NEWS

Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept at 2010 Detroit Auto Show

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  • Looks like: A flagship sedan — in hybrid form
  • Defining characteristics: Plug-in hybrid drivetrain, billet aluminum trim
  • Ridiculous features: The steering wheel is white … for now
  • Chance of being mass-produced: Aspects are almost certain to appear, and soon

The XTS Platinum concept is a strong clue as to what Cadillac’s next flagship sedan will look like, and it suggests that Cadillac’s consideration of hybrid drivetrains goes beyond the Converj concept. Introduced at the Detroit show last year, the Converj shared the Chevrolet Volt’s approach: a battery-electric drivetrain with a gas-powered generator, or range-extender. The XTS can also be plugged in and charged, but it’s otherwise a conventional hybrid, combining a 3.6-liter V-6 and an electric drive motor, both of which can propel the car. Total output is 350 horsepower and 295 pounds-feet of torque, matched to all-wheel drive.

The concept has a substantial presence — bold but more mature than the CTS sedan, as a full-size luxury car buyer would probably prefer. Blue-tinted LED headlights flank a bright grille that some are sure to find overpowering. Billet aluminum accents on the exterior remind you that this is a concept car.

The interior combines wood and earth tones with piano-black finishes. The instrument panel and center screen are LED-based displays, whose dark blacks blend with the black lacquer bezels in ways traditional LCD screens never could. The company claims these displays are customizable, hinting at future tech advances in the Cadillac line.

Cadillac says the Platinum name, which is also used on special editions of the current DTS and STS sedans, reflects the use of handcrafted cabin materials. Suede makes up the seats’ center panels as well as the center and door armrests. A console runs the length of the ceiling, not unlike what we’ve seen in some minivans — but it’s made of wood rather than plastic, and obviously much, much nicer.

The backseat has two displays for passenger entertainment as well as for accessing what Cadillac vaguely calls a “connectivity feature.”

Cadillac says the car’s battery pack can be recharged in five hours but emphasizes that the plug-in feature is a bonus, not a necessity for normal driving.

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Former Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder, a Cars.com launch veteran, led the car evaluation effort. He owns a 1984 Mercedes 300D and a 2002 Mazda Miata SE. Email Joe Wiesenfelder

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