If you took a look at the 1992 Cadillac Eldorado Touring Coupe but were unimpressed by the old hardware under the hood, you may want to consider a return trip to the Cadillac dealer. This time, you might like what you see in the '93 model. The 1993 Eldorado Touring Coupe (as well as the Seville STS and Allante) comes with Cadillac's new Northstar 32-valve V-8 engine. The Northstar is not just another new engine. It's an mechanical marvel that showcases the best of American engineering talent and creativity. With the Eldorado Touring Coupe, Cadillac has made its intentions clear: General Motors' luxury car division intends to claim a large piece of the luxury sport coupe market. PERFORMANCE Cadillac engineers designed the Northstar with two things in mind: high performance and low maintenance. The Northstar engine is rated at 295 horsepower. That's enough power to propel the 3,640 pound coupe from 0-to-60 mph in 7.5 seconds. That places the Caddy about even in performance with the new Lincoln Mark VIII and Lexus SC 400. Smooth, responsive and vocal is the best way to sum up the Eldorado's demeanor. Though it's quick off the line, the Eldorado really hustles between 30 and 65 mph. And the exhaust snarls like no Cadillac ever has. This may come as a bit of a surprise because Cadillac has built a large part of its reputation on designing quiet automobiles. But with the Eldorado (and the Seville), Cadillac is trying to get younger, affluent buyers out of their imported luxury cars. Those baby boomers who grew up admiring Detroit muscle cars of the '60s are likely to be impressed with the Eldorado's power and performance. As for maintenance, the Northstar V-8 is unlike any other engine you can buy. Consider this: Cadillac engineers drained the coolant out of a Northstar-equipped test car and drove it to and from Detroit to Toledo, Ohio - around 90 miles. Then they took the engine apart. Thanks to a high-tech engine management system that prevents overheating, none of the engine's parts were damaged. Also, the Northstar won't need a tuneup until it reaches 100,000 miles. Regular oil and filter changes are all the maintenance the Northstar will need, Cadillac says. HANDLING Cadillac's suspension engineers did a masterful - though not perfect - job with the front-wheel-drive Eldorado. Unless you floor the accelerator, you probably wouldn't have a clue that the front wheels are doing all the work. But a fast start from rest will cause the Eldorado's rear end to dip slightly. A car's weight distribution is one of the things that influences handling. In the Eldorado, about 63 percent of the weight is concentrated on the front half of the car, while the remaining weight is over the rear wheels. The best handling cars have the weight evenly distributed. But a sharp turn at moderate speeds on wet pavement can cause the Eldorad o's tires to lose traction. The Eldorado Touring Coupe is equipped with the necessary hardware needed to compete with other high performance luxury/sport coupes. It has power rack and pinion steering, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, traction control and a computerized suspension system. If you are comparing the Eldorado against its two main competitors, the Lexus SC 400 and the new Lincoln Mark VIII, you're likely to notice that the Eldorado is a bit quicker off from a stop, but that the ride isn't as quiet. FIT AND FINISH The dark blue test car drew admiring glances and compliments from a number of passengers as well as from other motorists. Wecould argue all day about the merits of front-wheel drive vs. rear-wheel drive - both have good and bad points - but few are likely to be put off by the Eldorado's styling. Rather square, it is tough and aggressive-looking. The four chromed oval exhaust tips poking from under the rear bumper undersc ore the car's serious performance capabilities. They are not just for show. A set of tan leather bucket seats separated by a console mounted floor shifter as well as a full set of analog gauges help give the test car its sporting pedigree. Cadillac has done a fine job in designing the Eldorado's interior. The one-piece dash is contemporary in style. And it isn't cluttered with endless rows of buttons and switches. The Eldorado's interior comes off as a bit classier than the interior of the new Lincoln Mark VIII. The Eldorado has wood inserts on the dash and door panels. The headlights are light-sensitive, so the driver doesn't have to fuss with the switch. Nice touch. The computerized air conditioner allows the driver to choose the temperature. If you like European or Japanese luxury cars, you are definitely going to find the Eldorado's performance, equipment and ease of maintenance appealing. Truett's tip: The Cadillac Eldorado is a luxury hot rod that will blast apart any lingering doubts about Cadillac's resolve to compete with the imports.
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