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THE COMEBACK CAR

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Mon, Sep 5, 2005

By: The LACar Editorial Staff


© All photos by Harvey Schwartz

THIS ONE CAN RUN WITH THE BEST

By HARVEY SCHWARTZ

Model year 2005 marks Cadillac's return to the top tier of luxury performance sedans. The CTS marked the beginning of Cadillac's return to rear-wheel drive, and the all-new STS makes it complete. The STS is as good as, and even better in some ways, than the Mercedes-Benz S500, BMW 745i, Lexus LS430 and Jaguar XJ8 that cost thousands of dollars more.

The power is ready, the handling is outstanding, and the isolation over bumps is perfectly dialed in. The interior comfort, luxuries and safety systems are on par with the other top-tier makes.

All it takes is getting behind the power tilt, telescopic, heated, leather-wood wrapped, three-spoke steering wheel, then starting the engine by simply pushing the start button. The 4.6 liter Northstar V8 comes alive with very little sound and no vibration. The body structure design and acoustics have been engineered to give a quiet interior - ready to enjoy the magnificent Bose.5.1 Surround Audio/Video system.



The design of the STS is less dramatic than both the CTS and XLR roadster, toning down the new Cadillac signature 'Art & Science' architecture with the stealth bomber angles and facets. However, it still remains striking. The STS front fascia features the signature V-shaped egg crate grille and stacked headlamps from those two models, but the front and rear have more crisp lines.

The lower wide air-intake is covered with stainless steel wire mesh, similar to the higher-performing Cadillac V-Series full front wire mesh.

The silhouette shows short front and rear overhangs, steeply raked A and C pillars, and sharply contoured lower rocker panels that track rearward from the front fascia's bottom edge pulling the body down thereby adding a ground effects look. The STS spent many hours in the wind tunnel just getting the aero-styled power remote/heated/self-dimming side mirrors to cut through the air with less wind noise. The side windows are also pulled down slightly and resemble the design of the new Chrysler 300 sedan. In the back are Cadillac's signature tale vertical tail/brake lamps with LED bulbs, two large backup lamps in the center, wide, dual chrome exhaust tips below the bumper at each side, and an optional spoiler mounted on the deck lid. Standard backup assist sensors are mounted in the center of the bumper.



The STS looks like it was carved out of a single piece of metal. All body panels are made of two-sided galvanized steel sheet metal with minimum gaps between the stampings. The new more rigid and torsional, unitized welded steel body features a direct-mounted front cradle and rubber-isolated, multi-link suspension assembly.

The STS rides on gorgeous 17x8 aluminum wheels wrapped with 235/50R17 Michelin Pilot tires, or you can option for the 18x8 aluminum wheels wrapped with 255/50R18 Michelin Pilots.

The all-new STS looks fast and luxurious, and it is.

Power is generated by the award winning Northstar 4.6 liter, 90-degree, all-aluminum DOHC V8 engine with VVT for added response at low rpms. This V8 generates 320 horsepower at 6,400 rpm, and 315 lb.ft. of torque at 4,400 rpm. The sophisticated engine is mated to GM's top-of-the-line Hydra-Matic 5L50-E speed-speed electronically-controlled automatic with lockup torque converter, driver shift control and performance algorithm liftfoot.



The Luxury/Performance packaged STS that I tested came with a limited slip differential to help keep the power down on the pavement at launch. The limited slip differential is not available with all-wheel-drive.

Acceleration is quick and fluid, a 0-60 mph time of 6.2 seconds, and the quarter mile in 14.2 seconds at 97.5 mph. These numbers are on par with the best of the competition.

Where the STS outpaces the competition is the incredible ride and handling.

On new, seamless blacktop you are riding on glass. When the freeway undulates, the wheels move up and down but the chassis stays flat for incredible control. When you're rounding a turn at speed the body stays flat and the tires bite into the curve like a hot knife through butter. It's like you are pushed up against a wall. It's so sharp and so well dialed in, its scary. This shows that Corvette handling can be duplicated in a GM sedan.
On bumps and poorly paved roads, you don't feel any harshness or quick jolts at all. The STS's independent suspension is the perfect combination of comfort and control.

This very special fully independent suspension system includes, up front, a short/long arm modified double-wishbone setup, coil-over-shocks with magnetic ride control, and a 33mm hollow stabilizer bar. The rear suspension features a modified multi-link setup with coil springs, magnetic ride control shocks with pneumatic load leveling, and a 19 mm solid stabilizer bar.



The ZF Servotronic II variable assist rack & pinion steering is perfectly matched with great on-center feel, and quick response to your inputs. Just a slight touch of the wheel moves the STS where you want it to go. The STS gets through the 600ft. slalom at 64.4mph, faster than the S500, LS430 and Jaguar XJ8. The STS is a joy to drive on the streets, especially on the freeways.

Quickly slowing you down are big, powerful brakes, 12.7-inch vented discs with dual-piston calipers up front, and 12.6-inch vented discs in the rear with big single piston calipers. These brakes are enhanced with ABS, brake assist, high-performance brake pads, and works with the traction control and StabiliTrak stability control systems.
It only takes 113 feet to stop this 3,921 pound luxury performance sedan from 60mph, shorter than the LS430, S500 and Jaguar XJ8.

The all-new STS continues to impress on the inside, with both style and substance.
All four doors open wide to reveal a sumptuous, roomy interior for four adults.
The leather seats are very comfortable and very supportive with eight-way power adjustments/lumbar control/heating/cooling. Rear seats feature adjustable headrest, a pull-down center armrest with dual cupholders, and heated seat bottoms.



The beefy power tilt/telescopic/heated steering wheel is wrapped in the same leather with wood on top for the perfect feel and position for fluid operation. There are controls on the three-spoke wheel for the audio system, computer, sound mute, and to turn on the heating element in the wheel. The instrument cluster is straight ahead and easy to see. A big 160 mph speedometer and 8,000 rpm tachometer are ringed in silver. Smaller gauges for fuel and engine coolant temperature are at the ends. Bright LED readouts warn of system or safety problems. The lower center features a wide LED screen with readouts for a vast number of checks and real-time information. There is also an optional Head's-Up display that enhances safety by giving you important information about the car without taking your eyes off the road. All buttons, dials and levers are within easy reach and fully illuminated for safe nighttime driving.

Tasteful amounts of optional eucalyptus wood line the center stack, dashboard, center console, shifter top, and all-four door arm switch plates. Standard in the STS are real aluminum trim pieces. The stick shifter is easy to use and is positioned in a chrome gate. The center console comes with dual-cupholders and a deep bin with padded leather top. The STS also comes standard with electronic, dual-zone climate control, cruise-control, variable speed wipers/washers, a large, 13.8 cubic feet trunk capable of carrying four sets of golf clubs, adaptive remote start, eight-speaker Bose audio system with CD, power windows/door locks with all express up/down, keyless access with push button start, ultra-sonic rear park assist, trip/system computer with personalization, grab handles at all four doors, and thick pile carpeting with thick floor mats.

Options on the Luxury Performance package test vehicle included multi-driver memory settings, heated/cooled front seats, heated wood steering wheel, eucalyptus wood trim, Bose 5.1 studio surround sound with in-dash 6-disc CD/DVD/MP3 player, 15-Bose speakers, including two at the sides of the headrest at each front seat, plus an advanced DVD navigation system on a big 8in. screen, XM satellite radio, rain sensing wipers/washers, adaptive cruise-control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, homelink garage door opener, high-intensity HID headlights, intellibeam auto high beam control, headlamp washers, magnetic ride control, and electric sunroof.



Standard safety features include driver/front passenger front and side impact airbags, head curtain side impact airbags, three-point safety belts for all five seating positions with front seat belt pretensioners/load limiters, OnStar system for one year, ultrasonic rear pack assist, theft detent system, power programmable door locks, auto dimming rearview mirror with compass, electrochromic self-dimming driver's side mirror, halogen headlamps, front/rear crush zones, steel beams in each door and an energy absorbing steering column.

Cadillac has successfully come back from a long way behind and now offers some of the best looking, powerful, performance and luxury driven lineup of vehicles on the market.
All it takes is a test drive if you can afford the $58,090.00 price tag for my test STS.

© All text and photographs by Harvey Schwartz

For more information on Cadillac products, go to http://www.cadillac.com/.
More photos from Harvey Schwartz can be found at www.autofotos.com

SPECIFICATIONS

Name of vehicle:
2005 Cadillac STS

Price of vehicle:
$47,025.00 base, $58,090.00 as tested

Engine type:
4.6 liter, 90-degree, all-aluminum DOHC V8 with VVT

Horsepower:
320hp at 6,400 rpm

Torque:
315lb.ft. at 4,400 rpm

Drive configuration:
Front engine/rear-wheel-drive/optional all-wheel-drive

Transmission type:
Five-speed electronically-controlled automatic with lockup torque converter, driver shift control and performance algorithm liftfoot

Front suspension:
Independent, short/long arms, coil-over magnetic ride control shocks, 33 mm hollow stabilizer bar

Rear suspension:
Independent, modified multi-links, coil springs, magnetic ride control shocks, pneumatic load leveling, 19 mm solid stabilizer bar

Wheels/tires:
17x8 aluminum wheels/235/50R18 Michelin Pilot tires standard, 18x8 aluminum wheels/255/50R18 Michelin Pilot tires optional

Brakes:
Front - 12.7-inch vented discs with dual piston calipers
Rear - 12.6-inch vented discs with single piston calipers
ABS, traction control, StabiliTrak stability control, optional high-performance brake pads

Overall length:
196.3 inches

Overall width:
72.6 inches

Overall height:
57.6 inches

Curb weight:
3,921 pounds

MPG mileage specs:
17 mpg/city, 26 mpg/highway

0-60mph:
6.2 seconds

60 mph-0:
113 feet

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