Arriving in Berlin to drive a Cadillac is novel enough, but arriving there to drive the new XT5, which launches Caddy’s new crossover platform? That’s a new chapter entirely.
Climbing into the driver’s seat of the of the XT5 I had an unsettling thought; first class isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I’d been bumped up to the loftiest echelon of flight only to be disappointed that my bulkhead seat guaranteed my inability to stretch out and get comfortable. Not so in the well appointed XT5: I was able to dial the leather-clad seat in exactly the way I like it, with plenty of room for a nap should the occasion arrive… note that I don’t generally drive in the supine position.
Not only does the XT5 offer a cushy cabin, it also has room for five adults to ride in realtive comfort— a XL size grown up might not relish the centre rear position. On the whole, the cars capacity is pretty impressive, considering that doesn’t feel huge going down the road. Ride and handling are better than the SRX.
As recent Camaro accolytes, we can tell you that GM’s new platforms have been quite impressive of late, and this all new chassis and structure definitely hits all t heirght marks. The new XT5 is126 kg lighter than the current SRX , and 45 kg lighter than the Audi Q5 – despite the Cadillac being almost 18cm longer. The new XT5 is more than 295 kg lighter than the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, achieving this with no compromise to body rigidity and crash performance. Rear-seat legroom is increased 8.1 cm in the XT5, compared to the SRX, although it’s a tad cozy for tall people.
“The new XT5 takes the lessons learned from Cadillac’s highly acclaimed lightweight and agile luxury cars and adjusts the formula for the unique desires of the crossover vehicle customer,” says David Leone, Cadillac executive chief engineer. “Reducing mass and bulk not only improves driving dynamics, it enables us to improve interior space and fuel efficiency.”
With a wheelbase that is 5 cm longer than the SRX, the XT% gets a wider track, enabling more useable interior space. At the same time, the XT5’s overall length, width and height are fractionally smaller than the SRX, giving the car a firmly planted stance, and a lean and sleek look. Boasting a healthy 310-horsepower and 271 lb-ft of torque, the new V6 uses variable valve timing for strong response and smooth power delivery. Cadillac’s new Stop/Start technology automatically stop and start the engine when the vehicle is at rest in traffic stops, saving fuel and reducing emissions, while enhancing the quietness expected of a luxury vehicle.
The crossover is gear rich, with a new 8-speed automatic transmission as standard, debuting Electronic Precision Shift – the first electronically controlled transmission shifter for a Cadillac. Caddy says this new gizmo reduces noise and vibration, and allows further use of the cabin space with a storage space beneath the center console— we tend to beleive them after a spin.
Athough not standard kit, the optiional “twin clutch” all-wheel drive system continuously and automatically delivers the best possible traction across a variety of conditions. The XT5 actively manages torque distribution between the front and rear axles, analyzing wheel speed, throttle and surface conditions to apply torque to the wheels that have the best traction.
Cadillac’s evolving design language has never looked batter— the XT5 has a strong visual presence, a lean, taut, liquid quality to the surfaces with flowing, uninterrupted lines separated by crisp edges. “The XT5 has a great stance, with wheels further to the corners and overhangs reduced,” said Andrew Smith, Cadillac executive director of global design. “Our team continues to evolve the design language of Cadillac. We believe that luxury crossover customers particularly focus on interior design and materials,” said Smith. “This design direction is predicated on modern craftsmanship and the artistic integration of technology.”
Inside the XT5, surfaces are wider and more horizontal in orientation, emphasizing efficient use of space. Like all Cadillac models, the interior is assembled with cut-and-sewn wrapped panels, rather than molded surfaces typical of cheaper rides. “Our focus for the interior was sophistication and simplicity, ensuring an economy of lines to reduce visual noise and clutter,” Smith said. “A feeling of space is the ultimate luxury, so we sought to emphasize that. We also use a greater variety of authentic materials and palette of colors to deliver expressive interiors in all trim levels.” XT5’s new suspension features lightweight components with a MacPherson Strut design in the front and a five-link independent design at the rear.
The base model, which is anything but basic, includes 18-inchers with 20-inch wheels optional. All versions equipped with 20-inch wheels have a Continuous Damping Control system to manage ride control in real time. Additional ride bushings on the rear cradle are exclusive to the XT5 Platinum model and are specifically tuned to provide added ride comfort for rear seat passengers.
Caddilac has a good job putting together an SUV that is both practical and highly appealing to our region, a place that is surely the last bastion for largish cars. Not that their aren’t bigger cars out their, the XT5 is downright sprightly compared to the occasional Ford Excursion out on the road— but than, they don’t make those anymore (much to the regret of approximately 10 people). Ultimately, reviews are only so useful, so if you’re keen to find out whether you’re an XT5 fan by nature, I suggest you head down to the dealership and decide for yourself.
3.6-liter V6, eight-speed automatic, front- or all-wheel drive 310 hp @ 4,800 rpm, 271 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm 1808 kg 0-100kph TBD 19 mpg city, 27 mpg hwy
Base Luxury Premium Luxury Platinum $ 45,405 $ 52,269 $55,379 $65,743 Prices are GCC based, and do not include any registration costs, additional import duties and taxes.
“The new XT5 takes the lessons learned from Cadillac’s highly acclaimed lightweight and agile luxury cars and adjusts the formula for the unique desires of the crossover vehicle customer.”
“Our focus for the interior was sophistication and simplicity, ensuring an economy of lines to reduce visual noise and clutter.”
By: Adel Habib