Saturday, June 23, 2007

Cadillac loads up on safety

Saturday, May 12, 2007
Cadillac loads up on safety
Built in Lansing, the redone STS adds radar, cameras and computer.
Scott Burgess / The Detroit News

MILFORD -- Bad drivers need Cadillac's 2008 STS sedan. Good drivers will relish it.

General Motors Corp.'s luxury brand has loaded up the refreshed luxury sedan with radar, cameras and an onboard computer. They collectively protect drivers from spinning out on slick roads, inadvertently drifting into another lane or swerving into a vehicle in their blind spot. The luxury sedan can even warn a driver of an approaching vehicle.

But safety was only part of the story Friday as Cadillac showcased the new STS at its Milford Proving Grounds. The STS has been substantially reworked, giving it a more refined and powerful look. A larger new grille, based on the Cadillac Sixteen concept vehicle, marks the new face of the brand. The STS also has new rocker moldings on its sides, refreshed front and rear fascias and 18-inch wheels.

"There was a push to address more details to show it belongs in the premium segment," said Charlie Klein, vehicle line director for the STS. Some of those details include new chrome door handles, Sappele wood and metallic trim in the interior and a new instrument cluster.

While the changes add to the luxurious feel, the most important changes take place under the car's sheet metal. The Lansing-built STS will be the first GM vehicle with the optional direct injection V-6. The engine provides 302 horsepower and 272-pound-feet of torque.

"It wasn't even 10 years ago, that if you wanted more than 300 horsepower, you'd have to get Cadillac's (V-8) Northstar, which was a very impressive engine" said John Smith, GM's vice president of global product planning.

The direct injection V-6 operates at a higher compression ratio than a traditional engine, which allows it to produce more power without using more fuel. According to GM, the engine is 3 percent more efficient than the previous V-6 and can continue to run on regular gas.

Additionally, Cadillac will add a new automatic six-speed transmission that was silky smooth during acceleration tests that brought the STS up to 125 mph.

When it arrives at dealers in July, the STS will feature a number of firsts for the brand. It will debut the newest version of StabiliTrack, GM's electronic stability control.

StabiliTrack 3.0, an option on V-8 all-wheel drive STS models, incorporates traditional monitor systems such as the brakes and suspension, but adds an active front steering technology.

This allows the STS to adjust the steering wheel to right the car. If the system detects a sharp turn, it can help the driver adjust in milliseconds.

The STS features a lane-departure warning system that uses a camera to monitor road lines and beeps when the vehicle starts to cross one. A blind spot alert system employs a radar to detect vehicles coming up the rear. A warning light on the side mirrors warns a driver of a potential threat.

"We're really stepping out in the prestige luxury segment as the technology leader with this STS," said Vince Muniga, a Cadillac spokesman. "And we have no intention of slowing down."

Scott Burgess is the auto critic for The Detroit News. He can be reached at (313) 223-3217 or

2008 Cadillac STS

New features include:

6 liter direct-injection V-6 engine.

New compact six-speed transmission

StabiliTrak 3.0, third-generation electronic stability control system.

Lane departure warning system

Side Blind Zone Alert System
Source: General Motors Corp.

© Copyright 2007 The Detroit News. All rights reserved.


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