The Cadillac STS and the 2006 Cadillac DTS
A replacement for Seville was on Cadillac's to-do list for 2005, and it emerged as the STS. As expected, it was basically a stretched CTS, though with slightly softer body lines. Though 4.7 inches shorter overall than the Seville, the STS stood an inch taller on a 4.2-inch-longer wheelbase, to the benefit of interior room. Engine choices comprised a base 255-bhp 3.6-liter V-6, borrowed from the CTS, or the new "Gen II" Northstar tuned for 320 bhp. Both engines teamed with a five-speed automatic transmission. But in a rather large surprise, all-wheel drive was a $1900 option for the V-8 model; the V-6 got it as a 2006 addition.
The rear-drive STS was initially priced from $40,300 with V-6, $46,800 with V-8. Each was a pleasant, capable road car, and arguably more rewarding than the front-drive compromised Seville. Sportier types could shell out a hefty $11,000-$13,000 for a Preferred Equipment Group comprising Z-rated performance tires on 18-inch wheels (replacing standard 17s), Magnetic Ride Control, and uprated brakes and steering.
Even with that, however, the STS lacked the outright dynamic ability of most import-brand rivals, finishing seventh in an eight-way Car and Driver test. "The STS is agonizingly close to meeting the challenge of the best [midsize sport sedans]," said the editors, "but we think the sensibilities of its makers could use a little fine-tuning." Consumer Guide, by contrast, thought roadability just fine, but chided "subpar rear-seat space and cargo room. Interior materials and assembly are not up to the best in class, either."
An expected STS-V muscled in for 2006 at a stiff $74,270, but was fully loaded (no options) -- and loaded for bear. Enhancements were much like those of the V-Series XLR, but here the supercharged Northstar made a thumping 469 bhp and 439 lb-ft of torque, delivered to the rear wheels only via a six-speed automatic.
A three-way Car and Driver test ranked the mightiest STS between the BMW M5 and Mercedes' CLS 55 AMG, reflecting the Caddy's somewhat "softer" responses and plusher, less driver-oriented character. But as the editors observed: "...the STS-V's price nets you a no-apologies supersedan with big money left over -- almost 16 large versus the CLS 55. That's a huge advantage -- especially since the STS-V has this group's most comprehensive allocation of features and amenities..."
As if to hedge its bets with the STS, Cadillac freshened the front-drive DeVille for 2006 and changed the name to DTS. Optional Night Vision was canned -- demand for it had never been strong -- but the Gen II Northstar was specified, the G-body structure strengthened, and the chassis revised to improve both handling and refinement. Appearance was modernized too, with an edgy Art & Science-style lower-body reskin and improved dashboard ergonomics.
Like other GM divisions, Cadillac now stressed dollar value. Luxury I, Luxury II, and Luxury III versions delivered 275 bhp in the $42,000-$48,000 range; a sportier $47,000 Performance model packed 291 horses and many DeVille DTS features. Consumer Guide put the new line in perspective by noting that "Cadillac leaves any sporting pretensions to its [STS models. DTS] aims for the traditional American luxury-car buyer and scores. It's powerful, roomy, and refined, and matches most rivals for standard safety features."
Wondering what's in store for the next generation of Cadillacs? Read on for the lowdown on 2008 and beyond.
For more information on Cadillac, see:
- Cadillac: Learn the history of America's premier luxury car, from 1930s classics to today's newest Cadillac models.
- Consumer Guide New Car Reviews and Prices: Road test results, photos, specifications, and prices for 2007 Cadillacs and hundreds of other new cars, trucks, minivans, and SUVs.
- 1990-1999 Cadillac: Import competition and a stale image rock once-proud Cadillac. Here's the low-down on Cadillac's come-down.