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Underpinned by GM's all-new architecture for midsized utilities, the 2017 Cadillac XT5 will compete with the Audi Q5, Lexus RX, and other premium crossovers.

2017 Cadillac XT5 debuts GM’s new lightweight crossover architecture

XT5 stands for Crossover Touring 5, Cadillac’s all new midsized luxury utility unveiled recently at, of all places, a high-end fashion show in Dubai. Slated to replace the SRX, the 2017-model XT5 makes its North American debut at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show. Start of production begins at GM’s revamped Spring Hill, TN, plant and in China in spring 2016.

The XT nomenclature will adorn the Cadillac crossover range going forward, noted Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen during the Dubai event. The CT nameplate will cover the brand’s cars.

Exemplifying GM’s aggressive mass-reduction engineering strategy, the XT5 is underpinned by a clean-sheet vehicle architecture called C1XX. It’s a flexible platform designed to accommodate standard short-wheelbase and long-wheelbase (3-row) products with transverse engine orientation and both FWD and AWD drivelines. Known internally as “Chi”, the C1XX replaces the old Lambda and Theta architectures, according to a GM body engineering source.

The mixed-materials construction enabled the development team to reduce base curb weight by 278 lb (126 kg) versus its predecessor and undercut its closest competitor, the mass-efficient Audi Q5, by a claimed 100 lb (45 kg), despite the Cadillac being 7 in (178 mm) longer overall.

For a more extreme comparison, GM engineers noted that XT5 is more than 650 lb (295 kg) lighter than the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class. The larger overall package enabled rear-seat legroom to be increased 3.2 in (81 mm) compared to the SRX, with full-recline and fore-aft sliding functionality.

A new all-wheel drive system is optional; GM engineers collaborated with GKN Driveline in development and integration of the lightweight twin-clutch system aimed at increased fuel efficiency. Automotive Engineering already has the story of GKN’s involvement and will publish a detailed online report Nov. 19 when the XT5 debuts in L.A.

XT5 drivers will likely appreciate the GM-patented Rear Camera Mirror system that launches first in the 2016 CT6 sedan. The mirror, made by Gentex, offers a wider field of view than traditional optical mirrors. The mirror takes an image from a high-definition rear-mounted camera and displays it within a LCD display where the rearview mirror would normally be. The mirror can also function as a conventional optical mirror in case the camera is blocked by snow, dirt, or malfunction.

Cadillac says the LCD display increases the driver’s rear field of view by 300% compared with incumbent mirror technologies. Obstructions like headrests, body pillars, and rear-passenger heads that block significant portions of the view from a conventional mirror are not visible in the Rear Camera Mirror because the camera is mounted outside the car. Gentex software adjusts the lighting contrast for every pixel of the image, creating a very clear image, the companies claim.

Powertrains for North America pair GM’s 3.6-L (LGX) naturally aspirated V6 that's also used in the ATS, CTS, and CT6. It features GM’s cylinder deactivation (Active Fuel Management) for DOHC valvetrains, as well as the new ultracapacitor-based stop-start system. As fitted to the new crossover, the engine is expected to deliver SAE-certified 310 hp (231 kW) and 270 lb·ft (366 N·m); EPA fuel economy testing has not yet been completed. China-market XT5s will come standard with GM’s 2.0-L Ecotec turbocharged inline four, also fitted with stop-start.

The new 8L45 8-speed planetary automatic is the standard transmission, fitted with Electronic Precision Shift, the first electronically-controlled transmission shifter for a Cadillac. The setup, appearing similar to those used by BMW and others, is claimed to reduce noise and vibration while freeing up center console space.

In addition to the new rearview display mirror, there's a hands-free liftgate actuated by gesture control; an optional head-up display; GM’s 4G LTE connectivity; an integrated wireless charger for smartphones; Wi-Fi hotspot capability; and a bird's-eye-view camera system to aid parking in tight spots. 

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