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2005 Cadillac STS V8 Sedan

The Good:  Futuristic looks. Solid build quality. Technology like OnStar, DVD navigation system, DVD Digital surround sound, backup sensors. Smooth and quiet ride. Very fast.  Four wheel drive optional.

The Bad:  Front seats are not very comfortable. Navigation system is difficult to use. Low ceiling height makes for a confined feeling inside. Low traction in rear wheel drive model.

            The STS is Cadillac’s and Americas answer to luxurious cars from Japan and Europe.  Completely redesigned for 2004, Cadillac has added its wedge exterior styling cues from the CTS in a much larger platform.  Hoping to capture the BMW 5 Series market with a sporty and powerful sedan, the STS puts America back on the buying list of many consumers who would otherwise stay in German territory.

"Our long-term goal for Cadillac is to become the Standard of the World once again," said Mark LaNeve, general manager for Cadillac. "In order to succeed globally, we have to build vehicles that have outstanding performance, exceptional quality and reliability, and meet the demands of the most discerning car buyers. "The STS represents the latest step in that direction."

Exterior looks are sharp and distinctive.  The STS does turn heads wherever you go.  Due to limited numbers being on the road, you are buying something exclusive and rarely seen.  The front end is particularly striking, with a smooth finish to all angular parts.  Three sets of lamps on each side of the front end with headlight washers hidden as in German vehicles is a great upscale look.  The signature The front end features a very distinctive grille and a lower spoiler mesh grille for a great sporty look.  The taillights are setup vertically like the front headlights with plenty of LED lamps in a distinctive pattern.  Dual exhaust tips along with a sporty rear spoiler built into the rear deck also adds that powerful feeling.  Small rear backup sensors are hidden quite nicely into the bumpers.  The low overall height of the STS from the outside gives it a sharp stance.  Chrome wheels add the necessary bling-bling to this American luxury car. 

            Interior looks are elegant and clean carrying over wedge angles, but all going away from the driver for a open and spacious feeling.  We also thought the leather was very soft and of high quality, abundantly placed throughout the cabin.  The inner portions of the seats are covered with perforated leather which we always love, and add to this heated and cooled seats as well.  Both front seats are fully powered as should be expected in this class, with powered lumbar adjustment as well. 

Even with all the seat adjustments available we could not find a very comfortable seating position for long drives.  The combination of the raked front windshield and low ceiling height does not allow you to raise the seat up high.  Sitting too close to the floor did not provide us with adequate thigh support.  The limited width of the interior was also a low point for the STS.  We feel that a few inches more elbow room should be provided.

            Interior wood trim is of high quality but the color is distinctly American in a brownish shade.  Switches are of good quality and all feel solid to the touch.  The thick leather and wood steering wheel offers great grip.  It is also heated with controls for voice recognition and stereo system.  Use of chrome inside is limited to the door handles and shift gate lever.  Interior illumination is a nice blend of white dials and dim colored switches.  All four windows are powered with auto up and down functions, a great help which you never want to live without.  The sunroof is also modern and quiet with a distinctly German made feeling.  Automatic rain sensing wipers also help in varying driving conditions.  The dual zone climate control system works well and allows you to provide different levels of air control in the rear seat compartment as well.  In automatic setting the system is a bit loud, especially when attempting to defrost the windshield. We liked the strong and solid feeling of all doors and all parts inside, something that is rare in many American vehicles.

            A trip computer and information about the vehicle’s tire pressures and fuel economy is available in the instrument cluster by way of switches to the left of the steering wheel.  Headlights are automatically controlled with an advanced high beam system.  There is no ignition key hole in this STS, a small button does this deed with the key left inside your pocket.  A remote start feature allows you to warm up the vehicle before you enter.  The vehicle’s computer also allows individual controls for two separate keys, remembering such things as seat heater position, rear window defroster and heat temperature.

The stereo and navigation system uses a touch screen to input commands, our most preferred method.  The system is difficult to use due to the wide array of menu’s and icons rather than labeled buttons.  The navigation system is particularly hard to use, even for inputting routes.  Most things are described by icons which we could never remember by heart and so you have to touch each one to find the one you need.  Most of the system does not work while the car is moving so your co-captain cannot do much.  The DVD based system can lookup addresses by phone numbers which is a handy feature to have.  The map system also features a 3D birds eye view and a split screen mode for viewing turn directions as well as a map view.  The screen is quite large and thus most things are easily visible.  The system also has Bluetooth capability to link with any cell phone.  Voice recognition on the STS allows you to control infotainment as well as climate control features.  We could not get the system to work well with our voice, no matter how clearly we spoke. 

The build in six disc DVD/CD changer along with Bose 5.1 channel surround sound is also a great new feature available on the STS.  The Bose DTS stereo system is amazing and once you hear it you will never want to go back to normal stereo or radio again.  15 speakers deliver theatre like digital sound which truly surrounds you.  Media formats supported by the DVD system include DVD audio, DVD video, CD audio and MP3.  Media types supported are CD/DVD ROM and CD/DVD-R.  DVD video can only be activated when the vehicle is in "park" for those times when a TV is not available.  You do need special DVD audio discs to hear the full effect of the system, one of which is provided by Bose.  Satellite radio, which was also on our STS, could not deliver the digital surround sound that DVD audio discs could create.

            Behind the wheel the STS is a truly world class vehicle.  The smoothness of the ride is immediately noticeable.  Integrated chassis technologies include a two-mode Magnetic Ride Control offering performance and touring selections, four channel StabiliTrak, and an available high-precision ZF steering gear.  The STS handles very well and offers very low body lean keeping a smooth and confident character during hard driving.  Interior noise levels are also extremely low due to loads of sound deadening materials used in every part of this vehicle. 

The powerful engine, a Northstar V8 4.6 liter, produces loads of horsepower.  320 horsepower and 315 lb-ft. or torque are enough to make this car feel lightweight and nimble.  We quickly hit high driving speeds without noticing movement at all.  The steering feel is not at the level of BMW but is very similar to Mercedes models.  The engine is not very loud either, with smooth shifts and a very calm demeanor.  Manual shifting is also available however we found it to be slow and more automated than we would like.  Gas mileage was very low on our model, hovering around 18 miles per gallon, not the 26 claimed on the sticker for highway economy.  The STS is also available with a six cylinder engine but we highly recommend it with the V8. 

The STS also features stability control, traction control, antilock brakes and a panic brake assist feature which applies full force to the brakes.  Six airbags are standard protecting most parts of the interior, we wish automakers would develop ceiling airbags as well.  Radar cruise control is also offered for keeping a safe distance in front of your vehicle.  A first on the STS is an intelligent high beam called Intellibeam automatically switches to low beam when it senses a car oncoming, and then switches back to high beam automatically.  A sensor on the back of the rear view mirror turns off the high beams gradually before it distracts other drivers, and can also react instantaneously when cresting over a hill.  Also optional is a head up display sending important data to the windshield in front of you while driving. 

            The price of the STS starts off at $46,800 for the V8 model.  Add to this a whopping $11,065 for the luxury performance package.  This includes all things needed in a car of this class.  Multi driver memory settings, power adjustable lumbar, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, eucalyptus wood trim, the Bose 5.1 surround sound stereo with in dash 5 disc DVD changer and DVD navigation system, XM satellite radio, rain sensing wipers, Homelink garage door opener, HID headlamps, Intellibeam high beams, polished front wheels, tire pressure monitor, magnetic ride control, sunroof, rear spoiler, and limited slip differential, as well as the performance cooling package.  All these options really should be standard features as the car is pretty plain without these items.  These items do also bring the price tag to $57,665 which is quite high and puts the STS in competition with vehicles such as the Phaeton, BMW 5, and Mercedes E class. 

While the STS has come quite close to delivering BMW levels of performance and driver feedback, ergonomically, the Germans still have a more comfortable interior with a feeling of connection to the road without isolation.  The STS is still a very distinctive look with futuristic styling and a great list of available features.  We look forward to seeing what the future brings from Cadillac.  At this price however the VW Phaeton is a much better car for your money.  


Base Pricing 46,611 50,565
Destination 695 695
Gas Guzzler Tax 1,000 1,000
Option Package 1SF AM/FM Stereo w/6-Disc DVD Changer & Navigation System, XM Radio Feature w/3 Month Trial, HID Headlamps w/Washers, Magnetic Ride Control Suspension, Wood & Leather Steering Wheel, Power Glass Moon Roof, Tire Pressure Monitor, Rear Spoiler, Polished Cast Aluminum Wheels, Rain-Sensing W/S Wipers, Performance Brakes, Limited Slip Rear Axle, Compass Delete & (2) P235/50VR17 Front & (2) P255/45VR17 Rear BSW Tires. 9,405 11,065
1SG Option Pkg • Model w/V8 Engine
(N/A Model w/V6 Engine) (N/A w/Seat Trim-2)
All Models Include Option Pkg-1SF Plus Unique Polished Cast Aluminum Wheels, Tuscany Leather Surfaced Seat Trim, Performance Cooling Pkg, Premium Steering Gear & (2) P235/50WR18 Front & (2) P255/45R18 Rear BSW Tires.
Models w/Speed Control-K59 Include All Models Equipment Plus Head-Up Instrument Display.
11,147 13,115
Speed Control, Adaptive • Model w/V8 Engine
(N/A Model w/V6 Engine) (Req's Option Pkg-1SF or 1SG) Includes Head-Up Instrument Display.
1,955 2,300


  2005 Cadillac STS
Rwd 4dr Sedan (4.6L 8cyl 5A)
2005 BMW 5 Series
545i 4dr Sedan (4.4L 8cyl 6M)
2005 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
E500 Rwd 4dr Sedan (5.0L 8cyl 7A)
2005 Infiniti Q45
4dr Sedan (4.5L 8cyl 5A)
2005 Acura RL
3.5 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
Manufacturer Info STS 5 Series E-Class Q45 RL
MSRP $49,645 $55,800 $56,900 $56,200 $48,900
Invoice $45,708 $50,940 $52,917 $51,618 $43,536
Destination Charge $695 $695 $720 $610 $570
Basic 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / 60000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi.
Drivetrain 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 6 yr. / 70000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi.
Base Engine Displacement 4.6 liters 4.4 liters 5.0 liters 4.5 liters 3.5 liters
Valvetrain 32 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
32 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
24 Valves
single overhead cam (SOHC)
32 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
24 Valves
single overhead cam (SOHC)
Horsepower 320 hp @ 6400 rpm 325 hp @ 6100 rpm 302 hp @ 5600 rpm 340 hp @ 6400 rpm 300 hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque 315 ft-lbs. @ 4400 rpm 330 ft-lbs. @ 3600 rpm 339 ft-lbs. @ 2700 rpm 333 ft-lbs. @ 4000 rpm 260 ft-lbs. @ 5000 rpm
Active Suspension Optional Optional Standard Standard Not Available
Tires P235/50SR17
all season
all season
all season
all season
all season
Turning Circle 37.7 ft. 37.5 ft. 37.4 ft. 36.1 ft. 39.7 ft.
Max. Cargo Capacity 14 cu. ft. 14 cu. ft. 16 cu. ft. 14 cu. ft. 13 cu. ft.
City 17 mpg. 17 mpg. 17 mpg. 17 mpg. 18 mpg.
Highway 26 mpg. 25 mpg. 25 mpg. 23 mpg. 26 mpg.
Length 196.3 in. 190.6 in. 189.7 in. 200.8 in. 193.6 in.
Width 72.6 in. 72.7 in. 71.3 in. 72.6 in. 72.7 in.
Height 57.6 in. 58 in. 57.2 in. 58.7 in. 57.1 in.
Weight 4026 lbs. 3803 lbs. 3812 lbs. 4050 lbs. 3984 lbs.
Wheel Base 116.4 in. 113.7 in. 112.4 in. 113 in. 110.2 in.
Interior STS 5 Series E-Class Q45 RL
Front Headroom 38.7 in. 37.7 in. 37.4 in. 38.4 in. 38.5 in.
Rear Headroom 37.9 in. 37.9 in. 37.7 in. 36.4 in. 37.2 in.
Front Shoulder Room 58.6 in. 57.3 in. 56.4 in. 58.2 in. 58.5 in.
Rear Shoulder Room 57.4 in. 57.2 in. 56.1 in. 57.2 in. 56.1 in.
Front Hip Room 54.6 in.   52.4 in. 56.5 in. 55.1 in.
Rear Hip Room 55.6 in.   53.8 in. 55 in. 54 in.
Front Leg Room 42.6 in. 41.5 in. 41.9 in. 44 in. 42.4 in.
Rear Leg Room 38.3 in. 36 in. 35.6 in. 37.3 in. 36.3 in.
Maximum Luggage Capacity 13.8 cu.ft. 14 cu.ft. 15.9 cu.ft. 13.7 cu.ft. 13.1 cu.ft.


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