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1998 CADILLAC SEVILLE STS

SEE ALSO: Cadillac Buyer's Guide

by Tom Hagin

SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 46,995
Price As Tested                                    $ 51,802
Engine Type                    DOHC 32v 4.6 Liter V8 w/PFI*
Engine Size                                 279 cid/4565 cc
Horsepower                                   300 @ 6000 RPM
Torque (lb-ft)                               295 @ 4400 RPM
Wheelbase/Width/Length                    111"/74.2"/204.1"
Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
Curb Weight                                     4015 pounds
Fuel Capacity                                    20 gallons
Tires  (F/R)                                     225/60HR16
Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
Drive Train                  Front-engine/front-wheel-drive
Vehicle Type                       Five-passenger/four-door
Domestic Content                                        N/A
Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                              0.31

PERFORMANCE

EPA Economy, miles per gallon
   city/highway/average                            17/26/20
0-60 MPH                                        6.8 seconds
1/4 Mile (E.T.)                       16 seconds @ 94.5 mph
Top speed                                           135 mph
     * Port fuel injection

The 1998 Cadillac Seville is an all-new car, though it looks much as it did when it was introduced 1992, save for a few exterior changes.

Most of its changes are under the skin, as it now sit atop a chassis shared with Oldsmobile's Aurora and the Buick Riviera. Seville also features the latest in safety and performance technology, which combine with many other components to form the acclaimed Northstar system.

OUTSIDE - The '98 Seville's track is almost two inches wider than last year's model, and its wheelbase has just over an inch more length. Its overall length, however, is nearly four inches shorter and the weight distribution has been improved. Cadillac stylists have smoothed its shape to give a lower coefficient of drag, and added new headlights, a built-in trunklid spoiler and a crease that runs the length of the car. The door handles are no longer flush, and the fuel filler door has been relocated to just below the rear roof pillar. All body panel gaps are narrower than the 1997 models. Seven-spoke alloy wheels are standard, and our car had them optionally polished. The standard tire is a P235/60R16 H-rated Goodyear Eagle LS, though optional Z-rated (which means they're good for 155 mph) rubber is available.

INSIDE - Seville STS is loaded with standard features, and many have been given special names. Its automatic windshield wipers are called Rainsense, and Twilight Sentinel is the moniker of the automatic headlights. Help can be summoned via the OnStar cellular telephone system, and STS models can be ordered with optional adaptive front seats, the first automotive application of technology first developed for hospital equipment. Every four minutes, microprocessors adjust air "cells" in the seat cushion and seat back, tailoring the seats' fit throughout the drive. The system can be deactivated if necessary. The rear seat area has been redesigned, and recessed lighting gives a softer, more intimate glow to the overall interior feeling. There are new nooks and cubbies for storage, while a 425-watt stereo system is standard equipment.

ON THE ROAD - The Seville STS is Cadillac's performance model and delivering power to the its front wheels is a muscular 4.6 liter, twin- cam, 32-valve V8 engine. It is the heart of what Cadillac calls the Northstar system which encompasses all the mechanicals (engine, driveline, steering and suspension) and produces 300 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. New, quieter designs for the power steering, intake tract and lots more acoustical insulation do a better job of muffling engine noise, but under hard acceleration, the Seville's twin exhaust pipes announce that a powerful V8 is under the hood. Also new is its Performance Algorithm Shifting that uses data from its StabiliTrak anti-spin system to constantly monitor transmission shifting patterns.

BEHIND THE WHEEL - Seville's chassis is 50 percent stiffer than before, and now uses reinforcing technology similar to that of the new Corvette. Many suspension pieces are now forged aluminum and the rear undercarriage has been changed to a multi-link design. Cadillac calls its suspension Continuously Variable Road Sensing Suspension, or CRVSS. It adjusts the shock absorbers automatically to keep the car flat and level and to maintain a smooth ride. Its MagnaSteer magnetic rack-and-pinion steering system is speed-sensitive and enhanced for 1998. Traction control limits wheelspin on slippery surfaces, while four-wheel disc brakes with a four-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS) are standard. Acting as a major component of StabiliTrak, the car's computer can sense if the car is sliding sideways, and will activate portions of the ABS to allow the driver to regain control.

SAFETY - StabiliTrak, ABS, dashboard and side-cushion airbags, side-impact door beams and traction control are all standard.

OPTIONS - Chrome wheels are $795; a sunroof is $1,550; the heated seats package (which also includes an electronic mirror-mounted compass and a garage door opener) is $632; an in-console six-disc CD changer adds $500; the wood package on the steering wheel and shift knob is $495. Special emissions equipment is $170, and destination adds $665.

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