New Car/Review

Cadillac

Cadillac Seville STS (2001)

SEE ALSO: Cadillac Buyer's Guide

By Matt/Bob Hagin

SPECIFICATIONS

     Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 48,045
     Price As Tested                                    $ 51,695
     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                                     4202 pounds
     Fuel Capacity                                  18.5 gallons
     Tires  (F/R)                            P235/60ZR16 H-rated
     Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/drum (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                            17/27/22
     0-60 MPH                                        6.5 seconds
     1/4 (E.T.)                          16.0 seconds @ 90.5 mph
     Top-speed                                           140 mph
                 * Sequential multi-port fuel injection

(The Seville name first appeared on a Cadillac 45 years ago, according to Bob Hagin. His son Matt says that's the birth year of the target age group for the latest Seville STS model.)

MATT - Cadillac has been going to great lengths and spending lots of promotional money to try to lower the age of its customer base, Dad. The last I heard, its demographics were up in the mid-'60s and while the money that you old timers spend is just as green as anyone else's, Cadillac would like to get a chunk of Baby Boomer money too. To attract them, it's doing glitzy stuff like entering sports car Prototype endurance racers in events such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans and other world-class races. It even provided a half dozen hot-rodded Seville STS sedans for the Le Mans officials to use as "chase" cars and one was even designated as the pace car for the event.

BOB - Cadillac not only has eyes for the affections of you younger folks here at home, it would like to get in on the worldwide action in luxury cars, so much so that for the first time since '41, the company is making its products available with right-hand steering. But to get into that market, it had to produce a vehicle that would be quick, handle well and be luxurious at the same time. Its Seville STS is an ideal car for that role. It weighs in at just under 4000 pounds and its Northstar 4.6-liter engine puts out a very impressive 300 horses and 295 pound-feet of torque. It's an all-aluminum V8 that sports chain-driven dual overhead cams, four valves per cylinder and a very sophisticated engine management system. It can do 140 MPH, which is something we old-timers don't need to hear too much about.

MATT - But it's nice to know that the power is there if it's needed. The obligatory four-speed automatic used for Seville has its up-and-down shifting points computer controlled, so it can instantly judge how the operator is driving. "Hot" driving makes it hold engine rpms longer by keeping it in a lower gear for longer period of time, which happens if the driver is lead-footing onto the freeway or out on the back roads. Our Seville carried what the company calls "Stabilitrac," a system that applies individual braking force at different wheels to keep the driver in control in the event that he or she gets carried away while showing off on twisting country roads. And to make sure the driver doesn't experience a blowout or diminished control due to under inflated tires, each of them has a built-in low-pressure warning sensor. In this era of self-serve gas stations and extended service periods, this device is very appropriate.

BOB - The interior of the Seville STS is pretty impressive too. The upholstery is leather, of course, and if you want cloth seat covers, you'll have to live in another country because it isn't offered here. The front seats are instantly adaptive to the body contours of the driver and front-seat passenger and if the system moved any faster, it would be considered a full-body massage. The dash carries a device that Cadillac calls an "infotainment" center which displays e-mail, provides a voice-directed mapping system and has a voice recorder for to capture inspiring thoughts. The Bose-brand sound system automatically shuts off whatever else is playing to announce difficult road conditions in the area. And to further point out Cadillac's interest in foreign markets, the voice and written information the driver gets can also be programmed in German, French, Spanish and Japanese as well as American English.

MATT - I think that the device I like best is the gizmo that helps the driver to back up into a parking space. There's a pair of sensing devices in the rear bumper that automatically warns if the Seville is getting too close for comfort. It would be especially helpful for older folks like you, Dad. It would keep you from making those parking maneuvers that require you to use the Braille system and keep backing up until you bump the car in back.

BOB - You're right about that and it was particularly embarrassing when the vehicle I backed into was a police car. Those guys have very long memories, Matt.

 

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