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Cadillac Seville (1998 - 2002)

CADILLAC LUSTRE? (some text hidden)


Introductionword count: 137

As you ascend the pricing scale, there comes a point when a car's ability becomes largely taken for granted and what the car says about you becomes more important. This is a problem that has haunted the Cadillac Seville STS. The American giant has put so many toes in the water of the shark-infested European luxury car market that you'd expect it to nursing some rather nasty wounds. In 1998 however, Cadillac came back in a bigger way than ever before with the Seville. There's no doubt it's a good car, but then so is a Nissan QX or a Toyota Camry and would you really want to be seen stepping out of one of these at the golf club? Image talks and a used Cadillac Seville may well prove what many suspected - talk is cheap.

Modelsword count: 8

Models Covered: (4 dr saloon 4.6 petrol [STS])

Historyword count: 290

The Cadillac Seville name was first used in 1956, although the modern Seville's history began in 1973 as a response to the first oil crisis. It was a full metre shorter than the Fleetwood luxury model, and ran an 'economical' 5.7-litre V8 instead of the Fleetwood's 8.2-litre guzzler. The fifth-generation Cadillac Seville hit the UK showrooms in April 1998 and was greeted by whistling wind and passing tumbleweed. Launched at the same time as the Chevrolet Corvette, Camaro and Blazer models, it was part of General Motors' programme to establish an American beachhead through twelve selected Vauxhall dealers. Sales were modest to say the least, with 127 finding new owners in the entire 1999 calendar year. Initially it was proposed that the SLS (Seville Luxury Sedan) and STS (Seville Touring Sedan) would be introduced, but the less well-appointed SLS model was quietly dropped. The Seville STS was designed with a European market in mind, being 200mm shorter than its predecessor, and boasting the impressive 4.6-litre Northstar V8 engine, generating 300bhp which was transmitted through its front wheels. This made the Seville the world's most powerful front-wheel drive car. The 2000 model year STS benefited from some tuning of the Northstar's engine note, changes to the cylinder head to make the car run more efficiently and also the development of 'continuously variable road-sensing suspension.' 'Active steering effort compensation' was also included, both systems aiming to reduce the chances of preoccupied American drivers spinning the Seville whilst simultaneously negotiating a 90-degree left and a supersized Philly Cheesesteak sandwich. 2001 model year cars benefited from improved steering feel, xenon headlamps, rain sensing wipers, electrically folding mirrors and the inclusion of a spectacularly powerful Bose stereo system. Official UK imports finished in early 2002.

What You Getword count: 323

The interior of the Seville has come a long way from American luxury saloons most of us remember. There aren't any column shifters, rawhide seats or Routemaster-steering wheels. No, you won't feel like Boss Hogg or an extra from Shaft. There's still some pretty dubious fake wood, but on the whole, it looks remarkably like a Lexus or a big Nissan/Hyundai. Can it really steal sales from the established players? The StabiliTrak drive dynamics system, tweaked since the Seville first arrived here, might just help. This is an active handling system intended, with traction control, to harness the 305bhp of the 4.6-litre Northstar V8 - the only engine on offer and now fitted with redesigned cylinder heads developed mainly to meet ever-tougher emissions regulations in both the USA and Europe. For the money you'd expect driver aids like this. BMW and Mercedes already offer stability systems that in extreme situations throttle the car back whilst simultaneously applying the brakes, hopefully helping the driver regain control when things get tricky. As you'd expect from a car pitched in size and price against Jaguar's XJ8 Sovereign 4.0, BMW's 540i and Mercedes' E430, the Cadillac comes impressively equipped. The Bose 4.0 stereo system is billed as the world's most advanced - and sounds it. There's also dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, heated seats front and rear (!) plus an electrically adjustable steering wheel. The adaptive seating system inflates and deflates a series of ten air cushions to give a precisely tailored seat fit. Some of the detailing is quite interesting too. Like steering wheel controls not only for the stereo but also for the air conditioning (why has no one thought of that before?) Of more dubious value is the digital compass built into the rear view mirror. Twin front and side airbags also come as part of the deal, as does the latest Bosch ABS system and a 4-speed automatic gearbox (there's no manual option).

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Category: Luxury Saloons and Estates

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This is an excerpt from our full review.
To access the full content library please contact us on 0330 0020 227 or click here

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