Anybody who has ever had to find a good parking spot on Oakland University’s campus knows that it’s a struggle that only leaves commuters struggling to get to class on time, as they ride the struggle bus all the way from Lot 37. After that ordeal, you’d be lucky just to find your vehicle on the way out, as chances are it has been absorbed into the asphalt sea with hundreds of other cars. This is an everyday problem for some. But if you’re driving something such as a Cadillac XTS hybrid test mule, it’s bound to stick out. And you can bet a curious car enthusiast will take the time to photograph it.
What makes us think this is a hybrid and not some sort of performance model? Well for starters, the front fascia appears to have more restricted airflow for improved aerodynamics. There’s also no rear differential, meaning this model is front-wheel-drive only, and with such constricted exhaust pipes, the evidence begins to mount that this XTS isn’t packing a twin-turbo V6 under the hood.
This mule is pretty Spartan, with plastic lighting inserts, and an interior that looks like it was just torn apart by Border Patrol inspectors in the second row. But perhaps the most curious element of this mule is that it wears Goodyear Eagle ResponsEdge tires. These are different from the Bridgestone Potenza RE97AS tires found on the XTS Platinum and the Goodyear Eagle RS-A2 tires found on the more basic models. The ReponsEdge rubber is characterized as grand-touring all-season tires that provides a dose of handling while maintaining a quiet ride. And to help with driver feedback, the outer sidewall is reinforced with carbon fiber cords to make them stiffer. There’s nothing about low-rolling resistance, however.
The interior, aside from the wear and tear, seems pretty normal, except for the monitoring equipment. Oh and the black cord running into the trunk. Now, we know that all of GM’s eAssist models store their batteries in the trunk as well, and we can’t think of any other reason that a cord running from the trunk through the cabin would be necessary.
But will this hybrid utilize the same 2.4L eAssist setup that we currently see in the Buick LaCrosse and others, or will it be a fresh new mill, perhaps utilizing the power of the 3.6L V6 currently found in the XTS today? Because it’s Cadillac, we’re strongly leaning towards the latter, if anything.
Update: some of the latest intel suggests that this mule is a global model bound for markets such as China and Europe.