SEE ALSO: Cadillac Buyer's Guide
SPECIFICATIONS Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price $ 48,480 Price As Tested $ 57,502 Engine Type DOHC 32-valve 4.6 Liter V8 w/SMFI* Engine Size 279 cid/4565 cc Horsepower 300 @ 6000 RPM Torque (lb-ft) 295 @ 4400 RPM Wheelbase/Width/Length 112.2"/75.0"/201.0" Transmission Four-speed automatic Curb Weight 4021 pounds Fuel Capacity 18.5 gallons Tires (F/R) P235/60R16 Z-rated 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 21/31/25 0-60 MPH 7.0 seconds 1/4 (E.T.) 16.0 seconds @ 91.5 mph Top speed 150 mph * Sequential multi-port fuel injection
(Cadillac will be 100 years old in 2003 and will still be the top dog of the GM lineup. Its Seville is the most popular Caddy worldwide and even offers cars with right hand drive, according to Matt Hagin. Bob Hagin says the Seville name itself has been around for over 40 years.)
BOB - A brand as old as Cadillacs deserves a history lesson, Matt. Henry Leland founded Cadillac in 1903 with a little one-cylinder 10-horse engine runabout which sold for $750. From there, Leland went on to originate Lincoln as well. The first Seville was a '56 coupe based on the series 62 Eldorado and became a stand-alone name in '76 with a down-sized body. Until '92, the Seville was a front engine, rear drive car but things have changed a lot since then. Almost Cadillacs have a sophisticated engine mounted cross-ways that drives the front wheels. The powerplant is called "Northstar," and it's an all-aluminum V8 with twin overhead cams and four valves per cylinder. Until this engine was developed for the Cadillac line, the company was pretty hide-bound and stuck to what it felt were "traditional" standards. But in recent years the company has had to take a look at itself as to where it needed to go and what it would take to shake its "mature person's" image, and lower its demographics.
MATT - The V8 in the Seville has been refined a bit this year, a move necessary to become certified in California and other strict smog control areas as an LEV or low emission vehicle. There is one step stricter than LEV, but its not mandatory yet, even in California. Some other new things for the Seville are an improved engine mount design to further smooth out the engine, and a grille that was updated from a couple of years ago. It became shorter and "tighter," which gave the car a more youthful look. There's been some mechanical refinements as well, and now the ignition system is a direct type, which does away with spark plug wires. Now each plug has its own small transformer mounted on top and the benefit is that the firing of the spark plugs is now more closely controlled. This cleans up emissions a bit and makes even cleaner power. Cadillac is good at improving on existing technology.
BOB - The Seville is the "hot-rod" image car of Cadillac's full-sized line, which explains the little spoiler on the rear deck lid. The Seville we evaluated was the STS version which means "Seville Touring Sedan" and according to the information pack we got with the car, it's capable of 150 mph. That's makes for some pretty fast "touring," although the car also comes in a more sedate SLS level which means "Seville Luxury Sedan." The STS is priced around $4,500 more than the Luxury model and comes with high-performance P235/60R16 tires that are Z-rated for exceptionally high speed. It weighs in at a little over two tons and can hit 60 mph in seven seconds which does a lot to negate the car's "old-folks" image. We could go on at length about the luxury appointments - wood trim, leather upholstery, power everything, but all that stuff is expected in a Cadillac. On the inside the Seville is plush and comfortable with heated front and rear seats. The front seats are also "adaptive" now, and have ten small air cells that cycle every four minutes. They refill themselves to conform to the contours of your body. OnStar navigation is standard and offers voice replying turn-by-turn commands that can be applied in five different languages.
MATT - The real glamour of this Seville STS is its performance. Last year Cadillac publicized the results of a match between the STS and one of its German rivals. The Seville came out on top, although there was some questions about mismatched tire performance capabilities between the two. Cadillac claims that the Seville is bought mainly for its performance and acceleration, with luxury being an added bonus. It's achieved this image during the past half-dozen years and the company has really been capitalizing on it.
BOB - It's hard to believe that Cadillac has undergone such a turnaround, Matt. It used to be such a stodgy outfit.
MATT - Things change, Dad. If they didn't, you might be driving a slightly updated version of Leland's single-cylinder horseless carriage.