Cadillac sts 2006 review

Cadillac sts 2006 review DEFAULT

2006 Cadillac STS

When the Cadillac STS was redesigned and introduced as an all-new model last year, Cadillac delivered on the promise of the original Seville Touring Sedan: a car that people who like to drive will want to drive. For 2006, the game gets even faster with a new STS-V model that adds supercharged velocity to the grand touring.

The STS models benefit from GM's newest V6 and V8 engines, which boast the latest in computerized engine management and variable valve timing. The result is smooth, efficient power. The STS also offers a choice of equally smooth suspensions, from the standard suspension designed for smooth, comfortable commuting to an active suspension that instantly adjusts to any driving situation, whether cruising through a sea of potholes or swiftly motoring around a sweeping turn.

What really sets this latest generation of luxury models apart, however, is that the STS has returned to rear-wheel drive, an essential element for truly spirited driving. All-wheel drive is also available for handling stability in inclement weather.

STS is blessed with Cadillac's best interior ever, with comfortable but supportive seats that are infinitely adjustable, ample storage space, and superior sound systems. Most important, state-of-the-art occupant safety is standard.

Cadillac's top management rolled the dice when it empowered its stylists and engineers to create the all-new STS. But they were right insisting it be designed and outfitted from the tires up with one goal in sight: a car meant to bring as much joy and pleasure to the driver as it does comfort and convenience to the passengers. The STS has shown there's plenty of life in the wreath and crest, while the new STS-V shows that a domestic sedan can run alongside the world's best.

Model Lineup

The Cadillac STS comes with a choice of V6 ($41,020) or a V8 ($47,520) engines. They come with a five-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard. All-wheel drive ($1900) is available for either model. The STS-V ($74,270) comes with a supercharged V8 and a six-speed automatic; all-wheel drive isn't available.

STS comes standard with leather trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bose AM/FM/CD stereo, the usual lineup of power creature comforts and driver aids, OnStar telematics (with one year's service), Stabilitrak electronic stability control, automatic headlamp high-beam control, and rear park assist.

The popular V6 Luxury Package ($2640) includes a Memory Package with dual eight-way power and heated front seats, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel with radio and climate control settings; four-way power front lumbar seat adjusters; an eight-speaker stereo with six-disc CD changer; rain-sensing wipers; polished aluminum wheels and memory for driver's seat, outside mirrors and steering wheel settings; offered as an add-on to this package are satellite radio, programmable garage door opener and eucalyptus wood interior trim ($730).

The V6 Luxury Performance Package ($8,285) adds 15-speaker surround-sound Bose stereo with in-dash six-disc CD changer, DVD-based navigation, Bluetooth phone interface, heated rear seats and ventilated/heated front seats, Eucalyptus wood trim, leather-wrapped wood-accented heated steering wheel, tilt/slide power sunroof, auto-dimming inside rearview mirror with OnStar controls, outside automatic recirculating air quality sensor, tire pressure monitoring system, universal home remote, decklid spoiler, and performance brakes; a heavy-duty cooling package ($150) can be added to this. Stand-alone options include a performance handling package ($795), Bose surround-sound stereo ($2,590), premium leather seats ($1,200), 18-inch polished aluminum wheels ($800), power moonroof ($1,200) and an engine-block heater ($100). Two of the nine exterior paints, Infrared and Diamond White, cost extra ($995).

The V8 Luxury Package ($4,445) includes the Memory Package, auto-dimming inside rearview mirror, heated front and rear seats, four-way power lumbar adjusters, Bose surround-sound stereo and navigation system, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, universal home remote, and Eucalyptus wood trim. The V8 Luxury Performance Package ($10,740) adds an outside automatic recirculating air quality sensor, ventilated front seats, leather-wrapped wood-accented steering wheel, power sunroof, tire pressure monitoring system, more extensive Eucalyptus wood trim, Intellibeam Xenon headlamps and washers, a decklid spoiler, and performance brakes. The Premium Lux Performance Package ($12,790) adds premium Tuscany all-leather seating to the Luxury Performance Package list.

Adaptive cruise control ($2,300) is available for both models. A Performance Handling Package ($795) with special springs and shocks is available with rear-wheel drive but not all-wheel drive.

The STS-V comes with a higher level of standard equipment, including EZ Key with remote start, XM Satellite Radio, rear AV jacks, and rear obstacle detection, hand-wrapped leather surfaces with suede seat inserts, Olive Ash Burl wood and aluminum interior accents, rear climate system controls, and V-Series badging. Special paint and a sunroof are the only options.

Safety features that come standard on all models include dual two-stage frontal airbags, front seat mounted side airbags and front-and-rear side curtain airbags. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes are standard. Tire-pressure monitors are available only with the option packages.


The 2006 Cadillac STS is both new and familiar. It is strikingly dissimilar to its immediate predecessor, the 2003 Seville STS. The design of the STS, introduced as an all-new model for 2005, is the latest example of Cadillac's Art & Science design motif. Only the grille pretends to keep faith with any of the old Seville's softer, rounder shapes and lines.

Yet the STS is recognizable in its striking similarity to the CTS. The STS and CTS are indistinguishable to the casual observer even when parked side by side. Both cars present only minimally different iterations of the sharp angles and flat planes first seen in the Evoq concept. We now encounter examples of the Art & Science design theme almost daily in the SRX sport utility and XLR sports car. The now familiar theme can be seen to a lesser degree in the forward quarters of the new Escalade.

The similarity between CTS and STS runs deeper than the sheet metal. They both ride on the same platform. The wheelbase of the STS is only three inches longer than that of the CTS, and its body is six inches longer. The STS features much shorter overhangs (less metal hanging out over the front and rear wheels) than the old Seville. Besides better looks, this design makes for better handling and improved stability.

All that said, there's no mistaking the STS for anything but a Cadillac. Viewed head on, the trademark egg-crate grille and stacked headlamps are starkly functional in appearance. No wasted motion or volunteer excess there, to be sure.

From the side, the body's crisp lines draw an almost box-like silhouette that somehow still looks aerodynamic. Perhaps it's the gently curved A-pillar and C-pillar that tend a bit more toward art than science. Sharply contoured lower rocker panels tracking rearward from the front fascia's bottom edge pull the body down, adding a stylistic ground-effects look.

The backside is vaguely reminiscent of the old Eldorado coupe, with vertical taillights bracketing a tall, squared-off boot. Recessed in the boot's rear vertical is a trapezoidal inset, long enough for European-spec license plates, housing large backup lights at the left and right extremes. American-tradition dual exhausts exit below and at each end of the rear bumper. The optional rear spoiler, running the width of the trunk lid, adds stabilizing rear downforce without spoiling the look.

The performance STS-V is distinguished from the other STS models by its unique hood covering the supercharged powerplant, a larger, polished stainless steel wire-mesh front grille, a lower front fascia with a larger lower grille, brake ducts and splitter, lower side rockers, 10-spoke wheels, a higher rear spoiler, a lower rear fascia with wire-mesh accenting, and V-Series badging along with Supercharged badges on the doors.

Interior Features

The Cadillac STS cabin is warmer in appearance than the exterior, with soft leather surfaces complemented by warm wood accents. Those wood accents are not standard, but we much prefer them over the standard brushed aluminum trim, which looks and feels cold and reflects sunlight to the point of annoyance. Get the wood.

Seats are refreshingly supportive, for a Cadillac, without being overly firm. Arm rests and head restraints are a degree or two softer than the cushions and side bolsters, boosting the comfort factor a couple notches. All essential controls are within easy reach, although there could be more clearance between the lower door panels and seat bottom to access the front seat adjusters. For this reason, we were especially grateful for the seat memory feature, which often saved us from having to reach down there. The interior is roomy, fitting in between the marginally smaller CTS and externally larger 2003 Seville.

Instruments are easily scanned, white-on-black round analogs, with a large nested tachometer and speedometer between the smaller fuel and engine temperature gauges. The speedometer changes between English and metric electronically, so there's only one set of numbers around its circumference. Cruise control and running lights are managed via a stalk on the left side of the steering column, windshield wipers and washers with a stalk on the right. Buttons in the steering wheel spokes provide redundant controls for audio and driver information functions. A word of caution: the top-level stereo system, although delivering superb surround sound, is multi-tasked with a navigation system that, in combination, demands an extensive study of the owner's manual to operate with any degree of alacrity and confidence.

All four doors boast map pockets. The front center console is deep and wide and pre-wired for cellular and Bluetooth (to wirelessly tie the cell phone into the car's audio system allowing hand-free operation). The glove box, though, is barely sufficient to hold the navigation DVD case and owner's manual. Two cup holders are provided front and rear. The trunk is fully lined, with articulated, gas-pressurized struts.

Fit and finish are top grade, with notably tight interior trim tolerances. Careful attention was paid to reducing noise, vibration and harshness, with remarkable and commendable success. Specially laminated windshield and front door glass, wind tunnel-tuned outside mirrors and high-density/low-mass sound-deadening padding combine to deliver the quietest interior Cadillac's delivered in memory.

Driving Impressions

The Cadillac STS is everything it should have been from its inception, and more.

The 3.6-liter V6 engine generates 255 horsepower, the V8 produces 320 horsepower, and the new supercharged V8 delivers 469 horsepower, making it the most powerful engine ever produced for a Cadillac. The V6 does a more than adequate job of moving its 3,857-pound burden down the road. While the sound of the V6 isn't as robust or viscerally satisfying as that of the V8, it's nothing to be ashamed of either.

Except for the monster STS-V, the sportiest setup is the V8 with the optional performance handling package. Nudging the shift lever over to the right, into the manu-matic gate where the selected gear will hold all the way up to redline, and alternating between the accelerator and brake pedal allow frolicing at extremes heretofore beyond the reach of sedans wearing the wreath and crest. Cadillac's suspension engineers have finally demonstrated the difference between stiff and firm. Thankfully, all the sound filtering and deadening doesn't keep the V8's throaty exhaust note out of the cabin. Who needs a stereo with these tones to enjoy?

Then again, ordering the all wheel-drive with the Magnetic Ride Control supplementing the latest generation Stabilitrak is a hard package to top, though it adds some weight and isn't available with the handling package. Still, body lean in even the tightest switchbacks is almost non-existent, and mild whoop-de-doos barely give occupants' stomach a flip. Biasing 60 percent of the power to the rear wheels gives the all-wheel-drive STS the sporty dynamics of rear-wheel drive while sending enough power to the front wheels to pull the car through and out of corners with sureness and confidence.

The electronic steering is a delight, with the only shortcoming a slight softness on center. The car tracks well through corners, and turn-in is crisp, especially with the 18-inch, low-profile tires. The brakes are up to the car's potential, with a firm pedal and a feel that's more linear than not. Cadillac has ratcheted the Stabilitrak back a smidgen from its earlier aggressiveness, and it now waits a bit longer before stepping in. And when it does, it does so less abruptly, too. That's an improvement from a driving enthusiast's point of view because the electronic aids are less intrusive.

The 3.6-liter V6, 4.6-liter V8 and 4.4-liter supercharged V8 are GM's latest engines with double overhead cams, four valves per cylinder and variable-valve timing, or VVT. This latter system continuously varies valve operation to generate the most power from the least amount of fuel with the lowest emissions possible. Torque is what American drivers really use; torque is what gets a car moving in the first place, like when merging onto a freeway or passing on a two-lane. Recognizing that, Cadillac engineers designed the STS engines to generate lots of torque throughout the rev range for responsive performance at all engine speeds.

The V6 gets a dual-stage intake manifold that makes available 90 percent of the engine's 252 pound-feet of torque from 1900 to 5800 rpm. The V8 uses electronic throttle control, sometimes called drive-by-wire, to match the engine's performance to a variety of driver demands, from sedate highway cruising to rambunctious backroad motoring. The V8 generates 315 pound-feet of torque at 4400 rpm.

The STS-V's supercharged V8 pumps out 439 pound-feet of torque, with 90 percent of it delivered in a wide sweep of power from 2200 to 6000 rpm. This enormous power is delivered smoothly through the new six-speed automatic transmission. However, the performance upgrades found in virtually every dynamic element of the car, including larger tires and brakes, make the STS-V only suitable for those willing to sacrifice some comfort for a car that can jet from 0 to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds. There's also the STS-V's $2,100 gas guzzle tax to cons


The Cadillac STS may not threaten BMW's grip on the fun-to-drive crown, but it's definitely arrived when put up against Audi, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz, and the new V model is a credible thrust into BMW territory. People who enjoy getting where they're going as much if not more than being there but who pine for luxury touches and good ol' American V8 power need no longer compromise. Come on home.

New Car Test Drive correspondent Tom Lankard reported on the STS, with Greg Brown reporting on the STS-V.

Model Line Overview
Model lineup:Cadillac STS V6 ($41,020); Cadillac STS V8 ($47,520); Cadillac STS-V ($74,270)
Engines:3.6-liter double overhead-cam 24-valve V6 w VVT; 4.6-liter DOHC 32v V8 w VVT; 4.4-liter DOHC 32v supercharged V8
Transmissions:5-speed automatic, 6-speed automatic
Safety equipment (standard):dual two-stage frontal airbags; front seat-mounted side-impact airbags; front and rear-seat side curtain airbags; antilock brakes; traction control; Stabilitrak electronic stability control; rear park assist; rear seat child safety seat anchors
Safety equipment (optional):tire pressure monitoring system
Basic warranty:4 years/50,000 miles
Assembled in:Lansing, Michigan
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSPR):Cadillac STS V8 ($47,520)
Standard equipment:dual-zone, automatic climate control; auto headlamps; OnStar safety warning and communication system (one year service included); remote keyless unlock and start; programmable remote garage opener system; power windows; 8-way front seats; heated outside mirrors; power tilt and telescope steering wheel; memory for driver's seat, outside mirrors and steering wheel; AM/FM/CD stereo with dash-mounted 6-disc changer; leather-trimmed, heated/ventilated front seats and heated rear seats; front and rear floormats
Options as tested (MSPR):AM/FM stereo with 6CD/DVD changer and navigation system, XM Satellite Radio (3-month trial service included), HID headlamps with washers, Magnetic Ride Control suspension, wood/leather-rimmed steering wheel, power moonroof, tire pressure monitor, rear spoiler, polished cast aluminum wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers, performance brakes, limited slip rear differential, Tuscany leather-trimmed seats, heavy-duty cooling system, variable assist/ratio steering ($13,115); all-wheel drive ($1900); adaptive cruise control with head-up instrument display ($2300)
Destination charge:$695
Gas guzzler tax:1000
Price as tested (MSPR):$65530
Layout:all-wheel drive
Engine:4.6-liter DOHC 32-valve V8
Horsepower (lb.-ft @ rpm):320 @ 6400
Torque (lb.-ft @ rpm):315 @ 4400
Transmission:5-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:18/26 mpg
Wheelbase:116.4 in.
Length/width/height:196.3/72.6/57.6 in.
Track, f/r:61.8/62.3 in.
Turning circle:38.8 ft.
Seating Capacity:5
Head/hip/leg room, f:38.7/54.6/42.6 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r:37.9/55.6/38.3 in.
Cargo volume:13.8 cu. ft.
Towing capacity:1000 Lbs.
Suspension, f:independent, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension, r:independent, multi-link, coil springs, magnetic ride control, pneumatic load-leveling, stabilizer bar
Ground clearance:5.5 in.
Curb weigth:4230 lbs.
Tires:P235/50WR18 front; P255/45WR18 rear
Brakes, f/r:disc/disc with ABS, electronic stability control
Fuel capacity:17.5 gal.
Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle. All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSPR) effective as of April 18, 2006.Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges. N/A: Information not available or not applicable. Manufacturer Info Sources: 1-800-333-4CAD (4223) -

Cadillac STS

Consumer Reports obtains its reliability data from a questionnaire that is sent to subscribers. In the questionnaire, we ask subscribers to note any problems with their cars that occurred in the past 12 months. They are asked to identify problems that they considered serious (because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime).

A typical model has about 200 to 400 samples for each model year. For some model years, typically those of older or less popular cars, we do not have a large enough sample size to provide results of statistical confidence.

There are several ways in which a savvy car buyer can still research the quality of a car.

Learn more about Car Brands Reliability
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2006 Cadillac STS User Reviews

Vbrinkman writes:

My experience was great... I liked the car and I like the service, thanks....

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Looking for a Used STS in your area?

CarGurus has 173 nationwide STS listings starting at $2,495.

Steve writes:

It is a great car! Ive purchased and traded 3 autos thru this site and this STS is the best auto Ive ever purchased. The previous owner took great care of it before passing it on and I want to personally thank him Thank you , Sir! Everything button you push, every knob you turn works, the engine and transmission servicing to the auto is immaculate! Thank you Car gurus for your service as well, I always recommend you to people looking to buy.

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2006 Cadillac STS V6 RWDReview

danzai writes:


Great Full Size Sedan — i purchased this 2006 cadillac sts last year and was pleased to find th car had lots of room, plenty of power, nice handling with a plush ride and powerful brakes. I cant say anything bad about this car.... the maintenence costs were super reasonable and economy was fine as well. te car averaged 20 mpg combined city and highway.

Pros: super driving experience - lots of power, great handling and full size room

15 of 17 people found this review helpful.

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2006 Cadillac STS V6 RWDReview

Mayo writes:


Stylish — I love car this car. Wish i could afford a newer model. Has everything i need, navi, leather, sunroof, and decent on gas! This car turns heads when i ride by. Really enjoy it. Thank for reading and hope you enjoyed the review.

Cons: Needs more room in backseat

11 of 13 people found this review helpful.

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2006 Cadillac STS V6 RWDReview

DTree writes:


Smooth Luxury — Very good car for hwy driving as smooth ride. The interior is very comfortable for all passengers. The trunk has very good cargo space. Well built car. Average was 17mpg. Stable driving handling and great power response on take off and hwy. Enjoyed this car.

Primary Use: Commuting to work

Pros: Great power in acceleration but very smooth.  Love response to power when switching to manual. I call it a Power Sedan.  Great on Hwy and comfortable. Quiet engine.  Great cargo for luggage.  Rear seats are very comfortable for passengers.

Cons: A bit sluggish on handling but expected with heavy car. Premium gas required.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.

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2006 Cadillac STS V6 RWDReview

Timasu writes:


Overall, Its Been A Good Car. — These are nice cars for the money. Mine is loaded with features: navigation (which is just plain un-useable), DVD entertainment, rear heated seats, etc. The ride and handling are very good. Acceleration is Ok, not outstanding. Overall, I am very satisfied.

Primary Use: Family transportation

Pros: Nice ride with good handling.  Fuel economy is average for a car this size, not as good as a Mercedes E320 I previously owned.  In all other aspects, I like just as well as the Mercedes.

Cons: Fuel economy.  Brakes have required more service than average.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful.

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2006 Cadillac STS V6 RWDReview

MisterR writes:


Why I'm A Cadillac Guy Now — pros says it all. I liked the brushed metal trim instead of the cheesy plastic wood grain on some models. looks great since same body style '06 to '11 . Fun to drive around town and of course quiet cabin. Bose sound is great.

Pros: fast, sport mode nice, comfy seats, handles well, great turning radius

Cons: small trunk opening, 90 dollar oil changes (unless you do it yourself which is very very easy)

2 of 4 people found this review helpful.

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2006 Cadillac STS V6 RWDReview

Louie writes:


My New Baby! — The STS fits me best out of all the Cadillac s (I can afford). The CTS has nice body lines but I wanted more leg room. The DTS has more standard options and maybe a better ride for the highway driving types. But I wanted a sportier feel all around, the better gas mileage (v6 option) and AWD.

Primary Use: Family transportation

Pros: I like the presence of a Cadillac. The handling is amazing, as is the over quality of the ride.

Cons: Gas mileage. Obviously not a deal breaker for me. If you want a full size car with some get up and go 18 - 26 is the average in the market.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.

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2006 Cadillac STS V8 RWDReview

Darryl writes:


Get One. — Its an all around vicious car. Get one. Im in love with it. Its sleek. Its fast. The handling is insane. The acceleration is unheard of. The sound system is BOSE. So u already know its crazy. Get One. I did!

Primary Use: Commuting to work

7 of 7 people found this review helpful.

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2006 Cadillac STS V8 RWDReview

Richard writes:


Best Car I Have Owned, Hands Down! — 320 HP performance, sport/manual shift option The most fun I have had driving in 30 years Very Quiet (a little more exhaust growl would be nice) All Wheel Drive is awesome Magnetic Ride Control on the fly. Sport mode really sticks to the curves. Drive it like you stole it! The Northstar loves to run.

Primary Use: Family transportation

Pros: Performance coupled with Luxury

Cons: Gas tank is too small

7 of 8 people found this review helpful.

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It's the end of Seville-ization as we know it. No more jokes about Seville disobedience, Seville affairs, Seville rights. That's because the name, first trotted out in 1956 to designate a special Eldorado model, has been deep-sixed. Again.

What was formerly the Seville-in its fifth generation, no less-is now simply an STS, and it rides on the Sigma platform that has so far distinguished itself in the CTS sedan and SRX sport-ute.


The STS comes in three aromas. There's the starter-kit version ($41,690) powered by a 255-horse, 3.6-liter V-6. There's the V-8 rear-wheel-drive model ($47,495) featuring a 4.6-liter Northstar producing 320 horses, 20 more than the old STS's output. And there's a V-8 all-wheel-drive STS, with a mandatory heavy options load ($62,765) whose driveline is yanked intact from the SRX.

You want options? Cadillac's got your options right here, pal. How about four tire-and-wheel combos and three final-drive ratios? How about ventilated seats (part of the $8695 1SG package), which turn out to be the coolest feature since air conditioning? Our V-8 rear-drive test car, with the 3.42:1 axle and 18-inch all-season Michelins, arrived pretty much blinged out, lacking only a sunroof ($1200). Such profligacy bloated its sticker to $62,215, a sum that may induce chest pains in more than a few diehard Cadillackers.


The STS now rides on a wheelbase 4.2 inches longer than the old car's, yet in overall length the STS is 4.7 inches shorter. Glance at the car in profile and you can see what got chopped. The trunk's volume is down by two cubic feet.

Rear-seat dimensions, though, aren't much changed. It's still snug back there, at least for a luxury sedan, okay for two adults and their mocha lattes. It would have helped if the seat cushion weren't so low and you could insert both feet entirely beneath the front seats. A third adult betwixt? For 20 minutes maybe, but remember that with rear drive there's again a transmission hump to battle, and Hump Man has no choice but to stick one Florsheim into each of his colleagues' footwells.

The front seats, for hips and shoulders alike, are surprisingly well-bolstered and BMW-firm. No complaints. The gauges' illuminated white numerals are set against a black background-simple, ever legible. The center stack is clean and well-ordered, dominated by an eight-inch-diagonal "infotainment" screen, whose face can be tilted up to 15 degrees to cut glare. And the cockpit is warmly trimmed in eucalyptus that looks very much like real wood because it is.

What you notice first about the STS is that there's no ignition keyhole. Instead, you carry a standard-looking fob that signals the car to unlock its doors as you approach. After that, all you do is put your foot on the brake, then press a rocker switch to the right of the steering column. Voilà , the Northstar stirs to life. Press the bottom of the rocker to shut off the engine. In theory, you stash the fob in your pocket or purse and never have to remove it. If you don't care for that method of cranking, you can also fire up your STS remotely, from as far away as 200 feet.

What you notice next is that this is a vault-like Seville--sorry, STS. Cadillac has run amok with sound-deadening materials, which no doubt contribute to this car's 4148-pound heft. Special mats and blankets have been inserted in the dash. The shock towers, driveline tunnel, and wheelhouses all benefit from rubbery sound-absorbing goo, and the doors are triple-sealed. At 60 mph, there's negligible wind noise at the A-pillars, making this a soothing, almost meditative place to conduct highway business. Fact is, the Northstar's silky snarl is now clearly audible only at wide-open throttle.

Idle quality is excellent, and step-off is gentle and controlled. Gone are the bad old days, when an inch of GM throttle induced a kind of rocket launch.

The STS's steering is odd. The effort is fairly high, and there's little detail telegraphed--minimal info regarding road surfaces or front-tire side slip, for instance. Yet for any given increment of steering input, the ZF rack (included in the 1SG package) delivers a predictable, repeatable course alteration. In that sense, the steering is accurate but, at the end of the day, not very satisfying. It's lucky that the chassis takes such a firm set in turns and is so conscientious about path control, because this steering is not especially adept at quick one-or-two-degree corrections.


Our test car was fitted with Magnetic Ride Control ($1850), which offered two firmness settings--touring and performance. Good luck switching between the two. You have to stop the car and toggle through a six-step interrogation on the big screen. Why not a simple switch on the center console, next to the traction control? Maybe it doesn't matter. In either mode, the dampers and bushings are about as stiff as Al Gore at a séance. The ride is never downright harsh, although there's some crash-through on Michigan potholes. Rarely do high-frequency road pimples find their way through, nor is much road noise transmitted. But this is a ride as firm as any you'll likely encounter in a true luxury sedan, sufficiently unyielding that the seats sometimes rattle in their tracks. We're glad our tester wasn't fitted with the summer-only Michelin Pilot Sports.

Of course, the upside to such firm tuning is that body motions are marvelously controlled, and there's never a disruptive moment of weight shift, either at turn-in or mid-turn. Fact is, this new STS pulled 0.86 g on the skidpad, only a whisker behind a BMW 745i we recently tested and way, way beyond the old car's 0.79. Our STS attacked our handling loop like a badger after pork rinds, achieving big velocities. In tight turns, you can steer the tail with the throttle a baby step or two--there's a fine line here before the standard stability control steps in and spoils the fun--but in that moment you'll notice that the chassis is neutrally balanced. If you don't want the tail hung out, maintain a steady throttle deep into the turn and you can scrub speed at the bow, just like the old front-drive STS.

The brakes are strong and easy to modulate. Your foot quickly learns where anti-lock manifests. During nonpanic stops, you can brake right to the edge of ABS or push through for one cycle or two before withdrawing. Our car, fitted with the "European" brake pads (another part of the 1SG package--see what we mean about options?), stopped from 70 mph in 177 feet, 15 feet better than the old STS, one foot better than a Benz SL600. Think of that.

Disable the traction control, summon some minor brake torque, and you can paint 10 feet of rubber stripes. Sixty mph arrives in six seconds flat, same as what a 745i can manage. Course, the BMW goes on to eat the quarter-mile in 14.6 seconds at 97 mph. Whoa! Same as the STS. What the Cadillac does that the $69,195 BMW doesn't is achieve a top speed of 154 mph. Moreover, Cadillac has calibrated the traction control to allow you to bark the tires at step-off without imposing Big Brother's mechanical hand of moderation. Nice.


The twin-cam V-8 is abetted in its labors by a five-speed Hydra-Matic 5L50-E that may be the best transmission GM has ever produced. Why do we say that? Because you're almost never aware that it's doing anything. This is especially true during kickdowns, even two-gear kickdowns, which are as fast as they are unobtrusive. You know that embarrassed feeling you get when you're about to pass a guy on a two-lane road, and you nail the throttle and get a huge neck-snapping kickdown, only to abandon the maneuver when you discover a car in the oncoming lane? In the STS, all that happens is a nearly instantaneous increase in engine revs. No jolt. No roar. Passengers don't have to suffer for the driver's bad timing.

Every STS is fitted with a simple and effective manumatic--tip forward for upshifts, backward for downshifts, just as God intended. And Cadillac has mercifully abandoned the Louisville Slugger shift knob that drew complaints in the old car.

Fact is, the previous STS was never really a performance car. It was a luxury sedan that simply didn't embarrass itself in the hills. This new STS, in contrast, is barking at the city limits of hot-rod-dom, notably in its edgy ride, booming acceleration, and tenacious handling.

For decades, Cadillac seemed content to stay a step ahead of Lincoln. Now, with the STS--and the SRX before it--you really do get the feeling the division is serious about competing with foreign luxury brands. When our test car arrived, chief engineer Jim Federico--no longer responding to Seville-engineering jokes--pointed proudly at panel gaps that have been narrowed to three millimeters from the old car's five. Then he pointed to the top of the door frames, which blend almost invisibly into the roof in a costly "Dutch hem" design. "Let's see Mercedes match that," he said.

When's the last time you heard a Lincoln guy say that?


Here, finally, is something I thought I'd never see: a Cadillac that wants to get into the ring with the big cars from BMW and Mercedes. Those "postmodern" Caddys of the '90s made gestures in that direction, but they always carried the burdensome trappings of the big sprawling American car: sleepy suspensions, big for bigness's sake, styling that seemed behind the times. This new car has a sport ride as hard as any BMW's, a very strong V-8, a sporty manual-style shifting function, and a rock-solid feel much like an ... E-class Mercedes. The STS's price undercuts that of the S-class and 7-series, but the real problem is this: Will buyers accept the idea of a $62,000 Cadillac?


Cadillac has finally endowed one of its new-generation four-doors with an interior that needs no excuses. The cabin of this STS not only looks and feels sumptuous but is also largely devoid of the visual and electronic overkill that infests many of its competitors. As we've come to expect from the Sigma-platform cars, the STS drives beautifully with quick reflexes, excellent grip, and the kind of honest responses that let you drive it perfectly smoothly without brain-straining concentration. The ride could be more absorbent on rough city streets, and such a large car deserves more rear-seat and trunk space, but this STS is unquestionably the best Cadillac I've ever driven.


The Cadillac team is utterly upbeat about this car. If American luxury-sports-sedan buyers have been jumping ship to European cars and their peculiar set of sensibilities for a concrete reason (and we think they have), then the people at Cadillac have seen the light. Hallelujah! Here's a Caddy that drives like BMWs did before that company's infatuation with technology began injecting Novocain between driver and machine. Damn, this STS unwinds a chunk of California's coastline like no Cadillac ever has, and that's in the cushy-riding model without the 1SG package that I drove on the Left Coast. Thanks, Cadillac.


VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan


ENGINE TYPE: V-8 , aluminum block and heads

Displacement: 279 cu in, 4565cc
Power (SAE net): 320 bhp @ 6400 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 315 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 5-speed automatic with manumatic shifting

Wheelbase: 116.4 in Length: 196.3 in
Width: 72.6 in Height: 57.6 in
Curb weight: 4148 lb

Zero to 60 mph: 6.0 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 15.7 sec
Street start, 5-60 mph: 6.3 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 14.6 sec @ 97 mph
Top speed (drag limited): 154 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph @ impending lockup: 177 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.86 g

EPA fuel economy city/highway driving: 17/26 mpg
C/D-observed fuel economy: 14 mpg


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2006 review sts cadillac

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2006 Cadillac STS 3.6L V6 Start Up, Tour, and Review

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