Caddy Mounts Credible Competition to Euro-Imports

Caddy Mounts Credible Competition to Euro-Imports

When you first look at the Cadillac STS you are immediately struck by something – it doesn’t look like a Cadillac. It’s not stodgy or long or wide or black and it certainly doesn’t look like anything remotely associated with Cadillacs.

According to the automaker, that was its thinking when it designed the STS. Their targets were the BMWs and Mercedes-Benz models that seemed to be more and more populating American roadways (note to Cadillac: it’s been going on for years, where have you been?). The key to the STS was its new, bolder styling. Yes, it still has that funky bright Cadillac grille (goodness, where would we be if Caddy changed it?), but at least the design team was able to use it as a design element, going so far as to integrate it nicely into the front end so that it is a rather crucial part of the styling, not just a bright plastic chromed plaything.

By essentially turning the grille upside down so the long side of the grille is at the top and using two pieces of the pentagon (five-sided) on the bottom as bolder design elements, Caddy’s engineers were able to put together a vehicle that looks really good. And, best of all, they were also able to design the bumper into styling so that it is a key player, serving not only as a key safety feature but also as a part of the lower valance of the design as well as part of the air intake for the standard 3.6-liter V-6.

Caddy’s engineering team didn’t stop there, though, when it decided it was blank page time for styling as they sculpted the front fenders into angular design pieces that established an angular and muscular piece of front-end styling that should give BMW’s rather I “can’t figure out what I want to be when I grow up” front end a run for its money.

The angular fenders each feature a nicely fared headlight module that works well with the stylish fenders whose interior sides fall away toward the hood. Interestingly, if you were to look down on the STS from above, you would also see the stylists rounded the front end for a better aerodynamic flow and a cross-section will show that the cleanly designed STS presents for when it debuted the STS during the last model year. The sharp lines along the fender tops that continue through the rear end, as well as the headlight modules that are styled into the bold front end.

The design team not only did a great job in creating the new STS look that carries from the front end all the way through to the nicely integrated rear bumper and light modules. The rear quarters carry the lines established by the front fenders nicely and the sides are sleek, lean and clean and the standard 18-inch wheels are nicely styled into the whole.

Under the hood, as noted, the standard powerplant is a 3.6-liter V-6 that cranks out a respectable 302 horsepower. This is the base engine in the base model. It is mated to a six-speed automatic that smoothly transfers the engine’s power to the road. This powerteam, by the way, is no slouch doing a 10.2-second 0 to 60 standing clock time and a quarter miles in a tad under 13 seconds. The 1SG, or top of the line as in $65,000 list, offers the corporate 5-liter Northstar V-8 and its 375 ponies and roughly 320 pounds-feet of torque at about 3,200 rpm. The 0 to 60 clock is in the low 8s and the quarter mile is a respectable 8.2 seconds, as well. The exit speed is in the mid-90s so you can see the design team achieved its aim because the STS is right up there with the BMWs of he world.

On the inside, you can tell that the design team for this piece of the vehicle also had its share of fun making the driver’s environment excellent with all key controls just a fingertip reach away, either on the wheel or on stalks or paddles at the sides of the wheel. The navigation screen also triples as the radio and environmental display and, if you opt for the backup camera, you can see if there are any little ones playing in back of your STS before you go screaming out of the driveway. That, plus the Lane Change Alert feature – an engineering addition that warns you if you are drifting out of lane which is great for sleepy drivers – make the STS very competitive with anything Europe has to offer.

The multi-position electric front seat – with memory settings for more than one driver – is great in that you can easily find just the right position for your needs and, once you’ve entered it, that seat memory is yours, leaving another one free for the other driver in your life. It’s a nice feature and it really does keep the peace in the house as we have found out over the years – this isn’t the first time we’ve used this type of front seat. The passenger’s seats is, like the driver’s heated and air conditioned and there’s plenty of room to stretch out. The rear seat really does work for all but the tallest of passengers (there’s a slope in the roofline that does take a couple of inches out of the mix). On the bright side, the middle seating position is quite nicely padded.

Finally, the STS easily matches the nearly flat cornering and stable ride of the best Europe has to offer. Through turns and corners, the STS just seems to laugh them off as the body remains stable, as if it were on rails.

From everything we’ve seen and driven, we can say that Caddy met its stated design goals with the STS which is shows there’s still life in the domestic industry, when it wants to apply itself.

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