Hoping to burnish its global image and introduce a competitive vehicle in one of the most hotly contested automotive categories, Cadillac took the wraps off its third new vehicle in the past twelve months, the luxury crossover, XT5 at the Dubai International Motor Show. Designed to do battle with the Audi Q5, Mercedes GLE and BMW X5/X6, the XT5 has the features, styling, content and performance that will give buyers of the German brands something to think about.

Taking what they’ve learned from in the production of the CTS and ATS, the uses lightweight architecture to tip the scales in its favor. 100 pounds lighter than the Q5, 650 pounds lighter than the GLE and nearly 700 pounds lighter than the BMW X5, the XT5 is more agile and efficient. According to Cadillac chief engineer, the new chassis not only improves driving dynamics and efficiency, but it also “enables us to improve interior space.” The XT5 has over three inches more rear seat legroom than the outgoing SRX, and those rear seats now have the ability recline and slide forward and back.

The XT5 is powered by GM’s new 3.6L V6 engine which makes 310 horsepower and delivers 270 lb-ft of torque with this tuning. For comparison, that’s 8 more horsepower than the GLE, 10 more than the X5, and 90 more horsepower than the Audi. Paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, and available with its new twin-clutch all-wheel drive system that continuously monitors road conditions and transfers power not only from the front to the rear but from side to side as well, the XT5 strikes and excellent balance between performance, traction and efficiency.

Cadillac has taken particular care to ensure the inside of the car no longer pales in comparison to their competitors from the continent. Andrew Smith, Cadillac executive director of global design, remarked “Our focus for the interior was sophistication and simplicity, ensuring an economy of lines to reduce visual noise and clutter. We also use a greater variety of authentic materials and palette of colors to deliver expressive interiors in all trim levels.”

In addition to upgraded materials and design in the interior, Cadillac has also upgraded the technology they put in their cars. The much maligned CUE system has been improved by adding a faster processor, increasing response and accuracy. It also incorporates both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The XT5 will incorporate Cadillac’s new rear view mirror camera system that streams video from a high definition rear-mounted camera into the mirror to improve visibility by 300%. It also includes a birds-eye view camera system to help with parking and incorporates safety technologies like lane keeping assist, rear cross traffic alert and blind spot warning system.

Outside the XT5 has a strong visual presence, taking cues from both the Escalade and the CTS. The overall the lines are simplified, creating a strong sense of quiet confidence. That confidence is accentuated by the fact that the wheels are pushed out to the corners giving it a strong, athletic stance. And from the front, the powerful grill and headlight design make a bold statement.

Cadillac still has a way to go to deliver a full range of cars that are competitive with other top-tier luxury manufacturers. The addition of the XT5 to showrooms alongside the excellent ATS and CTS, however, will bring Cadillac one big step closer to global competitiveness.