Cadillac looks to luxury and performance

* Mercedes E-Class AMG rival * New luxury hybrid saloon concept * Models blend 'art and science'...

Cadillac looks to luxury and performance

Cadillac is to focus more heavily on its ultra-high performance and sports-luxury sub-brands in future, and has models showcasing both themes at the Detroit motor show.

CTS-V coupe
The CTS-V coupe is a tyre-smoking muscle car to take on Mercedes' E-Class AMG coupe. It is powered by a 550bhp supercharged 6.2-litre V8, and goes into production for the American market this summer. It is not yet known when it will arrive in the UK.

XTS Platinum
The XTS Platinum, on the other hand, is a study re-thinking the large, sporty luxury saloon, and has been designed 'from the inside out' so that the cabin becomes the owner's 'personal headquarters'.

It is envisaged as a four-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid with a 3.6-litre V6 engine, using technology Cadillac is already employing on the Escalade a huge SUV that's not exported to the UK.

'Art and science' philosophy
Both models exhibit the 'art and science' philosophy that drives Cadillac, says general manager Bryan Nesbitt.

The supercharged V8 in the CTS-V is the most powerful engine the company has ever produced and is already fitted to the CTS-V saloon. It can blast the coupe from 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds. Six-speed manual or automatic transmissions are available, and the suspension and brakes have been uprated to handle the monstrous power.

The XTS Platinum is more about hand-crafted luxury and the latest electronics control systems. Many of these are hidden behind black panels which Cadillac calls 'dead front' until the engine is switched on. The cabin is trimmed in premium leather and suede, along with wood.

There is a touchscreen interface in the centre of the car and an LED screen in place of traditional instruments and dials. Even the exterior door handles illuminate as you approach them.

'The Platinum distinction in Cadillac means the fullest extent of luxury and technology and we've tried to reach even further with this concept,' says the company's design director, Dean Clay.