The rebirth of the cool Cadillac began in 2001, and seven models later the all-new 2005 STS completes the vehicular cycle, reminding us why the brand is essential in the good ole' US of A automobile scheme of things.
The STS is the luxury sedan Cadillac born of the "same DNA" as the nimble CTS but built to go head-to-head with the BMW 5-Series, Mercedes E-Class and Jaguar S-Type. (And at $61,000 for the 4.6L V-8, Cadillac bows down to no Euro in the sticker price wars). Can it compete? Absolutely, just so long as they get their heads together on a name change because no matter how well it drives, Andre 3000 and Big Boi aren't penning any love songs to random letters.
The STS used to be the Seville, the fins and fun American classic that inspired outcasts ("scene was so thick, low rides, seventy-seven Sevilles, El Dawgs, nuttin but them "llacs...black man heaven you know what I'm saying? Peace" -- Player's Ball, Outkast) and bosses alike ("Cadillac, Cadillac, long and dark shiny and black, open up your engines let 'em roar tearing up the highway like a big dinosaur"--Cadillac Ranch, Bruce Springsteen). The name Seville at least means something, and not just to lovestruck barbers. The STS will find an upscale audience, but to recapture the hearts of poets and drivers alike, it needs a better monicker. So from here on out, in this column anyway, the STS will be known as the Cadillac Stevedore (that's right: "one who is employed in the lading or unloading of ships.")
The name debacle aside, it's a comfortable piece of machinery. For starters the swanky interior has notes of aluminum brush and eucalyptus wood (so by all means, keep your koala in the backseat). The technology includes IPod and video game plug-ins, DVD maps of the U.S. and Canada that can play simultaneously with the six-CD, Bluetooth technology, OnStar, a Bose stereo with 15-speakers and a feature that allows Verizon users to make voice-activated phone calls by simply talking to the hottie operator in the digital ether. One other brilliantly extraneous option is cooled seats, making backsweat a thing of the past...backfat however, continues unabated.
The keyless access/remote engine starter fob took some goading to cooperate, which wouldn't have been a big deal other than it was pouring rain. Such are the hazards of the profession. What is amazing about the Stevedore is that it comes close to the point where the sole responsibility of the driver is to stay awake. The car has automatic windshield wipers and high beams, cruise control that slows and accelerates depending on traffic, stability assistance, and something called magnetic ride control that I didn't understand. But I don't need to, as long as I have a hearty cup of coffee, the Stevedore will take care of everything else.
Cadillac deserves to take a bow for the new models and this sedan is a great closing act. If we can just get the powers that be to make sure its handle equals its handling.