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Cadillac's new luxury SUV, the XT5, is a Lexus RX fighter

Dear Lexus, we are coming for you. Signed, Cadillac.

That was the message at the L.A. Auto Show as Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen talked about the company's just-presented XT5.

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The luxury SUV, the successor to Cadillac's successful SRX, is positioned to take on the Lexus RX -- the only vehicle that it trailed in sales.

When finished, the XT5 will be powered by a new 3.6-liter V6 engine -- which also runs in the Cadillac ATS and CTS sports sedans -- that makes 310 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. (In China, the car will also be offered with a 2-liter, turbo-charged 4-cylinder engine, which in time will also be available on U.S. models, De Nysschen said.)

It will also have more legroom, and more overall length, but will be 278 pounds lighter, than the outgoing SRX.

Importantly, De Nysschen said, it will take buyers away from Lexus.

"We anticipate we will retain a lot of our loyal SRX customers, but we expect it will also attract a lot of conquest sales," he said. "Frankly, because they are the leader, we expect to take a strong slice of customers from Lexus."

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