The Cadillac DTS was a full-size luxury sedan available in 2006 to 2011 model years. It featured a single generation of design before Cadillac replaced it with the XTS, a different front-wheel drive, full-size sedan. The DTS was an only slightly-modified version of its successor, the eighth-generation Cadillac DeVille. DTS, short for DeVille Touring Sedan, simply represented a name change to match the rest of the Cadillac naming convention, such as the then-available CTS and STS.
2006 Introduction of Cadillac DTS
The Cadillac DTS was produced on GM’s G-platform and featured front-wheel drive. Cadillac was shooting for ultimate comfort and luxury with the DTS’s design, but it also cut the price by more than 10% compared to the previous year’s DeVille it had replaced. In accordance with Cadillac’s new “Art and Science” design standard, the DTS had a restyled front and rear ends, including a new trunk lid, quarter panel, and front/rear fascias. Five-seating capacity was standard, but an optional front row bench seat could bump the total seating up to six people, a fairly unique feature when compared to its BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-class rivals.
The Cadillac DTS Trim Levels
There were essentially four different trim levels of the Cadillac DTS. Only three were offered at first, including Standard Luxury (with I, II, and III variants), Standard Luxury Premium, and Performance. But in 2008, a fourth top-tier trim package was introduced, the Platinum. Many of the DTS features were optional, allowing the low base price, but leaving off important luxury amenities. Standard packages included power leather seats, HID headlamps, and multiple air bags. A premium Bose stereo system, automatic dimming headlights, adaptive cruise control, heated and cooled front seats, and magnetic ride control suspension were all optional. The Platinum package released in later years had special interior trim and additional features.
The DTS Engines and Specifications
Most Cadillac DTS’s utilized a 4.6L Northstar V-8. The Standard and Standard Luxury trim levels received the Northstar LD8 V-8 with 275 horsepower and up to 295 lb ft of torque, while the Performance and Platinum trim levels receive the Northstar L37 V-8 with up to 292 horsepower and 288 lb ft of torque.
Other Uses for the Cadillac DTS
The Cadillac name is often synonymous with high-quality American vehicles. In 2005, a specialized version of the DTS was created to serve as the official limousine of former US President George W Bush. However, this highly-modified DTS was actually produced on a four-wheel drive Cadillac Escalade platform and merely used the name of a DTS and mimicked its design in a higher-roofed version. Most of the specifications are classified for safety purposes, but it was believed to be heavily armored to protect the Head of State in his travels. The DTS-L was also produced starting with the 2007 model year, made especially for the limousine market. This version features greater leg room and a wide C-pillar. It was developed and finished by Accubuilt. Finally, the Cadillac DTS could also be ordered as a “coachbuilder” chassis for aftermarket conversions into hearses or other types of limousines. Featuring 8-lug wheels, upgraded suspension, and a transmission cooler, they came as incomplete cars often missing rear doors and trunks (parts that would not be used in the final version). These models were only sold to companies Cadillac certified to modify them, known as Cadillac Master Coachbuilders.
The sales figures of the Cadillac DTS started off strong in 2006 with more than 58,000 units and remained high at about 51,500 for the 2007 year as well. At that point, the numbers started a downward trend, dropping by more than 20,000 units in 2008, and finishing up near a disappointing 11,500 units in 2011. What had worked for a few years early on in the DTS’s lifespan was due for a change.