Cadillac's global footprint is set to move up another gear: After the introduction of the CTS (2003), XLR and SRX (both 2004), and shortly before the European sales start of the STS, General Motors' premium brand will be at the 75th Geneva Motor Show (March 3-13, 2005) to present the study of a new premium mid-class model. Cadillac BLS is specifically targeted to meet the needs of the European customer, as well as other global market customers. The four-door sedan (length/width/height: 4,680/1,762/1,449 mm), with its clear, sharply defined contours, striking wedge shape and elegant interior, continues Cadillac's characteristic design language. The show car thus provides a clear preview of what can be expected from the new Cadillac BLS, which is scheduled to reach the market in spring 2006.
"Premium is not a question of vehicle size but purely of excellence," said Bob Lutz, responsible at GM for product development and Chairman of GM North America. "And in this aspect, the Cadillac BLS will definitely be a top player in its league."
Among the particular strengths of this front-wheel drive sedan, apart from its expressive design, are its outstanding ride and acoustic comfort. From a technical point of view, this Cadillac will ring in a new era in brand history: For the first time, a turbo diesel variant will be available. Like the gasoline versions, the turbo diesel variant will be positioned at the upper end of the performance scale. Cadillac BLS will offer the dynamic driving performance customers have come to expect from this brand. For countries where the traffic moves on the left like the UK, the Cadillac BLS will also be available with right-hand drive.
The exterior: Cadillac's unique style in European format
A design team led by GM Designer Chip Thole designed the new Cadillac BLS show car and the premium sedan is thus immediately recognizable as a member of the Cadillac family. "The most striking feature is the emphasis of the vertical lines on the front and rear," says Thole. "The characteristic v-form of the chrome-plated grill is picked up again by the trunk lid. The large side faces communicate a sense of strength and solidity." Nineteen-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels underline the impressive looks of the show car.
The unique style is further expressed by clear glass, vertically positioned headlamps featuring bi-xenon technology, fog lamps integrated into the body-colored bumper and a wide air intake below the radiator grill. Another high-quality detail is the thin chrome strip running along the lower edge of the side windows. The very latest LED technology is used in the full width center high mounted brake light, which is prominently positioned on the trunk lid. The vertically positioned tail lights add to the various design elements making Cadillac BLS another uniquely designed Cadillac.
The interior: Luxurious atmosphere and modern infotainment
Inside, the show car has many details that signal its affinity to the Cadillac family. The cockpit of Cadillac BLS is underlined by details like the three-spoke steering wheel and the analog clock on the center console. The displays for the circular instruments have white numerals on black background, while the needles are red. All the seat surfaces are covered with high quality leather, with the visible stitching emphasizing quality. The outlets for the ventilation/air conditioning adopt the brushed aluminum look used for the frame of the center console.
The modern infotainment system consists of high-quality audio units from BOSE, DVD-based navigation with touchscreen operation, Bluetooth-capable telephone systems and remote controls on the steering wheel.
The engines: Turbo-diesel and three gasoline engines
To comply with the needs of the European market, a turbo diesel variant will, for the first time, be added to the list of available engines. The 1.9-liter four-cylinder unit with common-rail direct injection technology will feature a maintenance-free diesel particulate filter that will comply with Euro 4 emission standards. The range of gasoline engines - all of which are turbo-charged - will comprise two 2.0-liter four-cylinder versions and one 2.8-liter six-cylinder unit. All the power units can be combined with either manual or automatic transmissions and all excel with Cadillac's typical high output.
The chassis: Emphasis on comfort and dynamic driving
The chassis, with a McPherson strut in front and a four-link rear axle is tuned to the powerful engines and the high demands that are made on a premium vehicle. "The development of the chassis was focused to enable dynamic driving, but at the same time ensuring a ride with comfort," explains Larry Craig, who, as Program Engineering Manager, shared responsibility for the engineering of the Cadillac BLS.
"Apart from that, we also devoted attention to achieving effective noise and vibration isolation," adds Craig. "Environmental influences are, as far as possible, kept away from the passengers." A number of measures have been taken to achieve this, and both the diesel and the gasoline engines will reap the benefits. The rear axle and the chassis, for example, are decoupled from one another with the aid of special rubber bushings, and the wheelhouses, roof and trunk are especially sound-insulated.
"Cadillac is on the fast lane in its U.S. home market with the best sales figures since 1990. We managed to overtake another key competitor in 2004 and are ready to globally hit the fast lane. With the BLS, Cadillac will add a premium mid sedan to its model range that is geared to the specific demands of European customers. The new entry-level model underlines the brand's global ambitions and its key role in the premium segment," said Cadillac's General Manager, Jim Taylor.
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