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2005 Luxury  Buyer's Guide

by Martha Hindes

2005 Cadillac STS
2005 Cadillac STS

At a time consumers are notoriously fickle and don't tolerate boredom, they won't mistake the Caddy look for anyone else's auto. The pulse beneath the bold, defined exterior of the new full-size STS luxury sedan is all Cadillac. Gutsy rear-drive power. Road manners as smartly crisp as its aggressive, no compromises styling with such just-right visual touches as slightly raised wheel well framing that keeps it from looking austere. A lot of European attitude with a definite American accent.

STS is the all-new GM flagship -- what Caddy calls its luxury performance sedan -- that replaces the previous, slightly larger Seville. And in new Cadillac stance, it's the well-toned Olympic athlete of the vehicle world rather than the turgid, mooshy couch potato of yesteryear.

STS has come on stream decked out in the finest luxury touches, with tonier models sporting eucalyptus wood and aluminum trim, Tuscany leather seating, Keyless Access with push-button start, Adaptive Cruise Control, Intellibeam, and advance, four-color Head-Up Display (the plural from an earlier, less intuitive predecessor now long gone). Magnetic Ride Control and StabiliTrak enhance the driving athletics.

The folks at Cadillac take pride in its quiet ride. While not on the muted scale of Lexus (but then, almost no vehicle matches Lexus's cloistered damping) it keeps unwanted outside, and irritating inside noises at bay, letting in just enough well-toned exhaust rumble to augment the feel of authority.

We all know GM's star performer is its On Star safety-communications system, and the STS's available navigation system is a continuation of the idea of cutting edge electronics complete with Bluetooth capability. (But there are those of us who really do like to simply push a button rather than scroll through endless electronic menus for a function. Listen and you'll hear the complaints.)

Power comes from two well-respected performance engines, both with variable valve timing, tweaked even more for the STS. The 3.6-liter V6 puts out 255-HP while the 4.6-liter V8 churns out 320, with available all-wheel-drive.

Cadillac has positioned its award-winning sedan to take advantage of the widest possible range of wannabe owners, with about a $20K spread from base to top-of-line above $60,000. Do we think it's a good deal? Lets just say the new STS has replaced "Boulevard ride" with "Autobahn ride."


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