The Cadillac global product offensive is in high gear. Following the launch of the CTS in 2003, the XLR and the SRX in 2004, and the STS in 2005, the General Motors luxury brand will start to sell the BLS in Europe in spring 2006. This new luxury midsize sedan adds another important element to Cadillac’s growing international presence.
The front-wheel drive BLS offers expressive design, outstanding ride and acoustic comfort. It also marks a new era in the brand’s history, with its first turbo diesel variant fitted with a maintenance-free diesel particulate filter. Like the gasoline versions (175 hp, 210 hp and 255 hp), the turbodiesel (150 hp) offers the dynamic driving performance that customers have come to expect from Cadillac.
“The BLS was developed for luxury customers, with particular attention to the demands of the European and other international markets,” said Jim Taylor, Cadillac general manager. “BLS is an important addition to our Cadillac portfolio, and it provides a critical entry with which to grow our business in key international markets. The distinctive styling will attract customers daring to be different.”
In 2005, Cadillac achieved its best U.S. sales since 1990 with more than 235,000 units sold. Outside North America, Cadillac posted a 42 percent increase last year thanks to strong sales in China, the Middle East and record braking sales in Europe.
The Cadillac BLS design was conceived by an international team of designers led by GM Vice President of Design Ed Welburn. The vehicle has clear, sharply defined contours, striking wedge shape and an elegant interior.
“The most striking feature is the vertical lines at the front and rear,” said Welburn. “The V-shaped chrome-plated grille, a Cadillac cue, is picked up again by the trunk lid. The large side faces communicate a sense of strength and solidity.”
The BLS also features jewel-like headlamps, fog lamps integrated into the body-colored bumper and a wide air intake below the grille. A narrow chrome strip runs along the side windows. The latest LED technology is used in the center high-mounted brake light, which is prominently positioned on the trunk lid and extends across the vehicle. The vertical taillights leave no doubt the BLS is a Cadillac.
The BLS interior is highlighted by a three-spoke leather steering wheel and an analog clock in the center stack. The circular instruments have white numerals and red needles on a black background.
The state-of-the-art infotainment systems include high-quality audio units from American hi-fi specialist Bose, among others, a DVD navigation system with touch screen operation, a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone system with a hands-free kit, and remote controls on the steering wheel.
In a Cadillac first, the BLS will be available with a turbo diesel variant. The 1.9L four-cylinder unit, with common-rail direct injection technology and 150 hp, is fitted with a maintenance-free diesel particulate filter and complies with Euro 4 emissions standards. The range of gasoline engines - all turbo-charged - includes two 2.0L four-cylinder versions (175/210 hp) and a high-tech 2.8L six-cylinder unit at 255 horsepower with twin-scroll turbocharger and variable phasing of the intake camshafts. The BLS offers five- or six-speed manual transmissions and five- or six-speed automatic transmissions, depending on engine type.
The chassis, which has McPherson struts in front and a four-link rear axle, is designed for the powerful engines and the high demands of a Cadillac. The chassis tuning ensures dynamic handling performance without compromising comfort.