Cadillac's Seville sedan geared for luxury or sporty flavor
Date Posted: 5/10/2005
Poor Dennis Conner. The 4-time winner of America's Cup, sailing's ultimate victory and the oldest contested trophy in sports, had to work all afternoon in waters off San Diego last November in order to win a Seville Touring Sedan, Cadillac's 4-door dream machine.
Piloting Stars & Stripes '95 on its maiden voyage in a race for the Cadillac Cup that pits this new sailing yacht against its predecessor, Conner and crew -- buoyed by several car writers aboard for ballast -- beat Stars & Stripes '92, the boat Conner used to defend the America's Cup trophy against Australia's challenge in 1992.
Although lead changed several times during the Cadillac Cup race, Conner drew upon his legendary sailing skills and intimate knowledge of home waters to shag a timely gust of wind, which propelled the new boat across the finish line a few meters ahead of its competitor.
As a result, Conner will be driving his own new Cadillac to the Team Dennis Conner compound at San Diego when this famed sailor defends America's Cup in the 1995 series of races set to unfold this spring.
Why the tie between America's Cup, Conner and Cadillac?
As a primary sponsor of Team Dennis Conner, Cadillac lends financial and technical support to Stars & Stripes.
For instance, the Cray supercomputer and wind tunnel at General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Mich., were used to analyze and refine the yacht's carbon fiber hull and keel designs for optimum strength and aerodynamic fluidity. Similar tests led to development of Seville and its Eldorado coupe counterpart, as well as concept cars like Cadillac's Ultralite body, built from carbon fiber compounds which surpass aluminum for strength but pare weight by half.
Prior to the Cadillac Cup race, I picked up a Seville STS at the Team Dennis Conner compound and steered it across Coronado Bridge over San Diego's harbor for refresher tests which also took me up and down several California freeways.
Previous trials -- including a 60-mile introductory spin along the shore of Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula last summer plus a week's driving experience from my home base last fall -- were recalled for that rush of adrenalin which came each time I slipped behind Seville's fat steering wheel and pumped up all that sporty horsepower.
Cadillac produces a sporty sedan?
It's true, and like new Stars & Stripes this new Cadillac is a design of world stature.
Seville's 4-door sedan and Eldorado's 2-door coupe, sharing the same chassis and high tech hardware, debuted in new format as 1992 models but for 1995 have gained significant new components to make them steer, ride, stop and run in neck-and-neck fashion with the best breeds of international class.
Like Eldorado, Seville offers two model choices.
Seville Luxury Sedan provides every comfort and convenience item you may imagine, then sets suspension and steering mechanisms, plus transmission gear ratios, to produce plush, smooth ride and drive qualities.
Seville Touring Sedan tunes these SLS components to create a more lively platform geared for the enthusiast driver, one who enjoys trappings of luxury but also seeks those adrenalin thrills derived from hard cornering maneuvers and fast-lane throttle action.
The 1995 models carry Cadillac's Northstar System, which goes beyond Seville's powerful V8 engine and smooth transaxle to encompass electronically-controlled suspension, steering, braking and traction controls.
That Northstar aluminum block engine, measuring 4.6 liters and outfitted with four camshafts, four valves in each aluminum cylinder and tuned port fuel injection, has been enhanced for 1995 models by 5 horsepower.
For Seville SLS, that means 275 hp on-board, plus 300 lbs/ft of torque to make this the most muscle ever mustered by a production sedan pushing power to its front wheels.
For Seville STS, specific tuning increases the engine's horsepower to 300 -- the same as Corvette. Step on it and you'll feel massive thrust, despite the bulk of nearly two tons of machinery stretched over 17 feet of pavement.
Fun comes from zipping to 60 mph in a mere 7.3 seconds.
From the cockpit, though, you won't hear it roar because the Northstar engine carries a new thermoplastic intake manifold and lid which not only boost power output and eliminate more than a hundred previous components, but curb engine vibrations and dampen noise. Combine these complex tools with new structural stiffeners, a repositioned muffler and additional sound-stifling insulation, and Seville delivers living-room-quiet interior acoustics.
With Northstar you can dismiss engine maintenance too, thanks to dual platinum-tipped spark plugs, direct-fire ignition and electronic fuel management. First scheduled tune-up doesn't occur until 100,000 miles.
Sophisticated electronics manage everything from that smooth-shifting 4-speed automatic transaxle to the anti-lock mode of disc brakes and a traction-curbing device, even Seville's road-sensing suspension hardware and components of rack and pinion steering.
Cadillac's exclusive integrated chassis control system, keyed to sensors that measure straight-line and turning-angle positions of the steering wheel, coordinates efforts for applying brakes and maintaining traction with the variable suspension settings. Thus, all parts work together to produce smooth yet predictable movements which, for the alert driver, become an active safety asset.
All sorts of passive safety measures also show up on Seville now, such as steel reinforcements for the passenger compartment, two big airbags for front seat riders and easy-to-buckle 3-point safety belts.
Both Seville models also stock a remote keyless entry feature, central door unlocking and GM's Pass-Key II theft deterrent tool.
Cadillac fills the interiors of both versions with luxury gear: Automatic climate system, 6-way power front seats with power recliners, Zebrano wood accents, electrochromatic day-night rearview mirror, and on and on.
Sporty STS adds analog gauges, a shifter on the floor, leather seating, fog lamps and R-rated Goodyear Eagles.
Pick Seville SLS for plush ride and more chrome. Pick STS for faster take-offs and firm, responsive action.
I'd pick STS and gloat, perhaps as Dennis Conner does, from realizing a 4-door Cadillac can be so fun to drive.
1995 CADILLAC SEVILLE STS
| Vehicle Specifications:
| 1995 CADILLAC SEVILLE Specs
||Midsize luxury sedan
| Model Options:
||Midsize luxury sedan
| Overall Length:
| Engine Size:
||QOHC 4.6-L V8 32-v
| Gas Mileage:
||$ 42,500 to $ 46,500