L.A. Auto Show Cadillac XTS: A Fuel Efficient, Full-Size Luxury Car, But Why No Hybrid?

When you think fuel economy, you don’t think Cadillac, right? So one would think that would give Cadilac carte blanche to produce cars that suck down gas because hey, if you can afford a Cadillac, you probably aren’t too concerned with fuel economy. And yet somehow, engineers managed to eek out a 17 city/28 highway rating on a two-ton Cadillac. How’d they do it?I spoke with Sheri Hickok, Chief Engineer of the XTS, to find out how they accomplished this feet without resorting to any sort of hybrid system.“We focused a lot, a whole lot on aerodynamics,” explains Hickok. So much so that they are still tweaking the aerodynamics, so no drag co-efficient numbers are available…yet. The Cadillac XTS also utilizes the under-body panels to reduce drag on the bottom of the car. But another focus was on reducing weight, using high-tensile steel, narrower A-pillars, and other clever tricks to keep the curb weight (on the front-wheel drive model) under 4,000 lbs. Big deal, you’re probably saying.Remember ladies and gents; this is a Cadillac. That means it is loaded with luxury and technology, like the new Cadillac User Experience, or CUE system, the latest infotainment system from GM with voice-activated features among other things. The XTS doesn’t skimp on luxury…or performance.That’s because the 300 horsepower V6 engine, backed by a six-speed automatic transmission, is supposed to deliver a spirited driving experience. Along with the HiPer suspension system, the XTS promises to blend fuel economy and performance ins an attractive package.

And yet, when I asked Sheri whether or not they had worked plans for a hybrid system into the XTS, she kind of danced around the question. I was hoping that the XTS would be available from the outset with either a plug-in hybrid system seen on the Ciel Concept car, or even the E-Assist mild hybrid system that made its debut on GM’s “other” brand, Buick.

For now, Sheri and GM are keeping their Cadillac hybrid plans close to the chest. And while a 17/28 rating in an almost 4,000 pound luxury sedan is pretty good (and even on par with many mid-size sedans) I was still hoping for more.

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.