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(08:30 July 12, 2004)
The Beat Goes On: Cadillac’s Metamorphosis Continues With STS

By ROGER HART

2005 CADILLAC STS
ON SALE: Fall
BASE PRICE: $40,995
POWERTRAIN: 3.6-liter, 255-hp, 252-lb-ft V6; rwd, five-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT: 3857 pounds
0 to 60 MPH: 6.6 seconds (mfr.)


Executives at the launch of the Cadillac STS talked a lot about "renaissance." The company is changing, certainly, although at times it seems more like a crusade than a renaissance. In reinventing itself, Cadillac is walking a razor’s edge, bringing out products to attract new customers (younger, hipper) while trying to build in enough "Cadillacness" that loyalists (older, unhipper) still want the new models. A tough task, to be sure.

Through extensive marketing and the classic rock tunes of Led Zeppelin used in its advertising, Cadillac is trying to change people’s perceptions. But the guy in charge of building the cars knows slick presentations and rock ’n’ roll is not enough.

"We’re changing people’s attitudes by putting great products on the road," said Jim Taylor, GM vehicle line executive for prestige vehicles. The new models, like the CTS-V, XLR and SRX, are damn good. Now you can add the STS to that list.

The STS brings to eight the number of Cadillacs released since 2001 (Escalade, CTS, Escalade EXT, Escalade ESV, SRX, XLR and CTS-V), all dressed in the now-familiar Cadillac style. STS sports several evolutionary refinements of that style, softening the harsh edges a bit, and making the car (AW, April 12) that goes on sale this fall the best-looking of them all. And the STS drives even better than it looks.

STS replaces the Seville—a Cadillac standby since 1976—and in a major switch, the new car moves from a fwd platform to a rwd or awd. It is the third domestic car built on GM’s global Sigma platform, along with the CTS and SRX. We sampled all three versions of the STS—rwd V8 and V6 models, and an awd V8—in pre-production forms. Production cars will begin rolling off the Lansing, Michigan, assembly line later this summer.

When STS was unveiled just before the New York show, Cadillac general manager Mark LaNeve said the car would play against the BMW 5 Series and 7 Series (falling between those two models), not to mention competing squarely against the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi A6 and the Lexus GS 300 and LS 430. That’s a pretty tough crowd, but STS belongs in the same discussion. It is that good.

"The prestige luxury segment is where the big guys play, and that’s where we want to be. The key is finding the sweet spot between luxury and performance. And we have to include the latest technology that is reasonably customer-friendly," Taylor said.

By customer-friendly, Taylor means Cadillac customers want to be able to tune the car’s radio without an hour-long ground school from their dealer. Taylor didn’t mention BMW’s infamous iDrive by name, but the point was taken. Customers of high-end luxury cars demand a level of technology that requires more than a radio with a couple of buttons, and try as they might, designers haven’t yet figured out how to put the features in an easy-to-use package. The STS has all the electronic goodies you would expect in a luxury car, and while some may find the controls easier to use than iDrive, others may disagree.

Our evaluations began in what was jokingly referred to as "the doctor’s car," a Northstar V8 in base trim, with 17-inch tires and the standard (meaning softer) suspension—an independent front using aluminum upper and lower control arms with monotube Sachs shocks. The fully independent multilink rear has aluminum upper control arms, knuckles and brake calipers.

Before heading out to the freeway, we sampled the car’s electronic features, plugging in our destination in the nav system and switching on the 15-speaker 5.1 Bose surround-sound system, pre-loaded with CDs and DVDs. The controls combine hard buttons under the eight-inch nav screen and several touch-screen buttons. Not all of the operations are straightforward. We needed to pull off the highway and spend about 10 minutes pushing buttons and touching the screen in order to eject a CD we didn’t want to hear. We even tried using the voice-recognition system, asking it to eject the disc, but the words we were using were not recognizable commands to the system. It was frustrating enough that we wished we had iDrive, since we’ve invested enough time figuring that system out.

Once we did work out Cadillac’s interface, we loved the audio system. We may have to rethink using Lexus’ Mark Levinson unit as the gold standard of OEM sound. Cadillac’s 5.1 Bose system offers true surround-sound and its integrated six-disc CD/DVD changer will play DVD-A and MP3 formats. Audio input plugs in the center armrest compartment can connect to your portable music player, and there is optional Bluetooth connectivity as well.

We had all afternoon to enjoy it on a drive from San Francisco to the Monterey Peninsula. On a stretch of freeway, we slotted in with traffic at about 80 mph, and found the STS a comfortable cruiser. That we expected. The suspension eats up expansion joints and the car is Lexus-quiet. We could detect just a hint of wind noise and little tire noise. Laminated "quiet steel" in the firewall, laminated acoustic glass in the windshield and front windows, triple-sealed doors and sound-deadening foam throughout the chassis cut down on noise intruding into the cabin. A high-density, low-mass foam mat on the engine side of the firewall keeps noise out. The exterior mirrors are designed to minimize wind noise at speed. All this effort has paid off—the cabin is quiet.

Top-of-the-line power comes from the familiar, all-aluminum 4.6-liter Northstar V8 with variable valve timing. With 320 hp at 6400 rpm and 315 lb-ft of torque at 4400 rpm, the potent engine is a good match for the car. Power is routed through a five-speed automatic, the only transmission available, although we wouldn’t be surprised to see a six-speed manual gearbox down the road at some point.

You can manually shift the automatic, and it will stay in the gear you choose right up to redline, a nice feature when you’re driving the car hard. Hit the throttle, and besides feeling the thrust, you hear an exhaust note tuned to remind you that you’re driving a modern-day muscle car. In cruising mode, it quiets down considerably.

Full Article Here

 
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More positive press. Cool.

I could see this 'bad boy with a set of phat 16" wheels with some fat Goodyear F-1 rubber mounted. That would really give it a lower stance and help it corner like a train.

:afro:
 

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there is a great comparo between the new STS and the 5 series in the new motor trend, and they pretty much say the STS wins!! although not in so many words....it's a good article though.
 

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UGH... I wonder when they were doing their test.
AS if I'd be able to run into them on the highways here in SF!! (But I did see XLRs running before their launch... so you never know...)

STS looks like it's going to be a solid competitor.
Plus, they hit BMW right in the core of its lineup... with a car that provides a better value than those way over-priced 5's.

:lol:
 

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STS looks like it's going to be a solid competitor.
Plus, they hit BMW right in the core of its lineup... with a car that provides a better value than those way over-priced 5's.
actually, the caddy in the MT comparo was about the same price as the BMW 5 they had it up against. options were quite similar, and both cars came in right around $63k. both cars were V8 models. pricing on the caddy wasn't official just yet but was pretty close they said.
 

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There's also a favorable writeup in this month's Car & Driver. That's good news indeed. Perhaps this fine machine will help Caddy to consistently place on the north side of 20,000 units/month.
 

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Great article, I cant wait to get home and read the Comparo in the August issue of Motortrend between the 545 and the STS.
 

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Great stuff all around. I'm very happy to hear that a number of pulbications like AutoWeek are finally giving Caddy it's due and the new STS is no exception.

My favorite comment?

Power is routed through a five-speed automatic, the only transmission available, although we wouldn’t be surprised to see a six-speed manual gearbox down the road at some point.
I could only hope! In my opinion, since the STS is deemed to compete more with the 5-Series in price and performance, the inclusion of a manual is a must. This coinsides with editor's comments that were posted on Edmunds.com. In the future section, regarding the STS-V, the editor wrote:

Power is expected to come from a supercharged version of Cadillac's 4.6-liter Northstar V8 putting the STS-V in the 400-500-horsepower range. And don't be surprised if it shows up with a six-speed manual transmission either as Cadillac fully intends for this car to be a true competitor to BMW's M5 super sedan.
I only hope this is the case. Obviously if a manual were included in the STS-V, it is very possible that the same transmission could find its way into the rest of the STS lineup. I think that the inclusion of a manual transmission would go a long way to help people identify Cadillacs as a true luxo-sporting marque along the lines of BMW. It would also be a way of signalling that the new Cadillac is a "driver's car", and not a land-barge any longer.

Also, here's the review of the STS by Edmunds.com, I found it pretty good as well:

http://www.edmunds.com/new/2005/cadillac/s....leftbanner.1.*

Some pics:


 

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I would not hold my breath for the new Deville. The STS is a great value (between BMW 5 and 7 for the price of the 5). The new Deville has this one feature in the front that I KNOW everybody is going to HATE :( :(
 

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I like it! My only quibble is that the side of the car looks too plain. Why are manufacturers getting rid of the side door trim moldings on there most expensive moldels? I can understand the lower end stuff. A nice narrow molding with a thin insert of chrome would finish the side off nicely, like the one on the Bonneville SE. Other than that minor issue I would surely love to test drive one.
 

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Originally posted by nadepalma@Jul 1 2004, 09:38 PM
Great stuff all around. I'm very happy to hear that a number of pulbications like AutoWeek are finally giving Caddy it's due and the new STS is no exception.

My favorite comment?

Power is routed through a five-speed automatic, the only transmission available, although we wouldn’t be surprised to see a six-speed manual gearbox down the road at some point.
I could only hope! In my opinion, since the STS is deemed to compete more with the 5-Series in price and performance, the inclusion of a manual is a must. This coinsides with editor's comments that were posted on Edmunds.com. In the future section, regarding the STS-V, the editor wrote:

Power is expected to come from a supercharged version of Cadillac's 4.6-liter Northstar V8 putting the STS-V in the 400-500-horsepower range. And don't be surprised if it shows up with a six-speed manual transmission either as Cadillac fully intends for this car to be a true competitor to BMW's M5 super sedan.
I only hope this is the case. Obviously if a manual were included in the STS-V, it is very possible that the same transmission could find its way into the rest of the STS lineup. I think that the inclusion of a manual transmission would go a long way to help people identify Cadillacs as a true luxo-sporting marque along the lines of BMW. It would also be a way of signalling that the new Cadillac is a "driver's car", and not a land-barge any longer.

Also, here's the review of the STS by Edmunds.com, I found it pretty good as well:

http://www.edmunds.com/new/2005/cadillac/s....leftbanner.1.*

Some pics:


The STS-V's transmission will be a Manumatic, not a Manual, sorry. Besides how could the STS-V compete with the M5 with a Manual Trans when the M5 has a Manumatic.
 

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hmmm. I have a feeling that I know what "The Oatman" is talking about, an' it ain't the hood ornament.
 
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What will really help these sell will be when some import owners (nudge,nudge - BMW, Acura, Lexus) go to lunch with a guy who owns one of these.

I think this kicks-a$$ all over any Acura. Lexus its a coin flip. Although Buick is beign set up to be the 'Lexus killer'. And it sounds like it has the performance to keep up with BMW. Which I believe is the benchmark for the performance luxury car.

However, there is still that stigme of it being a Cadillac, or a GM product. Hopefully that will soon wear off with 'great' products changing consumers perceptions. If a southern California auto consumer trades in his BMW or Mercedes for an STS, then we're talkin'.

Initially I was taked aback by this styling. But now I like it.

cool, the 'Resurgin' General'.

;)
 

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Originally posted by New_Mexico_Sunset_on_Rt66@Jul 2 2004, 03:08 PM
However, there is still that stigme of it being a Cadillac, or a GM product.
do you think the tide has turned on this yet, and that being 'cadillac' is a good thing once again? does the name have enough credibility to compete with the big boys?
 

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"196.3 inches in length, STS is five inches shorter than Seville, the car it replaces in the Cadillac lineup"

:eek: :eek: Oh, I was sure the new STS is much bigger(it looks bigger in the pictures)
 
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