Mission Meat: We Go 1,000 Miles In America’s Best Sedan To Deliver America’s Best Bacon


Mission Meat: We Go 1,000 Miles In America’s Best Sedan To Deliver America’s Best Bacon

This was a trip of supreme importance, a trip that required the right kind of wheels to make sure that the job would be completed and everyone would end up happy. You don’t transport America’s best bacon in anything less than America’s best big sedan, especially when the round trip is 1,000+ miles and you’re hauling a five and seven year old with you. That’s why we called up the fine people at Cadillac, made some thinly veiled threats regarding compromising photos we had of their staff and demanded a Cadillac XTS V-Sport for our journey. Big bacon requires a big car and that’s exactly what we got. The trip was simple in description but far more intricate in execution. We were driving from BS eastern world HQ down to my sister in law’s place in Virginia for a pre-Christmas visit and to deliver some Benton’s Bacon to her family, primarily to her husband who is an active duty Marine Captain. Standing at 6′ 4″ tall and coming in at 245lbs, Jeff is the kind of guy who knows good bacon, he also knows good cars and we planned on getting his opinion of the XTS-V Sport as well as the hickory smoked pork products.

It was actually good timing that the we were rolling in the XTS-V Sport just days after we hard turned in the Hyundai Equus that I recently wrote about and got torn to shreds for. The reason this timing was fortuitous is because the cars are direct competitors. They are both large luxury sedans that run in the $70,000 price range and since they are both fighting for the same audience, it was cool to be able to basically compare them directly having the impression of the previous vehicle fresh in our minds. While I want to you continue reading the whole story, I’ll give you a brief synopsis on my impressions. The Cadillac does not match the Equus in shock and awe value but destroys it in driving experience, handling, design, and every other element a youth minded or style minded buyer would lean towards. If the old retired guy is driving the Equus, the investment banker handling his money is driving this Cadillac.

Cadillac XTS-V 2014 Platinum001Any drive down the eastern seaboard kind of sucks. Sad to say because I have lived here my entire life but you’re basically playing this huge roulette game of timing entrances and exits from metro areas to avoid traffic and you are also bleeding money like a stuck pig on tolls. While we certainly had the appearance of a ballin’ family in the Cadillac, we were wincing every time we handed more and more cash to old ladies in toll booths on the highway. It was way more than $50.00 to get from eastern Massachusetts to the Quantico, Virginia area where we ended up. We left the Lohnes manse well before dawn. The kids were loaded in the back seat while wearing their pajamas and the massive trunk swallowed all of our luggage (I’m looking at you doomsday packer wife-o-mine) as well as Christmas presents for Julie, Jeff, and their kids. Our two rapscallions had immense amounts of room in the back seat. The Cadillac stacked up even and maybe a little better in the rear leg room department against the Equus. Even at 6’4″, Jeff was able to fit in the rear of the car with lots of room to spare.

Once on the road, the Cadillac exhibited awesome driving feel and great agility from what is a truly “big” car. The Haldex AWD was seamless in its operation and the 3.6L twin turbo engine which makes 410hp was a blast, always right in the big torque wheelhouse we love to be in. Nose into the pedal and the car would accelerate well and when you went for the gusto, a wave of power would come on, the boost gauge would start telling a story, and the big Caddy would just GO. The power was not as violent as the 430hp in the Equus but that’s not to say it was any less impressive. Standing on the gas at like 30mph will literally press you back in the seat and put a grin on your face a half mile wide. The thing I found to be coolest about the engine and the way the power comes on is that the uninitiated would never know it was turbocharged. There’s not even a hint of lag. It isn’t like you are waiting for the power to come on. It really acts a lot like a larger displacement naturally aspirated V8. Advertised fuel economy is 16city and 24 highway. When not trying to win the US Nationals, we saw that mileage and actually a hint more on the highway. The deep sixth gear in the automatic transmission seemed to be a big part of the mileage program. It would nestle into that gear and just lope down the highway.

The interior quality of the car is very good and frankly if we had driven this thing before we drove the Equus we’d have been even more impressed but it was the Equus that edged the Cadillac for interior quality and materials superiority. The Cadillac had far better seats that had some bolstering and a much more driver oriented feel than the plush buckets in the Equus. The seat material was not of the same standard as the Hyundai but certainly fits the criteria of what you’d expect in a premium luxury car. Interior noise was virtually non existent. The car is very, very quiet. The motor has a nice tone and scream to it when you get after it but it doesn’t match the nice noise of the other car’s V8. Performance-wise we bet that these cars are a virtual dead heat on a drag strip but the Cadillac would completely destroy the Hyundai on any sort of course with corners. Is it a road racer? Hell no, but can you get it on twisty Virginia woodsy roads and dive into corners, work the big brakes, and have fun? You bet!

So we had our pre-dawn departure from Massachusetts ¬†loaded with the bacon and presents. Things were going pretty much according to plan until we got near Washington D.C. The GPS took us on a sort of crossmaverick town route that had us off the highway and onto surface roads. Unfortunately for us, there had been some sort of major league crime committed in the area that we needed to pass through and that led to a lengthy delay with detours and all kinds of badness. Truth be told, once we hit D.C. it took hours to get back up to a constant speed above 30mph. The gridlock and traffic issues in that whole area are simply horrific. We did manage to spot this cool Maverick parked on the side of the road in inner-city D.C. Note the Ross Perot bumper sticker. It may be filled with some of his legendary charts. From the neighborhood this thing was sitting in, we bet that the Mav has “seen some things” during its life in the city. All things considered, it looks like the car had weathered the elements and the years well. My suggestion that a I stop to get a better look was met with a threat of violence from my wife. On we drove.

 

WE’RE GOING TO CONTINUE THIS ADVENTURE THROUGH PHOTOS AND CAPTIONS….SO COME ON! WE’VE GOT BACON TO DELIVER!

 

 

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After 14 hours in the Cadillac, we arrived and I was happy to hand three pounds of this absolutely awesome bacon to Jeff. He then surprised me...

After 14 hours in the Cadillac, we arrived and I was happy to hand three pounds of this absolutely awesome bacon to Jeff. He then surprised me…

As he is an instructor, tradition is that when classes are completed the pupils throw in and give the instructor a gift. One of his classes ponied up for a bottle of Johnny Walker blue. We call this angel tears. Putting the Benton's next to this bottle and taking this photo made me feel dirty in all the right ways.

As he is an instructor, tradition is that when classes are completed the pupils throw in and give the instructor a gift. One of his classes ponied up for a bottle of Johnny Walker blue. We call this angel tears. Putting the Benton’s next to this bottle and taking this photo made me feel dirty in all the right ways.

The following day we wanted to get the Caddy out and really stretch its legs on some great rural Virginia roads. We also wanted to see Jeff's workplace so we took us on the Quantico base and we got to cruise around. It was neat. I asked if I'd get taken out shooting a photo of this sign. Note the arrow pointing the way to the "clandestine" lab.

The following day we wanted to get the Caddy out and really stretch its legs on some great rural Virginia roads. We also wanted to see Jeff’s workplace so we took us on the Quantico base and we got to cruise around. It was neat. I asked if I’d get taken out shooting a photo of this sign. Note the arrow pointing the way to the “clandestine” lab.

Jeff mentioned that he had seen an old Chevy truck for sale on the side of the road so we naturally had to look at it. The seller wanted $7500 cash for the small block truck. Free of rot, recently painted, and basically factory stock, the money didn't sound too bad. Jeff went on a full "I need this" offensive at the house, but wife Julie repelled his repeated attacks with common sense and logic. Dang.

Jeff mentioned that he had seen an old Chevy truck for sale on the side of the road so we naturally had to look at it. The seller wanted $7500 cash for the small block truck. Free of rot, recently painted, and basically factory stock, the money didn’t sound too bad. Jeff went on a full “I need this” offensive at the house, but wife Julie repelled his repeated attacks with common sense and logic. Dang.

A slight styling contrast here for sure. Art and Science meets old school cool.

A slight styling contrast here for sure. Art and Science meets old school cool.

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While in the Quantico area we swung by the US Marine Corps Museum. This is an impressive building and if you don’t understand the architectural themes here, read a freaking history book.

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While it isn’t a daring car with styling, it is 1000% more modern and cool looking than the previous luxo tank we tested. It looks lots younger and it feels far more European in driving feel as well.

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The paint color is Crystal Red and it looked really good once we scrubbed all the salt and grime off the car from the 500 mile trip down. We luckily avoided ripping into the bacon and cooking it on the exhaust manifolds.

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We’re interested to see how much more mileage is left in the Cadillac “Art and Science” design cycle. The cars continue to look tighter and better but we don’t know how many facelifts are left.

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That little V means that there’s a twin turbo V6 under the hood making 410hp. It also means Haldex all wheel drive is handing the power distribution behind the six speed automatic.

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A weird detail that we really dug was the fact that the tail lights are almost little tiny fins. A neat design cue and a cool nod to Cadillac heritage. It does give the car a more substantial feel than it would if everything were flushed with the body.

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Done for styling or aero? Both?

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The 20-inch wheels are neat looking with their thin spokes and the are wrapped with 245/40/20 Bridgestones all the way around. The short sidewall didn’t seem to hurt ride quality at all.

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The tires are all season jobs and we had some snow the day before we left on the bacon adventure. In scientific snow testing held in an empty parking lot, the tires worked really well in the slop and the AWD system didn’t freak out when we had the traction control off and wheel spin was happening on the slick ground. It was a veritable tank.

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Like in the Equus the doors are large and that means people of any size and shape will slide right in with no drama. It made for loading the kids in super easy.

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One of the great stories of turn around and redemption in Detroit, the Cadillac badge is now worn by stuff that deserves it. This car stands right up next to anything else in the price range. The old guys can crack Cimarron jokes. Those days are over.

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The magnetic ride control and rear air springs really work wonders on this big car. We’re almost lost for words when it comes to describing the canyon like difference in driving fun that this car exhibits versus that of the Equus. The Magnetic Ride Control is so good that companies like Ferrari are paying GM to use the technology on their own cars. Four wheel disc brakes haul the car down and Brembo supplies the big front calipers.

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Here’s a look at the interior of the car. Again, very nice…BUT…it was short of the uber niceness of the Equus. GM has been noted for their advancements in interiors, driven largely by Bob Lutz when he was at the company. This is a nicely appointed car.

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Nothing too bold here, it is all very understated and classy. I’m not sure what this means but the five and seven year old reviewers were most impressed with the quality of material that the headliner was made of. Don’t ask me but they loved the stuff.

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The Cadillac Cue info-tainment system is great to use and there are steering wheel controls that allow you to handle the radio, the navigation, the adaptive cruise control, the local weather, the stock market, and…wait, what?

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The backseat is mondo-humongo.

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Front leg room pretty much goes on for days as well. This was quite literally the perfect car for a 14 hour drive. The kids were happy in the roomy rear seat and it was a comfy place to have your backside parked for more than half the day.

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One of the coolest surprise features that the car had was this hidden storage compartment behind the face of the HVAC controls. Lightly tapping the base of the area would open up this hiding space that is complete with a USB port. Here’s video…

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Fully digital dash can be configured in several ways. I dug this layout with the boost gauge or as my kids got to know it, “the fun meter”.

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This car isn’t making any at all.

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The large dual pane sunroof is great for allowing natural light in. The front pane opens all the way up, the rear is fixed. Pretty dramatic when the cover is slid back to reveal the expanse of glass.

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From the topside down.

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This is a great engine and we’re hoping like hell they stick one in a Camaro. 410hp and 370 lb/ft of torque hustles this big guy down the road nicely. In a Camaro you’d get better mileage and even better performance. It would be a cool mid-step engine. With tuning we bet this mill can have some real oats.

cecil county

And just like that, we were on the road home the next day. We consumed a couple pounds of bacon over the course of our roughly 36-hour visit and that was good. Jeff agreed that the Benton’s was great stuff so we felt like we had done what we originally set out to do. On the way back I took a wild shot to see if Cecil County was open to maybe get a lap or two in but the rain and end of season closure stopped that plan.

dinner

We ate an early lunch with the kids and in the interest of getting the hell home we decided on “gas station buffet” for dinner. The kids may have actually made better choices than I did. The Fritos were fine but the chocolate things, not so much.

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We’re happy to report that the 2014 Cadillac XTS- V Sport Platnium stands up to tough international competition and kicks said competition right in the balls on the fronts that count, mainly how the car drives. The price of this car as tested is $71,015. Thats a massive pile of money but there’s demand for these big sedans and Cadillac has one that warrants the price point. Now, if they’d just add a skillet so we could cook bacon while driving….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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6 thoughts on “Mission Meat: We Go 1,000 Miles In America’s Best Sedan To Deliver America’s Best Bacon

  1. chip

    I greatly enjoy the “bangshifty” new car reviews. On whatever the hell shows up at the door. Please continue.

  2. Whelk

    The 3.6 VVT is a new engine to me. I can think of lots of spots in the lineup that could benefit from it. I wonder if one would fit a Cobalt…

  3. Anthony

    V6 and 70 large-nope, and the front needs to be longer looks too stubby. My buddy is a Caddy fanatic,owns 14 of them all nice,he told the guy this same thing at the dealer.

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