(first posted 12/16/2014) Don’t call it another renaissance. Cadillac has recently launched two extremely talented sports sedans, the ATS and CTS. The latest CTS weighs less than key rivals and its handling is class-leading; it is also now sized and priced squarely in the mid-size luxury sports sedan segment, against the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The new CTS now fills a slot in the Cadillac lineup last occupied by the STS, which was priced like a 5-Series but sized closer to a 7-Series. The STS was one of the products launched during the early-2000s product blitz that brought us the razor-edged first-generation CTS, striking mid-size crossover SRX and the gorgeous XLR roadster. Cadillac had a lot of fresh energy and momentum going at that time, but some products were more successful than others. Today we look at the STS, a product that sadly proved to be somewhat of a dead end.
The CTS had been launched for 2002 and despite its flaws – a challenging interior, initially poor engine offerings – it was an exciting surprise. Cadillac had overnight thrown out its old design language and introduced Art&Science to the world. There was nary a curve nor piece of chrome on its exterior, and underneath this other-worldly styling was an all-new rear-wheel-drive platform architecture known as Sigma, featuring independent suspension with control arms up front and a multi-link in the rear. The five or seven-seat SRX crossover followed in 2004, offering similar styling in a wagon/crossover package, but with the option of a Northstar V8. The old guard Cadillacs were being squeezed out and the venerable Seville would die for 2004.
The Seville’s replacement was similarly-sized but rode atop the new Sigma platform, offering a choice of the 3.6 High Feature V6 (255hp, 252lb-ft) or 4.6 Northstar V8 (320hp, 315lb-ft). All-wheel-drive was available from launch with the V8, and a V6 AWD followed in the STS’s sophomore year. The STS was six inches longer and six inches wider than the CTS; total length was 196.3 inches, riding a 116.4 inch wheelbase. In comparison, a contemporary 5-Series was 190.6 inches long with a 113.7 inch wheelbase.
Fuel economy was adequate: ponying up for the V8 only resulted in a 1mpg drop in both city and highway for RWD models (15/24mpg), but adding AWD brought down the mpg ratings for both (15/23 for the V6, 14/21 for the V8). However, the V6 was still impressively responsive, with a 0-60 of 7 seconds versus the V8’s 6 second time. 2006 would see the arrival of an even more powerful STS, the STS-V, which will be covered in a future instalment.
Outside, the STS had crisply tailored lines and a subtler interpretation of the Art&Science design language. Elegant proportions and clean surfacing made for an imposing, luxurious-looking sedan, although one considerably less bold than say, a Chrysler 300. Against its direct rivals, though, the STS stood out; the 5-Series had just been Bangle-ized, the E-Class and S-Type were both blobby, and the Infiniti M and Lexus GS were clean but inoffensive.
Inside, the dash design was clean and uncluttered. Base models featured an abundance of aluminum trim, but ticking some option boxes could net you beautiful real Eucalyptus trim. Unlike with the CTS, Cadillac was less fixated on making the dash look like a PC tower, but the CD and DVD slots still took up a lot of real estate, even on models optioned with the slick touch-screen infotainment interface. Still, though, it was an improvement on its predecessor and stacked up well against rivals.
Base price for the STS V6 was $41,690; upgrading to the V8 meant a list price of $47,495. The base STS V6 came well-equipped with standard features such as leather trim, dual-zone climate control, eight-way power front seats and an eight-speaker Bose sound system. Like the Germans, though, there was a multitude of options available, including adaptive cruise control, head-up display, Xenon automatic headlamps and polished wheels. For the cabin, you could option a Bose surround-sound audio system with six-disc DVD player, Bluetooth and XM Satellite radio. Premium wood trim, four-way memory seats with heating and ventilation were also available to make the cabin a more comfortable place to be. For those seeking a more dynamic STS, you could add GM’s pioneering Magnetic Ride Control, as well as performance tires, brakes and steering and a limited slip diff. All in all, your STS could be blown out well past the $60k mark: brave territory for a Cadillac, but still undercutting similarly-equipped Germans.
Critics were impressed. Motor Trend put the STS head-to-head with the new F60 BMW 545i, and couldn’t name a clear winner. Their V8 AWD test model didn’t quite have the weight balance or sheer power of the Bimmer, but the MRC shocks delivered an excellent ride/handling balance and the STS had a better-suited and incredibly smooth transmission and more intuitive infotainment system. Motor Trend appreciated the interior which, although not at Audi levels of quality, was vastly superior to that of the CTS/SRX and featured a “balanced, eye-pleasing combination of layout, style, function and materials.” In concluding their comparison test, the author noted, “The STS… goes down easier. It comes close to the harder-edged 545i in most areas of performance, while managing superior ride quality, stopping distances, and ease of use.”
One flaw of the STS that would rear its head was its rear seat accommodations which, given the sheer size of the car, were surprisingly snug. The STS was also a heavy car, weighing in at over 4000lbs. Chalk a bit of that up to sound deadening, though, which made for an extremely quiet cabin. Cadillac aficionados expecting that quietness to be paired with a pillow-soft ride were in for a shock: the STS had a firm suspension, but one that allowed it to pull 0.86g on a skidpad. This Caddy could handle.
Still, the mid-size luxury sedan segment was a hotbed of impressive offerings and it certainly didn’t stay still. Group comparison tests conducted by Motor Trend and Car & Driver sung the praises of both the V6 and V8 STS models, but not enough to elevate the upstart Caddy to the top of the class. The overall verdict seemed to be that Cadillac was achingly close, but some minor niggles remained such as some ill-advised interior trim pieces.
Even the notoriously critical UK auto journalists proclaimed the STS as worthy of comparison to the Europeans, if not the ultimate class leader; as discussed earlier, though, Cadillac still has yet to find success in the European market. Overall, the STS was praised by most critics for being more dynamic than the Japanese luxury offerings but less edgy than the Germans. It thus offered a uniquely American take on luxury, and one perhaps more pleasing to most consumers in theory; it still had excellent rear-wheel-drive dynamics like the Germans, but with higher levels of comfort.
Rather than work on the minor issues keeping it from true greatness, GM decided to let the STS frustratingly hold the line. A 2008 revision brought a tweaked exterior – an attempt to keep the STS from being overshadowed in the showroom by the beautiful new CTS, no doubt – but no significant interior changes beyond a new steering wheel and some more aluminium trim. The cheap plastic trim pieces dotted here and there in the cabin remained, and Cadillac didn’t even add a conventional AUX input despite that feature’s availability in the cheaper, larger DTS.
To add insult to injury, Cadillac had launched the Chinese-exclusive SLS in 2007. This model addressed the major criticisms of the STS: interior presentation and quality, and rear-seat room. The SLS had a clean, new dash with gorgeous wood accents, very similar to the 2007 SRX revision. The wheelbase was stretched an additional 4 inches, allowing for a much more habitable rear seat.
Fortunately, the 2008 STS did provide one pleasing revision: a stronger 3.6 V6. Now with direct injection and a six-speed automatic, the STS V6 produced 302hp and 272 lb-ft yet sipped an impressive 17/26mpg. The V6 model was also afforded options, like the performance package and head-up display, that were previously exclusive to the V8. The V6 had always been decently powerful, but the revisions more or less rendered the aging Northstar irrelevant. Cadillac seemed to agree, and the V8 would be axed after 2010.
Sadly, the STS V6 would quickly follow. 2011 would be the last year for Cadillac’s erstwhile mid/full-sized luxury sedan, as well as the DTS luxobarge. GM’s bankruptcy had thrown everything into disarray, and certain projects like the Chevrolet Volt were given much higher priority. The planned new Cadillac V8 engine was axed; a proposed rear-wheel-drive STS/DTS successor was also terminated in development, as well as a rumoured proliferation of models riding on the Zeta platform (allegedly a Buick flagship and potentially a couple of Chevrolets and Cadillacs).
Prioritizing certain vehicle projects made sense for struggling General Motors. After all, the STS was not a resounding sales success. STS sales exceeded 30,000 units just once, in its debut year. Those figures would drop each year, with sales more than halving between 2008 and 2009. Just 3,338 units would find buyers in its final year. Meanwhile, the DTS consistently sold twice as many units annually. Before you criticize GM for alienating core Cadillac consumers and chasing pipe dreams of European conquest sales, though, consider how well the second-generation CTS sold and how its size/price positioning most definitely ate into STS sales.
The STS and DTS would both be replaced in 2013 by the XTS, riding on the front-wheel-drive Epsilon platform but with optional all-wheel-drive. The XTS featured an abundance of technology, sharp styling and a gorgeous interior, but it was not a direct rival for the STS. The new flagship was no sports sedan, and instead went head-to-head with the Lincoln MKS.
The real STS replacement would come a year later, and wore the CTS nameplate. Overall, the CTS is a more complete effort than the STS and better targeted at the Germans. Still, the STS was an impressive effort by Cadillac after years of front-wheel-drive offerings, and with just a few more tweaks it could have achieved true greatness.
Future Curbside Classics: The Smooth, Quiet Road to Nowhere – Part 1: Buick Lucerne
GM had hired Lutz before the STS went into production and I know that he had some refinements made. I think that the interior was probably revised, but I don’t know. I sort of think that the STS might have gotten an interior similar to the SRX’s otherwise.
The STS dash was discussed here before and I remember being one of the few who liked it. It wouldn’t surprise me if it got reworked by Lutz. The woodgrain was genuine and fit well. It was from the same supplier that Mercedes used (Behr). I don’t remember any cheap plastic pieces inside and found the material quality to be same as what was used on the big Sevilles.
The best thing about it was how simple it looked. It had a relaxing effect on me which is the opposite of today’s Cadillac interiors. They need to strike a better balance.
That looks like a CTS-V to me!
SomeoneInTheWildWest: In a comment thread a few days ago you said that the CTS was the successor to the STS, and I questioned that because the CTS (Catera) was originally an “entry level” Caddy. Now that I’ve read this thorough article, I completely see where you were coming from. 🙂
I always liked this STS, it was the first newer Cadillac to have “all the toys” available, including the adaptive radar cruise and the color HUD, 16-18 speaker system, voice controls, automatic high beams returned to Cadillac with these too. The availability of either RWD or AWD was a new thing too.
I don’t recall the exact story, but there was a more aggressively styled prototype that Lutz nixed for this more conservative and kinda bland version. I think that might have been a mistake. The new 2008 CTS had to steal lots of this cars thunder. I like the mark I version of this STS design more than the questionable 2008 facelift, I never felt the newer grille mixed well with the STS’s styling.
I’ve read that the pre-Lutz version hewed more closely to the 2000 Imaj concept car. Then again, I’ve also read it had fender skirts. Supposedly a picture was posted on the internet once, but GM legal took care of it.
I think I remember seeing it once, it had the same basic shape as the STS that came out, but the details were wilder, I think the tail lights went up the rear fender more like fins.
My aunt’s car. Deep blue, just like this one
She has a thing about oddball cars – has been driving a creme beige Rover 75 in late 1990s, one of only several I’ve ever seen.
Never had a chance to drive the Caddy, and, sincerely, don’t feel the urge to. To me, it is as unexciting as it is un-American. And the name just sounds silly.
I’m definitely sure the Rover 75 would be a future CC (maybe it already is); not so sure about the STS, though.
These looked like a CTS which had been restyled in response to a consumer clinic full of individuals wearing Mom Jeans and Dockers. Too soft, too anonymous, and with big, clunky Jolly Rancher taillights that were strangely under-lit by a skinny single strip of LEDs. Nowhere near as interesting as its little brother.
I had forgotten that the interior always looked so cheap. So it never got the upgrade they kept calling “Cut and Sew” that was put in the SRX?
The SRX got the new interior for the 2007 model year. Then the CTS was upgraded for 2008, with not only a new interior but also a wider body. The STS interior was good compared to the the first generation of the SRX and CTS. I think by 2010, when the STS should have gotten an upgrade, the Sigma platform was being replaced for the ATS. The DTS was replaced with the XTS, which was supposed to also be an STS replacement. The new CTS seems to me more of the RWD STS, while the XTS could be an old FWD Seville replacement.
I think only the V version of the STS ever got the “cut and sew”, actually the V got some other upgraded interior bits from the same supplier that Mercede used for the Maybach.
A good friend owned an ’05 STS4 with the Northstar, and let me drive it.
Definitely drove and felt superior to the DTS, which despite being a Cadillac, still had that cheap feel characteristic of ALL GM FWD’s back to the 1979 Citation.
In contrast the STS4 took it all the way to 125MPH without making us feel like we were about to self-destruct. A very confident ride, but I imagine it pales in comparison to Caddy’s newest offerings.
Having recently driven a Chevy Sonic, and owning the current-gen Equinox, it appears that cheap FWD feel is gone for good. I’d read about changes they were implementing across-the-board…and if Chevies drive as well as my recent experiences, I can only imagine the XTS or SRX.
I’ve never warmed to the Art & Science look. I feel like the angularity of the details (lights, grille, etc.) accentuates the odd proportions of the basic shape, making it very angle-dependent. From some angles, it looks sharp, but step a few feet to one side and suddenly it looks like geometry homework. I particularly dislike the relationship of the headlights to the grille for that reason. The big headlight projectors and the way the under-bumper slot continues the grille’s angles also conspire to make it look like a cartoon character, which seems off-message in this price class. The CTS and ATS have the same issue, although there the angularity of the front valance and the (faux?) brake scoops make the ‘face’ look angry rather than goofy and wide-eyed. (The ATS front clip is also awfully busy — there’s a bunch of different shapes and the only ones that seem related to one another are again the grille and the under-bumper intake.)
Honestly, it makes me feel weirdly affectionate toward the 1999-2003 Fiat Multipla. At least there the bizarre shapes serve a practical purpose if not an aesthetic one.
I liked Art and Science and think it definitely helped the DTS look bolder and more purposeful.
I’m with Dan on A&S improving the DTS, however, that’s not setting the bar very high as the ’00-’05 or so DTS/Deville was possibly the ugliest iteration of them ever made.
That said, I can appreciate that A&S seems to be bringing back Cadillac’s distinctiveness somewhat, but the “geometry homework” analogy seemed especially apt to me. Shown in the right light, at the right angle, the A&S Cadillac is sharp. Turn it slightly and it is about as appealing–to me, at least–as a bustle back Seville.
Still holding out some hope for the CT6 even if the name sounds like a mutating virus.
I agree with all of your comments especially about the styling being so viewing angle-dependent and also about the busy-ness. Same problem inside.
I always felt the Art & Science theme looked forced on the DTS facelift. There wasn’t enough height to carry stacked headlamps. I preferred the far more simple original front end, even though it did look like a Ford Scorpio as someone observed the other day.
Totally agree. The basic shape is fine, it’s the details that let it down, particularly the lights. I can accept the rear end, it makes reference to the Ghosts of Cadillacs Past, in a modern vein. Well done there. But that front!
The front end jars; there are so many separate disparate rectangular elements that don’t quite make for an integrated look. It’s almost as though someone from Stores and Procurement, let’s call him Picasso, took a bunch of off-the-shelf lighting elements and said to the clay modellers “Here, these all have to go on.” And when they’d done it, said “Yep, good enough. Pass it on the Production guys”, without running it back past the stylists first.
There is a difference between being avant-garde and being awkward. Say what you will about the styling of Mercs, BMWs and Audis, but there was a certain integrated “rightness” about their styling during this period. The brand identity was there, it was unmistakable, but apart from the dreaded Bangle Butt there were no odd details that caught the eye like a visual barb, which the brain then interpreted as looking wrong.
Some styling just makes you go “Ah!”. These Cadillacs made me go “Uh?”. So close….
Another thing that sort of hurt the looks of these was that the overwhelming majority of them seemed to be the small 17 inch wheeled V6 or V8 versions, you hardly ever saw the more loaded up versions with the adaptive cruise and the 18/19 inch wheels like the grey car at the top of the article. Later in the STS’s run the wheels became a more free flowing option, but at the start you had to get the one of the 2 most expensive packages to even get the bigger wheels.
So most looked like this…..not bad, but kind of anonymous…..
Agreed. The CTS, too, looks pigeon-toed with smaller wheels, since all of these cars are so heavily committed to the ultra-tall-fender, enormous-wheelhouse look.
What a great article. Would you consider doing a write up on the Gen 1 SRX? I have a 2009 SRX4 Premium with the V6. I always thought it shared the platform with the Gen 1 CTS, but now I’m wondering if it shared with the STS…
I sold Cadillacs at Jim Coleman Cadillac in Bethesda MD for about a year and a half from February 2012 through July of 2013. I wasn’t there to sell any new STS’ and I don’t remember getting any significant wheel time, but I did sell a used one and go on multiple test drives of others, all V6s.
My thoughts were that by the time the gen 2 CTS came around, the STS and the CTS were for the most part too close in size and similar. The STS worked well for customers who couldn’t stand the absolutely tiny rear doors on the CTS, but for everyone else, the CTS was lighter and more nimble and fun to drive, as well as better looking and cheaper.
The way I would put it is this: I never quite knew exactly what the STS was. The CTS, DTS, SRX (gen 1 and 2), ATS and XTS, all made sense to me on their own merits. For some reason the STS just didn’t quite hold it’s own niche (just bigger than a CTS, but also RWD platform).
One side note, the infotainment system was considered very complicated to use! Something like 4 screens to turn on the heated seats if I remember correctly.
I feel like the STS of this generation is to the CTS what the recent Nissan Maxima is to the Altima. Not in driving manners or specific market segment, of course, but in conceptual relationship.
“One side note, the infotainment system was considered very complicated to use! Something like 4 screens to turn on the heated seats if I remember correctly.”
I associate luxury with simplicity and relaxation, not having to pull off to the side of the road and hunt through menus to perform basic functions. My printer likes to disconnect from my computer every few weeks and I have to go through all kinds of frustration to get it working again. Who needs the equivilent of that crap in a luxury car? That alone would have driven me back to a Chevy dealer, and now this stuff is in the lower price cars.
I recently read a comment in Forbes magazine indicating that the next generation Fusion would NOT have a touch screen due to consumer frustration with excessive complication. That kind of caught me off guard, and I don’t consider Forbes a good automotive source. But, I hope they are correct.
Let me guess that you have a windows computer.
I program for a living, so I sympathize completely. The “We Must Computerize Everything” mentality has gone absolutely bananas, way beyond the admitted practical benefits such as in engine controls & active suspensions, which are complex enough as it is. And smart phones already do most of the stuff carmakers are trying to in the dash console, like navigation, & better as well.
My main problem with modern Cadillacs? Their unintuitive, alphabet-soup model names! Benzes & BMW are easy by comparison.
I bet you have an HP 1522.
Great comment and I feel the same way but see it as more of a problem on the newer Cadillacs.
The heated and ventilated seat controls are right next to the temperature knobs on HVAC panel.
Maybe it required going through the screens to program the heated seats to come on automatically with the remote start or something, but not to just turn them on.
That might have been it Carmine. Sorry to overstate it!
Having just acquired a 2007 SRX, if any of your writers would like to come around and do an article on mine, let me know.
A co-worker had this car, though I was never was in it. I long assumed that it corrected the main failing of the original CTS which was a non-funtional backseat. Now, it appears that this car simply covered the same space as the CTS – but wasn’t as good and lacked the buzz. I always wondered why the STS did so poorly, now I know.
I have a little time in the current CTS, and the backseat seems functional – and I’m 6’1″. That truely assured that is was time for the STS to go.
Why on earth they didn’t build the Chinese version for the U.S. market is beyond me. As much as they screwed up on this one, I would have gone a completely different direction. Heck, expand the wheel base 6 inches, make the V-8 standard, ditch the DTS years earlier and call this the flagship. It could not be any worse than the approach that GM chose.
I had forgotten about the China-market SLS. It’s crazy that GM never offered it in the US. It would’ve made a lot more sense than the STS-V. I agree with what (I think) Dave B is suggesting above: That SLS should have been the ONLY version of the STS in the US. That would’ve given the STS a lot more breathing room with the CTS below it.
There are very nice Buicks that are only for the China market too.
Great info on a car that few people talk about even Cadillac fans. The STS has always been the “so close and yet so far” car, short in rear seat room when new and on V8 reliability when used. Now that I know how good the V6 was at the end I agree the STS has CC written all over it.
I wish Cadillac would address the rear seat room problem that has plagued them now for over 10 years. I’m exaggerating to make a point but anyone can make a “world class” handling and looking sedan if they trade off all of the rear seat room. What’s hard is to have a competitive back seat and also great performance. A longer WB usually means a less agile car and more weight to deal with ($$$) but there are other ways too.
As much as I like the Arts & Science theme it’s getting a bit old. I don’t mean the sharp edges, I like those and think they should remain. It’s the silhouette that is due for an update.
Also the interior styling is way over done on the latest Cadillacs. Too many shiny surfaces and sleek looking controls that put form before function, or so it appears. The shapes are hard on the eyes too.
I checked out an ATS at the LA show and the door closing sound was poor. At that price it needs to be at least as good as the best, because Cadillac is still playing catch up. How difficult is it to benchmark your competitors, set some targets and get this done? Or is the problem that it isn’t a priority?
I’m tired of reading how Cadillac has world class cars and all they need now is good marketing. The products need a lot of work and I hope as much energy goes into that as has gone into the soft stuff.
I’m one of those who wanted a more holistic rebirth of the brand combining competitive performance with romantic names and styles from Cadillac’s past. Not the easiest thing to do in terms of Cd but a more formal roof line would be fresh and make rear seat ingress/egress a lot easier without a big increase in the WB.
Hopefully the CT6 will address the above points. A perfect one of those doesn’t need much marketing in the US, everyone is ready to love it and has been for 13 years.
The only way I can keep modern Cadillacs straight is by concentrating on the first letter. Sxx is for Seville. Cxx is for Catera. Dxx is for De Ville. And I have no idea what the others are.
Take that, GM!
Looks like a ghetto Camry, just not as dependable or depreciation resistant. With the exterior all I see are the JC Whitney little side vents and headlamps. The inside is cheap as ever; plastic, plastic, plastic,,,,and low rent plastic at that.
GM: Let this be your Chevrolet and give us a RWD/AWD plush car with premium wood, leather, top ring customer care and call it Cadillac.
Back in about 2007 I got an STS as a surprise rental car upgrade at SFO. I enjoyed driving it for about 4 days. I found it had a very unusual combination of ride characteristics. Somehow, Cadillac had figured out how to give it a HUGE amount of suspension travel — way more than I expected — but still keep the wheels quite nicely glued to the road. It was as if some engineer had been tasked to make the car handle like a BMW but at the same time have some of the feel of Grandpa’s Fleetwood Brougham. Being a rental car I am sure it was the base suspension tuning. I am sure it was the base engine too, but it had plenty of get up and go.
Two years later, I was in the market for a new daily driver, and I thought of looking for a lightly used STS. The few I could find seemed kinda overpriced, and the V8 ones concerned me regarding the longevity and repair costs of the Northstar. I ended up buying a lightly used Town Car instead. Which I still have.
Great article and I completely agree with the assessment. I was really into the STS and still have a hard time understanding why it wasn’t more successful. Never knew there was a LWB Chinese version, but that looks even better, especially the upgrades to the interior!
IMO, Cadillacs have just gotten better and better since the dawn of A&S.
I’m probably one of the few people who liked the 2005 STS better than the first CTS. They seemed more balanced, stylistically – just cleaner looking. More traditional and bland, sure, but I thought it was a nicer looking, better-sized car both inside and out.
One huge thing that bugged me about the first CTS design (that probably no one else noticed/cared about) were the old school parts bin door handles slapped on straight from the ’90s Cadillacs. Every other element of the styling both inside and out had the completely new angular “art and science” theme, making those oval-shaped, old-style 1990s handles such a a glaring corner cut in the design.
The STS had modern pull-out handles that fit the angular mid-2000s styling, and the car looked much better for it. Other details have aged better too – the ‘smoked’ headlights and gray plastic grille on the CTS looked cheap and dated much faster than the clear headlights and chrome grille on the STS. I just think it’s the more handsome of the two, but it’s splitting hairs, because they’re essentially the same car, and were both huge improvements over the dated Seville and unreliable Catera.
“One huge thing that bugged me about the first CTS design (that probably no one else noticed/cared about) were the old school parts bin door handles slapped on straight from the ’90s Cadillacs.”
Are you kiddin’? I HATED those door handles! Not just the clunky oval shape on an angular car they were too low. The trunk looked tacked on, Jetta style. Then there were the taillights where you could tell the division wasn’t quite confident enough to make them look like fins. I bet that was one of the things Lutz fixed on the models that followed.
I agree the STS was a better looking car. The ’08 CTS was better still, a real knockout. The grille finally had enough height and the car looked dynamic. It made the STS look slab-sided and a bit staid.
CTSs, especially black ones, are/were really popular with 40-something women. Now I see those same women in ATSs which I can hardly tell from the ’08 CTSs. The new CTS looks nice, more manly for sure, but it is just too expensive.
I’ve been considering maybe *someday* buying a Cadillac as a hobby car and was looking into some version of the STS. I really liked the FWD version in terms of styling, but I find these to be a little more stately, but not a turn off.
Thanks for refreshing my memories about this car. It’s funny to think that you remember something well, when in fact, you really don’t…
I never really had a high opinion of the STS, part of the problem was I never saw enough in person to really form one. Of course falling outside the “German standard” size and price classes was a major detriment, but part of the problem was that the STS looked too much like the grandparents’ DTS.
I always felt that this STS and the first generation CTS were like stepping stones for Cadillac’s move towards more internationally competitive cars. Their exterior designs, interior designs, and interior quality always seemed unrefined compared to German and Japanese luxury brands. Although I forgot how much nicer the STS’s interior became by the end of its run. By that point, its exterior design looked very stale. Just my thoughts. 🙂
I’m with Max on this one–I always preferred the styling of this car to the first-gen CTS. While the original CTS was a landmark car for Cadillac due to its boldness and its being their first credible sports sedan in some time, the styling never sat quite right with me. Still doesn’t, though I like it better than I used to. The STS was much more appealing if less distinctive. Then came the second-gen CTS, which was beautiful, and made the STS both old-fashioned and redundant at the same time. I think it also hurt the STS that the DTS looked too similar (though that in itself was a breath of fresh air after the 2000-05 DTS, which I find one of the least attractive Cadillacs ever made).
Also, I always found it somewhat odd that, while the STS was the nominally higher model in the lineup, the STS-V was slightly slower than the CTS-V. Also odd that the two V models used completely different engines (CTS-V had an LS-series V8, STS-V had a supercharged Northstar). STS-V had almost 70 horsepower and 40 lb-ft torque more than did the CTS-V but it was 0.2 slower to 60, same 13.1 second quarter, and was in general regarded as less sporting…
It’s a shame we didn’t get the Chinese SLS. It fixed 3 problems I have with this car. The overly plain exterior was dressed up with a chrome trim molding on the doors. The wheelbase was stretched so as to increase rear legroom. And the interior was better and more upscale. The version we got never really impressed me overall but the 2008 update helped a little.
I have always really like the looks of these cars especially the front end , it just looks classy and distinctive. I have seen used ones from the earlier years for well under $10,000 with decent miles. This is probably a very comfortable car to drive. But what keeps me away is the potential for expensive repairs much like an older Audi/Volvo/BMW etc.
They should have kept the DTS name for the XTS, and now they are going to CT#. AHH!