch wheels and tires. Additionally, brushed billet aluminum trim is used selectively, and the wheels feature a brushed aluminum face accented with bright inserts within the spokes.


Cadillac XTS Platinum ConceptHardware
A new generation of full-size Cadillac sedans calls for a new generation of advanced powertrains, and the driving force inside the XTS Platinum Concept is the brand's most technologically advanced yet. The concept features a direct-injected, 3.6-liter V-6 gas engine paired with a plug-in hybrid electric propulsion (PHEV) system. Combined system output is approximately 350 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque, and Cadillac says the vehicle can be fully charged from a standard external electrical outlet in approximately five hours, provided the vehicle is not in use at the time.

According to Cadillac, the plug-in system operates at maximum efficiency when operating on power the battery has drawn from the electric grid, further claiming that, in some conditions, such as urban commutes, drivers can experience efficiency that doubles that of conventional hybrids. At higher speeds, or during brisk acceleration, a combination of engine power and electric power, or engine power alone, propels the vehicle.

The XTS Platinum Concept also features an advanced all-wheel-drive system, stability control, traction control, and GM's Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) suspension (see the Technology section below for more information). The concept rides on 20-inch, 11-spoke brushed aluminum wheels wrapped in special Bridgestone tires created specifically for the XTS Platinum Concept.

Technology
The suspension on the XTS Platinum Concept features GM's Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) technology, which the automaker pioneered and first applied to the Cadillac Seville STS in 2002. Since then, MRC availability has expanded to other models in GM's product portfolio, including the Chevrolet Corvette, Buick Lucerne and even the Cadillac Escalade full-size luxury SUV (Ferrari also uses MRC on its 599 GTB Fiorano).

According to Cadillac, the MRC system in the XTS Platinum Concept uses shocks controlled by advanced magneto-rheological technology, rather than mechanical valves, to greatly accelerate response time and precision. Based on inputs from sensors at all four wheels, the MRC system effectively "reads the road" in millisecond increments, making adjustments in real time to provide smooth, crisp handling.

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