Versus the competiton:
Cadillac Motor Car Division has two Seville models that meet the adage of something for everybody — in the luxury car field.
Tabbed the SLS for Seville Luxury Sedan, and STS for Seville Touring Sedan, the two are kissing cousins. Their body construction is identical, and their primary mechanical features almost so.
The STS get an additional 25 horsepower but gives up 10 foot-pounds of torque through a little higher valve lift and valve duration. Both cars are powered by Cadillac’s 4.6-liter (279 cubic inch) Northstar V-8.
The Seville Touring Sedan also has a suspension tuned differently than the SLS, plus some exterior trim and interior appointment differences. These add up to a higher price sticker.
Under normal conditions, there really isn’t a great deal of difference in the way the two cars drive.
The tourer has a little tighter suspension for those who want to fly into the corners with the pedal to the metal. But somehow, Cadillac drivers who like to live on the ragged edge seem to be the exception rather than the rule.
The SLS that General Motors Corp.’s Terri Phillips provided for a test car would do just about anything any car on the road can do, including motoring into society.
Its luxury theme was fulfilled by new powertrain, chassis and interior features for 1994. This was particularly fulfilled by the addition of the Northstar system.
The four-cam, 32-valve V-8 is a first-class engine in anybody’s league. And matched with GM’s advanced 4T80-E four-speed automatic, road-sensing suspension, speed-sensitive steering, anti-lock braking and traction control, it’s an automobile that can cut a wide swath on any street or highway.
The SLS is about as easy a car to drive as you would want. You can sit high or low by virtue of a six-way power seat, and you can drop the tilt steering wheel almost into your lap.
The only thing I miss here is the telescopic wheel of earlier Cadillacs, but that was before the days of air bags.
There’s no better introduction to the attributes of the SLS than to lean on the throttle and steer. It takes off like the proverbial scalded cat.
The 270-horsepower V-8 accelerates far more rapidly than Cadillac’s push-rod/rocker-arm engine. It goes up the rpm scale right now, and takes a 3,830-pound luxury sedan with it.
No matter how fast you’re going in an SLS, a driver has the distinct impression the car is going to go where he or she wants it to. You can mark this up to the sensitivity of the steering and the suspension.
At high speed there is nominal power- steering assistance, giving the driver a high degree of feel. It took but minute movement of the wheel to change lanes or negotiate fast turns. As speed is reduced, the power effort is increased, and was at maximum when parking.
Unlike earlier luxo-boats that tended to float along with an easy ride, the STS’s RSS (road-sensing suspension) system gave a computerized ride that optimized ride control and road feel.
By controlling the acti on of the shock absorbers relative to speed and road conditions, the four independently sprung wheels absorbed all but the roughest of pavement conditions. And even then, there was minimum vibration transmitted to the passenger compartment.
The result was almost as smooth as a limo, and just about as quiet.
The name Cadillac has been synonymous with fine motor cars from its beginnings in 1903. While the SLS isn’t as big as Cadillac’s rear-drive Fleetwood or front-drive DeVille, all the accouterments were present for refined motoring.
The standard power accessories were on board, along with zebrano woods, keyless entry and the like. Some options such as a Delco-Boise stereo system, leather and a sport interior added a bit of extra flavor.
Overall, the SLS can be classified as one of Cadillac’s better efforts, with the only quality glitch a service light that remained on due to a stuck oil switch.
1994 Cadillac Seville LS Base price: $41,430.As tested: $46 ,192.Type: Front engine, front- drive, five-passenger luxury sedan.Engine: 4.6 liters, DOHC V-8, 32 valves, fuel-injected, 270 horsepower, 300 foot-pounds of torque.Transmission: Four-speed automatic.Mileage: 16 mpg city, 25 mpg highway.Acceleration: 0-60 mph in 7.5 seconds.Wheelbase: 111.0 inches.Length: 204.1 inches.Width: 74.2 inches.Height: 54.5 inches.Curb weight: 3,830 pounds.Options: Delco-Bose stereo with cassette, compact disc player, sport interior, leather, white diamond exterior, power lumbar support, automatic day/night mirror, chrome wheels, theft deterrent system.