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Cadillac Seville STS

Published: 9th Jun 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Cadillac Seville STS

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A seriously impressive, fully loaded luxury conveyance that’s brimming full with virtually every automotive gadget known to man, not to mention a very high tech runninggear package.

What’s a Cadillac Seville STS?

A seriously impressive, fully loaded luxury conveyance that’s brimming full with virtually every automotive gadget known to man, not to mention a very high tech runninggear package. Forget the general euphemism of Yank Tank with visions of oversized gas guzzling, body rolling, Detroit Iron, and replace them with those about an alternative to a Mercedes-Benz, Audi or BMW. Yes, make no mistake, the Cadillac STS (Seville Touring Sedan) in America gave Mercedes-Benz a good run for their money and indeed statistics have pointed to the fact that the STS did stem the flow from Stuttgart, and once again Cadillac stood proud by its heritage, “Standard of the World”.


The Seville model first saw light of day way back in 1956 and was offered as a supreme luxury coupe. It soldiered on until 1960 when the name was dropped and didn’t reappear again until 1975. With the energy crisis of the early 1970’s the Seville became a more compact luxury barge, though it was still no lightweight in its class. In the late 1980’s the model was revamped and an effort was made to become much more competitive with other up-market European marques, ostensibly Mercedes-Benz and BMW. However the Seville STS’s finest hour arrived for the 1992 model with the milestone Northstar 4.6 V8 engine that was FWD. The Northstar name is not exclusively designated for the engine, Northstar is a package that also includes the transmission and suspension which are all interactive via a network of electronic sensors positioned around the car. The Northstar engine is a DOHC 32 valve V8 initially rated at 200bhp but would gradually increase with development and by 1998 was up to 300bhp. The fourspeed 4T80-E automatic transmission is the latest generation of GM’s renowned Turbo Hydramatic known for silky smooth changing and as fitted to Rolls-Royce, etc. The front suspension consists of MacPherson struts, while the independent set-up at the rear unusually has a single transverse leaf spring like the Corvette. The 1993 Cadillac STS was reckoned as the finest handling and quickest STS ever, and Motor Trend Magazine eulogised over performance saying; “You can flatfloor the megapower Seville off the line with an arrow straight trajectory.” Remember too that the Caddy was sold and serviced via selected Vauxhall main dealers.


The STS is indeed superbly comfortable to drive, pleasingly responsive to accelerator input for a large car, and of course with discs brakes all round, it stops pretty well too for a big saloon. Interestingly the V8 engine and exhaust note doesn’t roar or burble when you put the pedal to the metal, it screams more like a Ferrari. The Northstar system also eliminates bodyroll making the handling quite good. The interior has every luxury appointment you could want, there’s even a waste paper bin in the front passenger footwell!


The ‘98 STS featured here has covered over 100,000 miles, yet still drives and looks like new. It was purchased a year ago for £4000. You can pick up a cheaper, rougher entry level for £2700 or pay nearer to £4500 - £5000 for a mint example.

What To Look For

  • A galvanised steel body shouldn’t pose too many rust problems and the bumpers are plastic, though the normal areas for body corrosion will be around the arches, and lower door skins.
  • As with many high tech luxury cars, there’s an awful lot of electronic gadgetry onboard, (there’s over 100 fuses!) so it’s well worth taking your time in ensuring everything is working as it should. Fault tracing and problem solving on a car as complex as the STS will inevitably put a dent in your wallet at your specialist American garage. The STS isn’t exactly DIY user-friendly either.
  • It also goes without saying, make sure the aircon works too, if it doesn’t it could be something as simple as needing re-gassing, or maybe the compressor is faulty? Caveat emptor!
  • During a test drive ensure that the gearchanges are seamless, there shouldn’t be any hesitation or noticeable clunks etc. Rebuilt or new transmissions are very expensive indeed.
  • The Northstar V8 engine uses ultra thin viscosity 10W-30 grade oil which it can consume with relish. Naturally check for signs of emulsification on the filler cap, and most importantly ensure that there aren’t any significant oil leaks underneath the engine. The rear main seal can be a weak point, which will involve engine removal to replace. If there appears to be lots of oil leakage, then walk away there and then!
  • Suspension components are also very expensive to replace, so during a test drive ensure the car is handling well, that the adaptive ride is working and if there is a fault, the chances are that a light will come up on the dashboard “Service suspension system.” However, if all is well, it could be something as simple as a faulty sensor that will cost £50 to replace, it’s one of the issues of a car with so many electronic features.


The STS offers incredible value for money, makes a fine cruiser with a hugely impressive technical specification, but when it all goes wrong it won’t be cheap to remedy. However, you won’t need to purchase spark plugs very often, it’s recommended they are replaced every 100,000 miles! Ensure you source an excellent car in the beginning, they were offered new in RHD in the UK and though the choice won’t be enormous, there’s a reasonable number of cars around. They are reasonably economical on a long motorway run, returning around 30mpg, but nearer to 20 around town. A sensible modern Yank classic.

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